EDITOR’S CORRECTION: IT WAS PREVIOUSLY STATED THAT JOE FREDRICK WAS KICKED OFF THE BASKETBALL TEAM. THAT WAS INCORRECT, IT WAS PAT WALSH THAT WAS KICKED OFF THE BASKETBALL TEAM.
Growing up my father loved football but more specifically College Football and to be exact, Penn State Football. His best friend attended school there in the 60’s and it was a team I grew up on. I on the other (while still a Penn State fan so much as they weren’t playing my team) gravitated towards one of Penn States rival of the day, Notre Dame.
Me center 1992
From the fight song, to the golden helmets to all the history -it took hold of me. Fast forward two years later and at only 7 years of age in 1988 I was old enough to remember the title run and of course the Catholic’s Vs. Convicts t shirt controversy
-although I didn’t know the full extent of everything until ESPNS’s 30 for 30 Catholics Vs. Convicts segment in 2016.
A few things happened though that built up to that moment. During that year a couple of Miami Hurricane players had been arrested with these players making headlines everywhere. During that same year Notre Dame -still licking its wounds from the previous year’s loss featured a promising roster and an inspiring head coach in Lou Holtz. There was no question that Notre Dame was looking to avenge the previous years loss. Anyhow, to make a long story short, two students and friends from Notre Dame -Pat Walsh and Joe Fredrick -came up with an idea to profit off the up coming rivalry. Fredrick, credited for the phrase ‘Catholics vs Convicts’ presented the idea to Pat who was initially hesitant. He knew it would be controversial and -if caught- could land the former Notre Dame basketball player in a lot of trouble (which it did). Eventually though he would go along with the idea and together they created a t shirt that was selling out within minutes. When the Miami Hurricane’s football team discovered the shirts for the first time there was hurt, anger and then the feeling of wanting to get even -the latter of which didn’t happen. Nope, that year Notre Dame would go on to defeat the Hurricane’s and win the national championship in the 89 Fiesta bowl. While the shirt did leave a great legacy for those involved in its creation it ultimately cost Pat Walsh his role as a basketball player at Notre Dame – somethings that upsets him to this day. In addition they left hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table by not trademarking the phrase, but in the words of Joe Fredrick “the money meant and means nothing”
In addition, the saying no longer holds weight in 2017. While Miami has a reputation as a party school, the controversy that decades ago followed the storied program have long since faded. Still, the names Joe Fredrick and Pat Walsh are names that should be noted as pioneers in the history of early streetwear. Watch this episode of 30 for 30 now in its entirety below Via ESPN.