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Aug 26, 2010

Irish Creed Exclusive: Interview with 2010-2011 Leprechaun Part I

Last year I had the tremendous honor of serving as the official University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish Leprechaun.  I was blessed to be in a position that allowed me to witness the indescribable Spirit of Notre Dame in a way that very few ever have, and very few ever will.  I also learned that the Fighting Irish Faithful proudly carry on our Spirit from coast to coast (everywhere from Palo Alto to NYC).  It was a year that I will cherish forever, and I experienced enough unforgettable moments to last a lifetime. 

After my time as the 2009-2010 Fighting Irish Leprechaun was up, I put my potential replacements through a series of grueling tests during a month-long tryout process.  I could not have asked for a better man to take over as the next Fighting Irish Leprechaun, and I was proud to pass the legendary shillelagh on to my good friend Leprechaun Diz.   I fully expect him to carry on our legacy in grand fashion, and I have no doubt that he will become the perfect fiery source of energy that will spark our return to glory.

I also know from experience that Leprechauns are always busy, and I appreciate the time our new Leprechaun took to answer questions for our readers.  I present to you Part I of our series:

An Interview with the 2010-2011 Fighting Irish Leprechaun:

TheNDleprechaun:  First off, could you share a little about your background with our readers?  Were you born and raised a Fighting Irish fan?  Did you always know you were a leprechaun, or did that realization come later in life?  What specifically made you want to try out for the position?

LEPRECHAUN DIZ: That’s a great question, because it’s been such a long and unusual journey that has led me here to this extremely exciting time in my life. I actually grew up only an hour away from Notre Dame but both of my parents attended and graduated from Purdue University. I grew up following Purdue until my older brother was accepted into Notre Dame in 2000. We attended a game with my brother that year and I was immediately transformed into a Notre Dame fanatic. Right away, I knew that Notre Dame was the school for me. I worked hard in high school and applied for admittance to this great institution in the spring of 2007. Unfortunately, however, I was not accepted and was devastated when I received the letter. I picked myself up, however, and actually attended Purdue University my freshman year and was a member of their wrestling team. I enjoyed my freshman year at Purdue but something was always missing, so I reapplied to Notre Dame and was finally accepted.  When I arrived at Notre Dame in the fall of 2008, I originally thought of trying to walk on to the football team, haha. I was first team all-state as a safety in Indiana my senior year but I don't think Notre Dame was looking for a 5'6 150lb football player, so I looked to something a little more realistic. My family and friends knew that I had loved this university and its sports teams from the first moment that I stepped foot on campus, and as my sophomore year progressed I heard a little bit of a buzz about leprechaun tryouts. I looked into it and after hearing what it entails, I knew that I had to give it a shot. I was awarded the back-up position last year and had the most enjoyable year of my life cheering on Notre Dame's soccer, volleyball, lacrosse, and basketball teams. Then, just this spring I was awarded the main job and will now be the official Fighting Irish Leprechaun for football and men's basketball games.

TheNDleprechaun:  You’re in a unique position as a transfer student who has now become the face of our university.  What does that mean to you, and do you think that experience will help you bring something special to your position as The Leprechaun?

LEPRECHAUN DIZ: Absolutely. More than most people at this university I have experienced first-hand how lucky we all are to be students at Notre Dame. I have experienced another school and all that it had to offer, even playing a sport there. But nothing in the world compares to the spirit and tradition surrounding our wonderful university. I love Notre Dame with all of my heart and now that I have been given this opportunity to become the face of this university I will do everything in my power to make every Notre Dame fan proud.

TheNDleprechaun:  It seems like the stars aligned when you became the Leprechaun.  Either that, or you just have impeccable timing.  You step into your new role amidst a frenzy of anticipation with Brian Kelly taking the helm as leader of our football team.  Our home opener is against Purdue, a university you once attended.  The Shirt is finally green.  Tell us how you are going to take advantage of all these positives as you begin your year as the face of the Fighting Irish.

LEPRECHAUN DIZ: I like to think that I just have impeccable timing. All of the things you just stated are culminating quickly into what is bound to be one of the most exciting season openers that Notre Dame has seen in quite a long time. Indeed we are playing my old school on 9/4 and the shirt is finally green, but these are not the most exciting things by far. We finally have an Irish coach who embodies everything that Notre Dame stands for. I have had the privilege of hearing him speak several times since returning to campus and I cannot listen to that man without getting chills. Maybe call it my Leprechaun sense, but I'm certain Coach Kelly has certain intangibles that are going to lead our Notre Dame football team and university back to greatness.

Leprechaun Diz surrounded by the lovely ND Cheerleaders

Stay up to date with Irish Creed for Part II of this interview.

Here's to hoping that Diz's "Leprechaun sense" is tuned in this year.  Be sure to follow him on Twitter as he keeps the Fighting Irish Faithful up to date on his life as the Leprechaun:  @NDLeprechaun10

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2012 Notre Dame Football Schedule

2012 Notre Dame Football Schedule
DateOpponent / EventLocationTime / Result
09/01/12vs. Navy Dublin, IrelandW, 50-10
09/08/12vs. PurdontNotre Dame, Ind.W, 20-17
09/15/12at SpartyEast Lansing, Mich.W, 20-3
09/22/12vs. SkunkbearsNotre Dame, Ind.W, 13-6
Shamrock Series
10/06/12vs. Da UChicago, Ill.W, 41-3
10/13/12vs. TreesNotre Dame, Ind.W, 20-13 (OT)
10/20/12vs. BYU Notre Dame, Ind.W, 17-14
10/27/12at Oklahoma Norman, Okla.W, 30-13
11/03/12vs. Pittsburgh Notre Dame, Ind.W, 29-26 (3OT)
11/10/12at Backup College Chestnut Hill, Mass.W, 21-6
11/17/12vs. Fake Worest Notre Dame, Ind.W, 38-0
11/24/12at U$C Los Angeles, Calif.W, 22-13
1/7/13vs. AlabamaBCS CHAMPIONSHIP
(Miami, Florida)
L, :(