FORMER SUBWAY ALUMNI LEADER REFLECTS ON HIS "NOTRE DAME ODYSSEY"


Herb Juliano
(1922-1998)

Herb's Archive features an article entitled, “Mascot Mike Spirit Behind Irish.”  by Bob Towner. (Courtesy of the University of Notre Dame Archives)

 

 

Clashmore Mike trainer Dan Hanley puts the mascot through his paces. To the right is Capt. Paul Lillis, senior right tackle.

 

N.D.’s Terrier famed for hurdling antics

I went to the dogs Tuesday.

Armed with only a sack of candy and a smile, I crashed the "dog-house society, canine's '400',” meeting Clashmore Mike, famed Irish terrier mascot of the Fightin' Irish of Notre Dame. The candy was a precautionary measure for Mike is feared by his mascot rivals -the Army mule, the Navy goat, the Pitt panther and the Drake bulldog. I, too, was somewhat fearful.

The candy was unnecessary. Except when chasing his mascot brothers on the gridiron, Mike is a gentle, harmless animal, possessing little of the Irish temperament. Mike's only failing is candy. He emptied the sack.

During the winter Mike shifts his living quarters from the great green outdoors of the Notre Dame campus to the much smaller confines of Dan Hanley's room in the fieldhouse. Hanley, by way of explanation, is caretaker of the fieldhouse and Mascot Mike's keeper and trainer.

 

Gained His Confidence.

A newspaperman's first move in an interview is to gain the confidence of those he questions. I handed Clashmore Mike a piece of candy, waited patiently while he devoured it and then popped question No.1.

“Mike," (he looked up eagerly) “to what do you attribute the success of Notre Dame's team under Coach Frank Leahy this autumn?”

“Arf. Arf! Grrrr-arf,” Mike explained. (Translated: “What else do you expect? A fine Irish man teaching a bunch of great Irishmen.” Mr. Hanley and I thought that summed it up pretty well.

"Mike, how about yourself?  Where did you learn all those tricks you perform before the Saturday thousands ?"

Another series of “arfs" and similar dog barks. (Again translated: “Look at my trainer.") And Mike lifted his head to meet the already descending hands of grey-haired, 72-year-old Dan Hanley. Dan lovingly patted Mike's reddish, wire-haired head.

 

Mascot's History.

Turning serious, we asked Mr. Hanley for something of Mike's  history. “Elmer Layden, coach at that time, received him from a Chicago friend in February of 1935. He's not an airedale as some believe, but a genuine Irish terrier. He'll be eight years old next February. Every spring Mike takes a leave of absence, A.W.0.L., and we have to get police aid in rediscovering him."

His most hated mascot foe is the United States Naval academy's goat. The 1940 meeting between the Navy's bewhiskered billy and Clashmore Mike nearly became a free-for-all with cheerleaders barely escaping with their necks. Jerry Flynn, head cheerleader led Mike across the turf to be introduced to the Middies' good luck charm. Mike hurried the introduction by chasing the goat back to the Navy dugout and then standing on guard for a few minutes.

Mike renewed his 1941 acquaintance with the goat in much the same manner. The Fighting Irish imitated Clashmore in the second half against the Tars. Final score: Notre Dame, 20; Navy, 13.

Mike is a little more educated in military maneuvers. He holds the Army mule in high respect and has learned how to retreat gracefully. In former years, Hanley recalled, Mike and the Drake bulldog were great enemies and many a brawl was averted by alert cheerleaders. “Mike once grabbed the Pitt panther's tail in his teeth, pulled it off and proudly ran around the gridiron with it in his mouth." The Pitt panther is merely a disguised student, however, in costume. See why brought the candy along brothers?

 

Hanley is Trainer .

Every morning and afternoon, fair or stormy weather, Hanley sends Mike over his hurdles. Clashmore's feature act in the Irish buff brick bowl is his exhibition of hurdling.

Fans love him everywhere. Last Saturday's Baltimore and Washington citizens took Mike right into their hearts and, added Hanley, “they'd take him right into their homes, too, if I didn't keep an eye on him." After the Navy tussle in Municipal stadium, a huge throng of fans gathered around Mike and his trainer. “Just because of the attention he created," muttered Dan, “we missed the bus carrying the band back to Washington. We, the two of us, took a taxi."

Over 300 pictures of Mike were taken by the press and public at the week's football classic. Which merely proves that sometimes even a dog will beat out an All-American for publicity. But Mike, says his trainer, the team, coaching staff, Notre Dame faculty and students, is an all-American, too

Illustration from a Notre Dame football program by W.F. Krawiec.

 

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