Knute Rockne

Knute Kenneth Rockne (/kəˈnuːt/ kə-NOOT; March 4, 1888 – March 31, 1931) was a Norwegian-American football player and coach at the University of Notre Dame.

Rockne is regarded as one of the greatest coaches in college football history.[3] His biography at the College Football Hall of Fame identifies him as "without question, American football's most-renowned coach". Rockne helped to popularize the forward pass and made the Notre Dame Fighting Irish a major factor in college football.

Knute Rockne
Knute Rockne on ship's deck
Biographical details
BornMarch 4, 1888
Voss, Norway
DiedMarch 31, 1931 (aged 43)
Bazaar, Kansas
Playing career
1910–1913Notre Dame
1914Akron Indians
1915–1917Massillon Tigers
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1914–1917Notre Dame (assistant)[1]
1916–1917South Bend J. F. C.s
1918–1930Notre Dame
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
1920–1930Notre Dame
Head coaching record
Accomplishments and honors
3 national (1924, 1929, 1930)[2]
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1951 (profile)

Early life

Knute Rockne was born Knut Larsen Rokne,[4] in Voss, Norway, to smith and wagonmaker Lars Knutson Rokne (1858–1912) and his wife, Martha Pedersdatter Gjermo (1859–1944). He immigrated to Chicago with his parents when he was five years old.[5] He grew up in the Logan Square area of Chicago, on the northwest side of the city.[6] Rockne learned to play football in his neighborhood and later played end in a local group called the Logan Square Tigers. He attended North West Division High School in Chicago, playing football and also running track.

Knute Rockne 1906.jpeg
Rockne as a Chicago postal worker, 1906

After Rockne graduated from high school, he took a job as a mail dispatcher with the Post Office in Chicago for four years. When he was 22, he had saved enough money to continue his education. He headed to Notre Dame in Indiana to finish his schooling. Rockne excelled as a football end there, winning All-American honors in 1913. Rockne worked as a lifeguard at Cedar Point in the summer of 1913.

Rockne helped to transform the collegiate game in a single contest. On November 1, 1913, the Notre Dame squad stunned the highly regarded Army team 35–13 in a game played at West Point. Led by quarterback Charlie "Gus" Dorais and Rockne, the Notre Dame team attacked the Cadets with an offense that featured both the expected powerful running game but also long and accurate downfield forward passes from Dorais to Rockne. This game was not the "invention" of the forward pass, but it was the first major contest in which a team used the forward pass regularly throughout the game.

Professional career

Rockne scoring against Army, 1913

Rockne was educated as a chemist at Notre Dame, and graduated in 1914 with a degree in pharmacy. After graduating, he was the laboratory assistant to noted polymer chemist Julius Arthur Nieuwland at Notre Dame and helped out with the football team, but rejected further work in chemistry after receiving an offer to coach football. In 1914, he was recruited by Peggy Parratt to play for the Akron Indians. There Parratt had Rockne playing both end and halfback and teamed with him on several successful forward pass plays during their title drive.[7] Knute wound up in Massillon, Ohio, in 1915 along with former Notre Dame teammate Dorais to play with the professional Massillon Tigers. Rockne and Dorais brought the forward pass to professional football from 1915 to 1917 when they led the Tigers to the championship in 1915.[8] Pro Football in the Days of Rockne by Emil Klosinski maintains the worst loss ever suffered by Rockne was in 1917. He coached the "South Bend Jolly Fellows Club" when they lost 40–0 to the Toledo Maroons.[9]

Notre Dame coach

Notre Dame Box
The Notre Dame Box

During 13 years as head coach, Rockne led his "Fighting Irish" to 105 victories, 12 losses, five ties and three national championships, including five undefeated seasons without a tie.[10] Rockne posted the highest all-time winning percentage (.881) for a major college football coach.[11] His schemes utilized include the eponymous Notre Dame Box offense and the 7–2–2 defense. Rockne's box included a shift.[12] The backfield lined up in a T-formation, then quickly shifted into a box to the left or right just as the ball was snapped.[13]

Rockne was also shrewd enough to recognize that intercollegiate sports had a show-business aspect. Thus he worked hard promoting Notre Dame football to make it financially successful. He used his considerable charm to court favor from the media, which then consisted of newspapers, wire services and radio stations and networks, to obtain free advertising for Notre Dame football. He was very successful as an advertising pitchman, for South Bend-based Studebaker and other products. He eventually received an annual income of $75,000 from Notre Dame, which in today's dollars is millions.[14]


George Gipp
George Gipp

Rockne took over from his predecessor Jesse Harper in the war-torn season of 1918, posting a 3–1–2 record, losing only to the Michigan Aggies. He made his coaching debut on September 28, 1918, against Case Tech in Cleveland, earning a 26–6 victory.[15] In the backfield were Leonard Bahan, George Gipp, and Curly Lambeau. In Gipp, Rockne had an ideal handler of the forward pass.[16][17]

The 1919 team had Rockne handle the line and Gus Dorais handle the backfield.[18] The team went undefeated and was a national champion,[19] though the championship is not recognized by Notre Dame.[20]

Gipp died on December 14, 1920, just two weeks after being elected Notre Dame's first All-American by Walter Camp. He likely contracted strep throat and pneumonia while giving punting lessons after his final game, on November 20 against Northwestern University. Since antibiotics were not available in the 1920s, treatment options for such infections were limited and they could be fatal even to the young and healthy. It was while on his hospital bed and speaking to Rockne that he is purported to have delivered the line "win just one for the Gipper".[21]


John Mohardt led the 1921 Notre Dame team to a 10-1 record with 781 rushing yards, 995 passing yards, 12 rushing touchdowns, and nine passing touchdowns.[22] Grantland Rice wrote, "Mohardt could throw the ball to within a foot or two of any given space" and noted that the 1921 Notre Dame team "was the first team we know of to build its attack around a forward passing game, rather than use a forward passing game as a mere aid to the running game".[23] Mohardt had both Eddie Anderson and Roger Kiley at end to receive his passes.

