The Notre Dame connection will be strong.
EAST LIVERPOOL -- Paul Hornung, 1956 winner of the Heisman Trophy, will be among the football stars and coaches joining Lou Holtz for the Lou Holtz/Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame weekend.
College coaches Barry Alvarez and John Majors join Holtz, Hornung, New England Patriots' running back Marc Edwards, former Chicago Bear Chris Zorich and '88 Notre Dame National Championship Team Quarterback Tony Rice at a banquet at 6:30 p.m. tonight at the Serbian-American Cultural Center in Weirton, W.Va.
This year's Hall of Fame weekend unites Holtz with another piece of the Notre Dame legend -- Paul Hornung.
An outstanding all-around athlete who played quarterback, halfback, fullback and safety, Hornung remains the only player from a losing team (Notre Dame finished 2-8 in '56) ever to win the Heisman Trophy.
After being selected first in the National Football League 1957 draft, he played his entire career for the Green Bay Packers as a halfback, placekicker and punter. He was the leading scorer in 1959 and 1960 with a record-setting 176 points in '60, and he won the league's Most Valuable Player award in 1961 and 1962 as the Packers won the NFL championship both years. Injuries forced his retirement after the 1966 season. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986.
John Majors finished second in 1956 to Notre Dame's Hornung in the Heisman Trophy balloting by just 72 votes as a member of the University of Tennessee Volunteers.
As an All-America tailback at Tennessee, Majors led the Vols to a 10-0 record in 1956, a No. 2 ranking and a trip to the Sugar Bowl. That year, he also was named UPI's Back of the Year.
Majors got his first head coaching job at Iowa State in 1968. In five years, he took the Cyclones to their first two bowl games in school history, earning Big Eight Coach of the Year honors by both wire services in 1971. From Iowa State, Majors went to the University of Pittsburgh, where he transformed a 1-10 football squad into the 1976 national champions in four short years. His prize recruit, Tony Dorsett, won the Heisman Trophy, while Majors was named Coach of the Year.
University of Wisconsin Coach Barry Alvarez's football program is entrenched as one of the elite programs in the nation since he took the reins 11 years ago. With 79 victories, Alvarez is the winningest coach in Wisconsin school history. Since 1993, his teams have won at least a share of three Big Ten titles.
His 1998 and1999 clubs both won the Rose Bowl.
He has coached the winners of five national awards -- the Heisman Trophy, Doak Walker Award and Maxwell Award (all won by Ron Dayne), the Jim Thorpe Award (Jamar Fletcher) and the Ray Guy Award (Kevin Temke). Seven of his former Badger players -- Cory Raymer, Tom Burke, Tarek Saleh, Aaron Givson, Dayne, Chris McIntosh and Fletcher -- were consensus first-team All-Americans.
Alvarez served as an assistant coach at Notre Dame during Holtz' tenure there. His legacy has been built on the principles of taking no shortcuts, staying focused and seeking excellence in all areas.
Making a return visit to the Upper Ohio Valley for Hall of Fame Weekend will be Tony Rice, who led the Irish to the '88 national championship and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated three times within an 11-week period of time, marking an unprecedented feat by a college athlete.
He topped off the '88 national championship season by earning the Fiesta Bowl MVP award after completing seven of11 passes for 213 yards and running for 75 yards.
Rice is affiliated with Killir Sports and is a longtime associate of the development department of Notre Dame.
New England Patriots running back Marc Edwards makes a return visit to his home state of Ohio for the weekend's events.
After running for 6,001 yards in his high school career at Norwood High, near Cincinnati, Edwards had a stellar college career at Notre Dame before being drafted by the San Francisco 49ers, who traded their second-round choice (No. 57) along with their sixth- and seventh-round choices to get Edwards. He was the 55th pick overall and the first fullback taken in the draft in 1997.
Edwards spent two seasons with the 49ers before being traded to the Browns in 1999 and to the Patriots in 2001.
During his high school and college career, Edwards was known as a blue-collar player, who developed into a blue-chip, all-purpose back for the Irish. He was elected as one of three captains for the 1996 Notre Dame season, along with Ron Powlus and Lyron Cobbins.
Former University of Notre Dame football standout Christopher Zorich continues to soar high off the football field. Since retiring from the NFL after the 1997 season and going to law school, he serves clients at the Notre Dame Legal Aid Clinic.
Zorich always known for his fierce commitment on and off the playing field. Zorich earned a football scholarship to the University of Notre Dame, where he became captain of the team and won numerous collegiate awards, including three consecutive All-American titles, the 1989 Chevrolet College Defensive Player of the Year, the 1990 Lombardi Award and MVP of the 1991 Orange Bowl.
He was drafted by the Chicago Bears and averaged more than 100 tackles per season, placing him among the league's best defensive linemen.
After being cut by the Chicago Bears, Zorich finished the 1997 season with the Washington Redskins.
During his NFL career, he received a score of athletic and community service awards including being a two-time NFL Man of the Year finalist, USA Weekend's Most Caring Athlete, the Salvation Army's civic service award, the Jesse Owens Foundation's Humanitarian Award and Muhammad Ali's limited commission Humanitarian Award.
Since being founded in 1993, his Christopher Zorich Foundation has assisted more than 85,000 people.
Auction: The gala, which costs $50 per person, offers attendees the opportunity to meet and mingle with celebrity guests and inductees or their representatives, as well as to participate in the auction.
Among the memorabilia to be auctioned this year are autographed items signed by this year's celebrity guests along with those of Bill Mazeroski, 2001 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee; Jason Kendall of the Pittsburgh Pirates; Joe Paterno, Penn State head football coach; and Dean Martin.
All proceeds from the weekend benefit the Lou Holtz/Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame.
XTickets are available at the Lou Holtz/Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame, Herald Square Cigar in Steubenville, Carolyn's Hallmark in Toronto, Russell's Food Value in Wellsville, Ernie's Pharmacy in Midland, Pa., Traubert's Pharmacy in Wellsburg, W.Va., and at Hancock County Savings Bank branches in Chester, New Cumberland and Weirton.