Armchair Quarterback: Joe Newman, oldest living Notre Dame alum
At 107-years-old, Joe Newman is the oldest living Notre Dame alumnus. He graduated in 1936.
His family moved from Chicago to South Bend in 1913.
He admitted to sneaking out a couple of times to see the Notre Dame football team practice.
"That is correct. That's my first association with Notre Dame. We would hitchhike out to the campus and people say, 'Did you know Knute Rockne?' 'No, but I saw him coach.' Just before game time, the team would trot from the fieldhouse to the stadium to play. The kids were out there, maybe 10 or 12, would get in line with the players and as they were running through to get into the stadium, we would trot through with them,” Newman said. "To the team, we were like their kid brothers. So, if the ushers tried to take us out of line, or stop us, then the player would push the usher aside, and take us in. And that's how we saw the Four Horsemen play football. They were our heroes."
In 1932, Newman was a first year student at the University of Notre Dame. In an attempt to get a scholarship, he tried out for the football team.
"I weighed every bit of 125 pounds and probably, was about 5' 6'' - 5'7". So, I went out there and I got me a uniform. And then, they signed me up and I looked around at some of the other kids that were out there, and I noticed that their arm muscles were as big as my leg muscles and I said, 'I don't think this is the place for you and so, I hung my uniform up in my locker and did nothing with it until my senior year, when they said, 'Hey, you've got to give your locker back,'" Newman said.
What’s his prediction for the Notre Dame and Clemson game?
"That's the big game of the year!" Newman said. "They're a bunch of kids, young. Your age and a little bit younger, out there playing football. And, that football bounces in many funny ways. So, anything can happen. The team can get hot. Yeah, and knowing Notre Dame, they can win it. But you know, reading the papers, and knowing Clemson, Clemson has got a great team."
Joe still gets emotional over every Notre Dame game. Maybe too emotional.
"I'm one of the fans that doesn't watch much because I get too nervous when Notre Dame plays, so it's better for my health if I wait and read about it later. I cry a little bit when Notre Dame loses. Maybe cry a lot,” Newman said.
Newman is engaged to a younger woman. Anita is 100.
"I went to Notre Dame. All you do is tell them you went to Notre Dame, and beautiful women, they follow you around,” Newman said.
When are they going to marry?
"It's the fault of the mails. M-A-I-L. We've written - I've tried to contact her mother, to get her mother's permission. You know, I'm old-fashioned, and you ought to get her mother's permission before you marry her and her mother hasn't responded. Maybe because her mother doesn't like me. I don't know. Anyhow, that's what we're waiting for,” Newman said.