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From the Archives: An early history of parietals at Notre Dame — Part 2

This week, From the Archives continues its coverage on the early history of parietals at Notre Dame. Part one ended in 1969 with some early issues and complaints regarding initial parietal policies, but an overall sense of optimism that this new system would work out.

We pick up our story in early 1970, as the then-all male student body of Notre Dame increased its calls for expanded hours and more autonomy over visitation policies. While the students got some of what they wanted, the administration ultimately drew a line in the sand. The University’s ultimate decision against hall-determined parietals set a powerful precedent that shaped student life at Notre Dame for decades to come, and remains the basic framework for parietals half a century later.

Student opinions on parietal policies

March 10, 1970 | Gary Gereffi | Researched by Cade Czarnecki

Before 1970, real discussions about parietal hours were often confined to various committees and boards. Never before had a direct appeal to the undergraduate population been made. To rectify this oversight, the Student Survey Service, established by the Notre Dame chapter of the national sociological honor fraternity, Alpha Kappa Delta, conducted a student survey on parietals.

At the time, the main debate surrounded whether parietal hours were to be made and enforced by the University administration or by individual residence halls. A random sample of students was taken that was guaranteed to be representative. The Student Survey Service ensured that “95 times out of 100 these findings will not vary by more than 3.5% in either direction from a given result.”

The results were overwhelmingly in favor of hall established and enforced parietal hours. In fact, “only 3% of the sample preferred University established parietal hours, while 68% preferred hall established parietals. And hall enforced parietals were favored by 94%.”

The same sentiment was echoed when it came to the responsibility of individual students. Respondents shared that they were almost twice as likely to report parietal violations if the rules were set by their hall as opposed to the University.

A survey of the student body showed overwhelming support for hall-determined parietals, and a sense that parietal hours, though only recently instituted, were not a privilege but a right. Observer archives, March 10, 1970.

Possibly the most significant question students were asked to respond to was whether or not they would still bring girls into their room if parietal privileges were taken away. Seventy seven percent responded affirmatively. In the words of Gary Gereffi, director of the student survey, “The responses suggest the interpretation that parietal hours, ostensibly a privilege, are felt by the students to be a right.”

The final two questions of the survey asked about the national image of Notre Dame. The first dealt with whether or not the removal of parietal hours would tarnish the University’s national reputation, and the second asked if this should even be a consideration in the parietals debate. Seventy nine percent of students responded “no” to the first question and 82 percent responded “no” to the second.

The sentiment was clear: parietal hours, perceived to be a right, should be set by halls, regardless of what the administration or the general public may think.

Board of Trustees extends parietal hours, hall autonomy

April 16, 1970 | Edmund A. Stephan | Researched by Lilyann Gardner 

With Notre Dame students clamoring for increased authority over parietals, the Board of Trustees agreed to loosen their leash, albeit within well-defined limits.

In April 1970, the Board announced that they would allow halls to individually decide women’s visitation hours. However, the outer limit on possible parietal hours was set at 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and 11 p.m. on all other days of the week. Further, the halls would be under the regulation of a new Hall Life Board.

The nine member Hall Life Board, composed of three administration representatives, three students and three faculty members, was specifically created to regulate parietals and other residential life issues as a separate entity of the Student Life Council (SLC). 

“The Hall Life Board will be appointed by the President of the University, and charged with the responsibility of evaluating the proposals of each residence hall board feels [sic] will successfully provide the best hall environment consistent with good order,” Observer staff wrote. 

The Hall Life Board permitted hall regulation of parietal hours until a final decision could be made during their meeting in March 1971 with the SLC and Board of Trustees, but they also maintained that a visitor sign in should be kept in place until that date. 

Observer archives, April 16, 1970.

In a statement letter from, Edmund A. Stephan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, to Professor James Massey, Chairman of the SLC, it was emphasized that students should play a larger role in determining the ordering of hall life but only if they are willing to enforce rules in the case of “flagrant violations.” 

The rules regarding student life were acknowledged as being able to either aid or detract from hall quality and Notre Dame traditions, depending on the particular hall and hall staff. Thus, it was determined that those halls with an established and disciplined fraternal community would need less restrictions and assistance than the halls experiencing disorder.  