Knute Rockne 1921
Rockne in 1921.

The national champion 1924 team included the "Four Horsemen" backfield of Harry Stuhldreher, Don Miller, Jim Crowley, and Elmer Layden. The line was known as the "Seven Mules". The Irish capped an undefeated 10–0 season with a victory over Stanford in the Rose Bowl.

For all his success, Rockne also made what an Associated Press writer called "one of the greatest coaching blunders in history".[24] Instead of coaching his 1926 team against Carnegie Tech, Rockne traveled to Chicago for the Army–Navy Game to "write newspaper articles about it, as well as select an All-America football team".[24] Carnegie Tech used the coach's absence as motivation for a 19–0 win; the upset likely cost the Irish a chance for a national title.[24]

The 1928 team lost to national champion Georgia Tech. "I sat at Grant Field and saw a magnificent Notre Dame team suddenly recoil before the furious pounding of one man–Peter Pund", said Rockne. "Nobody could stop him. I counted 20 scoring plays that this man ruined."[25] Rockne wrote of an attack on his coaching in the Atlanta Journal, "I am surprised that a paper of such fine, high standing [as yours] would allow a zipper to write in his particular vein ... the article by Fuzzy Woodruff was not called for."[26]

On November 10, 1928, when the Fighting Irish were tied with Army 0–0 at the end of the half, Rockne entered the locker room and told the team the words he heard on Gipp's deathbed in 1920: "I've got to go, Rock. It's all right. I'm not afraid. Some time, Rock, when the team is up against it, when things are going wrong and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to go in there with all they've got and win just one for the Gipper. I don't know where I'll be then, Rock. But I'll know about it, and I'll be happy."[27] This inspired the team, who then won the game 12–6. The phrase "Win one for the Gipper" was later used as a political slogan by Ronald Reagan, who in 1940 portrayed Gipp in Knute Rockne, All American.

Both the 1929 and the 1930 teams went undefeated and were national champions. According to interviews, Rockne considered his 1929 team his strongest overall. Rockne also said he considered his 1930 team to have been his best offensively before the departure of Jumping Joe Savoldi. Rockne was struck with illness in 1929, and the de facto head coach was assistant Tom Lieb.[28] Rockne's all-time All-America backfield was Jim Thorpe, Red Grange, George Gipp, and George Pfann.[29]

Personal life

Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church (Sandusky, Ohio) - view from the loft
Interior of Saints Peter and Paul Church (Sandusky, Ohio)

Rockne met Bonnie Gwendoline Skiles (1891 – 1956) of Kenton, Ohio, an avid gardener, while the two were employed at Cedar Point. Bonnie was the daughter of George Skiles and Huldah Dry. The two married at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Sandusky, Ohio, on July 14, 1914, with Father William F. Murphy officiating and Gus Dorais as best man.[30][31] They had four children: Knute Lars Jr., William Dorias, Mary Jeane and John Vincent.[32] Rockne converted from the Lutheran to the Roman Catholic faith on November 20, 1925. The Rev. Vincent Mooney, C.S.C., baptized Rockne in the Log Chapel on Notre Dame's campus.[33]

Plane crash and public reaction

Rockne died in the crash of a Transcontinental & Western Air airliner in Kansas on March 31, 1931, while en route to participate in the production of the film The Spirit of Notre Dame (released October 13, 1931). He had stopped in Kansas City to visit his two sons, Bill and Knute Jr., who were in boarding school there at the Pembroke-Country Day School. A little over an hour after taking off from Kansas City, one of the Fokker Trimotor's wings broke up in flight. The cause of the breakup was determined to be that the plane's plywood outer skin was bonded to the ribs and spars with water-based aliphatic resin glue, and flight in rain had caused the bond to deteriorate to the point that sections of the plywood suddenly separated in flight. The plane crashed into a wheat field near Bazaar, Kansas, killing Rockne and seven others.[34][35]

Coincidentally, Jess Harper, a friend of Rockne's and the coach Rockne had replaced at Notre Dame, was living about 100 miles from the spot of the crash and was called to identify Rockne's body.[36][37] On the spot where the plane crashed, a memorial dedicated to the victims stands surrounded by a wire fence with wooden posts. It was maintained for many years by James Easter Heathman, who, at the age of 13 in 1931, was one of the first people to arrive at the site of the crash.[38]

