The Story of Catholics vs. Corona

Started by four Notre Dame undergraduate students, the Catholics vs. Corona shirt is a fresh reimagination of a classic piece of college football history. It couples the lore of the Notre Dame-Miami rivalry with the altruism and solidarity so desperately needed in these difficult times. 

As proud as we are of this shirt, we must admit that the idea is not our own. Many people on campus—including, notably, the women’s lacrosse team (see below)—saw the possible connection between the infamous “Catholics vs. Convicts” shirt and the current pandemic long before we did. We’re just the kids who decided to actually make it happen. Like college students across the country, our semester was cut abruptly short. In what felt like a matter of seconds, college was canceled, a deadly virus was taking over the world, and—unthinkably—football season was in jeopardy. Nearly ¾ of the way through our freshman year, we were forced to say goodbye to our friends, professors, and our new home: South Bend, Indiana. 

As generations of students can attest, it’s an interesting experience to uproot at the tender age of eighteen and be thrust into an entirely new place. You leave behind somewhere you know but gradually come to appreciate your new home. Throughout the country, college towns generously welcome students with open arms. With sacrifice and school spirit, residents come together to create environments conducive to learning, growth, and community. Towns and universities come to depend on each other, both emotionally and financially. 

We know college towns are among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Without the spending power of students, local businesses and workers face dire situations. So, the four of us—Jackson, Matt, Leo, and Mitch—decided to see what we could do to give back to the community that has been so welcoming to us. At the same time, we wanted to help communities across the country as they struggle in the fight against COVID-19. Thus, the Catholics vs. Corona shirt was born.

The Women's Lacrosse Team

As previously mentioned, we did not come up with this idea on our own. We first got the idea from the Notre Dame women's lacrosse team, who made similar shirts to celebrate their undefeated season that was cut short due to COVID-19.  This year's squad seemed to be poised for a breakout season—after the first seven games, the team was 7-0 and ranked #2 nationally. On March 12, the ACC announced the suspension of all Spring sports just three days before the Irish were supposed to play #1 ranked North Carolina. Despite the season's eventual cancellation, we wanted to congratulate the women's lacrosse team on an incredible year.

About Us

Leo DePole 

Leo is a chemical engineering major from Annapolis, MD. He enjoys spending his time doing math homework and also chemistry homework. Leo is a huge nerd. His favorite movie is any High School Musical (except for the second one) and his favorite foods are bagels and gogurts. He is also a self-proclaimed "really good dancer."

Mitchell Johnson

Mitchell is an English and Business major from Tampa, FL. He enjoys reading, writing, and losing to his friends at video games. If Tom Brady is reading this, Mitchell would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his humble service to the Tampa Bay community. 

Matt Englehart

Matt is a finance major with a minor in Classical Civilization and Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Detroit, MI. He is a born and raised Notre Dame fan and if he isn't able to see Ian Book suit up again for the Irish he may lose his mind. On the other hand, he may be the only one of the four who would be fine with the NFL canceling the upcoming season.

Jackson Mallot

Jackson is a finance major with a minor in entrepreneurship from Kansas City. He is a diehard Chiefs fan and his favorite phrase is "hey all you cool cats and kittens." Mallot considers himself an above-average driver and often finds himself looking for memes in his free time. His passion is Christmas music.


We would also like to thank our professor Chris Stevens, without whose support and guidance none of this would have been possible.