In the 25 days leading up to college football's championship game between No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Alabama at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, the Chattanooga Times Free Press is counting down the traditions and memorable moments involving the Irish and the Crimson Tide. Today is No. 19.
Quarterback Harry Stuhldreher, left halfback Jim Crowley, right halfback Don Miller and fullback Elmer Layden headed a formidable offensive attack for Notre Dame beginning in 1922.
Two years later, they comprised the most recognized nickname in college football history. The "Four Horsemen" came from the pen of New York Herald-Tribune sports writer Grantland Rice, who had witnessed Notre Dame's 13-7 victory over Army on Oct. 18, 1924, at the Polo Grounds.
"Outlined against a blue, gray October sky, the Four Horsemen road again," Rice wrote. "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."
George Strickler, a student publicity aide to Irish coach Knute Rockne, ensured the nickname's longevity by having the four players pose in uniform on the backs of four horses once the team returned from New York. The biggest of the quartet was Layden, who was 6-foot and 162 pounds.
Crowley and Miller rushed for more than 1,800 yards in their careers, while Stuhldreher and Crowley threw for more than 500. All four players had at least 10 career catches and three interceptions, and each returned kickoffs and punts.
By 1970, all four had been elected to the National Football Foundation's Hall of Fame.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...