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Sales of The Shirt exceed expectations

Justin Tardiff | Tuesday, September 2, 2003

The magic in the sound of Notre Dame’s name may soon be rivaled by the sales of The Shirt 2003, which has already sold an impressive 50,000 copies as the “Sea of Green” craze continues to spread.

This year’s shirt, which features the quote, “There’s a magic in the sound of their name … Here come the Irish of Notre Dame,” sold out faster than any of the previous Shirts. Stemming from the success of The Shirt 2002, which sold more than 130,000, Dave Brenner, president of The Shirt 2003, opted to keep the same kelly green color as last year.

“In choosing the same green color, I thought we would sell out, but not this quickly,” Brenner said.

And because this year’s The Shirt sold out faster than expected, students just arriving on campus have had little chance to purchase The Shirt before Saturday’s season opener against Washington State.

“That’s the part that disappoints me,” Brenner said. “I would like to see every student wearing this year’s Shirt.”

A second order of The Shirt is expected to arrive at the Bookstore this week.

Brenner attributed part of The Shirt 2003’s success thus far to alumni and fans who caught on to Coach Tyrone Willingham’s request for a “Sea of Green” at football games and learned that The Shirt’s profits benefit charities and student organization.

“Alumni are anxious to be a part of the ‘Sea of Green’ when they see students wearing The Shirt,” Brenner said.

The goal of The Shirt 2003 is to continue to intimidate the opponent in Notre Dame Stadium with the “Sea of Green.” Brenner hopes to raise record-breaking financial amounts for student organizations and charities this year, and he said he believes Willingham’s push for a “Sea of Green” will help The Shirt meet projected sales goals. But much of The Shirt 2003’s success depends on the success of the football team; the relationship became evident last year, when The Shirt 2002 sold out as the team’s winning record expanded.

The fundraising aspect of The Shirt began in 1990, when Sister Jean Lenz encouraged students to buy The Shirt to help pay for the medical expenses of Notre Dame graduate student Zheng de Wang, a victim of a hit-and-run on Notre Dame Avenue.

Since then, over $2 million has been raised in support of student organizations and charities.