Hall of Fame
"Win one for The Gipper!" Knute Rockne's words came with
a special emotion as he urged his Notre Dame players to
remember and respond accordingly. Rockne knew "The
Gipper" had won more than his share for Notre Dame. It was
not just Rockne's impassioned pleas which had made George
Gipp a Notre Dame legend. It was the vision of a free-spirited,
untamed athlete scoring touchdown after touchdown and
leading Irish teams to a pair of perfect nine-game seasons in his
final two years. It was remembering that late afternoon in
South Bend's St. Joseph Hospital when the failing Gipp, losing
the battle with pneumonia, slipped through death's door. "I
gotta go, Rock," Gipp had said. "Someday, Rock, when the
team is up against it, when things are going bad and breaks are
beating the boys - tell them to go on in there with all they've
got and win just one for The Gipper. I don't know where I'll
be then, Rock, but I'll know about it, and I'll be happy."
December 14, 1920; George Gipp, age 25, was dead.
In four varsity years Gipp rushed for 2,341 yards. This was a
school record that lasted until 1978. He also completed 93 passes
for 1,769 yards, punted, and returned kicks. He scored 156
points, counting touchdowns, extra points, and field goals.
The speech Rockne gave using Gipp's plea was at halftime
Nov. 10, 1928, against Army. Notre Dame trailing 6-0, came back
to win 12-6.
Gipp was born Feb. 18, 1895 in Laurium, Michigan.