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

April 20
L, 9-1
Virginia Tech
Notre Dame, IN
RECAP
April 20
W, 8-4
Boston College
Brighton, Mass. (Brighton Fields)
RECAP
April 20
N/A
Virginia Challenge
Charlottesville, Va.
RECAP
April 20
L, 6-1
Florida State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Courtney Tennis Center)
RECAP
April 20
W, 5-2
Georgia Tech
Atlanta, Ga. (Ken Byers Tennis Complex)
RECAP
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)
RECAP
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 & Michigan State
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
May 10
TBA
ACC Championship
Atlanta, Ga. (Mewborn Field)
May 10
10:00 AM
ACC Outdoor Championships
Coral Gables, Fla.
May 11
TBA
ACC Championship
Atlanta, Ga. (Mewborn Field)
May 11
10:00 AM
ACC Outdoor Championships
Coral Gables, Fla.
May 11
TBA
NCAA Championship First Round
TBD (Campus Sites)
May 11
TBA
NCAA Championship First Round
TBD
May 11
TBA
NCAA Championship First Round
TBD

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