“The Student Life Council has recognized that each residence hall has special problems, requiring solutions which are peculiar to that hall. It has recommended that each hall be authorized to prepare its own suggested visiting hours and enforcement mechanisms under the supervision of a regulatory body, which must ultimately approve or disapprove the hall’s plan,” Stephan wrote. 

The extended parietal visitation hours, which are reminiscent of today’s parietal hours, were dependent on a mutual understanding that halls would abide by the boards’ expectations of rule enforcement and regulation. In other words, the University maintained an untrusting attitude toward the students, proving ever-hesitant to relinquish control over parietals to the halls themselves.

Hesburgh denies hall-determined parietals

Sept. 28, 1971 | Ed Ellis | Oct. 15, 1971 | Fred Schaefer | Oct. 29, 1971 | Observer Staff | Researched by Thomas Dobbs

Still unsatisfied with slightly expanded control over parietals, Notre Dame students made one last push for full autonomy. On Sept. 28, 1971, an estimated student crowd of 600 attended an SLC meeting concerning sanctions for violations of University drinking and parietal regulations.

The council unceremoniously referred the report back to the Steering Committee for revision. Students were reportedly frustrated by the lack of action. Le Mans resident Jackie Stone relayed the sentiment with her claim that dean of students Fr. James L. Riehle’s public hearing was a “token” gesture.

A crowd of 600 students gathered at the September 1971 meeting of the Student Life Council to push for expanded autonomy over parietals. Observer archives, Sept. 28, 1971.

Students did not have to wait long, however, for a more meaningful confrontation on University policies. Almost three weeks later on Oct. 15, 1971, the SLC voted to adopt two parts of the Hall Life Committee Report. 

The approved amendments outlined sanctions “for assault, larceny, and the sale or distribution of drugs” and also proposed that “halls be allowed to determine their own parietal hours.” Their proposal now awaited University President Fr. Theodore Hesburgh’s consent.

The proposal did make an effort, albeit a rather vague one, to address potential abuses of hall autonomy. After appropriating autonomy over parietals to hall leadership, the SLC first reminded halls to “construct rules that are in accordance with Indiana State Laws.”

Proposed hall policies would also be subjected to approval by a supervisory board, which would base decisions on a hall showing “maturity, responsibility, and the ability to use this freedom wisely.”

The SLC received their response from Fr. Hesburgh on Oct. 29, 1971. Hesburgh rejected the parietals proposal, writing that “neither the Board at large nor I are convinced that it would be either practical or wise to leave the determination of parietal hours to the individual halls.”

Fr. Hesburgh rejected the SLC’s proposal for hall-determined parietals in a precedent-setting move that has largely determined Notre Dame parietal policies for the past half century. Observer archives, Oct. 29, 1971.

It appeared that Fr. Hesburgh’s reply surprised few students. An Observer contributor responded that the University’s decision on parietals “should be greeted by a yawn.”

Unbeknownst to the students at the time, Hesburgh’s response cemented an unchanging policy for decades to come. The University has preserved its jurisdiction over parietals, much to the disappointment of Notre Dame students over the decades.

Contact Spencer Kelly at skelly25@nd.edu

Cade Czarnecki at cczarne3@nd.edu

Lilyann Gardner at lgardne2@nd.edu

Thomas Dobbs at tdobbs@nd.edu

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From the Archives: An early history of parietals at Notre Dame — Part 1

Parietals continue to be a consistently controversial topic at Notre Dame, almost universally igniting the ire of the student body. While this policy may seem to be an eternal annoyance, in fact parietals as we know them date only to the late 1960s and are intertwined with the process of coeducation at Notre Dame, now in its 50th year.

In this two-part series, From the Archives will explore the early history of parietals. In this first installment, we uncover the University administration’s initial opposition to parietal hours, their subsequent change in heart and the promises and pitfalls that arose when parietals were first implemented.

Hesburgh’s “emphatic” opposition to parietals

Nov. 9, 1967 | Observer Staff | April 1, 1968 | Observer Staff | Researched by Avery Polking

Though the social structure of Notre Dame is defined by many things, perhaps one of the most concrete influences on daily life — and the most adverse to students — is parietal hours. While its vast unpopularity among students is well documented, less known is that University administration was initially against them as well.

A November 1967 Observer headline announced, “Hesburgh Emphatic: No Parietal Hour.” The article examined the implications of a comment then-University President Fr. Theodore Hesburgh made in which he effectively called parietal hours pointless, commenting that he “[has] no stomach for laws which don’t mean anything.”

