Larry Forness Letter After Nov. 8 Loss to Boston College


I have already read several of your emails tonight regarding the sickening performance of our team against B.C.

Like some of you said, I personally am not going to watch to, or listen to, another game until Weis is fired. Thank God I have season hockey tickets.
Weis's arrogance is only exceeded by the silence of the University leaders. I have written two letters and followed with a phone call and an email to Fr. Jenkins. Not one damn thing has been responded to, which should not surprise me.
In 1987, I wanted to establish a scholarship, through a trust, for the son or daughter of an ND grad who had died or would die in the future in the defense of this country. I didn't want some snot-nosed little pinko bastard to get the scholarship, so I required the recipient to sign a loyalty oath. I think the section I last talked to at ND was the Office of Deferred Giving, or something like that, and was flat told that I could not demand such a requirement. I was told, and I quote, “We'd love to have your money, but you can't tell us what to do with it.” Welllll fuck you!!!! Obviously, I never instituted the scholarship.
Almost a year and a half ago, Ironman Kent Durso comes back to campus for his '67 class reunion. I invite him over to my house. He say there are some dumbbells in the Rock' that used to be in Fr. Lange's Gym, and he'd like to see them taken out of there and some of us Lead Heads who lifted at Fr. Lange's get them. IT TOOK OVER 6 MONTHS of bullshit for me to just get a commitment from the idiots who run the Rock' to set a time/day for me to pick up the six dumbbells, and this is AFTER Durso had spent a comparable amount of time in frustration just getting anybody to say I could pick them up.
This past spring, another Lead Head, Dr. Paul Gill. M.D., told me that in the ground floor of the Admin Bldg. there are all kinds of pictures on the walls of supposed important men in ND history, but not one of Fr. Lange. At Paul's urging I wrote Fr. Jenkins simply asking why there was no pic' of Fr. Lange there, and who did I need to talk to, to rectify the situation. Two letters later, I STILL have had NO REPLY. Shittttttt!!!
At our '68 reunion, a bunch of us are coming out of the North Dining Hall, where we had the class dinner. One of my classmates was apparently having some ortho problems, and commented that he wished the University would supply us old dogs who needed them with a golf cart to get around. A campus security guy overheard it and said, “Sorry, we only have six golf carts for the whole university, and you don't rate one.” And fuck you very much, too.
I spend a fair amount of time going on campus for a variety of reasons. You ever seen the visitor's parking lots? Geezus, there's one postage stamp one at the far northeast end of the lot to the east of the library, and another one (which you have to PAY to use) has been moved from just off ND avenue way over to the southeast of Legends. Don't tell me about parking by the Eck Alumni Center. It's temp. It was put there deliberately, next to the Bookstore to make it easy for us to go there and spend ridiculous bucks on junk.
And, we get hit up every two weeks for more money from ND. I just got back from campus earlier today. I drove down ND avenue towards the Morris Inn. Most of the leaves are off the trees. The right (east)side of ND Avenue looks like a concrete canyon. Our once-beautiful campus is fast disappearing. Notice all the dorms (and the ones still planned). Know why so many? To get every damn student ALREADY ON CAMPUS their own room, but NOT a single new room brings one more student from off campus into a dorm. You ever been in a dorm room lately. I have. I was over in my old frosh dorm–Stanford. I couldn't believe it!!! Queen-sized beds, refrigerators, water coolers, clothes lockers, dressers, entertainment centers, televisions,  etc., all the stuff that is absolutely necessary to get a good education. Bullshit.
We used to have a real nice restaurant/meeting place, called the University Club on campus where alumni and faculty could go. That was torn down last year to make way for a new engineering building, and never opened anyplace else.
You know we got FIVE different locations on campus that have exercise equipment. Know how many the alumni get to use? NOT A DAMN ONE. I get repeated instances of where the University is telling alumni, to sit down, shut up, don't bother us, stay away, but keep sending your money.
Did you see the initial plans for the re-do of the JACC. FIRST PRIORITY is a new entrance and more shops to sell overpriced shit. Just what we really need. Our hockey team was LAST priority, until some super, anonymous donor pledged several million bucks on the proviso that a new rink be built at the end of this season.
Look, Weis should be fired, and don't let anybody tell you that contract is binding. If a college dean, head of security, whatever did, say have ONE instance of, say sexual harassment or racial/sex discrimination, the University would jump through it's won ass getting that person fired — immediately. I see the same thing in this regard as to football. Weis can go out an embarrass us year after year, but he stays. Anybody else embarrasses the University, and they go. What freaking hypocrisy.
Bottom line: The University leaders care NOT for you, but for your MONEY. Might I suggest you write Fr. Jenkins and tell him to get rid of Weis NOW, or he can kiss our money goodbye.
Last: Best potential coaches (and two of three are currently available, and I have NO idea if they'd even talk to ND) would be John Gruden, Jimmy Johnson, and Bill Cowher. I agree we need a new head coach that would come in, grab every player by the face guard,  lay down the law, start having practices where the blood flows, and make opposing coaches wish they'd never scheduled us. I have been in three wars. Appeasement doesn't work. PC doesn't work. The hammer does.
Thank you for your time, gentlemen.

