Ahead of Notre Dame’s game against the Trojans, a large group of friends and family gathered outside 73 Union Street on the NDHS front steps. A brief ceremony was organized by the Director of Our Lady Wade Bianco and Deacon Walter Szczesny, ND class of 1976, with a living memorial dedicated in honor of Mancuso.
âUnless a seed is planted in the earth and dies, it will not bear fruit,â Szczesny said during his prayer. âSo while we watch this tree grow, we are cultivating it and taking care of it. As we watch her bloom each spring, it can be a physical sign to all of us of the new life that always comes from our Lord. “
A tree was dedicated to Mancuso’s name and the Mancuso family received a plaque signifying the event.
âIn the beauty of this tree, Ricky’s life will always be remembered,â Szczesny said.
The tree dedicated to Mancuso is planted in front of the Notre Dame high school on the south side of the main entrance.
âWe couldn’t be happier, but sad – we’re all a little sad – for this day,â Bianco said during his comments at the Mancuso ceremony. âTo honor two prestigious alumni, one who coached the other and the other who made training an honor. So it’s quite ironic that we are celebrating both lives today.
At halftime of Ireland’s defeat at the hands of the Trojans, a massive crowd gathered on the NDHS grounds to celebrate the renaming of these sacred grounds, which were featured on Saturday as “Bill Sutherland Field “.
“Today we are here to honor a man who meant so much to our school,” said Mike Rapone, Notre Dame athletic director and longtime basketball player, at the halftime ceremony. âWhile naming one of the places where it has had such an impact – our football field – the ‘Bill Sutherland Field’, we do so in recognition of the contributions of Bill ‘Sudsy’ Sutherland to Notre Dame High School who has lasted six decades. “
Sutherland’s wife Melanie (ND class of ’70), son Billy (ND class of ’96) and daughter Jennifer (ND class of ’00) were among the massive group that flocked to the field during the ceremony , as ‘Sudsy’ was recalled in style.
âIts famous nickname, ‘Sudsy’ was synonymous with Notre-Dame for 41 years,â added Rapone. âDuring this time, Bill helped shape the hearts and minds of Notre Dame students as a coach, teacher and administrator. As a coach, Bill was known for his love of players and his desire to see them excel on the court, in the classroom and most importantly in life.
Sutherland’s list of accomplishments is as long as any coach in Section V history, and his athletic accomplishments are Hall of Fame worthy as well. In 1995, he became the first member of the ND Athletic Hall of Fame to be inducted as a player and coach. In 2007, Sutherland was inducted into the Section V Hall of Fame.
“We recognize that the name change of our football field is a fitting tribute to Bill Sutherland, who has dedicated much of his life to Notre Dame and its students,” said Rapone, who presented a plaque to the Sutherland family.
The entire Mancuso ceremony can be viewed here.
The full halftime ceremony, in honor of Coach Sutherland, can be viewed here.