Rockne's unexpected, dramatic death startled the nation and triggered a national outpouring of grief, comparable to the deaths of presidents. President Herbert Hoover called Rockne's death "a national loss".[38][39] King Haakon VII of Norway, Rockne's birthplace, posthumously knighted Rockne, and sent a personal envoy to Rockne's massive funeral. More than 100,000 people lined the route of his funeral procession,[40] and the funeral was broadcast live on network radio across the United States and in Europe as well as to parts of South America and Asia.[40][41]

Rockne was buried in Highland Cemetery in South Bend, several miles from the Notre Dame campus.[42]

Driven by the public feeling for Rockne, the crash story played out at length in nearly all the nation's newspapers, and public demand for an inquiry into the crash's causes and circumstances ensued.[36][43][44]

The national outcry over the disaster that killed Rockne and seven others triggered sweeping changes to airliner design, manufacturing, operation, inspection, maintenance, regulation and crash investigation, igniting a safety revolution that ultimately transformed airline travel worldwide from the most dangerous forms of travel to one of the safest.[36]


Knute Rockne03
Knute Rockne bronze sculpture in Voss, Norway.

Rockne was not the first coach to use the forward pass, but he helped popularize it nationally. Most football historians agree that a few schools, notably St. Louis University (under coach Eddie Cochems), Michigan, Carlisle and Minnesota, had passing attacks in place before Rockne arrived at Notre Dame. The great majority of passing attacks, however, consisted solely of short pitches and shovel passes to stationary receivers. Additionally, few of the major Eastern teams that constituted the power center of college football at the time used the pass. In the summer of 1913, while he was a lifeguard on the beach at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, Rockne and his college teammate and roommate Gus Dorais worked on passing techniques. These were employed in games by the 1913 Notre Dame squad and subsequent Harper- and Rockne-coached teams and included many features common in modern passing, including having the passer throw the ball overhand and having the receiver run under a football and catch the ball in stride. That fall, Notre Dame upset heavily favored Army 35-13 at West Point thanks to a barrage of Dorais-to-Rockne long downfield passes. The game played an important role in displaying the potency of the forward pass and "open offense" and convinced many coaches to add pass plays to their play books. The game is dramatized in the movies Knute Rockne, All American and The Long Gray Line. In May 1949, Knute Rockne appeared in the Master Man story on Kid Eternity comics, Vol 1, number 15.

Coaching tree

Rockne's coaching tree includes:

  1. Eddie Anderson: played for Notre Dame (1919–1921), head coach for Iowa (1939–1949)
  2. Heartley Anderson: played for Notre Dame (1918–1921), head coach for Notre Dame (1931–1933), NC State (1934–1936)
  3. Joe Bach: played for Notre Dame (1923–1924), head coach for Duquesne (1934), Pittsburgh Pirates/Steelers (1935–1936; 1952–1953)
  4. Charlie Bachman: played for Notre Dame (1914–1916), head coach for Kansas State (1920–1927), Florida (1928–1932), Michigan State (1933–1946)
  5. Dutch Bergman: played for Notre Dame (1915–1916; 1919), head coach for Catholic (1930–1940), Washington Redskins (1943)
  6. Frank Carideo: played for Notre Dame (1928–1930), head coach for Missouri (1932–1934)
  7. Stan Cofall: played for Notre Dame (1914–1916), head coach for Wake Forest (1928).
  8. Chuck Collins: played for Notre Dame (1922–1924), head coach for North Carolina (1926–1933).
  9. Jim Crowley: played for Notre Dame (1922–1924), head coach for Michigan State (1928–1932), Fordham (1933–1941).
  10. Gus Dorais: played for Notre Dame (1910–1913), assistant for Notre Dame (1919), head coach for Gonzaga (1920–1924).
  11. Rex Enright: played for Notre Dame (1923–1925), head coach for South Carolina (1938–1942; 1946–1955).
  12. Noble Kizer: played for Notre Dame (1922–1924), head coach for Purdue (1930–1936)
  13. Elmer Layden: played for Notre Dame (1922–1924), head coach for Duquesne (1927–1933), Notre Dame (1934–1940)
  14. Frank Leahy: played for Notre Dame (1928–1930), head coach for Boston College (1939–1940), Notre Dame (1941–1943; 1946–1953).
  15. Tom Lieb: played for Notre Dame (1919–1922), head coach for Loyola Los Angeles (1930–1938), Florida (1940–1945).
  16. Slip Madigan: played for Notre Dame (1916–1917; 1919), head coach for Saint Mary's (1921–1939) Iowa (1943–1944)
  17. Harry Mehre: played for Notre Dame (1919–1921), head coach for Georgia (1928–1937), Ole Miss (1938–1945).
  18. Don Miller: played for Notre Dame (1922–1924), assistant for Georgia Tech (1925–1928), Ohio State (1929–1932).
  19. Edgar Miller: played for Notre Dame (1922–1924), head coach for Navy (1931–1933)
  20. Chuck Riley: played for Notre Dame (1927), head coach for New Mexico (1931–1933)
  21. Marchmont Schwartz: played for Notre Dame (1929–1931), head coach for Creighton (1935–1939), Stanford (1942–1950).
  22. Buck Shaw: played for Notre Dame (1919–1921), head coach for NC State (1924), Nevada (1925–1928), San Francisco 49ers ( 1946-1954 ), Philadelphia Eagles ( 1958- 1960 ).
  23. Maurice J. "Clipper" Smith: played for Notre Dame (1917–1920), head coach for Gonzaga (1925–1928), Villanova (1936–1942)
  24. Harry Stuhldreher: played for Notre Dame (1922–1924), head coach for Villanova (1925–1935), Wisconsin (1936–1948).
  25. Frank Thomas: played for Notre Dame (1920–1922), head coach for Alabama (1931–1946)
  26. Adam Walsh: played for Notre Dame (1922–1924), head coach for Santa Clara (1925–1928), Bowdoin (1935–1942; 1947–1958)
  27. Earl Walsh: played for Notre Dame (1919–1921), head coach for Fordham (1942).
  28. John Weibel: played for Notre Dame (1923–1924), assistant for Vanderbilt (1925–1926), Duquesne (1927).
  29. Chet A. Wynne: played for Notre Dame (1919–1921), head coach for Creighton (1923–1929), Auburn (1930–1933), Kentucky (1934–1937).