“I’m sure that parietal hours will not be allowed,” Hesburgh declared.

University president Fr. Theodore Hesburgh was initially “emphatic” in his opposition to parietals. Observer archives, April 1, 1968.

The Observer expanded on Hesburgh’s stance, reporting that “The University’s reason for not allowing girls in the dormitory stems mostly from the social repercussions of entertaining a girl in a bedroom and the disruption such a practice would initiate in a mens’ dorm which is interpreted by many university officials as a men’s club.”

Hesburgh valued a community in which men and women could work together without the burden of time restrictions, calling this dynamic a “tension modulated by love.”

But not long after in April 1968, Hesburgh showed signs of a softening stance by reinstating four students who had been suspended by James Riehle, dean of students, for an unspecified parietal violation.

Hesburgh acknowledged that there was “moral ambiguity” present in current restrictions and that he was “in the process of outlining a program” he hoped would clarify matters.

Parietals were ultimately approved by the Board of Trustees a year later. However, the contentious conditions under which parietal hours were first debated surely reflects their controversial nature, still evident today.

Parietals approved

March 18, 1969 | Observer Staff | March 28, 1969 | Ted Price | Researched by Lilyann Gardner

Parietals are perhaps an outdated practice in the opinion of many present-day Notre Dame students, but their initial approval was likely considered a win in the eyes of the entirely male student population of 1969. 

Despite Father Hesburgh’s ostensibly “emphatic” opposition to parietals, in March 1969 the Board of Trustees approved the expansion of female visitation hours from just 11 weekends per year to every weekend, with the expectation that certain changes would have to be made to residence halls.

“The Executive Committee ratified the Student Life Council’s proposals for a reorganization of the residence hall governments, including a written constitution, a hall president, a hall legislative council, and a hall judicial board,” The Observer reported. 

The Student Life Council and Board of Trustees made it clear that should any hall fail to make the necessary changes, they would not be granted the privilege of expanded visitation rights. 

Parietals, although approved by administrative powers, were entirely experimental and relied on student cooperation. However, disgruntlement about these mandatory changes was not an issue. 

After parietals were approved in March 1969, an Observer caption said that “No longer will St. Mary’s girls or hometown honies [sic] be forced to sit on the grass for entertainment. Instead, when the new parietal hours go into effect, they can sit on the chair in your room from 5 to 12 Friday.” Observer archives, March 18, 1969.

Roughly a week later, six out of the 12 residence halls were approved to implement the new parietal rules. These halls included Badin, Carroll, Keenan, Lyons, Pangborn and Zahm with the other six following after minor changes in their hall constitutions were made. 

These residence halls moved forward with detailed weekend visitation hours that share similarities and differences with the parietal hours instituted after the move to co-education. 

“The legislation passed by the SLC and approved by the trustees permits women visitation hours in the residence halls for a total of no more than twenty-four hours from 5 p.m. Friday through 11 p.m. Sunday. However, no hall’s may extend beyond 1 a.m. any day nor begin earlier than 1 p.m. any day but Friday,” Ted Price (‘71) wrote. 

Violations of parietals were expected, but the Board of Trustees believed that the additional hall councils and authority figures would help maintain a certain level of maturity and morality in the campus community. 

Whether or not parietals are a necessary good or a necessary evil is up for debate today, but at the time of their approval parietals seemed to be a positive step toward creating a more inclusive campus community

Early parietal problems: sign-ins and citations

Oct. 1, 1969 | Observer Staff | Nov. 6, 1969 | Don Ruane | Researched by Cade Czarnecki

Though approval of parietals was met with enthusiasm, their implementation quickly led to a proliferation of student complaints.

The parietal policy, as it initially existed, required visitors to sign both in and out on a sheet in the entrance of the hall they were visiting, denoting the time of both arrival and departure.

A hall member was required to sit next to the sign-in book and ensure that all visitors adhered to the policy. The consensus among the student body was that the sign-in process was a ridiculous and unnecessarily tedious requirement.

As evidence of the absurdity of the requirement, an Observer article shared that “hall presidents [asked] each of their halls to enforce the sign-in procedure [on the] weekend to the letter and to make fathers visiting their sons sign in their wives and small daughters.”

