Win one for the Gipper. Has there ever been a better-known and more widely-used exhortative phrase in sports? Not likely. But who was the Gipper,” this seemingly mythical athlete whose nickname has aroused, in turn, awe, wonderment, curiosity, and amusement since the second decade of the twentieth century, and whose death while still a student plunged the Notre Dame campus, the city of South Bend, Indiana, and indeed much of the country into collective grief?
More than eight decades after his death, George Gipp is still regarded by football historians as Notre Dame’s best all-around player. And it was Gipp and his legendary coach, Knute Rockne, who were largely responsible for putting Notre Dame, then a small Midwestern all-male Catholic school, on the map. But their names were to resonate well beyond that era as they each attained immortal status, both because of their football achievements and their distinctive, albeit vastly different, personalitiesGipp, the enigmatic and undisciplined loner, and Rockne, the charismatic, highly organized, and disciplined coach, famous for his stirring orations to his players and his ability to bring out the best in the insouciant Gipp.
Exhaustively researched and meticulously reported, The Gipper is the definitive examination of the enigmatic Gipp, his larger-thanlife coach, and a bygone golden era in sports and American culture.