Traditions

PepTalk Tour: 1996 Notre Dame Football

When students, alumni and just plain fans walk into Notre Dame Stadium on a fall Saturday to watch their beloved Fighting Irish, it is more than just a game, it's an experience.

It's the feeling of walking into a hallowed stadium lighted only by the shining sun. It's the feeling you get of walking by such historic campus buildings as the Golden Dome, the Joyce Center and the "Touchdown Jesus" mural. It's the feeling of seeing the Band of the Fighting Irish (still going strong after 150 years) march out and belt out the renditions of the Alma Mater ("Notre Dame, Our Mother") and, of course, the Notre Dame Victory March ("Cheer, Cheer for old Notre Dame").

It's the feeling of seeing a sea of blue and gold (or, on special occasions, green and gold) racing out onto the field in preparation for battle on beautiful natural grass. It's the feeling of Notre Dame football.

The Notre Dame program is the most storied and honored in all of college football, and that's not just talk. The Fighting Irish hold an all-time record of 738-219-42 record for a .760 winning percentage, the highest in Division I. They have won eight Associated Press national titles (1943-46-47-49-66-73-77-88), the most in Division I.

They have had seven Heisman Trophy winners, 30 unaminous first-team All-Americans and 35 Hall-of-Fame members -- in each case, more than any other school. They have been in nine straight New Year's Day bowl games, and although Notre Dame's 13 bowl wins may pale in comparison to some other schools' total, that is mainly because the Irish refused to play in bowl game for 45 years (1925-1969).

The Notre Dame program boasts some legendary names. There are coaches such as Knute Rockne, who posted the highest winning percentage (105-12-5, .881) in college football history and was known for his famous pep talks and motivational skills. There was also Frank Leahy (1941-43, 1946-53) and Ara Parseghian (1964-74), who also posted winning percentages of more than .800.

Then there are the players like Heisman Trophy winners Angelo Bertelli (1943), Paul Hornung (1956) and Tim Brown (1987), as well as players who went on to successful pro careers like Joe Montana, Joe Theismann, Alan Page and Nick Buoniconti. And the pros are still well-represented by former Notre Dame stars like Brown, Jerome Bettis, Chris Zorich and Raghib Ismail.

Pro teams like the Dallas Cowboys and the Atlanta Braves have adopted the moniker "America's Team," but that would probably be more appropriate for Notre Dame football. The program boasts fans and alumni from all over the country and now even has its own network, as NBC has broadcast Notre Dame home games nationally since 1991. The program has also been the focus of motion pictures like "Knute Rockne-All-American" and "Rudy," and has ardent celebrity fans like George Wendt (Norm from the TV show "Cheers") and Regis Philbin.

Probably the most ringing endorsement of the Irish program and its impact of college football is the fact that the new College Football Hall of Fame is now in South Bend, right in Notre Dame's backyard.

Notre Dame has it all: the Victory March, the leprechaun, the famed Friday night pep rallies, the gold helmets and pants, the blue jerseys, the incredible success on the field. But what is most prominent is the indomitable spirit of Irish athletes and teams.

Former quarterback Joe Theismann said it best: "If you could find a way to bottle the Notre Dame spirit, you could light up the universe."

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Event Calendar

Delta

April 18
L, 8-3
Northwestern
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
RECAP
April 18
L, 10-7
Albany
Albany, N.Y. (John Fallon Field)
RECAP
April 18
W, 7-0
IUPUI
Indianapolis, Ind. (West Indy Racquet Club)
RECAP
April 20
6:05 PM
Virginia Tech
Notre Dame, IN
April 20
6:00 PM
Boston College
Brighton, Mass. (Brighton Fields)
April 20
11:00 AM
Virginia Challenge
Charlottesville, Va.
April 20
4:00 PM
Florida State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Courtney Tennis Center)
April 20
5:00 PM
Georgia Tech
Atlanta, Ga. (Ken Byers Tennis Complex)
April 20
All Day
USA Fencing North American Cup
Richmond, Va.
April 20
All Day
ACC Championship
New London, N.C. (Old North State Club)
April 21
12:30 PM
Blue-Gold Game
Notre Dame, Ind.