Knute Rockne memorial
Memorial plaque to Knute Rockne in his birth town of Voss, Norway
Former Knute Rockne memorial on the Kansas Turnpike.
  • Notre Dame memorializes him in the Knute Rockne Memorial Building, an athletics facility built in 1937, as well as the main football stadium.[45]
  • His name appears on streets in South Bend and in Stevensville, Michigan, (where Rockne had a summer home), and a travel plaza on the Indiana Toll Road.
  • The Rockne Memorial near Bazaar, Kansas at the site of the airliner crash memorializes Rockne and the seven others who died with him. It was erected by the late Easter Heathman, who as a boy was a crash eyewitness and was among the first to respond at the scene. Every five years since the crash, a memorial ceremony is held there and at a nearby schoolhouse, drawing relatives of the victims and Rockne and Notre Dame fans from around the world. Now part of the Heathman family estate, it is accessible only by arrangement or during memorial commemorations.[36]
  • The Matfield Green rest stop travel plaza (center foyer) on the Kansas Turnpike near Bazaar and the airliner crash site where Rockne was killed used to have a large, glassed-in exhibit commemorating Rockne (chiefly), the other crash victims, and the crash itself.[36] The memorial was taken down during renovations of the travel plaza.
  • Allentown Central Catholic High School in Allentown, Pennsylvania dedicated its gymnasium, Rockne Hall, to Knute Rockne.
  • Taylorville, Illinois dedicated the street next to the football field as "Knute Rockne Road".
  • The town of Rockne, Texas was named to honor him. In 1931, the children of Sacred Heart School were given the opportunity to name their town. A vote was taken, with the children electing to name the town after Rockne, who had died in a plane crash earlier that year. On March 10, 1988, Rockne opened its post office for one day during which a Knute Rockne 22-cent commemorative stamp was issued. A life-size bust of Rockne was unveiled on March 4, 2006.
  • The Studebaker automobile company of South Bend marketed the Rockne automobile from 1931 to 1933. It was a separate product line of Studebaker and priced in the low-cost market.
  • Symphonic composer Ferde Grofe composed a musical suite in Rockne's honor shortly after the coach's death.
  • In 1940, actor Pat O'Brien portrayed Rockne in the Warner Brothers film Knute Rockne, All American, in which Rockne used the phrase "win one for the Gipper" in reference to the death bed request of George Gipp, played by Ronald Reagan.
  • The short film I Am an American (1944) featured Rockne as a foreign-born citizen[46]
  • Rockne was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951 as a charter member and in the Indiana Football Hall of Fame.
  • In 1988, the United States Postal Service honored Rockne with a 22-cent commemorative postage stamp.[47] President Ronald Reagan, who played George Gipp in the movie Knute Rockne, All American, gave an address at the Athletic & Convocation Center at the University of Notre Dame on March 9, 1988, and officially unveiled the Rockne stamp.
  • In 1988, Rockne was inducted posthumously into the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame held during Norsk Høstfest.
  • A biographical musical of Rockne's life premiered at the Theatre at the Center in Munster, Indiana on April 3, 2008. The musical is based on a play and mini-series by Buddy Farmer.[48]
  • The U.S. Navy named a ship in the Liberty ship class after Knute Rockne in 1943. The SS Knute Rockne was scrapped in 1972.[49]
  • A statue of Rockne, as well as Ara Parseghian, both by the sculptor Armando Hinojosa of Laredo, Texas, are located on the Notre Dame campus.
  • He was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2014.[50]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Bowl/playoffs
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Independent) (1918–1930)
1918 Notre Dame 3–1–2
1919 Notre Dame 9–0
1920 Notre Dame 9–0
1921 Notre Dame 10–1
1922 Notre Dame 8–1–1
1923 Notre Dame 9–1
1924 Notre Dame 10–0 W Rose
1925 Notre Dame 7–2–1
1926 Notre Dame 9–1
1927 Notre Dame 7–1–1
1928 Notre Dame 5–4
1929 Notre Dame 9–0
1930 Notre Dame 10–0
Notre Dame: 105–12–5
Total: 105–12–5
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth

Further reading

  • Brondfield, Jerry. Rockne: The Coach, the Man, the Legend (1976, reissued 2009)
  • Carter, Bob, Sports Century Biography:"Knute Rockne was Notre Dame's master motivator,", Special to
  • Cavanaugh, Jack. The Gipper: George Gipp, Knute Rockne, and the Dramatic Rise of Notre Dame Football (2010)
  • Harmon, Daniel E. Notre Dame Football (The Rosen Publishing Group, 2013).
  • Lindquist, Sherry C. M. Memorializing Knute Rockne at the University of Notre Dame: Collegiate Gothic Architecture and Institutional Identity", Winterthur Portfolio (Spring 2012), 46#1 pp 1–24. DOI: 10.1086/665045 In JSTOR
  • Lovelace, Delos Wheeler. "Rockne of Notre Dame" (1931)
  • Norsk Biografisk leksikon (NBL)
  • Robinson, Ray. Rockne of Notre Dame: The Making of a Football Legend (1999)
  • Rockne, Knute K. " Coaching ". (Devin-Adair, 1925 ).
  • Sperber, Murray, Shake Down the Thunder: The Creation of Notre Dame Football (1993)
  • Stewart, Mark. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Norwood House Press, 2011)

See also


  1. ^ "Order Blood Test Online – Lab Tests Portal Login".
  2. ^ "2016 Media Guide Notre Dame Football" (PDF). University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish Media. Retrieved August 20, 2017.
  3. ^ Whittingham, Richard (2001). "3". Rites of autumn: the story of college football. New York: The Free Press. pp. 58–61. ISBN 0-7432-2219-9.
  4. ^ "Baptism certificate".
  5. ^ "Death of Rockne". Time Magazine. April 6, 1931. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
  6. ^ Cutler, Irving (2006). Chicago, Metropolis of the Mid-continent. SIU Press. p. 75.
  7. ^ Roberts, Milt (1979). "Peggy Parratt, MVP" (PDF). The Coffin Corner. Professional Football Researchers Association. 1 (5). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 22, 2012.
  8. ^ PFRA Research (n.d.c). "Thorpe Arrives: 1915" (PDF). Professional Football Researchers Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 11, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
  9. ^ Emil Klosinski. Pro Football in the Days of Rockne. p. 135.
  10. ^

    Portions of this section are adapted from Murray Sperber's book Shake Down The Thunder: The Creation of Notre Dame Football

  11. ^ Fortuna, Matt (July 9, 2012). "Numbers don't tell story of Knute Rockne". Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Kelly, Jason. "St. Knute had a ruthless side too." South Bend Tribune. July 28, 2006.
  15. ^ Dame, ENR // MarComm:Web // University of Notre. "This Day In History: Rockne Takes The Reins // Moments // 125 Football // University of Notre Dame".
  16. ^ "Shaping College Football".
  17. ^ "Leslie's Weekly".
  18. ^
  19. ^ 2017 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records (PDF). Indianapolis: The National Collegiate Athletic Association. July 2017. p. 111. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  20. ^ "2016 Media Guide Notre Dame Football" (PDF). University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish Media. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  21. ^ Keyes, Ralph (2006). The quote verifier: who said what, where, and when. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-34004-4.
  22. ^ Keith Marder; Mark Spellen; Jim Donovan (2001). The Notre Dame Football Encyclopedia: The Ultimate Guide to America's Favorite College Team. Citadel Press. p. 148. ISBN 0806521082.
  23. ^ Grantland Rice (December 3, 1921). "Where The West Got The Jump: In Addition To Developing Strong Defense and Good Running Game, Has Built Up Forward Pass" (PDF). American Golfer.
  24. ^ a b c Robinson, Alan (September 9, 2007). "Rockne's gaffe remembered". The Daily Texan. Texas Student Media. Archived from the original on September 8, 2007. Retrieved September 6, 2007.
  25. ^ "Henry R. "Peter" Pund". Inductees. Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved August 11, 2007.
  26. ^ Murray A. Spencer (1993). Shake Down the Thunder: The Creation of Notre Dame Football. Indiana University Press. p. 278.
  27. ^ Homiletic Review. Volume 102, Page 421. 1931.
  28. ^ Associated Press, "Rockne's Double Keeps Ramblers in Front", The Reading Eagle, p. 14 (November 25, 1929). Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  29. ^ Wheeler, Robert W. (28 November 2012). "Jim Thorpe: World's Greatest Athlete". University of Oklahoma Press – via Google Books.
  30. ^ "Bonnie Gwendolyn Skiles". geni_family_tree.
  31. ^ "File:Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church (Sandusky, Ohio) - Erie Co. Historical Marker, Knute Rockne Wedding.JPG".
  32. ^ "Around the Bend: Knute Rockne".
  33. ^ "Tom and Kate Hickey Family History: 20 Nov. 1925: Tom Hickey Became Knute Rockne's Godfather".
  34. ^ The Official Knute Rockne Web Site. URL accessed 03:54, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
  35. ^ EAApilot magazine, August 2016
  36. ^ a b c d e Fans & Family Remember the Crash Heard 'Round the World, 2011, by aviation historian Richard Harris
  37. ^ The Gipper: George Gipp, Knute Rockne, and the Dramatic Rise of Notre Dame
  38. ^ a b Sudekum Fisher, Maria (February 1, 2008). "J. E. Heathman; found crash that killed Rockne". Boston Globe. Associated Press. Retrieved February 14, 2008.
  39. ^ Hoover, Herbert, President of the United States, message to Mrs. Knute Rockne, 119 – "Message of Sympathy on the Death of Knute Rockne", April 1, 1931, Washington, D.C., cited on the web site of The American Presidency Project
  40. ^ a b Niemi, Robert (May 17, 2006). History in the Media: Film and Television. ABC-CLIO. p. 210. ISBN 978-1576079522.
  41. ^ Lindquist, Sherry C.M., "Memorializing Knute Rockne at the University of Notre Dame: Collegiate Gothic Architecture and Institutional Identity", in Winterthur Portfolio, Vol_ 46, No_ 1 (Spring 2012), pp_ 1-24 on
  42. ^ "In Search of Rockne's Grave",
  43. ^ Johnson, Randy, M.A. (Ph.D. candidate, Ohio Univ., Athens, OH; certified airline transport pilot & flight instructor), "The 'Rock': The Role of the Press in Bringing About Change in Aircraft Accident Policy.", Journal of Air Transportation World Wide, Vol. 5, No. 1, 2000, Aviation Institute, University of Nebraska at Omaha.
  44. ^ O'Leary, Michael, "The Plane that Changed the World", Part 1., Air Classics, vol.46, no.10, Nov.2010, pp.28-48, including sidebar: "Effects of the Rockne Crash".
  45. ^ Sherry C. M. Lindquist. "Memorializing Knute Rockne at the University of Notre Dame: Collegiate Gothic Architecture and Institutional Identity", Winterthur Portfolio (Spring 2012), 46#1 pp 1-24
  46. ^ The 16-minute film was featured in American theaters as a short feature in connection with "I Am an American Day" (now called Constitution Day). I Am an American was produced by Gordon Hollingshead and written and directed by Crane Wilbur. Besides Rockne, it featured Humphrey Bogart, Gary Gray, Dick Haymes, Danny Kaye, Joan Leslie, Dennis Morgan, and Jay Silverheels. See: I Am An American at the TCM Movie Database and I Am an American on IMDb .
  47. ^ Scott catalog # 2376.
  48. ^ "Notre Dame Coach Gets Spotlight in Knute Rockne Musical in Indiana, April 3-May 11". Playbill. Archived from the original on September 9, 2012.
  49. ^ List of Liberty ships: Je-L
  50. ^ Knute Rockne, Dick Vermeil and Ki-Jana Carter to be Inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame, Tournament of Roses Association, August 26, 2014

