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The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are the varsity sports teams of the University of Notre Damemarker.


Notre Dame's nickname is inherited from Irish immigrant soldiers who fought in the Civil War with the Union's Irish Brigade, (consisting of the 69th NY, 63rd NY, 88th NY, 116th Pennsylvania, and 28th Mass. Infantry Regiments), recollected among other places in the poetry of Joyce Kilmer who served with one of the Irish Brigade regiments during World War I. Though the Irish regiments and Kilmer were well-known, particularly in the urban ethnic community, during the era between the Civil War and World War II, Notre Dame's claim to the nickname is justified since its third president was a famous Irish Brigade chaplain whose ministrations at Gettysburg are commemorated in the "Absolution Under Fire," part of Notre Dame's permanent art collection. This chaplain's name was Fr. William Corby. There are two identical monuments dedicated to him, one is on the battlefield at the Gettysburg National Military Park, and the other is on the campus of Notre Dame.

Notre Dame athletic teams are known as the Fighting Irish (though students are called "Domers"). Previously, and especially during the Knute Rockne football era, Notre Dame had several unofficial nicknames—among them the "Rovers" and the "Ramblers," because of those teams' propensity to travel the nation to play its football contests, such as at the University of Southern California, long before such national travel became the collegiate norm. Later, Notre Dame was also, again unofficially, known as the "Terriers," after the Irish breed of the dog, and for some years, an Irish Terrier would be found on the ND football sidelines.

According to the University's website, there are several legends of how Notre Dame came to be the "Fighting Irish." One story suggests the moniker was born in 1899 (much earlier than the "modern era") with Notre Dame leading Northwesternmarker 5-0 at halftime of a game in Evanston, Illinoismarker. The Wildcat fans began to chant, "Kill the Fighting Irish, kill the Fighting Irish," as the second half opened. Another tale has the nickname originating at halftime of the Notre Dame-Michiganmarker game in 1909. With his team trailing, one Notre Dame player yelled to his teammates—who had names like Dolan, Kelly, Donnelly, Glynn, Duffy and Ryan—"What's the matter with you guys? You're all Irish and you're not fighting worth a lick." Notre Dame came back to win the game and the press, after overhearing the remark, reported the game as a victory for the "Fighting Irish." Another possible origin is the violent 1924 confrontation between Notre Dame Students and faculty and the anti-Catholic Ku Klux Klan in South Bend. This event is described in Todd Tucker's book Notre Dame Vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan.

The most generally accepted explanation is that the press coined the nickname as a characterization of Notre Dame teams in the 1920s as a result of preexisting Irish stereotypes, the widely reported events of 1924 (although after their 10–7 loss to Iowa, Notre Dame was referred to as the "Irish" in a newspaper article about the game), and the grit, determination, and tenacity of Coach Knute Rockne's football teams of the era. Although Notre Dame alumnus Francis Wallace popularized it in his New York Daily News columns in the 1920s with respect to the university, as early as the Civil War Father Corby and the Irish Brigade of the Union Army had been dubbed "The Fighting Irish."

National championships

Through the spring 2008 sports season, Notre Dame has won 14 national championships. Of these championships, 7 were won by men's teams, 4 by women's teams and 3 by combined teams.

Notre Dame's championships occurred in the following sports:


The school has a comprehensive and nationally competitive Division I athletic program, but it is most famous for its football program. Notre Dame fielded its first football team in 1887. With eleven consensus NCAA football championships, over 800 all time wins, seven Heisman Trophy winners, famous head coaches, a 73.6% winning percentage and the most consensus All-Americans of any school, Notre Dame football is one of the most storied programs both on the gridiron and college athletics in general. Recently Notre Dame has struggled, going through several head coaches and setting the all-time bowl losing streak of 9 straight with the loss to LSU in the 2007 Sugar Bowl before beating Hawaii in the 2008 Hawaii Bowl. Notre Dame is also the only team, including professional, in the nation with a national television contract.

In addition to having the oldest university marching band in the country, the school has many rivalries in football, the most famous ones being with USC, Navymarker, Michigan State, Armymarker, Purdue, and Michigan. Notre Dame played in arguably the greatest, although certainly not the most-watched (due to Notre Dame games' already having been broadcast nationally that season as many times as allowed, ABC had to relegate its broadcast to a regional one), college football game in history: the famous (or infamous) 10-10 tie against Michigan Statemarker at Spartan Stadiummarker on November 19, 1966. Other Notre Dame rivalries include those with Stanfordmarker, Boston Collegemarker and Pittsburgh. Former rivalries include a very intense rivalry in the 1980s with Miami, and a rivalry with Penn State, which was renewed and played on September 9, 2006, and again during the 2007 season. The football program is also known for ending the Oklahoma NCAA record winning streak of 47 games. The streak-ending game was 7–0 victory for the Fighting Irish on November 9, 1957. Incidentally, Oklahoma's 28-21 loss to Notre Dame to open the 1953 season was the last loss before the beginning of the streak.


