- Who was the first future physician to Captain the Irish?
Henry Luhn was the Captain of ND’s first team, in 1887. He later started the first football team at Gonzaga University. He was a prominent Physician in the State of Washington.
- Who scored the first touchdown for Notre Dame?
Hal Jewett, who was one of the top sprinters in the country, scored the first ND TD, in 1888, against Michigan.
- Who was the first future physician to make All American for the Irish?
Dr. Eddie Anderson was an All American End for Notre Dame. He later became one of the top College Football Coaches in the country, primarily for the University of Iowa, where he coached Heisman Trophy winner Nile Kinnick. He got his medical degree while coaching football and basketball at DePaul. He played in the early NFL. He is in the College Football Hall of Fame. He is one of the greatest combination player-coaches in College Football history.
- Who was the first future physician to score more than 10 TD’s in a season for the Irish?
Dr. John Mohardt, who threw several TD passes to Dr. Eddie Anderson, was a blocking back for Gipp. In the NFL, he was a blocking back for Red Grange. He also played with Ty Cobb, on the Tigers. He played three sports for ND. He was a Mayo Clinic surgeon. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Notre Dame and went to Northwestern for Med School. He did not graduate from high school!
- Who was the first Irish player to have an automobile named after him?
Hal Jewett (see above) purchased the Paige Motor Car Company, a producer of elegant automobiles in the early days of the motor car. One of their models was called “The Jewett”.
- Who was the second Irish player to have an automobile named after him?
Studebaker named a car after its spokesman, Knute Rockne. The Rockne was in production for two years.
- Who was Notre Dame’s first foreign born Head Coach?
Pat O’Dea, a Wisconsin man, in 1900-1901, was an Australian.
- Which Notre Dame Head Coach was called the greatest college punter and drop kicker of all time?
Pat O’Dea, “The Kangaroo Kicker”. He was reputed to have made a 110-yard punt (the field was once that long) and drop kicked a 62 yard field goal. He is in the College Football Hall of Fame.
- Who was Notre Dame’s second foreign born Head Coach?
This one is too easy. Knute was also one of the top pole vaulters in the Midwest during his time at ND.
- Which Notre Dame QB became one of Hollywood’s greatest Directors?
Canadian Allan Dwan was involved with more than 1,000 movies, beginning with the early days of the film in Hollywood. He was a back-up QB on the 1906 Team. Among his many films were Robin Hood (Douglas Fairbanks), Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farms (Shirley Temple), and Sands of Iwo Jima (John Wayne).
- Which Notre Dame QB became the President of the Southern Pacific Railroad?
Angus McDonald was the QB on the 1899 team. He served as President of the Southern Pacific Railroad (1932-1941).
- Which ND football Captain became the only Rector to have a Dorm named after him?
John “Pop” Farley was a 3-sport star for ND. While records are sketchy from back then, he is reputed to have rushed for 470 yards in one game, in the late 1890’s. Farley Hall is the only dorm on campus named for a Rector.
- Who was the first Notre Dame player to receive All American recognition?
“Red Salmon”, 1903 Fullback, received a third team All American notice from Walter Camp.
- Who was the first Notre Dame player to receive votes in the Heisman Trophy race?
Bill Shakespeare finished third in the Heisman in 1935, the year that Jay Berwanger of Yale won the first Heisman.
- Who was the first Notre Dame player to be picked when the NFL draft began, in 1936?
Shakespeare was also the first pick in the inaugural NFL draft in 1936.
- Who was our second pick in that draft, who played Major League Baseball, but not in the NFL?
Andy Pilney, who was one of the heroes of the famous 18-13 win over Ohio State in 1935, called the Game of the Half Century.
- Who was our 6th pick in that draft, who is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
End Wayne Millner, who is also in the College Football Hall of Fame.
- Which Notre Dame fullback played in the NFL after surviving the Bataan Death March?
Mario “Motts” Tonelli.
- Who was the first Notre Dame fullback to be a Pro Wrestling Champion?
“Jumpin’ Joe” Savoldi. Incidentally, we have had at least two other Pro Wrestling Champions…….counting Angelo Mosca and Mike “The Bear” Webster, who were members of the Canadian Football League and wrestled in Canada.
- Which Notre Dame half back was the NCAA Track & Field Champion in the 400 meter hurdles?
Aubrey Lewis, who was the prohibitive favorite to win the Olympic Gold, but fell over a hurdle in the Olympic qualifiers.
- Which Notre Dame half back became the first African American graduate of the FBI Academy?
- Which Notre Dame half back became the NCAA Track & Field Champion in the 220 yard hurdles?
Gus Desch, 1921.
- Which Notre Dame player and coach was a two-time NCAA Track & Field Champion in the discus?
Tom Lieb, 1923-24.
- Who scored the first TD after Rockne’s half time “win one for the Gipper speech”?
- Who was the Commissioner of the NFL in the mid 40’s?
Elmer Layden, former member of the Four Horsemen backfield.
- Who was Commissioner of the rival All American Football Conference in the mid 40’s?
Jim Crowley, also a member of the Four Horsemen. The AAFC was founded by Notre Dame man Arch Ward, who also founded the Baseball All Star Game and the Golden Gloves and the College Football All Star Game.
- Who was the first Legal Counsel of the NFL Players’ Association?
Creighton Miller, led the nation in rushing, in 1943. Was one of the founders of the NFLPA and its first attorney. He’s in the College Football Hall of Fame. He was also the nephew of Don Miller, of the Four Horsemen backfield.
- Who threw the first TD pass in the history of the AFL?
Frank Tripucka. He was an ND QB in our heyday for Quarterbacks. From 1943 through 1949, we had Angelo Bertelli, Johnny Lujack, Boley Dancewicz, Frank Tripucka, George Ratterman, and Bob Williams. No college in history has ever had such acclaimed Quarterbacks in such a short period of time.
- Who was the General Counsel of the AFL Players’ Association in the mid 60’s?
George Ratterman, who Frank Leahy called the greatest athlete he ever coached.
- Who was the first QB in the history of the NFL to wear a radio receiver in his helmet?
Ratterman, who was in contact with Head Coach Paul Brown.
- Which Boston College Star and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, who was the son of one of the most famous Boxing Referees, wrote a biography called FATSO, and often appeared on the Johnny Carson show? And, started his college career at ND?
- Which Pro Football Hall of Famer used the alias “Johnny Blood”, to hide his real name in case he ever attempted to gain re-admittance to Notre Dame and play football?
Besides working on my book on famous Notre Dame people, I have been kicking around some Notre Dame Football trivia items. Here’s 30 off the top of my head. All of these men played or coached football for Notre Dame.