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Monday, March 10, 2003
Irish Eyes Smiling On St. Patrick's Day


ESPN Classic will continue its St. Patrick's Day tradition of wearing green and drinking a green beer while watching 20 hours of Irish action. ESPN Classic will break out the green jerseys on Saturday and Sunday, March 15-16, as we celebrate St. Patrick's Day with 11 hours featuring Boston Celtics basketball and nine hours of Notre Dame football. Here's our complete schedule:
All times Eastern

Classic St. Patrick's Day
Sat.-Sun., March 15-16
20 Hours of Irish coverage

Saturday, March 15
Complete schedule

Larry Bird smokes one of Auerbach's traditional victory cigars after winning the 1981 NBA title.
10 a.m. - 9 p.m. - CLASSIC ST. PATRICK'S DAY

10 a.m. - SportsCentury: Red Auerbach
Red Auerbach guided the Boston Celtics through their dynasty, the greatest in NBA history. With Auerbach at the helm as coach or in the front office, the Celtics won 16 championships. They captured nine titles during his last 10 years as coach, including a record eight straight from 1959 to 1966, when Red, at only 48, stepped down to concentrate on being the general manager.

He retired as the winningest coach in NBA history with 938 victories (against 479 defeats) in his 20-year career, the last 16 with the Celtics. Boston fans reveled when Auerbach lit a cigar to signify that another victory was secure.

11 a.m. - Classic Basketball Documentary
1976 NBA Finals, Game 5: Suns at Celtics

Noon - 1976 NBA Finals, Game 5: Suns at Celtics
The Celtics defeat the Suns, 128-126, in triple overtime to take a 3-2 series lead.

2 p.m. - 1984 NBA Finals, Game 7: Lakers at Celtics
Cedric Maxwell matched his season high with a team-leading 24 points and Larry Bird was chosen as Series MVP as the Celtics came from behind to win, 111-102, to clinch their 15th NBA title. Boston won it with rebounding and foul shooting, in which the Celtics enjoyed a 43-18 scoring advantage. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar led the Lakers with 29 points.

4 p.m. - SportsCentury: Bill Russell
They were pro basketball's most dominant team. Never mind "three-peats." The Boston Celtics of the fifties and sixties pulled off an "eight-peat." Bill Russell -- the prototypical defensive center -- was a champion from his rookie season until his last game in his last Final. Before he arrived, the Celtics had never won an NBA title.

Five times the 6-foot-9 Russell was voted MVP. Four times he was the league's leading rebounder. He played in every All-Star Game after his rookie year. His 21,620 rebounds (22.5 per game) are second all-time to Wilt Chamberlain's 23,924 (22.9 average). Relying on his left-handed hook shot, Russell averaged 15.1 points in 963 regular-season games. He probably would have led the league in blocked shots several years, but that stat wasn't kept then.

5 p.m. - Classic NBA
Trail Blazers at Celtics (1992)

Even when he's hobbled by injuries to his back, right Achilles tendon and right thigh, Larry Bird proved again why the Celtics are hobbled without him. Bird scored 49 points as the Celtics snapped the Trail Blazers' seven-game winning streak with a 152-148 double-overtime victory.

Bird played 54 minutes, five more than anyone else on either team, and rescued the Celtics with 16 points in the fourth quarter, including an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer that forced the first overtime. He also had 14 rebounds and 12 assists in his eighth game since a two-month layoff caused by an inflamed nerve in his lower back.

Larry Bird
Larry Bird won three consecutive NBA MVP awards, 1984-86.
7 p.m. - SportsCentury: Larry Bird
For three consecutive seasons, Bird was voted MVP, the only forward to win the award that many times. He was Finals MVP twice and first-team all-league his first nine seasons. By being able to drive for the layup and stick the three-pointer, he averaged 24.3.

Bird's battles with the Lakers' Magic Johnson were legendary. The two turned the NBA from a "minor" pro sport in 1980 into the big-time. They changed a scoring game into a team game. Bird's uncanny passing, deadly shooting and anticipation defensively transformed losers into winners.

In college, he carried lightly regarded Indiana State to the NCAA final. In the pros, he turned a 29-53 Boston team into a 61-21 club as a rookie. He took the Celtics to three championships in the eighties and brought the fans back to Boston Garden.

8 p.m. - Classic Basketball Documentary
Boston Celtics' Dynasty

Sunday, March 16
Complete schedule

Noon - 9 p.m. - CLASSIC ST. PATRICK'S DAY (continued)

Noon - Classic College Football
Michigan at Notre Dame (1988)

Behind four field goals from Reggie Ho, including a 26-yarder with 1:13 remaining, No. 13 Notre Dame defeated No. 9 Michigan, 19-17. For the 5-foot-5, 135-pound junior, who doesn't even hold an athletic scholarship, it was the first four field goals of his career. Michigan's Mike Gillette missed a 48-yarder on the last play of the game. Notre Dame took a 13-0 lead less than 15 1/2 minutes into the game before Michigan rallied for two one-yard TD scores by Leroy Hoard in the second quarter and QB Michael Taylor in the third.

2 p.m. - Classic College Football
Miami at Notre Dame (1988)

Notre Dame stopped a two-point conversion try in the final minute and Miami committed seven turnovers as the Irish held on for a 31-30 victory.The loss snapped Miami's winning streaks of 36 regular-season games and 20 road games.Notre Dame built a 21-7 lead but saw it disappear behind the passing of 'Canes QB Steve Walsh, who completed 31 of 50 passes for 424 yards and four touchdowns but was intercepted three times.

4 p.m. - Classic College Football
Michigan at Notre Dame (1990)

Rick Mirer, making his first college start, threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Adrian Jarrell with 1:40 left, capping a fourth-quarter rally that gave top-ranked Notre Dame a 28-24 victory over No. 4 Michigan. Trailing 24-21, Notre Dame drove 76 yards in nine plays for the winning touchdown that extended its home victory streak to 18 games. ND's late comeback overshadowed a remarkable performance by Michigan's Jon Vaughn, who rushed 22 times for 201 yards, nearly four times more than he gained all last season. Mirer completed 14 of 23 passes for 165 yards and had one pass intercepted. The Wolverines' Elvis Grbac completed 17 of 30 passes for 190 yards, including TD tosses of 44 yards and 25 yards to Desmond Howard. He also ran for a touchdown but was intercepted twice.

Knute Rockne
When you think college football, you think Knute Rockne at Notre Dame.
6 p.m. - 1979 Cotton Bowl
Notre Dame vs. Houston

Quarterback Joe Montana directed one of the biggest comebacks in Notre Dame history, as the Irish rallied for a 35-34 victory after trailing by 22 (34-12). Kris Haines' diving eight-yeard touchdown catch with no time left on the clock and Joe Unis' extra point -- the equivalent of a 25-yard field goal -- completed the 23-point comeback to ice Houston in the Brrrrr Bowl.

8 p.m. - SportsCenter Flashback
"The Death of Knute Rockne"

No college football coach has ever had the success of Knute Rockne. In his 13 years as the leader of Notre Dame, his teams went 105-12-5, making his .881 winning percentage the highest in history. Emphasizing quickness, deception and finesse, he had five undefeated teams and won three national championships. His squads more than quadrupled their opponents' scoring.