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Frank Bice '77, Theology Department Co-Chair, Presented with Notre Dame Game Ball

Meredith Berry-Toon

Frank Bice, Class of 1977 and current Theology Department Co-Chair, was presented with the game ball on Saturday, September 16th following Notre Dame's win against the Boston College Eagles. The first time Notre Dame was back in Boston to compete against the Eagles since 2015, Bice '77 was invited to travel and stay with the team to witness the momentous event.

Bice '77 developed a relationship with the Fighting Irish this past summer as a visitor to the Notre Dame campus during the summer holiday. He lived in the Morris Inn and attended Mass on campus each day, quickly befriending many members of the Congregation of the Holy Cross. As part of his daily routine, he would often arrive early at Notre Dame football practices, watching from just outside the field's locked gates as the team hustled inside.

Bice's status as just an onlooker changed in August when, following a run-in encounter with Peter Schivarelli, current manager of rock band Chicago and former Notre Dame football walk-on, he was invited on the field. "I saw him riding to practice, and shouted, 'Hey, #68!' ... it was the the first intrasquad scrimmage of the season, so I took a bit of a leap to see if I would be able to get past the gates." Bice's calculations - and memory of Schivarelli's number - worked, and he was invited to watch the scrimmage from the sideline.

While Bice believed his observation of the scrimmage was a special circumstance, he had begun to gain the attention of Associate Director for Football Operations, Chad Klunder. When he returned to his daily routine of observing from outside the gates, Bice also decided to share two of his books with players as they exited the field -- Your Cross is Your Gift and Seasons of Hope. Soon after, one of his titles wandered into the hands of Klunder. "This was when my relationship with the team really began to change", noted Bice. He was welcomed to watch practice on the field for the remaining weeks of his stay at Notre Dame and spent time every evening with Coach Klunder outside of practice. When Bice returned to Canterbury in early September, his departure was met with gifted Notre Dame gear and an invitation to join the team for an upcoming game.

"The invitation to join the team for the Boston College game was pretty special," recounts Bice. "Klunder had looked at our Canterbury football schedule and, noting we had an off-weekend, called me up." Bice was told nothing more than to "bring his dog" for the game this past Saturday when a van arrived on campus to escort him. Once he arrived in Boston, he was welcomed by the team and joined the players at their hotel and for all meals. Bice and Kelly watched the game from Brian Kelly's family's skybox, reuniting with players upon the conclusion of the game. It was there, right outside of the locker room, that he was presented with the game ball.

The Fighting Irish beat the Eagles 49-20 in the Boston College Alumni Stadium. Bice '77 has already been invited to fly out to South Bend at the invitation of Coach Klunder to watch Notre Dame compete against Navy on November 18th.