ST. LOUIS, MO- Local fans of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish already know that the football team has one St. Louis area player on the roster heading into the National Playoff Semifinal against Clemson–defensive lineman Jonathan Bonner, of Parkway Central. Bonner has a family tie to the school, a legacy that spans decades.
It turns out the same is true for another St. Louis connection to the team, or at least for a person you see plenty of on television while he’s rooting on the team.
Meet Jack Sheehan, the Chaminade graduate who this year is Notre Dame’s top Leprechaun.
Q: Do you have a family or other connection to Notre Dame?
A: I actually come from a long legacy at Notre Dame. My grandfather started it by graduating in 1959, and then both my parents went there, Dan (’87) and Kristin (’90). My sister also attended ND and graduated in 2016. Notre Dame was always my dream school.
Q: How does one become the Notre Dame Leprechaun?
A: The tryout process certainly is not easy. There is a tryout application where you submit a creative two-minute video, a personal statement, a resume, and a letter of recommendation. Then there is the actual tryout, which takes places in April the Friday before our Spring Football game and the winners are the Leprechauns for the following year.
Check out the Indianapolis Star’s video on Leprechaun tryouts:
A: Each year, three Leprechauns are named. The tryout is open to spectators, and all the candidates invite their friends and it consists of three parts: a mock Pep Rally, a mock media interview, and a mock skit. For the Pep Rally and skit, you are given a scenario two-minutes before it is your turn to go out, and you must plan a performance based on that. At the end of the tryout, all the Leprechauns compete in a push-up contest! I had the pleasure of being apart of this tryout process twice, and serving as the Leprechaun for my junior and senior years.
Q: Best experience in that role?
A: I have had so many special experiences already as the Leprechaun, and I think it is too hard to choose a favorite. I had the privilege of being the first Leprechaun to skate at Notre Dame hockey games (using my background as a Chaminade Hockey Player) and got to skate at the United Center for a game against Wisconsin. I also got to travel with the National Finalist hockey team to the Frozen Four in Minnesota, and the National Champion Women’s basketball team to Columbus for their legendary season. This was all before the legendary football season we are having now. It all started when we beat Michigan and we have just kept winning! I am excited for the playoffs coming up, and honored to be apart of all of these historic Notre Dame teams!
Q: Explain the mindset you have to take on when you know people can see you, that you can’t hide behind a mask like a Truman The Tiger?
A: This is the best part about being the Leprechaun. Since I am able to speak to people, I can participate in community service, as well as talk to fans! It allows me to leave more of an impression on people and I’d like to think I can make a fan’s day a little better by having a conversation.
Q: Notre Dame is not new to national television obviously but now in the College Playoff, any extra pressure on you?
A: I don’t think there is any pressure. All I have to do is be energetic and do my best to keep the crowd energized! This is just like any other game for the team and myself. We are both going to do our job and get a victory!
Sheehan isn’t the only Leprechaun in this year’s crop from St. Louis. Senior Andrew Bub, a St. Louis University High School graduate, was also selected. We found Bub’s audition video, which spoofed the movie ‘Rudy’.