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For one game in 1991 — and only one game, thankfully — Notre Dame basketball coach Digger Phelps outfitted his team in lime green uniforms. (There’s an account of the game, but no photos, here.) The jersey you see above, which is owned by Uni Watch reader Jeff Flynn, Jr., may be the only one remaining from that game. I’ll let Jeff explain:
Digger Phelps occasionally designed uniforms for Notre Dame. He designed the famous shamrock jerseys from the UCLA game, where they broke the 88-game winning streak, and he designed these lime green jerseys for an emotional lift during a down season in a nationally televised game against Syracuse. It was just a one-game thing, and it almost worked — Notre Dame lost by just one point.
Evidently the announcers made lots of “Don’t adjust your dial” jokes during the game, and the Notre Dame athletic director was outraged. After the game, he summoned Phelps to his office and explained that Notre Dame’s colors were Madonna Blue and Papal Gold and demanded that the green uniforms be destroyed.
Assistant coach Jeff Nix, who runs a charity called CamoKids, somehow managed to save this jersey. He later gave it to Phelps to remind him of his uniform-designing days, so for a while the jersey was in Phelps’s private collection. But when Nix later later asked Phelps for an autographed item to raise money for CamoKids, Phelps gave him back the green jersey as a joke. The person who obtained it at a CamoKids auction later sold it to me.
The jersey was worn by Oliver Gibson, who played football and basketball for Notre Dame, and who later played for the Steelers. Unfortunately, he didn’t get into the game (benchwarmer, close game). It’s hard to tell in the photos but the trim on the jerseys and around the letters/numerals is navy blue, not black. It looks slightly better in person.
Faaaascinating. Jeff says he hasn’t been able to find any photos from that ND/Syracuse game, and I haven’t turned up any pics either. Did Notre Dame burn all the pictorial documentation along with the uniforms? If anyone can find some visuals, I’d like to see them.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Here’s an absolutely sensational article about the guy who washes and repairs the Giants’, Jets’, and Eagles’ uniforms. Tons of great details. Essential reading. … Funny article about jersey etiquette for Colts fans (from Timothy Lofton). … Earlier this week I had a Ticker item about rugby players playing with their socks bunched down at their ankles. That prompted an informative note from Bruce French: “I do the same thing — not for the look, but for the protection the bunched-up socks provide my ankles. Yes, I could get ankle braces, but those are expensive and I’m already wearing the socks. Most players who wear their socks in this manner do for the same reason.” … Interesting situation for the Nets, who now have four Williamses on the roster! “And two of them have first names that begin with S, so maybe we’ll see some FNOB action,” notes Nathan Gemignani. … TCU quarterback Casey Pachall shaved the school logo into his head the other night. … Garrett Malcolm got his hands on a 1964 Milwaukee Braves scorecard and scanned the whole thing for our enjoyment. Some really great ads in there. … Terry Duroncelet was watching the Sam Houston/Montana State football game two weeks ago and noticed some inconsistencies in Sam Houston’s 2s. … You know uni-watching has gone mainstream when the Wall Street Journal, of all places, runs a boilerplate piece on the best and worst college football uniforms. … Michael Maggert has an original, pre-lawsuit Jags helmet. “We were living just south of Jacksonville when the city was awarded the franchise, and all sorts of merchandise immediately went on sale,” he says. … J.J. Watt of the Texans committed some critical penalties in last night’s game against the Colts, but he really should have been flagged for improper helmet decal adherence (screen shot by Nathan Walker). … Rex Henry spotted this guy on the street in DC. What could that logo be for, I wonder. … Brandon Roberts sent in some great old college hoops pics, including views of UNC’s numbered socks, Xavier’s horizontal striping, and Coach K from his days playing at Army, wearing No. 12 at home and No. 13 on the road, as some teams did back then.
Holiday schedule: Phil’s taking the weekend off. I’ll be open for business tomorrow, although I can’t guarantee how extensive the content will be. On Sunday, as per longstanding custom, I’ll have the winners of this year’s reader appreciation raffle.
If you’re traveling this weekend, travel safe. If you’re visiting someone else’s home, bring flowers. As for me, I’m having eight friends over for dinner on Sunday. Making a big-ass pork rib roast with a cherry-raisin-walnut stuffing, bacon-wrapped dates, a tarte tatin, and lots of Irish cream (yes, it’s like Culinary Corner’s greatest hits), and my guests are bringing lots of excellent-sounding stuff too. Can’t wait!