The history of Clashmore Mike

NOW: The history of Clashmore Mike

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. - There's not much on campus suggesting that Clashmore Mike was once the Irish mascot but here outside Alumni Hall, you can actually catch a glimpse of the Irish terrier.

The days Knute Rockne and Frank Leahy graced Notre Dame Stadium, a little-known sidekick was also prancing along the sidelines. 

Clashmore Mike was Notre Dame's esteemed mascot before the team became "The Fighting Irish."

The Irish terrier was given to coach Rockne in 1924. At that time, the dog was Tiperary Terrence.

"For 40 or 60 years they used this dog as a mascot, won a number of national championships," said Brendan O'Shaughnessy, feature writer for the University of Notre Dame.

O'Shaughnessy has researched the legend of Irish Terrier.

He even wrote a children's book on Clashmore Mike, the most well-known. 

"The dog lived on campus. There is a rumor, I don't know how true it is, that the dog is actually buried under one of the end zones, under Notre Dame stadium," O'Shaughnessy said.  

"I understand that they taught it different tricks and they had some fun with it. They would feed it goat meat before the game against Navy, so it would be really aggressive towards the goat," he said.  

For most students, it's long forgotten history.

And the history of the dog has a number of conflicting accounts. Like why Clashmore Mike replaced with a leprechaun?

"There's no clear answer to that question," O'Shaughnessy said. "I think they actually crossed over for a period in the 1960s. When the leprechaun came, Notre Dame won the national championship in 1966, after the first leprechaun and I think people thought that was good luck."

O'Shaughnessy thinks the reason Mike faded from the Notre Dame sidelines had to do with the University's dog handler retiring. 

Older alumni, he says, regularly express interest in seeing the dog making a comeback. Students are open to the idea too.

But O'Shaughenessy says it's very unlikely Clashmore Mike will return, especially after the success of the Fighting Irish mascot.

"The leprechaun of course has built its own traditions over the years, works very well with the band," he said. "It's a big tradition as well to have the leprechaun and I think that the university seems pretty happy with it."

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