Where in the world is Marcus Freeman: Kentucky Derby edition

A quick search of “Marcus Freeman is everywhere” on Twitter shows that the Notre Dame head football coach certainly isn’t scared to get up and go.  One minute he’s in South Bend and the next he’s at the White House.  Whether its recruiting, doing public speaking, or something in-between, Freeman is certainly active.

During the first week of May, Notre Dame’s athletic webpage started a blog to track Freeman’s whereabouts (written by Katy Lonergan) as he is booked with events nationwide this month that aren’t directly related to on-the-field activities.

So far we’ve seen Freeman be the keynote speaker at a number of Notre Dame alumni group events, tour the Under Armour headquarters, and go fishing with his starting quarterback while in the south east.

Where was Freeman to start this weekend?  Well, things began in Florida to benefit an incredible charitable cause before ending at the 149th Kentucky Derby.  Check out the latest below.

Butters Whipped on the Road

Keeping a fresh cut is usually in the hands of Julio Rodriguez of Julio’s Cutz in South Bend, so on Monday before we left, we had Julio help us connect with Vinny, a barber near Sarasota. Vinny was kind enough to come to the hotel and get both Coach Freeman and Coach Biagi ready for the upcoming events.

Meanwhile, as I write this on Sunday afternoon, my hair is overgrown and I’m sitting here seeing if I’ll be able to make it to Sport Clips before it closes…

Dick Vitale Gala

Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Freeman was invited to serve as a “celebrity” at the Dick Vitale Gala, by Dickie V himself. The mission of the Dick Vitale Gala is to raise funds for premiere pediatric cancer research across the nation, while simultaneously promoting awareness of pediatric cancer and how devastating it is for children and their families.  ESPN’s Kevin Negandhi hosted the event, which was an amazing success, bringing in a record-12.4 million dollars.

Dick Vitale is known for being a college basketball analyst that some people love and others aren’t too fond of.  Whatever your thoughts are on him as a broadcaster, forget them good or bad for a second and just realize this:  The Dick Vitale Gala has raised over $67 million for the Dick Vitale Pediatric Cancer Research Fund at the V Foundation in 18 years.  Incredible.

Run-in with the Robinsons

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Freeman and Joanna were able to serve as celebrities, but also had the opportunity to connect with NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson and his son Corey, a recent ND graduate and Irish wide receiver and current host for the ND on NBC podcast. David was honored by the V Foundation for his work in raising awareness and funds for pediatric cancer.

One of my favorite, random Notre Dame game day memories was walking around campus before the Michigan game in 2012 and turning a corner and randomly running into The Admiral while he was wearing a dark green Notre Dame sweatshirt.  Tough to be stealth when you’re seven feet tall I suppose.

Derby Day


We touched down in Louisville just before noon and immediately made our way to Churchill Downs. We quickly found our seats and were able to join John and Bobbie Arlotta Offensive Coordinator and Tight Ends Coach Gerad Parker and his wife Kandi and Bob and Leslie Mohr Quarterbacks Coach Gino Guidugli and his wife Michelle for the 149th annual ‘Run for the Roses”.

If you had a race horse and had to name it something related to Notre Dame athletics, what would it be?

Save Jimmy Johnson’s — for Me is mine.

Also, really want to know if any of the coaching staff in attendance cashed tickets on the main event of the afternoon.

Notre Dame Run-in at the Derby

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

After the race was finished, we started to head out and ran into some Notre Dame legends in Zack Martin, Tyler Eifert and Dan Fox.

And we’re pleased to report that none of the three appeared to have an afternoon at Churchill Downs like Wes Welker did a few years back.

Home Sweet Home

(Robert Franklin/South Bend Tribune via AP)

We landed safe and sound back in South Bend, at the very same place we started the trip five days ago. It was a very busy week, but Coach Freeman was able to get out and meet many of the wonderful people who make up Irish Nation and also represent Notre Dame Football for a good cause. That’s it for the travel blog until May 15, when Coach Freeman gets back on the road, this time heading to the Rocky Mountains!

So does this mean we have to create real content again for the next 10 days?  Asking for a friend.

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Story originally appeared on Fighting Irish Wire