The Four Horsemen of Notre Dame

Legends. Icons. Champions.

These are but a few words that can be used to describe the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame from the famed 1924 National Championship team. Led by the father of Notre Dame football Knute Rockne, the Four Horsemen consisted of Harry Stuhldreher (quarterback), Don Miller (right halfback), Jim Crowley (left halfback), and Elmer Layden (fullback). These four men were immortalized in the article written by Grantland Rice on October 18, 1924.

The Four Horsemen Rode Again.

The article began as follows:
“Outlined against a blue-gray October sky, the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore they are known as Famine, Pestilence, Destruction and Death. These are only aliases. Their real names are Stuhldreher, Miller, Crowley and Layden. They formed the crest of the South Bend cyclone before which another fighting Army football team was swept over the precipice at the Polo Grounds yesterday afternoon as 55,000 spectators peered down on the bewildering panorama spread on the green plain below.”

Mr. Rice was ahead of his time.

Mr. Rice was ahead of his time as an author, and his article has been republished thousands of times. The Four Horsemen completed a perfect 10-0 season in 1924 and went on to defeat Stanford in the Rose Bowl to claim the National Championship. Rice’s article was accompanied by a now famous picture of the Four Horsemen.

The article has since become one of the most famous sports pieces ever written, and the group became sensations nearly overnight. Playing together for three years, the Irish suffered only two total losses during this time period, both to Nebraska in consecutive years, 1922 and 1923. Despite having occurred 95 years ago, the Four Horsemen are still heralded by many as the greatest backfield Notre Dame has ever assembled.

When speaking with fans about the Four Horsemen, the question often asked is what did they all do after becoming national sports heroes and celebrities?

Well everyone, I did a little research!

Elmer Layden went on to become head coach and athletic director for the University of Notre Dame, following the death of Knute Rockne. Layden would also become the first commissioner of the National Football League in 1941. Layden was instrumental in implementing the United States National Anthem to be played prior to kickoff at NFL games and went on to have a successful business career. Elmer Layden was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in the inaugural class of 1951 inductees.

Don Miller was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1970. Coaching at Georgia Tech and Ohio State following his playing career, Miller eventually grew tired of coaching and completed his coursework for his law degree. Miller would go on to become a successful lawyer in Ohio, and was called the greatest open field runner by Knute Rockne.

Harry Stuhldreher also became a head coach following his collegiate career, at Villanova and then at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Stuhldreher was one of the smallest quarterbacks in Notre Dame history, however he was fierce on the field. After coaching, Stuhldreher worked at US Steel and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1958.

Jim Crowley also had a successful coaching career and was also featured in the first televised collegiate football game while coaching Fordham University. Taking a break from coaching, Crowley served honorably in World War II as a member of the United States Navy in the South Pacific. Crowley was named the Chairman of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission where he served from 1955 to 1963. Crowley became a popular speaker at banquets and was the last of the Four Horsemen to pass on, joining his brothers in God’s kingdom in 1986. Read the full article by Grantland Rice.

They Lived as Lions.

They lived as lions and became a national sensation. Pushing Notre Dame to new heights, these four men put the Fighting Irish on the radar of every college team in the Unites States and ran right through anything that got in their way. Lads and Lasses, will there ever be another group as talented, as important or as legendary to Notre Dame football as the Four Horsemen?

Sean Buck
Lead Writer/Administrator
Legion of the Leprechaun