Usher/GST of the week
Dressed in their traditional yellow jackets and hats, the Notre Dame ushers are charged with organizing more than 80,000 fans who fill the seats at Notre Dame Stadium each and every home game Saturday to cheer on the Irish. Visitors and students would agree they are engrained in the tradition of home football weekends and the history of the Usher program goes back to the Knute Rockne era.
Started in the 1930’s, the Usher Club was originated by Notre Dame Alumn and student football manager Daniel Halpin. The primary function of the club was for its members to serve as ushers at home football games. After the first announcement of the club on September 7, 1930, approximately 1,040 men applied for a membership. Knute Rockne attended the first meeting, promising the men of the club, that if they gave the fans of the Irish their money’s worth and treated them as fans should be treated, then he would give them their money’s worth on the field. He concluded by also promising the ushers club a banquet at the end of the season.
Throughout the years, the Usher Club has progressed into the Usher Program and has extended beyond home football games. The Usher program staffs all athletic events, student move in, summer athletic camps, student dances, commencement and many other university events across campus. Over 800 ushers are on the roster, with approximately 700 of these individuals staffing each home football game. The men and women that make up the Usher Program come from near and far, representing 22 states and Canada. In its 86 year existence, Notre Dame Ushers have been a staple and time honored tradition of Notre Dame Football and provide a truly special Game Day experience for thousands of fans and guests of the university.
Every home game weekend, as thousands of football fans fill Notre Dame Stadium and Notre Dame campus and so do our beloved ushers and GST’s helping you find your seat, gate, or answering questions about the historical landmarks on campus. We talked to a few of our ushers and guest service team members who have been here from the beginning and asked them about some of the memories they have had in Notre Dame Stadium and on campus.
An extension of the usher program, started in 2009 our Guest Service Team (GST) members can be seen across campus on a Game Day weekend in their green jackets. Over 50 GST’s are ready and able to answer your Game Day questions and direct you to locations across campus. Our Guest Service Team, are always there to “Welcome you to Notre Dame”
While you are entering campus this season, say hello to any one of our 800+ ushers or 50+ gst’s, they have seen and heard many things in their years working at the university and have stories and memories of Knute Rockne, Ara Parasegian, Lou Holtz and Frank Leahy that they would love to share with any one of our guests. Help them make more memories at Notre Dame Stadium and of the Fighting Irish and they will most certainly help you in creating your own memories and leave South Bend having had the best Notre Dame experience.
Meet our Usher & GST’s for the week of Nevada:
Richard Scheidbelhut, originally from Cassapolis, MI and currently residing in Mishawaka, IN started in the usher program in 1954. Going into his 62nd year in the stands of Notre Dame Stadium Richard started to usher when his uncle asked him if he wanted to join. His first game in the student section almost caused Richard to quit, but he was quickly moved to section 23 where he has stayed ever since. Richard has seen many games in the stadium, but his favorite Irish team has been the 1988 team for their win over Miami. He remembers the coldest game he worked in the 1970’s vs. Army when snow and sleet were both coming down onto Notre Dame Stadium. The cold weather hasn’t scared Richard away just yet, as he plans to continue to usher for a few more year. Look for Richard in Section 23!
Ray Gervais, originally from Calumet, MI and currently residing in Mishawaka, IN working with search and rescue for St. Joseph County and has been a part of the usher program since the early inception in 1939. In his 77th year, Ray left the program in 1950 to serve our country in the Naval Reserve and returned to Notre Dame in 1953 to continue as a beloved usher. He began as an usher to get involved, be around people, to help and for fun. He talks fondly of the student athletes that he’s gotten to know over the years, but remembers the years of Johnny LuJack and George Retterman as his favorite team. For Ray, the 1950’s brings back memories of a game weekend that brought 18 inches of wet snow, where snow balls filled the student section. As normal as the weather of South Bend is, it was 70 degrees the weekend following and snowing again the weekend after that. After spending his first few years on the field, he was moved to the press box where he still resides on game days. Ray said he remembers “ The first press box was open, with typewriters” and misses the original stadium, “where the gate ushers would wear their grandfathers overcoats, and the entire stadium would light up with cigars.”
Len Gish, Born and raised in South Bend, IN is in his 55th years as a stadium usher. Asked by his uncle, Len begain in the usher in 1961 where he worked in section 29. A couple years after he began, Len went on to serve in the United States Army from 1963-1965. Currently residing in the press box on Game Days, Len started working when Ara Parsegian was the coach and enjoyed watching the teams on the 1960’ and 1970’s as well as the Coach Holtz era. He can recall the time when the Irish played Iowa in 13 degrees and in the 90’s when the Irish played Navy in windchills below 22, he said “We would stand in the restrooms to get warm and when we would go outside the cold would hit us so hard.” In his time working in Notre Dame stadium, he has enjoyed working with the seniors and meeting students from around the country.
Guest Services Team:
Mike Barnum, originally from Cadillac, MI and currently residing in Granger, IN is in his fourth year a Guest Service Team (GST) Supervisor. Mike joined the GST program to be a part of the best Game Day experience in college football. He loves being around the guests and fans of the university and showing or helping them have the best experience while on campus. “Whether it’s giving them a tour, or helping them on Game Day, the place to do that is on the Guest Service Team. While he could not pick a favorite team in the time he has been a part of the GST’s Mike said, “All the teams have their special days and their special plays. You can't watch a Notre Dame Football Game without seeing that. I will say this : There are Sad Days (Lost) , There are Glad Days (Win) , but there are NEVER bad days if you are on the campus, or in the stadium of Notre Dame for a Football Game . There's nothing like it!” He has had the pleasure to be around current and former players and coaches two of his favorites being Lou Holtz and Dick Vitala. In his four years, his worst day was two years ago when they had to shovel snow away from gates, entry ways, and the players and field was not visible.
Dennis Barry, Originally from Northampton, PA and currently residing in Michigan City, IN joined the GST program in 2016 as an Assistant Supervisor. Dennis joined the GST’s because he wanted to assist the many visitors that come to campus and help them get the full meaning and feel of the traditions and spirit of Notre Dame. “I take great pride in assisting people and making their visit to campus one that they will remember, cherish and reflect on.” In all of his encounters with guest in South Bend, his most memorable is one of where he offered help to an out of state couple during a hot weather football Saturday and guided them around campus and helped them deal with the heat.