Without a doubt the most recognizable collegiate
fight song in the nation, the "Notre Dame Victory
March" was written just past the turn of the century
by two brothers who were University of Notre Dame
Michael J. Shea, a 1905 graduate, wrote the music
and his brother, John F. Shea, who earned degrees
in 1906 and 1908, wrote the words. The song was copyrighted
in 1908 and a piano verson, complete with lyrics,
was published that year.
Michael, who became a priest in Ossining, N.Y., collaborated
on the project with John, who lived in Holyoke, Mass.
The song's public debut came in the winter of 1908
when Michael played it on the organ of the Second
Congregational Church in Holyoke.
The "Notre Dame Victory March" later was presented
by the Shea brothers to the University and it first
appeared under the copyright of the University of
Notre dame in 1928. The copyright was assigned to
the publishing company of Edwin H. Morris and the
copyright for the beginning of the song is still in
The words and music which begin with the words "Cheer,
cheer for Old Notre Dame" are in the public domain
in the United States, but are protected in all territories
outside of the country.
Notre Dame's fight song was first performed at Notre
Dame on Easter Sunday, 1909, in the rotunda of the
Administration Building. The University of Notre Dame
band, under the direction of Prof. Clarence Peterson,
played it as part of its athletic event 10 years later.
In 1969, as college football celebrated its centennial,
the "Notre Dame Victory March" was honored as the
"greatest of all fight songs."
Michael Shea was the pastor of St. Augustine's Church
in Ossining until his death in 1938. John Shea, a
baseball monogram winner at Notre Dame, became a Massachusetts
state senator and live in Holyoke until his death
Rally sons of Notre Dame:
Sing her glory and sound her fame,
Raise her Gold and Blue
And cheer with voices true:
Rah, rah, for Notre Dame
We will fight in ev-ry game,
Strong of heart and true to her name
We will ne'er forget her
And will cheer her ever
Loyal to Notre Dame
Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame,
Wake up the echos cheering her name,
Send a volley cheer on high,
Shake down the thunder from the sky.
What though the odds be great or small
Old Notre Dame will win over all,
While her loyal sons are marching
Onward to victory.