Notre Dame Football: A look back at the legendary Reggie Ho

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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame football. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Today, Reggie Ho is a cardiologist at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, looking nothing like a player who put the Notre Dame football program on his back over 30 years ago. The walls of his office are minimalist, preferring not to hang things like degrees on them, not from his undergraduate at Notre Dame or his medical school at Penn.

They’re the past.

This is the present, and Reggie isn’t one to brag anyways. In fact, by simply looking at one of the best cardiologists in the world, who stands at 5ft 5in tall and 135lbs, you’d never know that he played football at Notre Dame, and he certainly wouldn’t be the first to bring it up.

It’s true, though.

Reggie Ho, the Hawaiian-born doctor, was a student at Notre Dame in 1986 who wanted to make his college experience more well-rounded. He didn’t just want to be a pre-med student who lived in the library, so, he tried out for the football team. Well, he didn’t make it.

He also didn’t quit. Instead, he would take the next year to practice kicking, getting ready for his next opportunity to try out for Notre Dame’s football team. He’d practice anywhere he could, even in open parking lots at night.

By 1987, Ho tried out again and made it.


Notre Dame football legend Reggie Ho

Lou Holtz would say in the 30 for 30 “Student/Athlete” that he took Ho because you hate to turn a kid down twice. It didn’t hurt that he had improved dramatically, working to add power behind his short leg. Holtz also had an issue at Notre Dame, John Carney had moved onto the NFL in 1987 and Notre Dame needed a replacement.

Holtz and Notre Dame wanted to do something special in 1988. They had the hunger to go out and win, and with Miami on their schedule, they’d have a chance to knock off the defending National Champions.

If Notre Dame wanted to win a National Championship of their own, though, they’d have to start with a win against Michigan. It would be a dog fight, low scoring, and ugly. It would also come down to Notre Dame making four field goals to win the game, without being sure of who their kicker was before the game.

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