Bengal Bouts: 1920s
It was Notre Dame’s legendary coach Knute Rockne who first organized competitive boxing at Notre Dame. In 1920, Rockne organized inter-hall boxing tournaments. Judges of these inter-hall contests included George Gipp and Hunk Anderson.
In 1912, Rockne put into operation his plan for a Notre Dame boxing team to round out the University’s sports picture and provide off-season conditioning for his football players. In the three years that followed, Notre Dame teams competed in intercollegiate matches against schools such as Penn State, Syracuse, Kansas State, Iowa State, Xavier, and Navy.
In 1927, it was decided to put all boxing on the intramural level, and the Student Activities Council took charge of the boxing program. The SAC put on a number of various boxing exhibitions including an annual tournament. In the years to come, the popularity of boxing at Notre Dame would continue to grow so by the time of Rockne’s death, the intramural boxing program had already become a firmly entrenched tradition.
In 1931, a tradition would begin with the annual University Boxing Championships known as the Bengal Mission Bouts.