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Students, fans gather for unveiling of “The Shirt 2008”

Ashley Charnley | Monday, April 21, 2008

Hundreds of Notre Dame fans crowded outside Hammes Bookstore Friday for the unveiling of “The Shirt 2008.” The marching band, Irish Guard, cheerleaders, and the Pom Squad were there to celebrate the newest shirt design.

This year’s shirt is navy blue with “Wake Up the Echoes” rising out of the words “Notre Dame Football 2008” in white on the front. The back of the shirt reads: “Outlined against a blue, gray October sky… Notre Dame will rise again.” The words surround a picture of a player wearing a number 12 jersey, clutching his gold helmet as he looks out into the packed stadium. The 1977 and 1988 championship banners hang over his head.

“Creating the design is very much a team effort, but the hard work of making the design a reality was the job of Anna Jordan, a senior in Farley Hall,” said Jason Gott, president of “The Shirt 2008” Committee.

Inspiration for the Shirt came from Grantland Rice’s article written about Notre Dame’s football team in 1924. The opening line was, “Outlined against the gray, blue sky, the Four Horseman rode again.”

“From there, we decided we also wanted to send a message of confidence in our future,” Gott said.

The committee is made up of Gott and seven other members.

This is the 19th version of “The Shirt,” and since its first year, it has raised over $5 million for students in need of medical funding. The funding has been distributed to over 200 different clubs on campus, Gott said. This year, 50 percent of this proceeds will go The Shirt Medical Fund, and the other half will go to the clubs on campus, Gott said.

Mike Golic, former Irish football player and host of the radio show “Mike and Mike in the Morning” on ESPN, was the keynote speaker for the event. He invigorated the crowd before the Shirt was available for sale.

“This will be a better year for the Notre Dame football team,” Golic said during his speech. “This has become the most tradition laden school in the land and this is a part of that tradition.”

Golic said Notre Dame will become great again because it is a program that never dies.

Chuck Lennon, executive director of the Alumni Association, also took part in the festivities.

“We have never said we are better than anybody else, we said we are different, and we are showing that difference today,” Lennon said.

The committee brought in the world’s largest grill owned by Johnsonville Brats and gave away free brats and Vitamin Water. There was a moon bounce and a large tent to shade the audience. The bookstore began selling the Shirts immediately after the unveiling at 6 p.m.