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.

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Event Calendar

Delta

January 23
5:00 PM
Western Michigan
Notre Dame, Ind. (Eck Tennis Pavilion)
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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