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The Naming of the Fighting Irish

This information is from the official web site. It is repeated here for your convenience, but we encourage you to visit the site for more information.

The most generally accepted explanation is that the press coined the nickname as a characterization of Notre Dame athletic teams, their never-say-die fighting spirit and the Irish qualities of grit, determination and tenacity. The term likely began as an abusive expression tauntingly directed toward the athletes from the small, private, Catholic institution. Notre Dame alumnus Francis Wallace popularized it in his New York Daily News columns in the 1920s.

The Notre Dame Scholastic, in a 1929 edition, printed its own version of the story:

"The term 'Fighting Irish' has been applied to Notre Dame teams for years. It first attached itself years ago when the school, comparatively unknown, sent its athletic teams away to play in another city ...At that time the title 'Fighting Irish' held no glory or prestige ...

"The years passed swiftly and the school began to take a place in the sports world ...'Fighting Irish' took on a new meaning. The unknown of a few years past has boldly taken a place among the leaders. The unkind appellation became symbolic of the struggle for supremacy of the field. ...The team, while given in irony, has become our heritage. ...So truly does it represent us that we unwilling to part with it ..."

Notre Dame competed under the nickname "Catholics" during the 1800s and became more widely known as the "Ramblers" during the early 1920s in the days of the Four Horsemen.

University president Rev. Matthew Walsh, C.S.C., officially adopted "Fighting Irish" as the Notre Dame nickname in 1927.

Lou Holtz, Famous Fighting Irish Football Coach, Quotes -All winning teams are goal-oriented. Teams like these win consistently because everyone connected with them concentrates on specific objectives. They go about their business with blinders on; nothing will distract them from achieving their aims. --Lou Holtz, former Notre Dame football coach

Theodore M. Hesburgh, President, Notre Dame, Quote
"I can think of no better way of redeeming this tragic world today than love and laughter. Too many of the young have forgotten how to laugh, and too many of the elders have forgotten how to love. Would not our lives be lightened if only we could all learn to laugh more easily at ourselves and to love one another?"
-- Theodore M. Hesburgh, President, Notre Dame

"My basic principle is that you don't make decisions because they are easy; you don't make them because they are cheap; you don't make them because they're popular; you make them because *they're right*."
-- Theodore M. Hesburgh, President, Notre Dame

"The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet."
-- Theodore M. Hesburgh, President, Notre Dame

"Anyone who refuses to speak out off campus does not deserve to be listened to on campus."
-- Theodore M. Hesburgh, President, Notre Dame

"The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother."
-- Theodore M. Hesburgh, President, Notre Dame

Except from Knute Rock Official page
BORN: March 4, 1888, Voss, Norway
DIED: March 31, 1931, Bazaar, Kansas
POSITION: Head Coach: Notre Dame Football (1918-1931)

Knute Kenneth Rockne, born March 4, 1888, was a winner as a football player and a coach. But it was not until the 1920s when he became permanently etched on the national imagination. As the head coach of the Fighting Irish from 1918 to 1930, he set the greatest all-time winning percentage of .881. This mark still ranks at the top of the list for both college and professional football. During those 13 years as head coach, he collected 105 victories, 12 losses, five ties and six national championships. Knute also coached Notre Dame to five undefeated seasons without a tie. Knute was known as one of the most innovative and charismatic coaches of his era. He was the first football coach to initiate intersectional rivalries and build a national schedule. Knute is well known for coaching the most dazzling, dramatic, idolized athlete of all time, George "Gipper" Gipp. This man's running, passing, kicking and generalship lifted Notre Dame to fame. George Gipp became Notre Dame's first All-American and the famous subject of Rockne's motivating pre-game speech, "Win one for the Gipper." Continued . . .

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