Notre Dame unveils The Shirt 2016
Rachel O'Grady | Monday, April 18, 2016
This football season the Notre Dame student section will be decked out in royal blue, the official color of The Shirt 2016.
Chairman of The Shirt committee, senior Molly Howell, said the choice of color came after the committee saw success with a similar version in 2011.
“We wanted something different and bold, and we wanted the color to look really great in the stadium,” Howell said. “The 2011 royal blue Shirt did very well, and so after careful consideration we decided to do another bright blue. We like to have samples on hand so we know the exact color we’re getting and that takes time too. This year we went with a custom royal blue.”
The committee decided to honor the late University President Emeritus, Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, with two excerpts from a quote he gave in an interview to Sports Illustrated in 1958, after the University came under criticism for the firing of football coach Terry Brennan.
“We wanted to honor [Fr. Hesburgh] in an appropriate way. Last year he passed after the design was finalized, so we couldn’t majorly change the design. We did add his initials to the sleeve last year though. So this year it felt right to pay tribute again in a bigger way,“ Howell said.
In the interview, Hesburgh said, “There is no academic virtue in playing mediocre football and no academic vice in winning a game that by all odds one should lose … There has been a surrender at Notre Dame, but it is a surrender to excellence on all fronts, and in this we hope to rise above ourselves with the help of God.” The excerpts “rise above ourselves” and “surrender to excellence” are featured on the back of this year’s Shirt.
“We loved the message it sent about always trying to get better and strive for excellence on all fronts,” Howell said. “We then started to build around the design, including the championship year banners, the leprechaun, and the end zone marks. The front came together later, and I really wanted to use a football graphic instead of justing going with ‘Notre Dame Football’ as we’d done in the past. After working to match the look on the back, I think we got it.”
According to Howell, this year the committee decided to switch the fabric back to 100 percent cotton.
“This year’s Shirt is softer than some past 100 percent cotton ones, however, because it goes through a special wash process,” Howell said.
Howell said the process was long but ultimately rewarding for her and the rest of the committee.
“The Shirt has hands-down been one of the best and more influential parts of my time at Notre Dame. It’s an amazing project, and I have learned so much during my four years on the committee. It takes a lot of planning, organization and teamwork to run each year,” she said.
Howell said the design received positive reviews from both the football team and Irish head coach Brian Kelly.
“We meet with Coach Kelly before the unveiling, and he said very positive things about this year’s design and color,” Howell said.