Semper Victurus

Coach Hugh Devore receives Mascot Clashmore Mike II, a gift of James McGarraghy (left) of Chicago.

Coach Hugh Devore receives Mascot Clashmore Mike II, a gift of James McGarraghy (left) of Chicago.

Disce Quasi Semper Victurus Vive Quasi Cras Moriturus"
("Study like you will live forever; live like you will die tomorrow".)

Starting in the late 1870's, this rather intimidating phrase was the Scholastic Magazine credo. Ironically, the Scholastic proved to be the vehicle which has allowed the daily experiences of Notre Dame students during the past 150 years to truly "live forever". Scholastics are a virtual gold mine of Notre Dame history, and more importantly, of insight into the daily lives of its students. These first hand reports of campus life, written by student reporters, give a candid and personal view of important (and trivial) events on the Notre Dame campus. Joe Madonia, an '82 alum and partner in the Chicago law firm of Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon, will edit a monthly column of excerpts from his rare and wonderful collection of original Scholastic Magazines spanning the period from 1869 - 1931.

Semper Victurus 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 by a 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 Says.”

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 said:

"Boys, I'm cured!"

Unfortunately, he isn't, and the grand old veteran will have to remain in Healthwin for some time.



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