1949 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team

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1949 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football
Consensus national champion
Conference Independent
AP No. 1
1949 record 10–0
Head coach Frank Leahy (7th season)
Offensive scheme T formation
Captain Leon Hart
Captain Jim Martin
Home stadium Notre Dame Stadium
← 1948
1950 →
1949 NCAA independents football records
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
No. 1 Notre Dame         10 0 0
Penn State         5 4 0
Syracuse         4 5 0
Drexel         3 3 1
Rankings from AP Poll

The 1949 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team represented the University of Notre Dame during the 1949 college football season. The Irish, coached by Frank Leahy, ended the season with 10 wins and no losses, winning the national championship.[1] The 1949 team became the seventh Irish team to win the national title and the third in four years. Led by Heisman winner Leon Hart, the Irish outscored their opponents 360–86.[1] The 1949 team is the last team in what is considered to be the Notre Dame Football dynasty, a stretch of games in which Notre Dame went 36–0–2 and won three national championships and two Heisman Trophies. The Irish squad was cited by Sports Illustrated as the part of the second best sports dynasty (professional or collegiate) of the 20th century[2] and second greatest college football dynasty.[3]


Date Opponent# Rank# Site Result Attendance
September 24 Indiana Notre Dame StadiumSouth Bend, IN W 49-6   53,844
October 1 at Washington Husky StadiumSeattle, WA W 27-7   41,500
October 8 at Purdue No. 2 Ross–Ade StadiumWest Lafayette, IN (Rivalry) W 35-12   52,000
October 15 No. 4 Tulane No. 1 Notre Dame Stadium • South Bend, IN W 46-7   58,196
October 29 vs. Navy No. 1 Memorial StadiumBaltimore, MD (Rivalry) W 40-0   62,000
November 5 at No. 10 Michigan State No. 1 Spartan StadiumEast Lansing, MI (Megaphone Trophy) W 34-21   51,277
November 12 vs. North Carolina No. 1 Yankee StadiumNew York, NY W 42-6   67,000
November 19 Iowa No. 1 Notre Dame Stadium • South Bend, IN W 28-7   56,790
November 26 No. 17 USC No. 1 Notre Dame Stadium • South Bend, IN (Rivalry) W 32-0   57,214
December 3 at SMU No. 1 Cotton BowlDallas, TX W 27-20   75,457
#Rankings from AP Poll. All times are in Eastern Time.



Depth chart[edit]

POS Name Name Name Name
QB Bob Williams John Mazur Bill Whiteside
LHB Frank Spaniel Ernie Zalejski Bill Gay Leo McKillip
RHB Larry Coutre Billy Barrett Dick Cotter
FB Emil Sitko Jack Landry Del Gander
LE Bill Wightkin Jim Mutscheller Doug Waybright
LT Jim Martin Al Zmijewski John Zancha
LG Frank Johnston Paul Burns Art Perry
C Walt Grothaus Jim Hamby
RG Bob Lally Fred Wallner Bill Higgins
RT Ralph McGehee Gus Cifelli John Nusskern
RE Leon Hart Ray Espenan Chet Ostrowski


Coaching staff[edit]

Head coach: Frank Leahy

Assistants: Bernie Crimmins (first assistant / backfield), John F. Druze (chief scout), Bill Earley (backfield), Joe McArdle (guards), Robert McBride (tackles), Fred Miller (volunteer assistant), Benjamin Sheridan (freshmen)



Award winners[edit]

Heisman voting:

Leon Hart, 1st[5]
Bob Williams, 5th[5]
Emil Sitko, 8th[5]


† Emil Sitko, FB 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
† Leon Hart, E 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Bob Williams, QB 2 1 1 1 1
Jim Martin, T 1 2 1 1 2 2
denotes unanimous selection      Source:[1]

College Football Hall of Fame Inductees:

Name Position Year Inducted
Jerry Groom Center 1994
Leon Hart End 1973
Frank Leahy Coach 1970
Jim Martin End/Tackle 1995
Emil "Red" Sitko Halfback/Fullback 1984
Bob Williams Quarterback 1988

[7] Notre Dame leads all universities in players inducted.

1950 NFL Draft[edit]

The following players were drafted into professional football following the season.

Player Position Round Pick Franchise
Leon Hart End 1 1 Detroit Lions
Jim Martin Guard 2 26 Cleveland Browns
Larry Coutre Halfback 4 43 Green Bay Packers
Mike Swistowicz Halfback 5 55 New York Yanks
Frank Spaniel Halfback 5 58 Washington Redskins
Ernie Zalejski Defensive Back 5 62 Chicago Bears


John Nusskern Tackle Green Bay Packers


  1. ^ a b c "2007 Notre Dame Media Guide: History and Records (pages 131-175)". und.cstv.com. Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  2. ^ "SI's Top 20 Dynasties of the 20th Century". sportsillustrated.cnn.com. 1999-06-03. Archived from the original on 29 January 2009. Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  3. ^ "College Football's 12 Greatest Dynasties". sportsillustrated.cnn.com. Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  4. ^ a b c 2010 Notre Dame information guide
  5. ^ a b c d "Heisman Voting". und.cstv.com. Archived from the original on 2008-12-17. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  6. ^ "The Maxwell Award Collegiate Player of the Year: Past Recipients". The Maxwell Football Club. Archived from the original on 2009-02-14. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  7. ^ "College Football Hall of Famers". collegefootball.org. Retrieved 2008-12-30. [dead link]
  8. ^ https://www.pro-football-reference.com/draft/1950.htm