The Gipper

The Sydney Morning Herald has decided to clear up an issue currently perplexing Australians: Why was Ronald Reagan called “The Gipper”? I’m a little annoyed that they didn’t mention ND though. I wonder if they’re having any special memorial service on campus…


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  1. Cool link – I’ve always wondered where that came from.

  2. The whole story is even better. Gipp was a student at ND living in Washington Hall (which is now the theater) around 1920. Back then the uni was men-only and quite strict. Gipp went out partying in South Bend one winter’s night and came back way past curfew. He’d already been in trouble before and he knew that if he got caught, he’d get expelled. So in his drunken state, he figured the best thing to do was sleep out on the front steps. In February. In South Bend. He of course caught an infection and died a couple weeks later. Legend says that he still haunts Washington Hall to this day. (And as a theater major that spent a lot of time in the building, I’m inclined to believe it.) Anyway, eight years later Notre Dame was scoreless against Army so at halftime Rockne told them how Gipp had told him on his deathbed that if the Irish boys were ever down, to tell them to “win one for the Gipper”. That’s the scene they recreated in the movie with Reagan playing Gipp.

    Pretty neat, huh?

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