NCAA Talk

ND Notebook: Jones hopes to add to family championship history

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ND Notebook: Jones hopes to add to family championship history

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- T.J. Jones often talked with his father, Andre, about continuing the family's championship lineage at Notre Dame. Andre Jones, an outside linebacker on Notre Dame's 1988 title team, passed away in 2011 after suffering a brain aneurysm.

"It's something me and my dad both talked about, and how cool it would be if we both played in the National Championship wearing the same number at the same school," Jones said Friday.

There have been plenty of moments over Notre Dame's 2012 season Jones wished he could've shared with his late father, most notably his game-winning touchdown catch against Stanford. And amid the delirious celebration in Los Angeles after Notre Dame beat USC, Jones wished he could've talked with his father about what was to come in January.

"I wish I could've called him and I guess talk for hours about what we were going to do, how crazy it was that we're both going to be in the National Championship and really celebrate those moments with him," Jones said.

Jones has rarely spoken about his father's death, save for one day last year. It's an understandably sensitive issue, although he was prepared for questions about it from the throngs of media circulating through the Harbor Beach Marriott on Friday. But to his credit, he handled the questions on a difficult topic with maturity.

"I feel he's here with me every day," Jones explained. "I feel like he's watching over me, he's watching over Notre Dame and my family as well."

Irish add Redfield to nation's top recruiting class

Notre Dame ascended to the top of Rivals.com's class of 2013 recruiting rankings by securing the commitment of five-star safety Max Redfield, who announced his decision Friday night at the Under Armour All-American Bowl in Tampa. The Mission Viejo, Calif., native had been committed to USC until visiting Notre Dame three weeks ago, after which he decommitted.

Redfield is the third five-star player to commit to Notre Dame for its 2013 recruiting class, joining running back Greg Bryant and linebacker Jaylon Smith. The safety said Notre Dame's success played a major role in his commitment -- and it's probably fair to say USC's 7-6 season, in which they became the first preseason No. 1 to fall out of the AP top 25 since 1964, was a factor as well.

Dispatches from practice

Members of the media were allowed to view 15 minutes of Notre Dame's practice Friday -- the final practice viewing before Monday's game -- and saw a few noteworthy plays as the Irish try to find the end zone more often.

Notre Dame ran a fake field goal and offered a few wildcat and different zone readoption looks near the goal line, signaling the team is trying some new looks to improve one of the worst red zone touchdown rates in the nation. We may not see these exact plays on Monday -- it'd be a shock if the Irish ran a fake field goal -- but the overarching theme here is that, with 43 days to prepare, Notre Dame's going to try some different stuff by the goal line.

"We needed a good day today. It was hotter today and we pushed our guys. I thought that they responded very well," coach Brian Kelly said. "We only went an hour and fifteen minutes today. Im pleased with back-to-back days where we got a lot of work done. Were ready to play. We have one more day tomorrow and well clean some things up and some situational and well get ready to play Alabama in a great game."

Alabama's Square holds connection to Notre Dame

A few players on Notre Dame and Alabama were recruited by both schools, with George Atkinson III and Jones being two on the Irish side. Damion Square is on the flip side of that, choosing Alabama over Notre Dame as a three-star defensive end out of Houston in the class of 2008.

One of Square's relatives went to Notre Dame, and he's taken a visit to South Bend for a game.

"It's a great place with great tradition similar to Alabama," Square said. "At the time Charlie Weis was the coach, and they had a great program going on at the university, I just felt like Alabama was a better fit for me. But Notre Dame is a great place. They have a lot of pride in what they're trying to do up there, and they've been trying to get to this point for a while, and they're here, and I'm pretty sure that they're going to try to come and take advantage of this opportunity."

DePaul extends contract of women's basketball head coach Doug Bruno through 2023-24

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USA TODAY

DePaul extends contract of women's basketball head coach Doug Bruno through 2023-24

One of the icons of DePaul athletics is sticking around.

Monday, DePaul extended the contract of women's basketball head coach Doug Bruno through the 2023-24 season. Bruno just wrapped up his 32nd season as head coach of his alma mater, leading DePaul to its 16th consecutive NCAA Tournament.

While the Blue Demons were eliminated in the Round of 32 this March, Bruno has led the program to the Sweet 16 three of the last eight seasons.

“I am so thankful to be working at a great institution like DePaul,” Bruno said in a press release. “I never would have been here without coach Ray Meyer who gave me a basketball scholarship, Frank McGrath and Gene Sullivan who hired me in the 1970s."

Behind Bruno, DePaul went 27-8 in 2017-18, winning its fifth-straight Big East regular-season title. The Blue Demons also won their third Big East Tournament title in five years, defeating rival Marquette 98-63. Bruno also picked up his 700th career victory in February, defeating conference-foe Butler 86-68.

“I’ve been fortunate to have great assistant coaches through all the years,” he said. “My current staff is absolutely one of the best in the country.

"Most important, the reason you succeed is the players. I’ve been blessed to have tremendous student-athletes help build the DePaul women’s basketball legacy.

“I am excited about this contract extension because we still have work to do. As proud as we are of everything we have achieved, our expectation through the length of this extension is to take the Blue Demons to even higher places.”

 

Loyola rewards Porter Moser with multi-year contract extension

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USA TODAY

Loyola rewards Porter Moser with multi-year contract extension

Loyola is rewarding Porter Moser for his basketball team's success this season.

Loyola and Moser have agreed to a multi-year contract extension, the team announced Wednesday. The deal is through the 2025-26 season.

"We are excited to be able to announce a new contract for Porter that will keep him at Loyola a long time," Loyola Director of Athletics Steve Watson said. "He is the perfect fit for Loyola and operates his program the right way, with student-athletes who achieve excellence on the court and in the classroom and are also excellent representatives of the institution.

"We are fortunate to work at a university like Loyola, that values and has made a commitment to athletics. It is nice to reward Porter not just for an outstanding season, but also for the job he has done during his time here."

That's a well-deserved extension for a head coach who led the Ramblers to a NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1985.

As the 11th seed, Loyola exceeded all expectations, shocking the world with a Final Four appearance. The Ramblers took down No. 6 Miami, No. 3 Tennessee, No. 7 Nevada, and No. 9 Kansas State before losing to No. 3 Michigan, who would go on to lose to No. 1 Villanova in the championship game.

Loyola finished the regular season with a 28-5 record and a MVC Championship.

In seven seasons, Moser has a 121-111 record with the Ramblers, though three of his last four have been winning seasons.