The grievances did not stop there. Others writing in The Observer opined that the sign-in process served no real purpose: “No one…ever stated what the [sign-in] list was to be used for — whether to check as to if the women had left at the sign-out hour or what.”

Parietal violations began to occur almost as soon the policy was enacted — some due to ignorance and others due to protest.

Transgressing halls were often reported by rectors of other dorms. In fact, the Hall Life Board conducted an investigation into seven halls known to be repeat parietal offenders: Holy Cross, Dillon, Walsh, Alumni, Flanner, Carroll and Morrissey.

The implementation of parietals was characterized by widespread complaints and frequent violations. Observer archives, Nov. 6, 1969

The Hall Life Board threatened these halls with the suspension parietals as a whole if they did not clean up their acts. The board also promised a follow up investigation to ensure the appropriate changes in conduct were made in these recurrently offending halls.

While some saw the actions of the Hall Life Board to be oppressive, executive coordinator Ron Mastriana defended its investigation, saying, “The purpose of the Hall Life Board is to help the halls along and to make sure that everything is working as it should.”

While Mastriana’s comments undoubtedly soured some students even further on the Hall Life Board, there was a general belief that the Hall Presidents Council would actively work to help revise the parietals system in a way agreeable to all parties involved.

Contact Spencer Kelly at skelly25@nd.edu

Avery Polking at apolking@nd.edu

Lilyann Gardner at lgardne2@nd.edu

Cade Czarnecki at cczarne3@nd.edu

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From the Archives: False starts — Deceptively disappointing openings in Notre Dame football

The fanfare that characterized the beginning of the Freeman Era has all but silenced at this point. Even after capturing his first win against the California Golden Bears on Saturday, another shaky Irish performance has skeptics of Marcus Freeman continuing to question his faculty as a head coach.

But as some reporters have pointed out, subpar starts can be deceptive. This week, From the Archives looked back at coaching careers and individual seasons that started slow but ended in success. Ultimately, history shows that Irish fans should maintain hope that the loss-filled opening of the Freeman Era will be nothing more than a misleading moment en route to a triumphant future.

Lou Holtz: Overcoming early missteps

Sept. 22, 1986 | Marty Strasen | Researched by Thomas Dobbs

In Lou Holtz’s first year as coach, the Fighting Irish fell short in the first two games in heartbreaking fashion.

After a narrow 24-23 loss to No. 3 Michigan, Holtz and his squad traveled the quick 160-mile journey to East Lansing to face Michigan State.

With a chance to claim victory on a potential game-winning drive, “Notre Dame quarterback Steve Beuerlein dropped back with just more than a minute remaining in the game, and promptly fired an interception to seal the win for Michigan State.”

Sound familiar? Late in the fourth quarter against Marshall, Notre Dame’s quarterback Tyler Buchner also launched a devastating pick six that ultimately sealed the game.

Although it may have been tempting to attribute the early defeats of the ‘86 Irish squad to a few unfavorable plays, assistant sports editor Marty Strasen wrote that this accusation “would be like convicting a mass murderer for jay-walking.”

Future Heisman-winner Tim Brown is tackled by a Michigan State defender in Notre Dame’s second straight loss to open Lou Holtz’s career. / Observer Archives, Sept. 22, 1986

Stressing the team-wide failure, future Heisman-winning receiver Tim Brown shared after the loss that “Everything we did, we did to ourselves. They didn’t do anything we didn’t expect. We just couldn’t execute like we wanted to.”

The embrace of accountability spread to Holtz himself, who identified the need to emphasize proper execution: “Our football team played hard, but each time we went to the brink, we came away empty-handed.”

Notre Dame tight end Joel Williams articulated his team’s motivation moving forward: “We’re not going to give up. It’s only two games and two games don’t make a season.”

It was promising for an Irish player to respond to adversity with such maturity and focus, and this attitude was emblematic of a larger shift within the program. The Irish soon bounced back with a 41-9 thrashing of in-state rival Purdue the following week. Just two years later, Holtz and the Irish captured a national championship.

Both the strengths and challenges of Holtz’s rocky start can provide a lesson for current Notre Dame football staff and players. Within two years at the helm, Holtz won the Irish a national championship.

