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Strong of Heart Set To Debut on NBCSN

Oct 2, 2012, 6:39 PM EDT

If you’re familiar with the Fighting Irish, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the “spirit of Notre Dame.” You’ve also probably heard the Joe Theismann quote that was on The Shirt in 2005 – “If you could find a way to bottle up the Notre Dame spirit, you could light up the universe.”

Perhaps that indomitable spirit is never more present than in the lives of the students, alumni, supporters and friends of the university who have been featured in the Strong of Heart books in each of the past two years.

Written by both nationally-known and campus authors, Fighting Irish Digital Media recently began collaborating with filmmakers to re-tell these profiles through video. The first, which debuted on in January, featured the inspiring story of fencer Teddy Hodges.

On Wednesday, Strong of Heart will make its national television debut, when a two-part special on Notre Dame football historian Steve Boda and Fighting Irish linebacker Manti Te’o airs on NBC Sports Network at 4:30 pm ET.

During the 1930’s, Boda developed a passion for Notre Dame football. He began meticulously charting games and eventually helped revolutionize the way statistics are kept. Growing up in an orphanage, Boda credits Notre Dame football for helping him get through a very difficult time in his life.

And then there’s Manti Te’o, the heart and soul of the Irish defense. When he signed with the Irish in February 2009, some might have wondered how the Mormon from Laie, Hawaii would fit in at a largely-Catholic, largely-Midwest institution. But four years later, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better example of someone who embodies what it means to be a Notre Dame man. Manti is a model student-athlete, and oh yeah, he’s a pretty darn good linebacker too.

You may have never heard of Steve Boda and you may not be aware of the legacy he left on the NCAA, but his story is about much more than that. It’s about a special relationship with the university – just as he helped Notre Dame, Notre Dame helped him.

On the other hand, if you’re reading this blog, I have no doubt that you’re already a fan of Manti Malietau Louis Te’o. But watch the Strong of Heart special, and you will develop a deeper appreciation for the type of football player and person that he has become during his time at Notre Dame.

This summer, I had a chance to work with Micah Brown of Second Wind Creative (the company who produced the Boda and Te’o features) during his visit to South Bend, helping him around campus, as he captured footage to be used in the episode. Micah is an incredibly talented filmmaker, and it was a special opportunity for me, as these features began coming together.

If you’re a Notre Dame fan and you have a DVR, make sure to set it for Wednesday afternoon at 4:30 pm ET. Otherwise, hopefully you can tune into NBCSN during one of the many times the special will be broadcast over the next couple weeks (All times Eastern – 10/3 4:30 pm, 10/5 4:30 pm, 10/10 4:30 pm, 10/13 11:00 pm, 10/16 4:00 pm, 10/17 4:00 pm, 10/18 7:30 pm, 10/19 7:00 pm, 10/21 3:00 pm, 10/26 4:30 pm).

In the meantime, check out this trailer for a preview.

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