Birth Name: George Gipp
Nickname: The Gipper
Birth Date: February 18, 1895
Birth Place: Laurium, Michigan (Houghton County –Upper Peninsula)
Death Date: December 14, 1920
Death Place: South Bend, Indiana
Burial Location: Lakeview cemetery outside Calumet, Michigan
High School: Calumet High School
High School sports: Baseball, track, hockey & sandlot football
College: University of Notre Dame
College sports: Football
Football position: halfback (official Hall of fame listing)
Parents: Matthew and Isabella Gipp
Siblings: George was the seventh of eight children
Hobbies: Gaming (cards, faro, craps, poker and bridge) and billiards
Did You Know?
-Gipp played center field for the Laurium baseball team which was named the 1915
champion of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
-The Laurium baseball team was named 1915 champion of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
with Gipp playing center field.
-Gipp was noted for running the 100 in 10.2 seconds in full dress, despite not
having had prior training.
-The only high school football Gipp played was on the sandlot. He went to Notre
Dame on a baseball scholarship.
-Another “sport” he was good at was gambling. In addition to pool and cards,
Gipp was believed to bet on the outcome of Notre Dame Football games, always
betting on Notre Dame for the win, or course.
-Notre Dame lost in Gipp’s first game 7-0 to Nebraska but he went on to be named
Notre Dame’s first All-American in his final season.
-Local hardware stores reportedly had vigorous sales of tar and feathers after
Gipp was expelled for allegedly cutting class his junior year. He wasn’t idle
during this time though, traveling to Michigan where he played for a Flint baseball
team by night, and worked in a Buick factory by day. Before long he was back
on the gridiron in his Notre Dame uniform.
-Gipp’s last game was November 20, 1920 vs. Northwestern. He played only briefly
in the fourth quarter. Gipp threw a 55 yard pass which was run in for a touchdown.
Notre Dame won the game, 33-7
-Gipp contracted strep throat, following the Northwestern game. It soon turned
into pneumonia and the nation’s headlines reported of his fight to recover, a
battle he lost on December 14, 1920.
-Businesses in Calumet and Laurium, Michigan closed for his funeral.
-It was from his deathbed at St. Joseph’s Hospital that Gipp was said to utter
the now famous words to his coach, “I've got to go, Rock. It's all right. I'm
not afraid. Some time, Rock, when the team is up against it, when things are
wrong and the breaks are beating the boys -- tell them to go 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.''
-Rockne did tell his team in a game against Army eight years later. ''The day
before he died, George Gipp asked me to wait until the situation seemed hopeless
-- then ask a Notre Dame team to go out and beat Army for him. This is the day,
and you are the team.''
-Beginning in 1934, the George Gipp award is given annually to the outstanding
senior athlete at Calumet High (his alma mater).
-Good deeds like buying meals for poor families in South Bend or helping a friend
to pay tuition often went unpublicized, as Gipp preferred, but happened nonetheless.
-The dream for a hall of fame to honor men and women from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
finally became reality in 1972 after several decades of talk and planning. Gipp
was included in the first class of inductees selected at the inaugural induction.
There were 11 athletes in total inducted that night at the dinner held by the
Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame council in the Great Lakes Rooms of the Don.
H. Bottum University Center at Northern Michigan University.
-In 1957 he was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame. The other inductee was Gordie Howe (of the Detroit Red Wings).
-On May 16, 1943 the U.S. Navy launched the Liberty ship, Hull No. 1116, named the S.S. George Gipp. It was scrapped in 1971.
-On April 9, 1943 the U.S. Navy launced another Liberty ship, the S.S. Knute Rockne. It's Hull No. was 1111. It was scrapped in 1972.