External links

1918 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team

The 1918 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team represented the University of Notre Dame during the 1918 college football season.

At age thirty, Knute Rockne made his head coaching debut on September 28 against Case (now Case Western Reserve) in Cleveland, Ohio. This team included George Gipp, Hunk Anderson, and Curly Lambeau, founder and head coach of the NFL's Green Bay Packers.

The schedule was curtailed from its usual 9 games to 6 due to the outbreak of the worldwide influenza epidemic. Therefore, no games were played during the month of October."On Oct. 11, Dr. Emil G. Freyermuth, the South Bend city health officer, issued an order forbidding all public gatherings until further notice. All schools, theaters, clubs, churches and other religious institutions were closed. Public funerals, meetings, dances and other events were canceled. The University of Notre Dame football team — led by coach Knute Rockne and including star player George Gipp — canceled several football games that month."

1919 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team

The 1919 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team represented the University of Notre Dame during the 1919 college football season, led by second-year head coach Knute Rockne. The team won all nine games and was selected retroactively as a co-national champion by the National Championship Foundation and Parke H. Davis.

1920 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team

The 1920 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team represented the University of Notre Dame during the 1920 college football season, led by third-year head coach Knute Rockne. The team won all nine games and was selected retroactively as national champion by the Billingsley Report and as a co-national champion by Parke H. Davis.Senior back George Gipp was a consensus All-American, but died on December 14 due to a streptococcal throat infection and pneumonia.

1925 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team

The 1925 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team was an American football team that represented the University of Notre Dame as an independent during the 1925 college football season. In its eighth season under head coach Knute Rockne, the team compiled a 7–2–1 record and outscored opponents by a total of 200 to 64.Three Notre Dame players were recognized on Billy Evans' "National Honor Roll": tackle Stonewall McMannon; guard John "Clipper" Smith; and halfback Christie Flanagan. In addition, fullback Rex Enright received third-team honors on Walter Eckersall's 1925 All-America team.

1926 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team

The 1926 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team represented the University of Notre Dame during the 1926 college football season, led by ninth-year head coach Knute Rockne. The Irish won all but one of their ten games, upset by Carnegie Tech in late November.

1928 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team

The 1928 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team represented the University of Notre Dame during the 1928 college football season. Led by eleventh-year head coach Knute Rockne, the independent Irish compiled an uncharacteristic 5–4 record and were outscored 99 to 107.

In Cartier Field's final game on November 17, Notre Dame lost its first game on campus in 23 years, upset 27–7 by undefeated Carnegie Tech.

1929 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team

The 1929 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team represented the University of Notre Dame during the 1929 college football season. Led by twelfth-year head coach Knute Rockne, the independent Irish won all nine games and outscored its opponents 145 to 38, with four shutouts.

