is an article from the Scholastic about the
training and exploits of Clashmore Mike II.
Clashmore Mike, after snarling at the animals in
the band’s half-time circus presentation at the Pitt game, makes
friendly overtures toward the elephant. With him is the first
Leprechaun, Ralph Thorson.
Also, from a
December 6, 1946
edition of the Scholastic comes the first mention and appearance of the
Leprechaun. Here it is:
“The Pitt game also featured the
first appearance of a local phenomenon, the "Forgotten Irishman." Clad
in the traditional Kelly green of the Emerald Isle, the N.D. version of
the unhappy Sad Sack cavorted on the field during the halftime, assisted
the band in its seasonal exhibition. Under the green hat and pantaloons
was definitely non-Celtic Ralph Thorson, of Minnesota, who gamboled like
a Spring Iamb at the ensuing Purdue, Army, and Northwestern games, was
nowhere to be seen at the final contest with Southern Cal, appeared
indeed to have been forgotten.”
In the book The Band of the
Fighting Irish, there is an explanation of how the new mascot came
to be from Drum major Jim Kress, ’48:
“Anchored on the sideline, music
and formations of the 1942 band, dubbed musical murals by the new band
PA announcer, complemented the University's year-long centennial
celebration. For athletic events, Clashmore Mike, an Irish terrier,
seemed to have been the mascot since time began. The responsibility of
the cheerleaders, Mike was fun during football season but a pain the
rest of the year. Unfortunately, the Clahsmore terriers kept running
away or dying, and required continual replacement. By 1942 we were up to
about Clashmore VI; no one was sure of the count.
"It was a universal relief when in
1946 director H. Lee Hope, recognizing the band had no flags or twirlers
as did others, decided that the band's field marshall, Ralph Thorson,
would be costumed as a musical comedy Irishman, in recognition of the
increasing use of the word "Irish" as an established Notre Dame identity.
Hope dubbed Thorson The Smiling Irishman, a bandsman who
performed near the drum major. His clothes took on a roguish Irish tone
and later became even more extreme. Over the years it came to pass: no
more Clashmores, and-thanks to the band-the entrance of the Irish
Leprechaun, today's most recognized college mascot."
Clashmore Mike II
By Charles Carroll Carter
Just a year ago, a frisky little
pup only six months old, hopped about the unfamiliar surroundings
outside the office of Coach Hugh Devore, entirely unaware that he was
about to become a very important member of the great Notre Dame family.
Meanwhile his master, James McGarraghy of
Chicago, was inside presenting Coach
Devore with that wide-eyed pup's official pedigree and papers of
ownership. Since Clashmore Mike I, Notre Dame's mascot of 11 years, had
died on September 17th, last year and was later buried in the Stadium,
this wiry Irish terrier was about to take his place as the fighting
symbol of the Fighting Irish.
Irish mascots can be traced back
only as far as 1924, when at the start of the season a squatty,
ferocious-looking bull-dog waddled onto the field, a football clenched
in his teeth as the cocky favorite of a National Championship team. Some
years later, after the Bulldog came an Irish terrier, Shawn Rue, who
lasted until 1931. That year the team had a rather rough time of it, and
after an unsuccessful season little Shawn Rue mysteriously disappeared.
...Then in 1935 began the dynasty of Clashmore Mike, the name given to
the new mascot by Mr. Dan Hanley, who was inspired by the name of a
famous Irishman. Mike the First was presented to Head Coach Elmer Layden
Chicago kennel owner, who turned him
over to Dan Hanley for training.
With the aid of a collapsible bar,
Mike was taught to jump two feet but as the weeks passed the bar was
raised little by little. Mike had a little circus blood in him and soon
afterwards he learned to leap over high hurdles. He had a way of making
his jumps look spectacular to give the crowd a little bigger thrill and
himself a little louder applause. A victorious encounter with the Pitt
panther marked Mike's debut. Clashmore, in a lively mood that day,
quickly went after the strange over-stuffed cat from the East and to the
great enjoyment of fans who packed the Notre Dame stadium, the fighting
little Irish mascot made the fur fly. It wasn't long before a worried
student wearing the panther hide made a hasty retreat to the Pitt bench.
It was into this colorful family of
courageous canine favorites of the Irish that Clashmore Mike II was
about to step as Notre Dame's most loved and cherished animal mascot.
His pedigree says he is actually a "Shannon Invader," his father being
known as " Aristocrat Rumhound" and his mother a classy little canine
called "Shannon View Peggy." But when he became a member of the Irish
family, he was named the Second of a proud and worthy Notre Dame
heritage -Clashmore Mike.
"Mike" made his first public
appearance as the new Irish mascot before a packed house at the
Illinois game last season. No sooner
had he started to jump about the sidelines, straining at the leashes
which kept him from snapping at "refs" and all others who may stand in
the way of an N.D. victory, than did he become a beloved part of the
team. At all the home games as well as the student trip each year, he is
seen with his gold-trimmed, bright green blanket with a monogram on each
side; his mouth wide open, a wet tongue hanging out and eyes strained so
as not to miss a thing. But if ever there is trouble he has an
assortment of angry growls ready to let loose, as well as many a bark if
things don't meet with his approval.
Unlike most canis familiaris, Mike
is a great deal more than a dog. All one has to do is watch him at one
of the games and you will see, if you haven't already, that he is an
ardent rooter instilled with an urge to fight and a desire to win. He is
a symbol of support and loyalty to those on the field from those in the
stands. And, too, we have to give him credit for being a great showman.
Possibly you saw him chase that Army mule all over Yankee Stadium a few
weeks ago, snapping at flying hoofs and letting the world know he didn't
like horse meat. And then when the mule turned around to give him a run
for his money, what did Mike do? He spread his four feet apart, let
loose with a ferocious snarl and wouldn't budge! Mike is Irish and like
Fighting Irish he doesn't give ground, as the Cadets later found out.
Here’s an excerpt from former
South Bend Tribune sports writer Jim Costin’s column, “Jim Costin
Seranade for Dan Hanley
Dan Hanley, custodian of the Notre
Dame gym for many years and the master of Clashmore Mike, Irish terrier
mascot of the varsity football team for years, is now a bed patient in
Healthwin hospital. A severe attack of pneumonia resulted in the illness
which forced him to goseek medical attention. Well, the other night,
members of the Notre Dame Glee club went out to the hospital to
entertain the patients and, after they had concluded their regular
program, they gathered outside Dan's room and gave him a "private"
serenade, winding up with the Victory March. As the last notes of that
song were echoing down the hall, Dan raised himself up in his bed, and
"Boys, I'm cured!"
Unfortunately, he isn't, and the
grand old veteran will have to remain in Healthwin for some time.