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

January 23
W, 7-0
Western Michigan
Notre Dame, Ind. (Eck Tennis Pavilion)
RECAP
January 25
7:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Penn.
January 26
5:30 PM
Indiana Relays
Bloomington, Ind.
January 26
8:00 PM
Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN (Mariucci Arena)
January 26
All Day
Shamrock Invitational
Notre Dame, Ind. (Rolfs Aquatic Center)
January 27
8:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ESPN2
January 27
10:00 AM
Indiana Relays
Bloomington, Ind.
January 27
2:00 PM
Texas
Austin, Texas (Texas Tennis Center)
January 27
2:00 PM
Eastern Illinois
Notre Dame, Ind. (Eck Tennis Pavilion)
January 27
8:00 PM
Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN (Mariucci Arena)
January 27
All Day
Shamrock Invitational
Notre Dame, Ind. (Rolfs Aquatic Center)
January 27
All Day
DeCicco Duals
Notre Dame, IN (Castellan Family Fencing Center)
January 28
4:00 PM
Florida State
Tallahassee, Fla.

ESPN2
Pulse FM. 96.9 / 92.1
WatchESPN
January 28
All Day
DeCicco Duals
Notre Dame, IN (Castellan Family Fencing Center)
January 28
TBA
Tennessee or Minnesota
Austin, Texas (Texas Tennis Center)
January 29
7:00 PM
Duke
Durham, N.C. (Cameron Indoor Stadium)

ESPN
February 1
7:00 PM
North Carolina
Notre Dame, Ind.

ACCNE
February 2
4:00 PM
Meyo Invitational
Notre Dame, Ind.
February 2
6:30 PM
Penn State
State College, PA (Pegula Ice Arena)

BTN
February 3
12:00 PM
North Carolina State
Raleigh, N.C. (PNC Arena)

ESPN or ESPN2
February 3
9:45 AM
Meyo Invitational
Notre Dame, Ind.
February 3
12:00 PM
Boston College
Dedham, Mass. (Dedham Health & Athletic Complex)
February 3
1:00 PM
Ball State and Green Bay
Notre Dame, Ind. (Rolfs Aquatic Center)
February 3
4:00 PM
Penn State
State College, PA (Pegula Ice Arena)
February 3
All Day
Northwestern Duals
Notre Dame, Ind. (Castellan Family Fencing Center)
February 4
1:00 PM
Duke
Durham, N.C.

ESPN2
February 4
12:00 PM
Ohio State
Columbus, Ohio (Varsity Tennis Center)
February 4
All Day
Northwestern Duals
Notre Dame, Ind. (Castellan Family Fencing Center)
February 6
8:00 PM
Boston College
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network
February 9
11:00 AM
Seattle
Tempe, Ariz. (TSC Field 3)
February 9
7:15 PM
Saint Marys
Tempe, Ariz. (TSC Field 4)
February 9
12:00 PM
Iowa State Classic
Ames, Iowa
February 9
2:00 PM
Spire D-1 Invitational
Geneva, Ohio
February 9
3:00 PM
Louisville
Louisville, Ky. (Bass-Rudd Tennis Center)
February 9
7:35 PM
Ohio State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Compton Family Ice Arena)

NBCSN
February 9
All Day
Florida State Match-Up
Tallahassee, Florida
February 10
4:00 PM
Florida State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ESPN or ESPN2
February 10
1:30 PM
South Dakota
Tempe, Ariz. (TSC Field 4)
February 10
9:30 PM
Arizona State
Tempe, Ariz. (Farrington Stadium)
February 10
10:00 AM
Spire D-1 Invitational
Geneva, Ohio
February 10
10:00 AM
Iowa State Classic
Ames, Iowa
February 10
12:00 PM
Boston College
Notre Dame, Ind. (Loftus Sports Center)
February 10
7:05 PM
Ohio State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Compton Family Ice Arena)
February 10
All Day
Florida State Match-Up
Tallahassee, Florida
February 10
All Day
Duke Duals
Durham, N.C.
February 10
All Day
Ohio State Winter Invitational
Columbus, Ohio
February 11
1:00 PM
Georgia Tech
Notre Dame, Ind.

RSN
February 11
1:30 PM
Fresno State
Tempe, Ariz. (TSC Field 1)
February 11
12:00 PM
Illinois
Notre Dame, Ind. (Eck Tennis Pavilion)
February 11
12:00 PM
Northwestern
Evanston, Ill. (Combe Tennis Center)
February 11
1:00 PM
Detroit Mercy
Notre Dame, Ind.
February 11
All Day
Ohio State Winter Invitational
Columbus, Ohio
February 11
All Day
Florida State Match-Up
Tallahassee, Florida
February 11
All Day
Duke Duals
Durham, N.C.
February 12
7:00 PM
North Carolina
Chapel Hill, N.C. (Smith Center)

ESPN
February 12
All Day
Mobile Sports Authority Intercollegiate
Mobile, Ala. (Magnolia Grove GC)

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