A Stanford defeat starts a new era of hope

Sept. 27, 2010 | Sam Stryker | Chris Allen | Matt Gamber | Researched by Cade Czarnecki

The start of the 2010 football season felt like a breath of fresh air. While the previous three seasons had been forgettable, finishing 3-9, 7-6 and 6-6 in ’07, ’08 and ’09 respectively, the hiring of new head coach Brian Kelly rejuvenated hope in both fans and players.

Yet after winning the season opener at home against Purdue, the luck of the Irish ran out. The following two weeks saw Notre Dame lose in dramatic fashion to Michigan and Michigan State. While fans were largely encouraged by the competitiveness of the games — losing the first by a margin of four and the second by three points in overtime — they were desperate for the Kelly era to get back in the win column. Then came the game against Stanford.

The battle for the Legends Trophy was sure to be a good test of the Irish, with Stanford entering the game ranked No. 16 in the nation and touting future first overall NFL draft pick Andrew Luck as quarterback.

Notre Dame struggled to score throughout the game, and their first touchdown did not come until late in the fourth quarter. It ended in a disappointing score of 37-14, dropping Notre Dame to a 1-3 record on the season and further delaying the promised rise to prominence that the Kelly era seemed to ensure. As Observer sports writer Matt Gamber put it, “The Irish just need to learn how to win.”

Coach Brian Kelly on the sideline during Notre Dame’s defeat to Stanford in 2010. / Observer Archives, Sept. 27, 2010

But Catherine Flatley shared a more patient sentiment in response to the season’s slow start.

“Obviously the loss was really disappointing, but everyone seemed to hope it would go a lot better than it did,” Flatley said. “People just do not seem thrilled relative to our expectations this year. However, I don’t know if you can judge everything Coach Kelly has done in just a few games.”

Flatley’s hesitancy to judge the new coach proved astute, as Kelly rallied the Irish to a 7-2 record over the final nine games of the season, finishing 8-5.

A slow start to his career did not indicate future misfortune, either. While many fans thought the Stanford loss would prove fatal for Kelly’s career, others remained supportive. Alex Sajben was one such hopeful fan: “I’ve lived through all the disappointment, but I stayed there [at the Stanford game] the whole game because that is what you do as fans.” Sajben would be rewarded by the rest of Kelly’s career, only seeing one losing season over the head coach’s 12-year tenure.

From a shocking loss to a chicken soup victory

Sept. 11, 1978 | Ray O’Brien | Sept. 25, 1978 | Ray O’Brien | Jan. 18, 1979 | Paul Mullaney | Researched by Avery Polking

Perhaps an appropriate parallel to the less-than-optimal start to this Notre Dame football season would be the 1978-79 team. As we’ve seen time and time again, what can be described as the “beginning of a nightmare” for Notre Dame is no indication of concluding results, especially when there’s chicken soup involved.

That haunting phrase was used to describe the early phases of the 1978 bout between Notre Dame and Missouri. With five turnovers to Missouri’s two, the Irish cited clumsiness and anxious plays as two large contributors to their 3-0 defeat to the unranked Tigers. 

An Observer headline captures the shock of Notre Dame’s loss to unranked Missouri to open the 1978 season. / Observer Archives, Sept. 11, 1978

“Only a numb feeling persisted” in the silent Notre Dame locker room immediately after the game, even though the Irish prevailed in all statistics other than turnovers. But they would have to restore their senses in time for a home game against No. 5 Michigan the following week.

Notre Dame opened the first half strong, with quarterback Joe Montana leading the Irish to a 14-7 advantage at halftime. However, the Irish regressed in the second half. Marked by a Montana fumble and interception, this half ended in a 28-14 Notre Dame loss. 

As in 2022, Notre Dame’s record dropped to 0-2 for the first time since 1963, punctuated by The Observer’s simple remark: “Notre Dame has never been 0-3.” Irish fans carried this looming assertion into the next game — and perhaps for the entire 1978 season — but its final conclusion undoubtedly blew any record-related concern off the table.

In one of the best games in the worst weather in Notre Dame football history, the Irish closed out the 1978 season with a game oft-described with various uses of the word “greatest.” 

Chicken soup consumed, quarterback Joe Montana talks with coach Dan Devine moments before throwing the game-winning touchdown in the 1979 Cotton Bowl. / Observer Archives, Jan. 18, 1979

Most notable was Joe Montana’s second-half rescue after having been debilitated by the flu, which helped the Irish score 23 points in the final seven minutes after he famously ate a bowl of chicken soup at halftime. Notre Dame beat Houston in an unprecedented Dallas ice storm at the Cotton Bowl Classic, 35-34. 

