The University of Notre Dame football team officially opened its 2018 training camp at Culver Academies, closing out its first day of practice Friday afternoon. This is the fifth year coach Brian Kelley has brought the Irish to “Camp Culver,” which will consist of five practice days at Oliver Field. The practices are closed to the public, but fans can stay connected by going to WatchND.tv for updates and features during the week.
The year’s camp continues the long football history enjoyed by the two schools:
The Knute Rockne-Bob Peck Connection
- Legendary Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne and Culver Military Academy coach Bob Peck shared a long history. Both Rockne and Peck played professional football for the Massilion (Ohio) Tigers during the 1917 season.
- In 1922, as Rockne’s fame was increasing, he turned his football coaching schools into a profitable business. The first place to host his new venture was Culver Military. He later joined forces with University of Wisconsin basketball coach Walter (Doc) Meanwell to create a two-week football and basketball coaches camp, which was also conducted at Culver for at least two years: 1924 and 1925.
- On April 21, 1924, Rockne gave the dedication speech for the Culver Recreation Building. He is quoted as saying: “I believe that the great value of athletics lies in keeping the student body physically fit. I know of no place, with the possible exception of the United States Military Academy, where the athletic program is handled as well or where they get the results that they do at Culver.”
- At Peck’s request, Rockne gave a pep talk to the Eagles on Nov. 3, 1930, prior to CMA’s game against St. John’s Military Academy, which was played before 45,000 fans at Chicago’s Soldier Field on Nov. 8. The pep talk did the trick. CMA won, 19-0. A member of that team was Russ Oliver ’31, another Culver coaching legend.
- Rockne’s two older sons, Knute Lars and William Dorais (called W.D. in the camp roster) attended Woodcraft Camp in 1927 and 1928.
- Both Rockne and Peck died unexpectedly. Rockne, 43, died in a plane crash on March 31, 1931. Peck, 41, died June 14, 1932. His death was attributed to heart disease.
- Rockne (ND) and Peck (Pitt, where he was coached by “Pop” Warner) are members of the College Football Hall of Fame. Rockne was inducted posthumously in 1951. Peck was inducted posthumously in 1954.
Lou Holtz and Culver
Coach Lou Holtz brought the Fighting Irish to Culver for pre-season camp in 1995 and 1996. Two members of the current Notre Dame staff, Director of Player Development Ron Powlus and Running Backs Coach Autry Denson, were members of Holtz’s teams that made the trip down from South Bend.
John Mosley-Yankees connection
CMA running back/defensive back John Mosley ’77 played at Notre Dame under coaches Dan Devine and Gerry Faust. Working for the New York Yankees as the senior manager of College Football Development, Mosley recruited Notre Dame to play in the 2013 Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.