When Rockne fell ill, Tom Lieb became de facto head coach. Notre Dame was selected as the national champion by Billingsley Report, Boand System, Dickinson System, Dunkel System, College Football Researchers Association, Helms Athletic Foundation, National Championship Foundation, Poling System, and Jeff Sagarin's ELO-Chess system.The three home games this season were played at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. On campus, Cartier Field was razed and the new Notre Dame Stadium opened the following season in 1930.

1930 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team

The 1930 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team represented the University of Notre Dame during the 1930 college football season. The independent Irish won all ten games, outscored its opponents 256 to 74 with three shutouts, and repeated as national champions.

The new Notre Dame Stadium made its debut on October 4, and was dedicated the next week. The closest game was a one-point win in late November over previously undefeated Army; the Irish won 7–6 at Soldier Field in Chicago with over 100,000 in attendance. This rivalry game was usually played in New York City. A week later in Los Angeles, Notre Dame shut out once-beaten USC 27–0 for their nineteenth consecutive victory.

This was the thirteenth and final season for Knute Rockne as head coach; he was killed in a plane crash the following spring.

1931 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team

The 1931 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team represented the University of Notre Dame during the 1931 college football season, led by first-year head coach Hunk Anderson.

Following the death of head coach Knute Rockne in a plane crash on March 31, line coach Anderson was promoted on April 10.

Notre Dame entered the season on a 19-game winning streak and opened with a road win, but then had a scoreless tie with Northwestern in the second game, played at Soldier Field in Chicago. Five straight wins followed and the unbeaten string extended to 26 games, until visiting USC won by two points; the Trojans were the last team to defeat Notre Dame, three years earlier in 1928. The next week, Army shut out the Irish 12–0 at Yankee Stadium to conclude the season.

Dickinson System

The Dickinson System was a mathematical point formula that awarded national championships in college football. Devised by University of Illinois economics professor Frank G. Dickinson, the system crowned national champions from 1926 to 1940, and included predated rankings for 1924 and 1925.

The system was originally designed to rank teams in the Big Nine (later the Big Ten) conference. Chicago clothing manufacturer Jack Rissman then persuaded Dickinson to rank the nation's teams under the system, and awarded the Rissman Trophy to the winning university.The Dickinson System was the first to gain widespread national public and media acceptance as a "major selector", according to the NCAA Football Records Book prior to the establishment of the Associated Press poll in 1936.

Dickinson System champions were awarded the Rissman National Trophy, named after Chicago clothing manufacturer Jack Rissman. The trophy was retired in 1930 by Notre Dame, and later the Knute Rockne Intercollegiate Memorial Trophy.

Four Horsemen (American football)

The Four Horsemen of Notre Dame comprised a group of American football players at the University of Notre Dame under coach Knute Rockne. They were the backfield of Notre Dame's 1924 football team. The players that made up this group were Harry Stuhldreher, Don Miller, Jim Crowley, and Elmer Layden.In 1924, a nickname coined by sportswriter Grantland Rice and the actions of a student publicity aide transformed the Notre Dame backfield of Stuhldreher, Crowley, Miller, and Layden into one of the most noted groups of collegiate athletes in football history, the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame.Quarterback Harry Stuhldreher, left halfback Jim Crowley, right halfback Don Miller, and fullback Elmer Layden had run rampant through Irish opponents' defenses since coach Knute Rockne devised the lineup in 1922 during their sophomore season. During the three-year tenure of the Four Horsemen, Notre Dame lost only two games; one each in 1922 and 1923, both to Nebraska in Lincoln before packed houses.

Jim Brady (quarterback)

James Murphy Brady (August 11, 1907 – January 12, 1984), a grandson of Idaho governor James H. Brady, was an American football player and broadcasting entrepreneur.

After graduating from Pocatello High School in Idaho, Brady tried out for the football team at Notre Dame, but was told by coach Knute Rockne that he was far too small. But over time his persistence paid off, and in 1927 he was named the starting quarterback. Brady was the quarterback for the legendary "Win one for the Gipper" game against Army on November 10, 1928—dramatized in the film Knute Rockne, All American.

After returning to Idaho Falls in 1933, he would join the family business at The Post Register newspaper. After serving in the United States Army in World War II, Brady would found the radio station KIFI in Idaho Falls in 1947, and eventually the television station KIFI-TV. He would serve as president of Upper Valley Cable from 1969 until his death in 1984.

Knute Rockne, All American

Knute Rockne, All American is a 1940 American biographical film which tells the story of Knute Rockne, Notre Dame football coach. It stars Pat O'Brien portraying the role of Rockne and Ronald Reagan as player George Gipp, a.k.a. "The Gipper," as well as Gale Page, Donald Crisp, Albert Bassermann, Owen Davis Jr., Nick Lukats, Kane Richmond, William Marshall and William Byrne. It also includes cameos by legendary football coaches "Pop" Warner, Amos Alonzo Stagg, William H. Spaulding, and Howard Jones, playing themselves.

Reagan's presidential campaign revived interest in the film, resulting in reporters calling him "The Gipper."The movie was written by Robert Buckner and directed by Lloyd Bacon, who replaced William K. Howard after filming had begun. In 1997, this film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in their National Film Registry.

Knute Rockne Bowl

The Knute Rockne Bowl (named after football great Knute Rockne) was played as the NCAA College Division East Regional championship from 1969 to 1972, one of four national quarterfinals. After an absence of three seasons, it was a Division II national semifinal game in 1976 and 1977, along with the Grantland Rice Bowl.

