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July 25, 2013

Kelly: Off-site camp will help build team unity

Brian Kelly’s decision to take his football team to Shiloh Park Retreat and Conference Center in Marion, Ind., for the start of fall drills will help the 2013 Fighting Irish develop their own identity.

“I’m excited to take our football team to a facility like Shiloh Park,” said Kelly of the 65-acre setting approximately 100 miles south southeast of South Bend.

“Training camp is vital in terms of developing team unity, character, camaraderie and ultimately a focused and specific identity for the upcoming season. We instituted a similar type off-site program for training camp at the University of Cincinnati and it played a huge role in the success of our team.”

The Irish will open camp on Monday, Aug. 5 at Shiloh Park and return to the Notre Dame campus Thursday afternoon, Aug. 8. The Irish will conduct four practices at the facility. Kelly calls those first few days the “acclimatization portion of training camp.”

The Irish will begin practicing at Notre Dame’s LaBar Football Practice Fields on Friday, Aug. 9.

This marks the first time since late in the Lou Holtz era at Notre Dame (1986-96) that pre-season camp has been held off-campus. Holtz took his team down to Culver Military Academy in Culver, Ind., on Lake Maxinkuckee in the mid-1990s.

During the Tyrone Willingham era, pre-season drills began on Notre Dame’s West Quad behind O’Neill Hall.

Kelly thanked the directors of Shiloh Park Retreat and Conference Center, Dan and Karen Heincker, for their assistance.

“They’ve really gone above and beyond to make this a tremendous experience for our players,” Kelly said.

Dan Heincker believes Shiloh Park will give Kelly and his team the setting they need to get started on the right foot.

“As a sports fan, former college athlete and long-time coach, I can’t begin to describe the feelings that our camp could possibly play a role in the success of the Fighting Irish this fall,” Heincker said.

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