Men's Basketball
  • Head Coach: Mike Brey
  • Arena: Joyce Centermarker
  • Big East Titles: 1 (2000 West)
  • National Championships: 2 (1927*, 1936*)
  • Final Fours: 1 (1978)

* Pre-tournament era Helms Trophy The men's basketball team, coached by Mike Brey since 2000, has made 28 [[NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship|NCAA Tournament]] appearances and made it to the [[NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship#Final Four|Final Four]] in 1978 under its legendary coach [[Digger Phelps]]. They are also known for ending [[University of California, Los Angeles|UCLA]]'s 88-game winning streak in 1974, a streak which had begun after Notre Dame had previously ended UCLA's 45-game winning streak in 1971. '''Women's Basketball''' * Head Coach: [[Muffet McGraw]] * Arena: [[Joyce Center]] * Big East Titles: 1 (2001 Regular Season) * National Championships: 1 (2001) * Final Fours: 2 (1997, 2001) Notre Dame's women's basketball team, coached by Muffet McGraw, also has made numerous tournament appearances, and won the [[NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship|National Championship]] in 2001 by beating [[Purdue]] 68-66. The 2001 team was led by 6-foot-6 center [[Ruth Riley]], who as of 2008 was still active in the [[Women's National Basketball Association|WNBA]]. ==Ice hockey== {{main|Notre Dame Fighting Irish men's ice hockey}} * Head Coach: [[Jeff Jackson]] * Arena: Joyce Center * CCHA Titles 2 (2007, 2009) * Frozen Fours 1 (2008) Notre Dame's men's [[ice hockey]] team, coached by Jeff Jackson and captained by T.J. Jindra, won both the [[CCHA]] season and [[CCHA Tournament|tournament]] championships in 2007 with a record of 28-6-3. They were the #2 overall seed in the [[2007]] [[NCAA]] Men's Hockey Tournament, behind [[The University of Minnesota|Minnesota]], and were the #1 seed in the Midwest bracket. They lost to Michigan State in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Notre Dame was a #4 seed in the 2008 NCAA Tournament and faced #1 seed [[University of New Hampshire|New Hampshire]]. They beat New Hampshire 7-3 and then faced [[Michigan State Spartans|Michigan State]], the same team that knocked them out of the tournament last year. The Irish though defeated the Spartans this time 3-1 and earned their first trip in school history to the [[Frozen Four]]. In the semifinal they defeated the overall #1 seeded [[Michigan Wolverines|Michigan]] 5–4 in overtime earning them their first ever national championship berth against [[Boston College]], in which they were defeated 4–1. ==Women's soccer== * Head Coach: [[Randy Waldrum]] * Field: Alumni Field * MCC Titles*: 4 (1991, 1992, 1993, 1994) * Big East Titles: 10 (1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2008) * National Championships: 2 (1995, 2004) * College Cup Appearances: 16 (1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008) *Notre Dame was a member of the Midwestern Collegiate Conference in soccer prior to joining the Big East in most sports.

Notre Dame's women's soccer team won the National Championship in 1995 and 2004 and were the runner-up in 1994, 1996, 1999, 2006 and 2008. Notre Dame is one of only three schools with multiple national titles, the others being North Carolina (19) and Portland (2). Notre Dame also ranks second in all-time title game appearances (7) behind North Carolina (22). ND women's soccer program started in 1988 under coach Chris Petrucelli. Their 1995 Big East title was the university's first in any sport. That same year, Petrucelli's squad, under the leadership of Cindy Dawes, won the program's first national title, defeating Portland 1-0. Notre Dame's current coach, Randy Waldrum, took over the program in 1999 and has maintained the Irish's success, winning the national title in 2004 by beating UCLA 4-3 as well as capturing 6 Big East titles. Three Notre Dame players have won the prestigious Hermann Trophy, given to the United State's best male and female collegiate soccer player. They are Cindy Dawes (1996), Anne Makinen (2000) and Kerri Hanks (2006, 2008). Hanks is one of only 4 players to win the award twice. Notre Dame is also one of only two schools with three-plus different Hermann Trophy recipients.
Frank Eck Stadium.

Other sports

Notre Dame's men's and women's fencing teams have won multiple national titles as well - the men's team won titles in 1977, 1978 and 1986 while the women's team won the 1987 title. After the NCAA replaced the individual men's and women's national titles with a combined fencing championship, Notre Dame won national titles in 1994, 2003 and 2005.

John A. Kromkowski, (BA '60)(MA '61)(Phd '72), won the National Intercollegiate Men's Singles Table Tennis championship in 1959 defeating Paul S. Kochanowski (BA `61) 3–0. Playing together Kromkowski and Kochanowski won the Men's Doubles championship that year and they won the "Teams".

Notre Dame's women's lacrosse team reached the Final Four in 2006.


Notre Dame is a member of the Big East Conference in all sports except for the following: The Big East has added Men's Lacrosse. Notre Dame will be participating in Big East lacrosse starting in the 2010 season.

In 2006, Notre Dame finished third among Division I institutions in the fourth annual Collegiate Power Rankings released by the National Collegiate Scouting Association (NCSA). The Irish were seventh on the overall list that included all the top academic and athletic colleges and universities in the country at the Division I, II and III levels.

Notre Dame entertained the possibility of joining the Big Ten Conference in all sports in 1999, but the idea was met with resistance from alumni and the student body even though the Notre Dame Faculty Senate voted nearly unanimously to seek admittance into the league. Notre Dame would have been the only Big Ten school not to be a member of the Association of American Universities, which emphasizes research. Ultimately, the school elected to maintain its football independence and Big East affiliation. Rumors of discussion amongst administration officials about changing Notre Dame's conference affiliation resurfaced in 2003, but no official action has been taken by Notre Dame or any conference.




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