NBCSN
April 21
2:05 PM
Virginia Tech
Notre Dame, IN
April 21
1:00 PM
Boston College
Brighton, Mass. (Brighton Fields)
April 21
10:00 AM
Virginia Challenge
Charlottesville, Va.
April 21
11:00 AM
Michael Johnson Invitational
Waco, Texas
April 21
12:00 PM
North Carolina
Chapel Hill, N.C.
April 21
1:00 PM
San Diego State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Arlotta Stadium)
April 21
All Day
ACC Championship
Greensboro, North Carolina
April 21
All Day
Vs. Ohio State & Duke
Columbus, Ohio
April 21
All Day
USA Fencing North American Cup
Richmond, Va.
April 21
All Day
ACC Championship
New London, N.C. (Old North State Club)
April 22
1:05 PM
Virginia Tech
Notre Dame, IN
April 22
12:00 PM
Boston College
Brighton, Mass. (Brighton Fields)
April 22
3:00 PM
Indiana
Fort Wayne, Ind.
April 22
12:00 PM
Miami
Notre Dame, Ind. (Courtney Tennis Complex)
April 22
12:30 PM
Clemson
Clemson, S.C. (Hoke Sloan Tennis Center)
April 22
All Day
ACC Championship
Greensboro, North Carolina
April 22
All Day
ACC Championship
New London, N.C. (Old North State Club)
April 22
All Day
USA Fencing North American Cup
Richmond, Va.
April 23
All Day
USA Fencing North American Cup
Richmond, Va.
April 23
All Day
ACC Championship
Greensboro, North Carolina
April 24
6:05 PM
Valparaiso
Notre Dame, IN
April 24
5:00 PM
Bowling Green
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 25
TBA
ACC Championships First Round
Cary, N.C. (Cary Tennis Park)
April 25
TBA
ACC Championships First Round
Cary, N.C. (Cary Tennis Park)
April 26
1:00 PM
Penn Relays
Philadelphia, Pa.
April 26
TBA
ACC Championship First Round
Durham, N.C. (Koskinen Stadium)
April 27
6:05 PM
Boston College
Notre Dame, IN
April 27
6:00 PM
Florida State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 27
6:30 PM
Mexico
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
April 27
9:00 AM
Penn Relays
Philadelphia, Pa.
April 27
12:00 PM
Gina Relays
Hillsdale, Mich.
April 27
TBA
ACC Semifinals
Charlottesville, Va.

ESPNU
April 28
1:05 PM
Boston College
Notre Dame, IN

ACC Network Extra
103.1 FM
Strikeout ALS Game
April 28
3:00 PM
Florida State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 28
11:00 AM
Penn Relays
Philadelphia, Pa.
April 28
12:00 PM
Gina Relays
Hillsdale, Mich.
April 28
All Day
Dale England Cup
Bloomington, Ind.
April 29
1:05 PM
Boston College
Notre Dame, IN
April 29
12:00 PM
Florida State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 29
TBA
ACC Championship
Charlottesville, Va.

ESPNU
May 1
6:05 PM
Western Michigan
Notre Dame, IN

ACC Network Extra
103.1 FM
May 4
6:05 PM
Pittsburgh
Notre Dame, IN

ACC Network Extra
103.1 FM
May 4
3:00 PM
Billy Hayes Invitational
Bloomington, Ind.
May 5
2:05 PM
Pittsburgh
Notre Dame, IN

ACC Network Extra
103.1 FM
May 5
1:00 PM
Army West Point
Notre Dame, Ind. (Arlotta Stadium)

ACC Network Extra
May 6
1:05 PM
Pittsburgh
Notre Dame, IN

ACC Network Extra
103.1 FM
May 7
All Day
NCAA Regional
TBD
May 8
All Day
NCAA Regional
TBD
May 9
TBA
ACC Championship
Atlanta, Ga. (Mewborn Field)
May 9
All Day
NCAA Regional
TBD

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