The Shirt: Commencement Edition

Author: The Shirt Committee 2014

Shirt fans come from all backgrounds: we’ve seen former employees, alumni and Notre Dame supporters in general demonstrate their love for The Shirt Project — both the product and the causes it supports. For young alumni and current students, their collections oftentimes include the Shirts that mark their years in school and any additional seasons when they could visit for home football games. For one 2014 graduate, however, the collection means a lot more. 

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Brendan Coyne, a psychology and program of liberal studies double major from Downingtown, Penn., owns every Shirt from 1993 and on.

“I think starting in 2002, it just started off as a thing — my dad would get The Shirt and just get a Shirt for everyone, so that accounts for everything from that point on,” Coyne said. “… then some of these other ones I started picking up a little bit more this year.

“I found one or two just in local thrift shops, just found a couple, figured they’d be cool to own, and so the beginning of this year I spent a lot of time hunting on eBay around just trying to find people who had them, just trying to flesh out the entire thing.”

Coyne is hunting for the four Shirts produced between 1990 and 1992, but he said the search hasn’t been easy.

“They are hard,” he said. “I’ve seen a couple, but they’re so expensive. …I got a ’94 [Shirt] like really early on and then I’m like, well, I have to complete from there. Can’t have a gap.”

Coyne said Shirts from his time at Notre Dame hold the most significance for him, but he said his favorite Shirt was made much earlier.

“Honestly, I like the ’99 [Shirt] a lot,” he said. “Simple, holding up the helmet, it’s just blue and gold. This year’s Shirt is also a pretty good shirt.”

“Each [of the last four Shirts] is very specifically like, that’s the Shirt I wore to all these home games, and in every single picture of everyone tailgating we’re all wearing the same Shirt,” Coyne said. “So I think for the past four as a student, all those mean much more to me than any of the older ones could because it’s literally something you wore every Saturday for an entire semester.”

Coyne is undecided about his future plans but hopes to enter into marketing or research. He said no matter where he ends up, he wants to keep his Shirt collection on display.

“Hopefully I find a place with a wall big enough for them,” he said.