If you enjoy ND basketball history and, more generally some ND history, the link below provides a lengthy talk with Tommy Hawkins that tells his story and captures the essence of the man. (Scroll to bottom of link)
I listened to the first 45 minutes of the 90 minute interview, which covered the ND and high school years. At times Hawk was showing his years and rambling a bit, but this interview should be archived for its historical perspective and to capture the essence of a great ND man.
Appreciative of Fr Hesburgh - if you want ND, you accept all its students.
Thanked Coach John Jordan for forcing him into speaking and training him. Hawk was angry with JJ after fumbling through his first foray and lit into him for setting him up for failure. Coach responded that he had 2 minutes to talk next week.
Dashed off a quick English paper. Prof spoke to him "Hawkins, you have insights most of these other students don't have - don't write me a telegram". You have to do a weekly paper for me.
Father Soletta started Hawkins love of poetry (he published a book of his poems) with J Alfred Prufrock.
No racial incidents at ND. Story of the first interracial date there
Tremendous love for ND (at least one of his children attended). Felt that the school valued him as a person and developed that. Many of these incidents led to his success in his post BB career.
Integrated his high school and was on the committee to ease the process as a HS freshman.
Took pride in calling himself "the black guy, whit guys could indentify with"
Lost a great man. Recommend you take some time to listen to him
in the recent 30-for-30 piece on the Celtics-Lakers rivalry of the 80's.
May he rest in peace.
It was fun watching him play. He was the best rebounder I've ever seen at ND. Plus he could score with the best of them. He was the focal point on one very strong team and a star throughout his career. But he was also a very classy guy off the court and was one of very few black guys at ND back then. He always handled himself everywhere with charm and grace. Being in the stands for his ring of honor ceremony was a thrill and to watch him and Father Ted interact and Tom sing the alma-mater with the team and students was a perfect ending. Hesburgh has been gone for a little while and Tom is with him. Two great ND men who made their university a better place.
ND/SC game in '88 and then the Fiesta Bowl pep rally (back when we were good) he gave great inspiring speeches. And he did it in his letterman's sweater, with the white stripe on his sleeve denoting he was a captain.
I recall I attended the rally with a big group of people, one of the stragglers said, that guy in the letterman's sweater when he was speaking I was ready to suit and tackle somebody myself.
I am proud to have gone to the same school as him.
RIP HAWK, God must have wanted a captain for his team up there. He got one of the best~!!!
Hawkins is Notre Dame's all time leading rebounder - 1,318 to #2 Luke Harangody's 1,222. He averaged 16.7 rebounds per game.
Remember, Hawkins couldn't play varsity basketball as a freshman, so he built that total in only three years. In addition, they didn't play as many games in a season in Hawk's day. The 79 games he played is barely more than two seasons of games today. Finally, the game was played at a slower pace. More shots mean more rebounding opportunities, but Hawkins played in an era of fewer shots.
As nice a guy as he was, Hawkins was a badass on the court.
Remember him in the old field house a few years ago.
I'm glad they got him into the RoH.
Mr. Hawkins deserved to hear the applause one last time. He was a great basketball player, of course; but he was a leader in a larger movement. Notre Dame became a better place because he chose to be there.