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A Tradition Unlike Any Other

Mar 20, 2012, 4:47 PM EDT

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No, I’m not talking about The Masters.

But rather, the Notre Dame women’s basketball and the post-season fashion of the Fighting Irish.

On St. Patrick’s Day 1997, head coach Muffet McGraw’s team took on Texas in a second round NCAA tournament contest. In the spirit of the holiday, the Fighting Irish painted their nails green before the game. Notre Dame defeated Texas, 86-83, and after advancing to their first Final Four with two more victories, the green polish became a tournament staple.

The male travel party members, such as associate head coach Jonathan Tsipis show their solidarity by painting their left pinky finger green. Coach Tsipis has also been known to shave his head for the tournament.

This year, the polish of choice for the Irish is Sally Hansen’s “Going Green,” according to the team’s Facebook page.

The March Madness traditions however, do not stop with the nail polish. Though not exclusive to the tournament, Notre Dame’s kelly green road uniforms most often appear during the postseason. The Fighting Irish sported the alternate unis in last year’s Final Four in Indianapolis.


Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame

During Sunday’s first round game against Liberty, Notre Dame broke out its alternate home white jerseys with green trim, as well as green shoes. The Irish are 6-1 in those uniforms, which they will presumably also wear tonight against California.


Photo by Michael & Susan Bennett/Lighthouse Imaging

The Fighting Irish take on the eighth-seeded Golden Bears tonight in the Purcell Pavilion at 7:20 pm ET. Catch the game on ESPN2 or if you can, make the trip to campus as Notre Dame looks to punch a ticket to Raleigh.

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