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    University Honors Tony Rice With Carlesimo Award Impact Banner

    University Honors Tony Rice With Carlesimo Award

    Basketball legend P.J. Carlesimo, left, and University Executive Director of Athletics Dave Martin, right, present Notre Dame legend Tony Rice with the 2022 Carlesimo Award at Canoe Brook Country Club June 27.
    July 6, 2022

    On June 27, the University honored Tony Rice, Notre Dame legend and quarterback of the 1988 National Championship Team, with the 2022 Peter A. Carlesimo Award at the annual Carlesimo Golf Tournament & Award Dinner at Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit, New Jersey.

    The event raised more than $100,000 for Scranton Athletics. Quandel Construction Group served as the event’s title sponsor. To see photos from the event, visit this link.

    “This is one of my favorite days of the year,” said Dave Martin, executive director of Athletics at the University and the event’s master of ceremonies, prior to the beginning of the meal. “Thanks to all the incredible support in this room, we once again were able to exceed our goals.”

    Martin then introduced the evening’s speakers: Bridget Monaghan ’24, a three-year starter on the Lady Royals majoring in business administration; the Rev. Joseph G. Marina, S.J., the twenty-ninth president of The University of Scranton; and basketball legend P.J. Carlesimo, the eldest son of the former University athletic director the award is named after. 

    “My experience as a member of the Lady Royals will be something I will cherish forever,” Monaghan said. “Thank you for all that you do for Scranton Athletics.” 

    Father Marina spoke next, sharing some of the 2021-2022 academic year’s athletic highlights. 

    “We gather here to celebrate our players, our student-athletes and our wonderful staff who had another incredibly successful year in the Landmark Conference and the NCAA,” he said. “We captured three conference championships and saw four teams advance to the national tournament. Twenty-one out of 23 teams participated in post-season play. That’s amazing. We continued to strengthen and enhance the Royal Way program, which provides a glimpse into the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola from an athlete’s perspective.”

    After dinner, Carlesimo said his father would have appreciated honoring Rice.

    “Tony, he legitimately would be thrilled, more so for what you’ve done off the field,” he said. “You were a great, great player, but what you’ve done since graduation at Notre Dame (is) even more impressive.”

    After receiving the award, Rice expressed his gratitude for a number of significant people in his life, including the grandmother who raised him, legendary Notre Dame Football Coach Lou Holtz, and Jim ’90 and Kerry ’90 Conmy, who serve with Rice on the Board of Directors of Patrick’s Pals Foundation, a nonprofit that provides children and young adults with multiple disabilities with equipment and therapies. The Conmys founded Patrick’s Pals in honor of their son, Patrick, a 19-year-old boy who was born with many special needs which left him unable to do many things for himself.

    “For me to get this award, it’s not about me, it’s about someone that pointed me in the right direction,” Rice said. “They gave me an opportunity to do something with myself.”

    Near the end of his remarks, Rice gestured to the purple Scranton baseball cap he had been wearing since he received the award and made a surprising admission.

    “I’ve never worn any hat of another college, just Notre Dame,” he said. “Notre Dame will be there forever, Scranton will be there forever, too.

    “Go Royals, go Irish, let’s go Scranton.”

     

    About the honoree

    Tony Rice made a name for himself on the gridiron while leading Notre Dame to the 1988 national championship and finishing his career a year later with a 31-4 record as the signal caller for the Fighting Irish. He was named an All-American and the recipient of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award as the nation’s top upperclassmen quarterback following his senior season.

    Rice piloted Notre Dame to a perfect 12-0 record and the school’s eighth national title in 1988, capped by the top-ranked Fighting Irish defeating third-ranked West Virginia 34-21 in the Fiesta Bowl with Rice passing for 213 yards and two touchdowns, and adding 75 rushing yards en route to sharing MVP honors with teammate Frank Stams.

    A year later, Rice nearly led the Irish to a second straight national title, but a loss to Miami in late November was Notre Dame’s only blemish on the season. The Irish rebounded to knock off top-ranked Colorado, 21-6, in the Orange Bowl with Rice tallying 149 total yards in his final collegiate game. Notre Dame finished the season ranked second in the nation.

    Playing for legendary head coach Lou Holtz, Rice finished his career with 3,273 yards and 13 touchdowns through the air, and 2,049 yards and 23 touchdowns as one of the best option quarterbacks in college football history.

    After completing his college career, Rice played one season for the Canadian Football League’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, two seasons with the Barcelona Dragons of the World League and one season for Munich Thunder in the Football League of Europe in 1994.

    Off the field, Rice has served on the board of the Patrick’s Pals Foundation for several years.  Since its founding, Patrick’s Pals has raised more than $1 million to help families in need.

    A native of South Carolina who now lives in Chicago, Rice is also active in the D.A.R.E. program, working to keep kids off drugs and away from gangs and violent behavior. He works closely with Pop Warner youth football teams, making visits and speaking to young athletes. He’s also involved in the annual Walter Camp Weekend, where current and former stars gather to celebrate Walter Camp’s legacy and complete community service work, including virtual hospital visits.

    Rice also remains active at Notre Dame and in the South Bend area, regularly participating in Notre Dame alumni events while also working with the Center for the Homeless in South Bend and South Bend LOGAN Community Resources, Inc., which serves adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

     

    About the event

    Since 2011, the Peter A. Carlesimo Award has been presented to someone who has made special contributions to athletics and Catholic education. The Golf Tournament & Award Dinner serves as a fundraising event to support and enhance the student-athlete experience at The University of Scranton. For more information, visit scranton.edu/carlesimoaward.

     

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