One of the most famous sports logos is Notre Dame's leprechaun. It was drawn by artist and sports illustrator Ted Drake. He also did the Chicago Bulls logo. Ted earned only 50 bucks for his leprechaun logo, which was later copyrighted by the University. In '93 Notre Dame's national alumni board paid a special tribute to the artist - perhaps out of guilt for his measly pay?
Ted told a fan site he wasn't very interested in drawing when he was a child. "The first thing I remember drawing, I just vaguely remember it, but I've been told that at the age of four, a neighbor came over. They were planning a St. Patrick's Day party and they wondered if "little Theodore" (that was me) could draw them an Irishman. That's the first thing I remember drawing."
Born in Elkhart, Indiana, Ted first started doing artwork during World War II when he edited and drew cartoons for Spindrift - the newspaper for the Navy's preflight school in Iowa City. Even when he was transferred, he kept working for different publications. After the war, he worked freelance and drew professional athletes for a sporting goods company.
Remember that leprechaun Ted drew when he was four? Well in '64 it became Notre Dome's national logo and remains the most recognized sports symbol in the world today. Ted also created other sports art. He painted all the past presidents of the Professional Golf Association and they hang at the national headquarters in Florida. Another famous symbol Ted designed was the Chicago Bulls symbol.
Ted also did all the print artwork for the TV program Kukla, Fran and Ollie, one of the first children's shows in the US. By then, most people would have retired but Ted never let his age stop him. He kept painting every day in his studio in Elkhart until he died at the age of 92 in 1999.