Life this month features an article
entitled, “Clashmore Mike – Irish Mascot.” It’s by student James F.
McCarthy and was printed in September 1945.
(Courtesy of the
Notre Dame Archives)
figures were absent from the Notre Dame football scene this year.
One was scrappy little Clashmore Mike, the spunky Irish Terrier, who,
as team mascot for the past decade, had captured the attention of
football fans throughout the nation. On Monday, Sept. 17, less than
two weeks before the 1945 grid season opened, Mike's body was found
on the campus by a caretaker and buried in the Notre Dame stadium
where the mascot had begun his illustrious career.
notable missing from the Irish camp this year was Mr. Dan Hanley,
Mike's trainer, who after 17 years of service with the University,
was confined to Healthwin, no doubt remembering his colorful days
with Clashmore and looking forward to the time when he could again
train a mascot to win fame with the Fighting Irish.
It was back in
1935 that a terrier, then an eight-week-old pup, arrived on the
Notre Dame campus. Presented to Head Coach Elmer Layden by a
Chicago kennel-owner, the pup was
turned over to Dan Hanley for training as a mascot. Mr. Hanley named
the dog Clashmore Mike after a famous Irishman, and then set about
the difficult task of providing the young mascot with his famous
repertoire. With the aid of a broken bar, the frolicking puppy was
taught to clear two feet. As the weeks passed the bar was raised,
the result being that as the season opened a vivacious terrier was
taking the high hurdles with ease.
encounter with the Pitt Panther marked Mike's debut. Clashmore, in a
lively mood that day, quickly went after the strange denizen of the
East. To the glee of fans who packed Notre Dame stadium, the
aggressive Irish Mascot literally made the fur fly, and a worried
student wearing the panther hide made a hasty retreat to the Pitt
Mike showed his
fighting spirit many times afterwards, especially one Saturday
afternoon in 1941 against the Navy goat. Apparently the nautical
atmosphere aroused Clashmore somewhat, for he strained angrily at
his leash as Mr. Hanley led him before the thousands who jammed
Municipal Stadium in
Baltimore that day.
accident occurred -or perhaps it wasn't an accident. Mr. Hanley
tripped, dropping the leash, and Mike raced in the direction of
Bill, renowned Navy goat. Dust flew as the two mascots captured the
crowd's attention. It was dog and goat in a battle royal. But the
goat soon retired from the fray, and the game little terrier trotted
off happily with another victory to his credit.
Not long after
the game, a letter came to the University addressed to Mike in care
of his trainer. The letter reads as follows:
Dear Clashmore Mike :
I suppose you get lots of letters from your fans. I
would like to be one of them. I saw you were at the Notre Dame-Navy
game. I thought you were very brave the way you went after the Navy
Mike, if you have any autographed pictures, I would
dearly love to have one. I am sure you must have lots of requests
for them. Well, here's wishing the best o' luck to you and your
As ever your ardent fan,
records, it was the only letter the colorful Clashmore ever received.
Incidentally, Mary got the picture.
between Mike and the goat were renewed the following year. Ignoring
hurdles which had been set up for him, Mike again tangled with the
Navy mascot. The battle raged as in the previous year and, to the
displeasure of the Midshipmen and the goat, Mike once more emerged
The same year,
Army's mule fell before fiery Clashmore. Mike chalked up another
victory, and with it a rivalry that existed down through the years.
predecessors were two in number. As legend has it, the first was a
bulldog who, carrying a football in his mouth, entered the stadium
in advance of the 1924 team. [Editor’s note: This is probably an
inaccuracy, because the first official mascot dog was Tipperary
Terrance, but the 1909 team photo shows captain Red Miller holding a
dog which may be a bulldog.] Following the bulldog came Shaun Ru, an
Irish terrier, who lasted until 1931. That year the team had a
rather rough time of it, and after an unsuccessful season Shaun Ru
The place of
the recently deceased canine warrior had not been vacant long until
into the spotlight appeared Clashmore Mike II. Presented as a gift
to the University from James McGarraghy, of
Chicago, long a devoted friend of
Notre Dame, the newcomer made his appearance on the eve of the
Illinois game. A shy puppy during
half-time festivities this season, Mike II tried to get the swing of
things but did not quite measure up to the veteran that had gone