Clashmore Mike Comes Home

By+Susan Guibert

Illustrations courtesy of Andrea Pynaert

 

Notre Dame’s famed leprechaun has rallied fans for decades, but the leprechaun wasn’t the first mascot to help the team shake down the thunder…

Clashmore Mike, a spunky Irish Terrier originally given as a gift to Knute Rockne, inspired and entertained fans for more than 40 years before the leprechaun. From 1924 to 1965, Clashmore Mike’s antics on and off the field brought the team more than luck – the little terriers had a better record than any other mascot in college football.

As a Notre Dame alumna and employee – as is my co-author Brendan O’Shaughnessy – I was truly surprised to discover that there had been a mascot other than the leprechaun. In fact, in all the  years I attended school and worked at Notre Dame, I never even noticed the bas relief of Clashmore Mike on the side of Alumni Hall.  It’s really a testimony to the important role that little dog played in Notre Dame’s athletic history.

I graduated from Notre Dame in 1987, then finished my master’s degree in ’93 and began working as assistant director in the Public Relations Office in 2003.  Brendan, a 1993 ND grad, was hired three years ago as executive communications writer, and our offices ended up next door to each other in Grace Hall.

The idea for the book came about when I was telling Brendan about another children’s book I was working on. He had recently discovered Clashmore Mike while doing research for a speech for Rev. John Jenkins, (Notre Dame’s President) on why Notre Dame is called “The Fighting Irish.” As we talked more, the idea to collaborate on a children’s book about Clashmore Mike seemed a perfect idea.

For the next few months, we spent our lunch hours writing and editing.  Once the book was finished, our next step was to find a publisher.  

The luck of the Irish must have been with us, because the first publisher we met with – Jim Langford of Corby Books – happened to be a Notre Dame grad who was in school at the time Clashmore Mike was mascot! He loved Clashmore Mike and the book.

Our illustrator, Andrea Pynaert, is a talented caricature artist from Mishawaka, whom I met several years ago.  She was perfect for this project and really captured the look and feel we envisioned.

The book was published and released in June, 2011, and sold well during both the football season and the rest of the year.  We gave presentations on the book at several area schools and also had book signings most football Saturdays at the campus book store.

We’ve just completed a sequel to “Clashmore Mike Comes Home” called “Clashmore Mike: Dublin to Dome.” It’s an immigration story about Clashmore Mike coming from Ireland to America, and his first few seasons as mascot. It was released in August of 2012.

Notre Dame fans of all ages will enjoy the adventures of Mikey, a modern-day Irish Terrier who comes to campus for a tailgate party with his family. Mikey gets lost from his people, but through his exploration of campus, discovers the true story of Clashmore Mike.

 

For more information visit ndclashmoremike.com, or to order your copy of both books, visit Amazon.com or Corby Publishing.