More, Larry Forness letter after Nov. 8 Boston College game

Something else you can add to my letter, if you so choose.
A bunch of us guys in the 60's lifted weights at Fr. lange's Gym in Brownson Hall. We called ourselves “Fr. Lange's Boys,” and “Lead Heads.” We are having a reunion next spring on the weekend of the Blue-Gold game.
One of the guys thought it woulk be cool to have something like a T-shirt with some neat words of identity, or whatever, and maybe an ND emblem. I remember in law school being fascinated with property rights, licensing, etc. I thought, “Hmmmm, if we wanna draw a simple 'ND' on a t-shirt, is the University gonna go apoplectic over a couple dozen old bastards wearing t-shirts around for a coupla days?” Two weeks ago, I called the ND Licensing Department and was warned — warned, mind you — that I MUST (harumph, harumph) submit ANY logo for pre-approval by the Licensing Dept, PLUS the ONLY entity allowed to manufacture the shirts would be an APPROVED vendor — approved by the Licensing Dept, obviously. And, you know that the vendor is gonna jack up the price thru the roof just because it has a logo on it AND to give the Licensing Dept. a cut of the action.
Welllllll, shit. If us Lead Heads were to have t-shirts made, they would only be for PRIVATE, NON-COMMERCIAL use. I made that abundantly clear to the people in the Licensing Dept. No good. Seems like they have the government syndrome of thinking I exist for their convenience and work for them — and not the other way around — and that they must fling their edicts far and wide to justify their own existence, and we must grovel and genuflect in front of the Altar of Pecuniary Passion erected on their domain. Uh, huh. Don't bet on it, Sparky.

Responses, Larry Forness letter after Nov. 8 Boston College game


Thought you would be interested to read what a couple of fellow Lead Heads have said in reply to my impassioned email. Jan is owner of a big health care facility in NJ, and Paul is an ER physician.

These guys ain't stupid, poor or unaffected.
On Mon, 11/10/08, Jan Debenedetto wrote:

Date: Monday, November 10, 2008, 2:49 PM

Not that I have any clue how the world works, but it appears that ND is succumbing to the trend in America (and perhaps elsewhere, but here is where I live) in that those with any power at any level please only those directly in their sphere and have little regard for the greater good of those that they should be beholding to. They completely forget who brungʼem to the dance. They screw people and say it is only business, as if business were not made of people, real live breathing folks. They take credit when something randomly happens that appears to be good for the moment and immediately blame others when things go sour. Or worse yet, try to make you believe it wasnʼt so bad.


Rationalization rather than realization rules. Let me try to convince you, spin it rather than admit it was a screw up and needs fixing. They talk the talk, but wonʼt and are incapable of walking the walk.

Humans are secondary to amorphous concepts of success. And success is only measured in dollars. Worse yet immediate dollars. Relationships with any depth are getting more and rarer.

Basically it seems that America and our institutions like ND are loosing their soul and are not concerned with fostering genuine creativity and a national or local spirit. The future is defined as this quarter and not our great grandchildren. Tradition goes out the window and as it does so goes the roots that nourished it in the first place.

Getting concrete, having phenomenal athletic teams is not mutually exclusive to having outstanding academics. They are complimentary. Athletics requires its own innate intelligence. Rather than reject athletes who are not quite there academically, why not take a few and help make them improve their academics and benefit from their skills as well. Have ND looked at as an institution that not only helps disadvantaged in other countries like the commercial shows, but to take a handful of real live Americans and help them hone their innate skills and develop other life skills as well. There are tremendous lessons to be learned and taught on the field as well as the classroom.

The most inspired performance the team showed was against Michigan and who was there to light that fire? Dr. Lou.

Like I said at first (if anybody made it this far through my ranting and rambling) I can be way off base here, but that is the way it feels to me over the last few years as I look out over the landscape here and wonder what they hell is going on. Does anyone really give a rats ass about actually doing something great rather than making whatever trivial bullshit they do try to seem great.

And in the famous words of Austin Powers, Iʼm spent.

  Mr. Jan DeBenedetto
Senior Vice President Business Development
Vitaquest International, Inc.
West Caldwell, New Jersey

From Paul Gill

Subject: Re: Weis has GOT to be fired, etc.



This seems to be a common theme: an administration who sends out pleas for $$ on an almost monthly basis, but has no other use for its alums.  I never received a response from Kerry Temple at ND MAGAZINE (an email and a letter), nor did I hear from Chuck Lennon. 

Funny thing is, over the years I wrote Fr.Hesburgh on a number of topics, and he responded to every single one of my letters.  Now if Fr.Ted had time to pen a response to me, how come these other people don't?  I shudder to think what it would take to get a statue of Fr.Lange approved by this group of self-important snobs.  (By the way, Fr.Lange had no use for the ND administration either.)