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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Ave Maria "Gyrenes" Won't Be Playing Notre Dame

Here's another interesting article in the Naples News, "In the beginning: Ave Maria (football) versus the Irish? Not going to happen." (The Naples News is in the middle of a fancy three-day report on Ave Maria with all kinds of articles and videos.)

Oft-mentioned dreams of an Ave Maria versus Notre Dame football battle will never happen. That's according to Ave Maria University founder and Chancellor Tom Monaghan, who said Division I-A football isn't in the university's plans. "I feel that when we're at our 20-year goal of 5,500 students - 4,000 undergraduate students - that we could be possibly at the very highest in Division I-AA like Georgetown and the Ivy League schools," Monaghan said.

I'm almost positive Monaghan has said in the past that he aims to have a Division-I sports program, including football. Anyone have a record of a past statement to that effect?

The school has selected its nickname: the Gyrenes, a nickname for the Marines - the branch of the military in which Monaghan served.

Yes, that is in the article. I did not just make this up. What happened to a name related to the Catholic heritage, like "Crusaders," or "Saints," or "Friars"? I can't believe it. If naming the school mascot/nickname after yourself is not the biggest example of hubris, I don't know what is.

HT: commenter "towelie"

UPDATE: Commenter Laura has tracked down an earlier Naples News article which talks about the originally planned Division-I football program.
[Monaghan] even wants to compete in athletics someday at the Division I level, especially in football. "My hope is to have that as quick as we can," he said. Realistically, though, Monaghan said it could be 20 years before the first football game is played there. "It may be pretty small" when football does start, he said, "just one side of the stadium, room for 10,000 attendance. We'll look for donors" to expand. John J. Nevins, bishop of the Diocese of Venice, was at Monaghan's side Wednesday. "This could be the Notre Dame of the South. Why not?" Nevins said.