The last time the Notre Dame football team practiced at the Culver Academies in Culver, Ind., Lou Holtz was beginning his 11th and final season as head coach of the Fighting Irish.
Year Five of the Brian Kelly regime at Notre Dame also will begin on the shores of Lake Maxinkuckee on Aug. 4 when the Irish conduct the first of five practice days in Culver, Notre Dame announced Friday.
Last year, Kelly took his fourth Irish squad to Shiloh Park in Marion, Ind., for the “acclimatization period” of pre-season camp.
“Culver Military Academy will provide a unique and rewarding opportunity for our football program as we embark on the 2014 season,” Kelly said. “Culver holds a special place in my heart as my family has participated in camps on the grounds for years.
“We were able to initiate a successful program last year at Shiloh Park Retreat and Conference Center. Culver will significantly help improve the experience for our team this fall.”
Culver Academies is located on a 1,700-acre campus approximately 45 miles south-southwest of Notre Dame. Holtz took his 1995 (9-3) and 1996 (8-3) teams to Culver for the start of pre-season practice.
One of the advantages for Notre Dame that Culver Academies has over Shiloh Park is that Culver Academies installed an athletic turf field in October of 2013. Notre Dame will be playing on artificial turf inside Notre Dame Stadium this season after it was installed earlier this week.
A source told Irish Illustrated that Shiloh Park officials expressed the willingness to install athletic turf to accommodate Notre Dame, but was uncertain that it could have the project completed in time for the Aug. 4 start date.
“We are happy to welcome Notre Dame back to Culver,” John Buston, Head of Schools, said. “Culver and the Irish have enjoyed a great relationship through the years, dating back to Knute Rockne…
“Lou Holtz brought his teams here in 1995 and 1996. Our teams have played at Notre Dame on several occasions and Notre Dame teams have used our facilities over the years. The exchange gives our coaches and student-athletes the opportunity to see in action the ideals we aspire to with our programs.”
Rockne gave the dedication speech for the Culver Recreation Building in 1924. Culver Military Academy graduate John Mosley was a running back/defensive back for the Irish from 1980-83.
Notre Dame will begin practice at the LaBar Practice Complex on Saturday, Aug. 9.