2022 Athletics Hall of Fame Inductee: Abe Dirnberger ’07

When many think of Abraham Dirnberger (‘07) several things come to mind, but when Abe was thinking about what it meant to be one of the newest members of the Notre Dame Athletics Hall of Fame, he was just excited to be in the same elite group as his friends. 

“It’s an honor to be put into the same category as some of the greats,” he said. “There are some incredible athletes in the HOF that I was fortunate enough to be able to play with: Jack Wedemeier, the Willen brothers, Ty Williams, John Unterreiner and of course the long overdue newest HOF member Alex Ressel. I have these guys, and plenty of others, to thank for much of the success that I had while at Notre Dame.”

It’s those friends who helped to mold Abe into the person he is today. 

“Notre Dame is the place where I gained my lifelong friends, so that’s what immediately comes to mind,” he said. “I’m still in close contact with a number of classmates and most of those relationships were built on the field or on the court.”

Abe shared the court with nearly all of the names mentioned before, but three were on the court when he hit what could be one of the most famous shots in Bulldog history. His senior season, he buried a 3-pointer to beat Sikeston for the district crown. 

“Miracles happen. I’ve tried recreating the play a number of times since but can’t seem to make it go in. I’m about 0/100,” he said. “It definitely ranks high as a favorite Notre Dame memory. We had a special team that year and were able to make a run to state where we finished second.”

While Abe’s biggest moment came on the court, he was successful on the pitch as well, helping the Bulldogs to a state soccer championship.

Even though the wins were there — and there were a lot of wins — the reason those wins were special were because of, again, a few of those names mentioned earlier. 

“Being a part of teams with multiple state appearances was great; however, the moments that stuck with me came from goofing around with teammates after we took off the game face,” he said. “Singing ‘Harvest’ on the bus after soccer and basketball games, listening to Frankie Ellis and Xavier Delph freestyle in the locker room, Coach Vollink making us do sprints for wearing our shorts too high during soccer practice, and establishing the record for most consecutive chest bumps back and forth during soccer practice with Kirk Boeller. Pretty sure that record still holds, but also pretty sure no one else has even attempted.”

Those moments came in both of his arenas of success as Abe couldn’t focus on just one sport. 

“It’s a pretty simple answer. It was more fun to play multiple sports.” he said. “I was able to develop skills in basketball that were translatable to soccer and vice versa — it made me a better athlete.”

When it comes to the next generation of Bulldogs, Abe had some words of wisdom. 

“Have fun while you’re playing sports,” he said. “If you’re not having fun then you’re doing it wrong. That and one of my go-to quotes that I still live by came from Mr. (Jerry) Landewe: ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff.’”

Now, Abe is excelling as an electrical engineer for Honeywell in Kansas City. He and his wife, also a multi-sport athlete in high school, have a 3-year-old boy and a newborn.

Abe still finds time to go back to his high school days as he stays active in adult leagues.

“My most notable post-30 athletic achievement was winning a 3v3 soccer tournament with my company, beating out some larger companies like Sprint (T-Mobile) and Garmin.”