Tailback Vagas Furguson summed up not just the game, but the turnaround from earlier in the season: “We got the momentum back, and everything started clicking.”

This momentum seems to be vital for Fighting Irish football to channel, especially when the start of a season doesn’t bode well. The Irish never did fall into that 0-3 deficit, and they kept true to that in 2022.

Contact Spencer Kelly at skelly25@nd.edu

Thomas Dobbs at tdobbs@nd.edu

Cade Czarnecki at cczarne3@nd.edu

Avery Polking at apolking@nd.edu

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From the Archives: Forgotten fidos of the Fighting Irish

From the Archives previously explored the origins of the “Fighting Irish” nickname. Today, this name is represented by, and synonymous with, the leprechaun. Whether it be the iconic fighting leprechaun logo or the student mascot leaping around at football games, leprechauns have come to embody the Notre Dame spirit.

However, from the 1930s through the 1960s, Notre Dame’s mascot was not a leprechaun, but a dog. A succession of Irish Terriers with names like “Shaun Rhue” and “Clashmore Mike” rallied Notre Dame fans over these four decades, heroically representing the university and its athletic teams. In this edition of From the Archives, we forget the unfortunate events of the past weekend and instead remember the more positive past of these peppy pooches.

Shaun Rhue: trailblazing terrier

Dec. 9, 1932 | Oct. 23, 1932 | Nick Lamberto | Researched by Spencer Kelly

In 1932, Notre Dame football filled a crucial yet previously-open roster spot.

That fall, Shaun Rhue, fittingly an Irish Terrier breed, became the new mascot for the Fighting Irish football team.

“Our mascot comes from the best of stock, with reams and reams of affidavits attesting his lineage, and naturally is quite proud of blue blood,” proclaimed Scholastic Magazine.

After a quiet puppyhood in Ohio with owner Charlie Otis, Rhue arrived on the Notre Dame sidelines for their matchup against Navy on Nov. 14, 1932, played in his hometown of Cleveland.

The Irish won 12-0 against the Midshipmen and again the next week against Army, 21-0. It seemed that the newest and furriest member of the squad provided the spark for these two victories.

“His presence on the bench lent color to the scene and fire to the Irish attack,” Scholastic asserted. “He has Irish blood, and the Irish fight. And already he has love of the Irish team.”

However, Shaun Rhue’s career came to an abrupt end after the end of the 1932 season. As Nick Lamberto reported in 1936, Rhue “disappeared” in the spring of 1933, never to return.

Lamberto reflected on the terse tenure of Rhue. “Shaun was a likable dog in many ways, but also had a few bad traits. He, like many students, enjoyed nothing better than a little vacation in the form of a week-end…his latest ‘week-end’ extending from the spring of 1933 until now. His mental alertness was also of the questionable [sic] quality as he was often known to stand nonchalantly in the path of oncoming cars, only escaping injury and death because of the driver’s quick action with the brakes.”

While Rhue’s time with the team was short, he was still a trailblazing terrier who set the stage for future Irish mascots. Whether it be the cadre of Clashmore Mikes or the living leprechauns that leap around today, all owe a little something to Shaun Rhue.

A portrait of Clashmore Mike. Observer archives, Jan. 22, 1987.

“Facing mules, goats and panthers”: the history of Clashmore Mike

Oct. 23, 1974 | Dan Reagan | Researched by Christina Cefalu

The tales of Clashmore Mike, the chain of Irish Terriers that served as the Notre Dame mascot before the introduction of the leprechaun, have been immortalized in writing, on screen and through the very architecture of campus. Though the likeness of Clashmore Mike stands proudly over South Quad, almost leaping out from Alumni Hall, this treasure of Notre Dame is too often forgotten. The Observer’s Dan Reagan recounted the glamorous history of the furry performer in 1973, almost 10 years after his retirement.

Mike appeared before the crowds of Notre Dame fans in color-coordinated, blue and gold outfits created by the Spalding Brothers. The terrier is remembered for his gameday antics, challenging opposing teams’ mascots, reportedly chasing the Navy Goat, Army Mule and Pitt Panther around the field. Though Clashmore was at first sheepish when he encountered the Pitt Panther, their meeting ended with Mike victoriously chasing the cat into the stands in true Notre Dame spirit. 

