At this point in my life, it’s no secret to just about anyone who knows me that I’m a huge fan of ridiculous names.
it was incredibly difficult, but I think my Final 4 is:— Pat Rick (@Psully226) March 15, 2017
So, when a commenter on an article a week or two ago mentioned Michael Stonebreaker and how perfect a name that is for a linebacker, it got me thinking - what are the best names to ever grace the grass/turf in The House That Rockne Built?
So, I began doing my research, scouring ND football rosters for fantastic names. However, I ran into a bit of a pickle when I couldn’t find a reliable, comprehensive source for team rosters earlier than roughly 1999.
That’s when I found this beautiful PDF via a Google search — it lists all 2,560 players who played at least a minute for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team, from its inception all the way up to about 2002.
I hit the name jackpot.
Before I take you to the best of the best, though, I want to point out a few other amazing discoveries I made as I mind-numbingly read through 2500+ names.
First, we need to talk about player nicknames, as they were especially prevalent in the first half of the 20th century and the list of amazing nicknames I compiled during this exercise was exceptional.
Here are just some of my favorites: “Tree,” “Bodie,” “Dutch,” “Judge,” “Cornie,” “Cactus,” “Fod,” “Jepers,” “Rosey,” “Smoush,” “Smousherette,” “Dippy,” “Thunder,” “Cupid,” “Kitty,” “Nordy,” “Ducky,” “Hoot,” “Moose,” “Bunny,” “Ojay,” “Zipper,” “Abbie,” “Happy,” “Slip,” “Chick,” “Pepper,” “Dinger,” “Fuzzy,” “Mugsy,” “Rangy,” “Rip,” “Rupe,” “Moon,” “Peaches,” “Turk,” “One Play,” “Bull,” “Shag,” “Dinny,” “Fritz,” “Clipper,” “Lank,” “Rollo,” “Chile,” “Gillie,” and last but not least, the Irish head coach from 1931 through 1933 — “Hunk” Anderson.
That list doesn’t even mention the countless players nicknamed “Red” and “Cap” and “Doc” and “Tex” and “Curly” and “Duke.” WE NEED TO BRING BACK OLD-TIMEY NICKNAMES IMMEDIATELY - THEY ARE SO MUCH FUN.
Another observation: the prevalence of the name “Dick.”
Obviously scrolling through a bunch of Irish Catholic names, I expected a lot of names like O’Brien and Sullivan and Kelly and whatnot. But what I also found were 38 different players named “Dick.” This was not something I anticipated - THAT’S 1.5% OF ALL NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL PLAYERS WHO PLAYED IN A GAME UP TO 2002!
In my research before I found this comprehensive list of names, I even found a specific team (1957) that featured 5 players named Dick who recorded some sort of offensive statistic - RBs Dick Lynch and Dick Selcer, and receivers Dick Royer, Dick Prendergast, and Dick Myers.
I have no deeper insight to pull from this, I just thought it was really funny that so many Dicks had played for Notre Dame over the years.
Okay, now that we’ve talked about guys named Hunk and Dinger and Dick, let’s get right into the 1st Team, 2nd Team, and a few Honorable Mentions, of Notre Dame football’s best names of all-time.
1ST TEAM NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL ALL-NAME TEAM
These were my absolute favorite names at each position/position group. The team features:
- a QB named Doody
- a running back with Goodspeed
- a fullback with testicular fortitude
- a guy named Torgus
- an offensive lineman whose name sounds like he’s a feared rim protector or SWAT team captain
- a man who is both named Romanus and who is also nicknamed “Peaches” somehow
- a guy who is named after your father
- Herman Hooten, the most fun name to say since Frank Doody
- a defensive lineman whose last name is either meant to describe how much he is the typical athlete, or, best-case scenario, describes a pesky medical issue he’s experiencing
- a linebacker looking to get physical
- a safety tandem with the most intimidating names possible
- a kicker whose name sounds like a generic name for a man
Notre Dame Football 1st Team All-Name Team
|Equanimeous St. Brown||WR||2015-2018|
|Romanus "Peaches" Nadolney||OL||1918|
|Corny Southall||CB (technically a S, but whatever)||1985-1988|
2ND TEAM NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL ALL-NAME TEAM
These were my second-favorite names at each position/position group. Some highlights:
- a QB whose name makes him the most Scottish person in history, and also a famous Virginia militiaman
- a somewhat famous playwright at running back
- a fullback who never drinks
- a pair of receivers named after mafia characters from The Simpsons, I’m pretty sure
- DeShone’s revered ancestor
- a guy named after Bronko Nagurski
- the ultimate two-first-names name
- a defensive line made up of Irons, Ishaq, Adetokunbo, and Bert
- an infant linebacker
- William Williams
- safeties named Bumper and Daane
- PLEASE NOTE: There were absolutely no good punter names that I could find - hell, Scott Palumbo got 1st Team honors at the position. So, I gave Hunter Smith 2nd Team because Hunter the Punter is the best nickname a punter could possibly have
Notre Dame Football 2nd Team All-Name Team
|Bronko Nagusrki Jr.||OL||1956-1958|
|William David Williams||CB||2005-2007|
|Hal Von Wyl||K||1982-1985|
|Hunter "The Punter" Smith||P||1995-1998|
HONORABLE MENTION NAMES THAT I FELT NEEDED A SHOUT-OUT
Finally, these were the other names I felt VERY STRONGLY about but couldn’t find room for on my first and second teams. I do not have Honorable Mentions for each position (in fact, it appears I only have them for positions on offense), but these guys deserve recognition for unbelievable monikers, including:
- QBs named inspiring, leader-esque names like Dinkle and Dick Coad
- running backs named Hiawatha and Achille and Steve (who is Wack)
- Oh, and Dick Zielony, fullback-at-law
- Monty Stickles, who sounds like a notorious pick-pocket
- Arnaz and Temitope and Hercules and Mirko Jurkovic
- an offensive lineman who I’m fairly certain isn’t real and just represents what each of these players receives upon graduating
Notre Dame Football Honorable Mention All-Name Team
|Achille "Chick" Maggioli||RB||1943-1944|
Folks, even though I devoured a huge list of names along with rosters from the past 18 years or so, there is a good chance I still left off some very deserving players. Here is all of my work if you’d like to peruse it.
I kindly ask that you leave a comment with any changes you would make to these All-Name teams, berating me for my personal choices as much as you see fit. I always encourage a nice, heated discussion in the comments section about any and all arbitrary topics - let’s #EmbraceDebate, my friends.