In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the idea of mascots and team names at Notre Dame was very fluid. Team names often changed from year to year, team to team, game to game. Sports writers used a number of monikers, ranging from Catholics, Hoosiers, Rockmen, Ramblers, etc., sometimes varying within a single sports article, until Fighting Irish began to stick in the 1920s. Mascots were often seen as good luck charms and Notre Dame had a revolving door of them until the 1930s. Minim student Willie Robb was the mascot for the 1895 baseball team [GMLS 5/01] and Irish Catholic actress Sally O’Neil served as mascot for the Notre Dame vs. Southern California (USC) football game in 1926 [Los Angeles Times, "Another View of Charley Riley," 12/05/1926].
Animals, and dogs in particular, were often used as early mascots. A September 22, 1900, South Bend Tribune article recounts the menagerie of personal pets used as mascots:
“Dad Moulton, Manager Eggeman, and Pat O’Dea Have Pets.
If Notre Dame is unsuccessful on the gridiron this fall, it will not be due to a lack of mascots, and if there is anything in variety of mascots Notre Dame will be successful.
When Dad Moulton arrived his train was a menagerie, made up of two trick dogs and canary bird — one of the dogs, a hairless Mexican, Dad intends to use as a hoodoo for opposing teams in conjunction with a black and white billy goat Manager Eggeman received from Fort Wayne.
The goat is of the stock yards variety with a records of having eaten two shirts and a pair of shoes in one morning. He has already shown a bellicose disposition — but under the care of Moulton, who intends to train him, he may be taught to save his combativeness for the opposing team.
Not to be outdone by the trainer or the manger, [football coach] Pat O’Dea intends to send to Colorado to a friend of his who has pet kangaroos. With this aggregation of animals, the kangaroo hurdling hedge fences, the goat bucking the line and the dogs doing tricks on the side-lines, Notre Dame should present a terrifying appearance to any antagonist.” [PNDP 3020-m-01]
An American Bulldog named Mike shows up throughout William Schmitt’s scrapbook. Schmitt was part of the 1909 Western Championship Football Team and it could be inferred that the team considered this dog a mascot. In Natural Enemies, author John Kryk mentioned that Notre Dame Coach Frank Longman owned such a dog (page 64), so it would make sense that the team would embrace Mike.
Mike the dog as a member of the 1909 Western Championship Football Team
The history of Irish Terriers as mascots contains a number of conflicting accounts. “Clashmore Mike” is the name that most people today recognize, but there were a number of other other dogs who played mascot in one capacity or another for over forty years.
Alumni Hall Bas Relief of an Irish Terrier, c1980s. Photo by Brother Martinus.
If this carving was done at the time of the construction of Alumni Hall in 1931, then it pre-dates Clashmore Mike and is a premonition of the importance the Irish Terrier would have at Notre Dame. However, some architectural details were added well after the construction of the buildings they adorn (see the blog post on the Campus Statue Project).
In January 1924, the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Toledo first presented football coach Knute Rockne with a new Irish mascot. Edward Lynch, a member of the 1909 football team who had its own mascot dog, secured an Irish Terrier for Notre Dame. Notre Dame Daily ran a contest for students to name the dog and Tipperary Terrence (“Terry” for short), based on the dog’s lineage, was the winning name.
In May 1924, Terry was hit by a car when following two students who were walking on Niles Road, and he died a few days later. According to the Notre Dame Daily, “the need of a mascot was acute. All the other colleges in the United States have their mascot supposed to represent in some manner the character of the school. Terry was given to the school because it was felt that one of his breed was the best standard bearer that we could possibly have” [PNDP 3020-m-01].
The Toledo Club again donated Tipperary Terrence II to Notre Dame in time for the 1924 Army game. Not much is mentioned of him after that.
Football Coach Knute Rockne holding Tipperary Terrence II, 1924.
Caption: “Head Coach Knute Rockne of the Notre Dame football team with ‘Terry’ the winning mascot, who will be present at the contest with the Army at the Polo Grounds.”
The South Bend Tribune noted, “Rockne regards Mascot Terry as an omen of good luck, and wouldn’t think of starting a game without having the Airedale on the scene of battle.”
Charles Otis presented Notre Dame with Irish Terrier Brick Top Shaun Rhu some time before the 1930 Pennsylvania football game. Shaun Rhu was prone to running away and calmly walking in the traffic of busy streets. He disappeared for good in 1933.
Irish Terrier Brick Top Shaun Rhu wearing a football helmet, c1930.
Caption: “With affectionate regards to Shaun Rhu and the College of Notre Dame. Best hopes and wishes from Chas. A. Otis.”
In 1935, Clashmore Mike became the official football team mascot. Notre Dame officials ran with the publicity of this mascot, which is probably one reason as to why he is best know today. He had his own column in the football programs and bravely battled the Pitt panther, Army mule, and Navy goat.
Clashmore Mike entertained fans with his sideline gymnastics for years until his death in September 1945. He was buried in Notre Dame Stadium and was succeeded by Clashmore Mike II, who was born Shannon Invader. After Clashmore Mike II ran away in 1948, James McGarraghy of Chicago presented Notre Dame with Shannon View Mike.
An Irish Terrier dog with handler Joe Dierickx inside the Stadium, c1954.
The Notre Dame Archives has two of the 1950s dog coats in its collections — one in green and one in blue.
This is where the history becomes a bit muddy. The 1952 Scholastic Football Review mentions Shannon View Mike and Pat and the 1953 Scholastic Football Review calls the mascot Clashmore Mike III. A 1958 article mentions that Shannon View Mike I “became distinctly anti-social” and “had to be put away” in 1954. Shannon View Mike II, whose registered name was Shannon View Rudy, came shortly there after. Shannon View Mike II had a companion Pat (perhaps the same Pat mentioned in 1952), registered Castlebar Caprice, and the two of them produced three litters of pups. “The first litter was raffled in the 1956 ND Mardi Gras Festival by the Monogram Club” and the other litters were sold to Notre Dame fans. One male pup was retained by the University. Apparently there was a Shannon View Mike III followed by Mascot Mike. Mike III was named on the field during the 1960s. [PNDP 3020-m-01]
In the 1940s, a human “Irishman” appeared at Pep Rallies, at Media Day, on the sidelines game day, and on the ND vs. Navy football program covers. In 1960, a “Leprechaun” joined the ranks of the cheerleaders on the sidelines. Artist Ted Drake designed the famous leprechaun logo, which was featured on the cover of TIME Magazine with new football Coach Ara Parseghian in November 20, 1964. By the end of the decade, the Terriers had slowly faded into history. It’s not apparent as to why — some suggest that the last dog either died or became too old and that the handlers suffered the same fate and were never replaced.
Football Game Scene – ND vs. Oklahoma, 1968/0921. Leprechaun with an Irish Terrier
Resurgence for a return to the Irish Terrier mascot began around Knute Rockne’s 100th birthday anniversary in 1988. Marge Andre of the Irish Terrier Club of Chicago attempted to weed through the conflicting accounts to write a history of the mascot [see also PNDP 3020-m-01 for a printed version from 1988]. The efforts to reinstate the scrappy dog as mascot still exist today, albeit with no success as of yet.