The dog was also known for his “frequent vacations” from campus, and his darting off brought national attention to both Notre Dame and the hero Clashmore himself. Though his free spirit often troubled the Notre Dame staff who went to great lengths to ensure his recovery, Mike won the hearts of the football team. In 1944, there was serious consideration given to Clashmore’s retirement from the traveling squad. However, when faced with a number of furious football players, coach Ed McKeever reversed his decision. 

Clashmore Mike became a crucial member of the team. In an unauthorized biography by B.J. Williams, it is said that head coach Frank Leahy trained Clashmore to nab the football when Notre Dame had run out of timeouts to halt the game. And in 1956, Notre Dame finished their season with two wins and eight losses, a tragedy that Mike commemorated by walking over to a sign reading “1956, Notre Dame’s 68th Football Season,” and relieving himself on it.

1964 team captain Jim Carroll and head coach Ara Parseghian with their terrier teammate. Observer archives, Oct. 23, 1974.

The dog was first introduced to the Notre Dame family in the early 1930s as a gift to Knute Rockne and was then cared for by a student manager. In 1932, after Rockne’s passing, another Irish Terrier appeared, Shaun Rue, in response to Navy’s goat mascot. The tradition continued when Clashmore Mike II was gifted to Head Coach Hugh Devore, followed by Shannonview Mike.

There are no remaining chronological records of the dogs after Shannonview, but it is known that at least two more terrier mascots followed him: Clashmore Mike III, and Shannonview Rudy. Beyond a picture from 1964, there are no further records to explain the disappearance of the Clashmore legacy. Though the memory of Clashmore Mike has faded, his role in leading Notre Dame football and warming the hearts of students and fans everywhere is nothing short of legendary.

Calls for the return of Clashmore Mike 

Jan. 22, 1987 | Noreen O’Connor | Jan. 30, 1987 | Marge Andre | Researched by Lilyann Gardner 

Memories of Clashmore Mike can be found in photos, on football banners and even on the east wall of Alumni Hall, but the beloved Irish Terrier has not acted as Notre Dame’s mascot since the 1960s. 

No one knows why Clashmore Mike was phased out in favor of the leprechaun, but Marge Andre, an active member of the Irish Terrier Club of Chicago, believed that 1986 was the time to revitalize the old mascot tradition. 

“She has more than 3500 [sic] signatures from 48 states, the District of Columbia and eight countries as well as endorsements from such prominent people as ex­-mayor of Chicago, Jane Byrne; actor, Burgess Meredith; sports columnist, Bill Gleason; ND full back ‘60, 61, 62, Mike Lind and donor of the first Irish Terrier, Queenie Otis-Hanna, just to name a few,” features writer Noreen O’Connor wrote.

Andre hoped that her petition to bring back Clashmore Mike would revitalize Notre Dame’s football zeal by having the dog work alongside the leprechaun. 

A cartoon depicting Clashmore Mike and the leprechaun, who some hoped would team up to form a formidable mascot duo. Observer archives, Jan. 22, 1987.

The two were intended to make a formidable team as they were said to have shared the same Irish spirit. However, the decision to reinstate the terrier was rejected by the athletic department in December 1986 in favor of keeping the leprechaun as the sole mascot. 

A week after The Observer announced the decision in late January 1987, Andre wrote a letter to the editor expressing that she would continue to work on bringing Clashmore Mike back to Notre Dame. She even went on to state that the losing hex on Notre Dame football would remain until the Irish Terrier was back on the field. 

“Laugh if you will, but when the current student body is old and gray, they will realize there was not a football championship in their lifetime,” Andre wrote.

Andre’s comments proved comically incorrect as Notre Dame won a national championship shortly after in 1988. But there is still much love for the legacy of Clashmore Mike and all the faithful fidos of the Fighting Irish.

Contact Spencer Kelly at skelly25@nd.edu

Christina Cefalu at ccefalu@nd.edu

Lilyann Gardner at lgardne2@nd.edu

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From the Archives: 50 years of women at Notre Dame

Spencer Kelly, Lilyann

Gardner and Maggie

Eastland


Contact Spencer at skelly25@nd.edu. Contact Lilyann at lgardne@nd.edu. Contact Maggie at meastlan@nd.edu.