Football Weekends at Notre Dame

Snapshots and Traditions

Written by Bill Schmitt
Photography by Lou Sabo

“This book demonstrates what makes Notre Dame football so special—the unique community of friends, families, students, and the football team that takes place on Saturdays in the fall at this great university.” — Charlie Weis, head football coach, University of Notre Dame, 2005–2009

“As head football coach at Notre Dame for eleven seasons, I witnessed firsthand the spectacle of young athletes achieving greatness on the field. But football weekends at Notre Dame are about so much more than the game. Bill Schmitt’s book perfectly captures the unique traditions—many of which go on outside the stadium—that take place on gameday weekends at the University of Notre Dame.” — Ara Parseghian, head football coach, University of Notre Dame, 1964–74

“This book should stand for decades as the authoritative account of a Notre Dame football weekend in all its aspects, from behind-the-scenes preparations to the hallowed traditions loved by millions. What a great keepsake for anyone who experiences this important piece of Americana.” — Matthew V. Storin, editor of The Boston Globe, 1993–2001

“Whether you’re visiting campus from a few miles away or from around the globe, you have to agree that football weekends at Notre Dame are unlike anything else in the world. With all the reunions and traditions and excitement, these weekends are really about the wonderful people and places of Notre Dame; Bill Schmitt captures that in this book.” — Charles F. Lennon, Jr., Executive Director, Notre Dame Alumni Association, and Associate Vice President, University Relations

When people ask the question, “What makes a football weekend at Notre Dame so special?” members of the Notre Dame family know that it could take an entire book to give the whole answer. This is that book. It tells the gameday story with over one hundred color photographs that bring the experience alive from the perspectives of many different groups, and its words add a context that is rich in the traditions, community connections, values, and spirit that make Notre Dame unique.

Writer Bill Schmitt and photographer Lou Sabo approached the question with the kind of wide-ranging curiosity that goes beyond sports books, guidebooks, and history books. Their work reveals that the answer comes from many sources and primarily from the people who share the experience. The book focuses on students, many of whom have no involvement on the field; Catholics and believers of all faiths; alumni; visitors from around the country and the world; South Bend neighbors and business owners; athletes; and the coaches.

The reader will enjoy deeper insights into Notre Dame football’s connections to all sorts of traditions—some profound, some trivial, but always bringing people closer to each other and to the past, present, and future. As seen in chapters that explore the acts of faith, hope, and charity that surround the football program and reflect the nature and mission of the university, there is a real sense in which, regardless of the tally on the scoreboard, everyone who participates emerges from a Notre Dame football weekend as a winner.

BILL SCHMITT is communications manager for the Office of Public Affairs and Communication at the University of Notre Dame.

LOU SABO is a former South Bend Tribune photographer and currently a freelance photographer and illustrator.


“Multiple views, including more than 100 photographs, help bring the experience of football on campus alive with perspectives from students, athletes, business owners, and alumni.” — Notre Dame Magazine

“[Schmitt] gives insight into the powerful combinations of education and faith, responsibility and generosity, team and family. Not your average college football narrative, [the book asks] us to look beneath and beyond the institution to one person, one team, one college, one community, one country, one world.” — In Michiana