Traditions

The Fighting Irish

Exactly where and how Notre Dame's athletic nickname, "Fighting Irish," came to origination never has been perfectly explained.

One story suggests the moniker was born in 1899 with Notre Dame leading Northwestern 5-0 at halftime of a game in Evanston, Ill. The Wildcat fans supposedly began to chant, "Kill the Fighting Irish, kill the Fighting Irish," as the second half opened.

Another tale has the nickname originating at halftime of the Notre Dame-Michigan game in 1909. With his team trailing, one Notre Dame player yelled to his teammates - who happened to have names like Dolan, Kelly, Glynn, Duffy and Ryan - "What's the matter with you guys? You're all Irish and you're not fighting worth a lick."

Notre Dame came back to win the game and press, after overhearing the remark, reported the game as a victory for the "Fighting Irish."

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.

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Event Calendar

Delta

November 18
W, 24-17
Navy
Notre Dame, Ind.
RECAP
November 18
W, 1-0 (ot)
RPI
Troy, NY (Houston Field House)
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November 18
M: 479.50 Pts (3rd) | W: 440 Pts (3rd)
Ohio State Fall Open Invitational
Columbus, Ohio
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November 19
W, 72-67
Oregon State
Corvallis, Ore.
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Pac-12 Network
Live Scoring
Live Stream
November 19
L, 1-0
#20 Wisconsin NCAA Round of 32
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
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November 19
L, 3-2 (OT)
Baylor
College Station, Texas (Ellis Field)
RECAP
November 19
W, 3-2
North Carolina State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)
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November 19
M: 676.50 Pts (3rd) | W: 656 Pts (3rd)
Ohio State Fall Open Invitational
Columbus, Ohio
RECAP
November 20
9:00 PM
Chaminade
Maui, Hawaii (Lahaina Civic Center)
November 21
TBA
Michigan or LSU Maui Invitational Game 2
Maui, Hawaii (Lahaina Civic Center)
November 22
TBA
Maui Invitational Game 3
Maui, Hawaii (Lahaina Civic Center)
November 22
7:00 PM
Syracuse
Syracuse, N.Y. (Women's Building)

ACC Network Extra
November 24
7:30 PM
ETSU
Estero, Fla.
November 24
TBA
NCAA Quarterfinals
Campus Sites
November 24
1:00 PM
Boston College
Chestnut Hill, Mass. (Power Gym)
November 24
7:35 PM
Minnesota
Notre Dame, Ind. (Compton Family Ice Arena)

NBCSN
November 25
TBA
Stanford
Stanford, Calif.

TBA
November 25
TBA
USF / Washington St
Estero, Fla.
November 25
7:05 PM
Minnesota
Notre Dame, Ind. (Compton Family Ice Arena)

NBC Sports Chicago Plus
November 26
TBA
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Estero, Fla.
November 29
6:00 PM
Michigan
Ann Arbor, Mich.

BTN
November 30
7:00 PM
Michigan State
East Lansing, Mich. (Breslin Center)

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December 1
TBA
NCAA Semifinals
Orlando, Fla. (Orlando City Stadium)

ESPNU
December 1
7:05 PM
Michigan State
East Lansing, MI (Munn Ice Arena)
December 2
7:05 PM
Michigan State
East Lansing, MI (Munn Ice Arena)
December 3
2:00 PM
St. Francis Brooklyn
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network Extra
December 3
4:00 PM
UConn
Hartford, Conn.

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December 3
12:00 PM
NCAA Championship
Orlando, Fla. (Orlando City Stadium)

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December 5
7:00 PM
Ball State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network Extra
December 6
7:00 PM
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Notre Dame, Ind.

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December 8
9:00 PM
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Madison, WI (Kohl Center)

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December 8
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Portland, Ore.
December 9
7:00 PM
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Newark, Del. (Bob Carpenter Center)

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December 9
1:00 PM
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Philadelphia, Penn.
December 9
8:00 PM
Wisconsin
Madison, WI (Kohl Center)

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December 9
All Day
USA Fencing North American Cup
Portland, Ore.

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