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 the 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 their 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 little 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 term, while given in irony, has become our heritage. . . . So truly does it represent us that we are 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.

Shop Now

Nissan
Auction: VIP Football Weekend vs. USC

Auctions

Official ND Online Auctions // Bid Now »

Gear Store

Get your Official ND Gear // Shop Now »

Event Calendar

Delta

September 19
W, 2-1
Bowling Green
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
RECAP

ACC Network Extra
ACC Network Extra
September 21
7:00 PM
Duke
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)

ACC Network Extra
September 22
7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Va. (Thompson Field)

ACC Network Extra
September 22
7:00 PM
Louisville
Louisville, Ky. (Cardinal Arena)

ACC Network Extra
September 22
All Day
Crimson Tide 4-In-The-Fall
Tuscaloosa, Ala. (University of Alabama Tennis Stadium)
September 23
8:00 PM
Michigan State
East Lansing, Mich.

FOX
Game Week Central
September 23
All Day
Crimson Tide 4-In-The-Fall
Tuscaloosa, Ala. (University of Alabama Tennis Stadium)
September 23
All Day
Schooner Fall Classic
Norman, Oklahoma
September 24
1:00 PM
Illinois State
Normal, Ill. (Kneer Stadium)
September 24
3:00 PM
Illinois State
Normal, Ill. (Kneer Stadium)
September 24
1:00 PM
North Carolina State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)

ACC Network Extra
September 24
1:00 PM
North Carolina State
Raleigh, N.C. (Reynolds Coliseum)

ACC Network Extra
September 24
All Day
Schooner Fall Classic
Norman, Oklahoma
September 24
All Day
Crimson Tide 4-In-The-Fall
Tuscaloosa, Ala. (University of Alabama Tennis Stadium)
September 25
All Day
Schooner Fall Classic
Norman, Oklahoma
September 25
All Day
Shoal Creek Invitational
Shoal Creek, Ala. (Shoal Creek CC)
September 26
7:00 PM
Indiana
Bloomington, Ind. (Armstrong Stadium)

BTN
September 26
All Day
Shoal Creek Invitational
Shoal Creek, Ala. (Shoal Creek CC)
September 29
7:30 PM
Virginia
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)

ACC Network Extra
September 29
5:00 PM
Wake Forest
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)

ACC Network Extra
September 29
1:00 PM
Joe Piane Invitational
Burke Golf Course (Notre Dame, Ind.)
September 29
7:00 PM
Miami
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network Extra
September 29
All Day
Northwestern Invitational
Evanston, Ill. (Vandy Christie Tennis Center)
September 30
5:00 PM
Miami Ohio
Notre Dame, Ind.

NBCSN
September 30
All Day
Northwestern Invitational
Evanston, Ill. (Vandy Christie Tennis Center)
September 30
All Day
Riviera/ITA All-American Championships
Pacific Palisades, Calif. (Riviera Tennis Club)
September 30
All Day
All-American Championships Pre-Qualifying
Tulsa, Okla. (Case Tennis Center)
October 1
12:00 PM
Ball State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
October 1
2:00 PM
Ball State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
October 1
1:00 PM
Florida State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network Extra
October 1
5:05 PM
USNTDP
Notre Dame, Ind. (Compton Family Ice Arena)
October 1
All Day
Riviera/ITA All-American Championships
Pacific Palisades, Calif. (Riviera Tennis Club)
October 1
All Day
Northwestern Invitational
Evanston, Ill. (Vandy Christie Tennis Center)
October 1
All Day
All-American Championships Pre-Qualifying
Tulsa, Okla. (Case Tennis Center)
October 2
All Day
All-American Championships Qualifying
Tulsa, Okla. (Case Tennis Center)
October 2
All Day
Riviera/ITA All-American Championships
Pacific Palisades, Calif. (Riviera Tennis Club)
October 3
7:00 PM
Northwestern
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)

ACC Network Extra
October 3
All Day
All-American Championships Qualifying
Tulsa, Okla. (Case Tennis Center)
October 3
All Day
Riviera/ITA All-American Championships
Pacific Palisades, Calif. (Riviera Tennis Club)
October 4
All Day
Riviera/ITA All-American Championships
Pacific Palisades, Calif. (Riviera Tennis Club)
October 5
7:00 PM
Virginia
Charlottesville, Va. (Klockner Stadium)
October 5
All Day
All-American Championships Main Draw
Tulsa, Okla. (Case Tennis Center)
October 5
All Day
Riviera/ITA All-American Championships
Pacific Palisades, Calif. (Riviera Tennis Club)
October 6
7:00 PM
Clemson
Clemson, S.C. (Historic Riggs Field)

ACC Network Extra
October 6
7:00 PM
Virginia
Charlottesville, Va. (Memorial Gymnasium)
October 6
7:35 PM
Alabama-Huntsville
Notre Dame, Ind. (Compton Family Ice Arena)
October 6
All Day
Bettie Lou Evans Invitational
Lexington, Kentucky
October 6
All Day
Riviera/ITA All-American Championships
Pacific Palisades, Calif. (Riviera Tennis Club)
October 6
All Day
Bobby Bayliss Invitational
Notre Dame, Ind. (Eck Tennis Pavilion)
October 6
All Day
All-American Championships Main Draw
Tulsa, Okla. (Case Tennis Center)
October 7
TBA
North Carolina
Chapel Hill, N.C.

TBA
October 7
12:00 PM
Alabama-Huntsville
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
October 7
4:30 PM
Western Michigan
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
October 7
7:05 PM
Alabama-Huntsville
Notre Dame, Ind. (Compton Family Ice Arena)
October 7
All Day
Bobby Bayliss Invitational
Notre Dame, Ind. (Eck Tennis Pavilion)
October 7
All Day
Bettie Lou Evans Invitational
Lexington, Kentucky
October 7
All Day
All-American Championships Main Draw
Tulsa, Okla. (Case Tennis Center)
October 7
All Day
Riviera/ITA All-American Championships
Pacific Palisades, Calif. (Riviera Tennis Club)
October 8
1:00 PM
Syracuse
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
October 8
12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Va. (Cassell Coliseum)

ACC Network Extra
October 8
All Day
Bobby Bayliss Invitational
Notre Dame, Ind. (Eck Tennis Pavilion)
October 8
All Day
Fighting Irish Classic
Notre Dame, Ind. (Warren Golf Course)
October 8
All Day
All-American Championships Main Draw
Tulsa, Okla. (Case Tennis Center)
October 8
All Day
Riviera/ITA All-American Championships
Pacific Palisades, Calif. (Riviera Tennis Club)
October 8
All Day
Bettie Lou Evans Invitational
Lexington, Kentucky
October 9
All Day
All-American Championships Main Draw
Tulsa, Okla. (Case Tennis Center)
October 9
All Day
Fighting Irish Classic
Notre Dame, Ind. (Warren Golf Course)

NCAA Infractions Report

St. Joseph Health System Nissan Delta Canon Visit South Bend Mishawaka Vivid Seats