Lou Somogyi’s Passing Leaves Many Voids
There was an old running joke inside the office walls at Blue & Gold Illustrated that the magazine actually should’ve been titled Lou & Gold Illustrated because of the dedication, sweat and workload that longtime senior editor Lou Somogyi put into the publication since 1984, two years before Lou Holtz became Notre Dame’s head coach.
Lou’s passion for the product never wavered, and his unmatched knowledge and perspective for all things Notre Dame football — and frankly, his obsession — are at the core of what make the magazine and BlueandGold.com great.
Lou passed away unexpectedly on April 17 at only 58. His uniqueness, perspective and endless knowledge will be missed as much as the man.
Ask Lou about the weather at Notre Dame Stadium in 1973 for a top-10 matchup against USC, and he’d quickly and accurately explain that particular October day was dry and mild, and on the arm of quarterback Tom Clements, Notre Dame beat the defending national champion Trojans, 23-14, on its way to a national title that season under head coach Ara Parseghian.
Then, ask Lou where to find the nearest convenience store, and he’d struggle to remember street names. Directions weren’t his thing. Notre Dame football was.
Lou was the first to admit — always comically — that while he accepted today’s new technology and his responsibility of providing fresh content every day for our website readers, he remained old-school at heart.
It was evident in the way he fumbled with his cellphone, or with his mute option during a Zoom call, or even with something basic as the power button on his computer.
When Lou won a brand new iPhone last December during a gift raffle at our company’s virtual Christmas party, he joked about not knowing how to power it up and gave this wonderful prize to a younger work colleague.
Lou’s unyielding passion for Notre Dame athletics was matched only by his concern for others.
One BlueandGold.com member shared a story that perfectly summed up the kind of wise and caring person Lou was.
After finding out “Susan” was heartbroken after saying goodbye to her beloved dog, Lou sent her a heartfelt personalized note that read in part:
“We all have a finite time in this world, and it is in us to enrich it through how we live and care for others, including our furry friends. Four years ago when I was going through a personal crisis, the daily walks with my pooch gradually brought me a peace, solace and stability I needed. I’m sure you’ve seen this poem ‘A Dog’s Prayer.’ I often think of it when she wants to play fetch, walk or just be by my side. I hope you know as well what an incredible blessing you provided to your pet while providing a wonderful life. Peace to you.”
Kind, gentle, caring, humble, sharing, patient, giving, respectful — the man who worked about 16 hours every day still never once hesitated to find time for others.
And believe me, sponging off of Lou for story suggestions, research advice or some little-known Notre Dame nuggets to spice up a column was a weekly routine of mine for the last 16 years.
Lou invited me into the Blue & Gold family in July 2005 and I will be forever grateful for the opportunities and memories I still enjoy since he welcomed me.
“By The Numbers” was always one of Lou’s favorite stories to compile in each print edition.
So, out of tribute to you, Lou, here’s the Lou Somogyi BTN edition.
37 — Years that Lou was with Blue & Gold Illustrated as a writer, editor and inspiration. Gerry Faust was in the fourth of his five seasons as Irish head coach when Lou started.
455 — Notre Dame football games that Lou covered.
735 — BGI editions where Lou’s wonderful insight and prose graced the pages of the magazine, sharing insights on everything from recruiting and in-season doings, to those masterful and magical tales of players and seasons gone by.
0 — Times that Lou complained about a late-breaking story that had to be immediately handled, even after he had already put in a 12-plus hour day, or during one of those grueling game-day shifts that routinely ran from about 9 a.m. straight through to 3 a.m.
1 — Great friend, kind soul, invaluable mentor, legendary journalist and exemplary man who we all lost way too soon.
I believe that I speak for the entire Blue & Gold team when I say we all remain too numb to fully realize the magnitude of our loss both personally and professionally with Lou’s passing.
But with all that our esteemed colleague taught us through his knowledge and work ethic, then our responsibility becomes — no, our duty becomes — to keep Lou & Gold Illustrated as America’s Foremost Authority On Notre Dame Football, even if our captain has moved on.
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