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History of the Notre Dame Football Team

Sep 3, 2008
The University of Notre Dame is one of two Catholic universities in the United States that have a football team. The Notre Dame football team has the nickname of the Fighting Irish because it was mainly Irish Christian Brothers who were the teachers and coaches at the university. The first football team was developed in 1887 and played its first game on November 23 of that year. It lost this game to Michigan in a score of 8-0. They didn actually win a game until the end of the season in 1888 when they delivered a resounding defeat to Harvard Prep. During the seasons between 1889 and 1899, they continued to play with statistics of 31 wins, 15 losses and 4 ties. During this time they steadily developed a following and increased in popularity.

When Jessie Harper took over the position of head coach in 1913, Notre Dame confined its games to playing games between colleges and this marked the beginning of a longstanding rivalry between Notre Dame and Army and Michigan State. Harper remained as coach until 1917, when Knute Rockne took over the position. Under Rockne, the team won five championships and the Rose Bowl in 1925. Rockne enjoyed the highest percentage of wins in college football history. The saying in one for the Gipper?became the slogan of the team during this time as well. George Gipp, nicknamed the Gipper, was a player on the team and died of strep throat.

Heartley unk?Anderson took over as coach of the team from 1931 to 1940 and continued to bring the team to success. He was replaced by a former player, Frank Leahy, in 1940 when he left to become the Commissioner of the National Football League. By now college football was well established and fans all over the country cheered on the Notre Dame team. Leahy coached the team for 11 seasons and next to Rockne, he had the second highest percentage of wins with 87 wins and four national championships.

When Terry Brennan took over from Leahy in 1954, one could easily see a pattern developing in the coaches of the team. They were mainly former players with very little coaching experience, which continued until 1964. The appointment of Ara Parseghian marked the beginning of a new era in the football history of Notre Dame by hiring a coach that had played for an opposing team and one with coaching experience. Once again, Notre Dame would start to dominate in college football.

Other famous coaches that led this team to success included Dan Devine, Gerry Faust, Lou Holtz, Bob Davie, and Tyrone Willingham. Charlie Weis took over as coach in 2005 and achieved a record of 9-3 and an appearance at the Fiesta Bowl. During the 2006 season, the team also had an excellent season but fell to many defeats during the 2007 season.

It is easy to recognize the Notre Dame team by its home jersey. The jersey is dark blue with white numbers outlined in gold. The interlocking letters, ND, are engraved at the base of the collar. The team away jersey is white with blue numbers, still outlined in gold. Each jersey has the player surname across the back.
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For more information on Notre Dame football and great Notre Dame football forums visit http://www.DomerDomain.com the best ND football site online.
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