CNHI News Service

Sports

January 4, 2013

N.D. student makes sure fans remember the luck of the Irish

MIAMI —  

As the rich and famous stream into this glamorous city for Monday night’s BCS National Championship Game, 22-year-old Bryce Burton – all 5-feet-7, 145 pounds of him – just might be the biggest celebrity in South Beach the next few days.

As No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Alabama prepare to battle for college football’s biggest prize, Burton is in demand as the leprechaun mascot for the Fighting Irish.

“We’ve been so busy,” the Notre Dame senior said between events Friday afternoon. “We’re getting ready to go visit The Covenant House right now.”

Media appearances, alumni parties, hospital visits and pep rallies have Burton and the rest of the Notre Dame cheerleaders booked solid for the next three days. Such is the life when you put on the little green suit and become one of the most recognizable mascots in all of sport.

“I take an untold amount of photographs, especially on campus during a game day,” Burton said. “I definitely get a lot of attention.”

When Burton is in character he is legitimately famous. Those countless snapshots of him often end up as Facebook profile pictures, family Christmas cards and desk photographs in a stranger’s office.

He realized how unique the job was at his first appearance at the former College Football Hall of Fame in downtown South Bend two years ago.

“That day both Rudy and Jon Gruden asked me to take a picture with them,” Burton said. “I thought that was pretty funny.”

“Rudy,” of course, is Daniel Ruettiger, a former Notre Dame walk-on who inspired the iconic 1993 sports movie, “Rudy.” Gruden is a former NFL coach who is now a top NFL analyst for ESPN. He coached the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl title in 2002.

Burton grew up in southern Indiana and played running back for the Newburgh High School football team. He was a Notre Dame fan, but was denied admission as a freshman. After a year at Indiana University he was able to transfer to Notre Dame for his sophomore year.

Text Only
Sports
  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Posturing, predictions fly as SEC turns to a new season

    Little news is truly made at the Southeastern Conference's media days, where players and coaches predict, insinuate and deflect in advance of this fall's college football season.
     

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20110929_bowling.jpg Why fewer people go bowling

    Like other industries facing tough economic times, America's bowling centers are trying to reinvent themselves.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg James bears the weight of Cleveland's championship dreams

    Can LeBron James change Cleveland sports history? Overcoming this city's tortured curse could prove impossible - even for the world's best basketball player.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 10.40.20 AM.png VIDEO: Sleeping fan suing Yankees, ESPN for $10M

    A fan caught on camera sleeping during a recent game at Yankee Stadium has filed suit against the Yankees and ESPN, claiming he suffered emotional distress when two announcers mocked him on the air.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg U.S. loss on World Cup pitch was a win back home

    Exuberant fans - even those who couldn't tell you what offsides means - cheered on the U.S. men's national team during the World Cup in Brazil. Are those fans excited enough to keep watching soccer now that the United States has been eliminated?

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Follow closely as a dozen colleges do the conference shuffle

    Regional affiliations that once defined college athletic conferences are a thing of the past, replaced by the powerful attraction of large markets and big-money television deals. The good news for fans is that the competition has never been better.

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Spurrier livens up the offseason by needling Nick Saban

    South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, known for using the press to poke the competition, recently questioned whether his colleague in Tuscaloosa, Ala., spends too much time in the office.

    June 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Honor Gwynn by remembering where he went wrong

    Baseball All-Star Tony Gwynn was felled by a disease he blamed on smokeless tobacco. May the Padre be remembered for his personality and batting average - and also for the cautionary tale he left for younger players.

    June 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Nelly-elephant.jpg Bet the farm: 5 'psychic' animals predict soccer victories

    Need some guidance on whom to place your bets for this year's World Cup? Since Paul the Octopus achieved a prediction success rate of 85 percent in 2010, hosts of animal oracles around the world have sought attention as soccer sages. Here's a look at a few of them.

    June 19, 2014 1 Photo

News

Features

Opinion