List of Notre Dame Fighting Irish football seasons

This is a list of Notre Dame Fighting Irish football season records. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team is the football team of the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, United States. The team competes as an Independent at the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision level.

Notre Dame has the most consensus national championships and has produced more All-Americans than any other Football Bowl Subdivision school. Additionally, seven Fighting Irish football players have won the Heisman Trophy.

Notre Dame is one of only two Catholic universities that field a team in the Football Bowl Subdivision, the other being Boston College, and one of a handful of programs independent of a football conference. The team plays its home games on Notre Dame's campus at Notre Dame Stadium, also known as the "House that Rockne Built," which has a capacity of 80,795.

Notre Dame claims national championships in an additional three seasons, for a total of 11 consensus national championships. Notre Dame, however, is often credited with 13 national championships in total. The 1938 and 1953 seasons are the reason for the discrepancy. In 1938, 8-1 Notre Dame was awarded the national championship by the Dickinson System, while Texas Christian (which finished 11-0) was awarded the championship by the Associated Press. In the 1953 season, an undefeated Notre Dame team (9-0-1) was named national champion by every major selector except the AP and UPI (Coaches) polls, where the Irish finished second in both to 10-1 Maryland. As Notre Dame has a policy of only recognizing AP and Coaches Poll national championships post-1936, the school does not officially recognize the 1938 and 1953 national championships.


The Rockne was an American automobile brand produced by the Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana, from 1932-1933. The brand was named for University of Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne.

Discussions between Studebaker and Knute Rockne began in 1928. Rockne was offered a high-visibility job by Studebaker president Albert Erskine. Studebaker planned for a durable, inexpensive car. The Rockne would replace the slow-selling, unduly expensive Erskine car.

There were two prototypes that some would consider 1931 Rocknes.

In 1930, Ralph Vail and Roy Cole operated an engineering/consulting firm in Detroit.

Willys-Overland commissioned them to design a new small six and build two prototypes.

Upon presenting the two vehicles to W-O the independent designers/engineers were told W-O was on the verge of bankruptcy and they could do what they wanted with the cars, one a sedan, one a coupe.

Vail stopped in South Bend and demonstrated the car to Albert Erskine, at that time president of the Studebaker Corporation. Erskine bought the design that day and both Vail and Cole would be brought into the Studebaker organization.

The Rockne moniker was a later adoption so, technically, there were no 1931 Rocknes.

On March 31, 1931, 12 days after being appointed manager of sales promotion, Knute Rockne was killed in an airplane crash. In September, 1931, George M. Graham, formerly of Willys-Overland, was named sales manager of the new Rockne Motor Corporation. Two models were approved for production, the "65" on 110 in (2,800 mm) wheelbase and the "75" on a 114 in (2,900 mm) wheelbase. The "75" was based on the Studebaker Six, while the "65" was based on designs by Vail and Cole, the two engineers under contract for Willys-Overland. The "75" was designed under Studebaker's head of engineering, Delmar "Barney" Roos.

Production of the Rockne "75" began at South Bend on December 15, 1931. The smaller "65" went into production at the old E-M-F plant on Piquette Avenue in Detroit, February 22, 1932. This was the same plant at which the 1927 and 1928 Erskine models had been built. The Rockne also went into production at Studebaker's Canadian plant at Walkerville, Ontario, near Windsor.

The 1933 Rockne line was reduced to one line, the "10". The Rockne "10" was an update of the "65". When Studebaker went into receivership on March 18, 1933, it was decided to move production of the Rockne to the Studebaker plant in South Bend. The Rockne "10" was built in South Bend from April through July, 1933.

The Rockne "65/10" engine would replace all the six-cylinder Studebaker car engines then in production and power Studebaker Dictator and Commander cars until World War II. This engine would also power postwar Commanders and Land Cruisers until the V8 became available for 1951. This engine would also be the larger of two six cylinder engines offered in trucks through 1960.

Although the Rockne was not a success, its failure was a product of the times. The year 1932 was the bottom of the depression, not a good time to introduce a new name. Leftover Rocknes were sent to Norway in kits, where they were reassembled and sold.

Rockne, Texas

Rockne is an unincorporated community in Bastrop County, Texas, United States. It was named after Knute Rockne. In 1931, the children of Sacred Heart School were given the opportunity to name their town. A vote was taken, with the children electing to name the town after Rockne, who had died in a plane crash earlier that year. On March 10, 1988, Rockne opened its post office for one day, during which a Knute Rockne twenty-two-cent commemorative stamp was issued. A life size bust of Rockne was unveiled on March 4, 2006 and sits in front of the Rockne Museum.

Tall Grass Game

The Tall Grass Game was the 1928 Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin football game played on October 6, 1928, between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Wisconsin Badgers. Notre Dame, coached by Knute Rockne, arrived in Madison, Wisconsin, only to find that the grass on the football field at Camp Randall Stadium had not been mowed in a week. Rumor was that Wisconsin coach Glenn Thistlethwaite wanted to slow down the speedy Notre Dame Irish players. Rockne demanded the field be trimmed and Thistelwaite refused.The game was considered to be one of the premier non-conference games of the time. Before the game began, a stadium-record 40,000 fans were expected to attend the game, an attendance mark that was achieved.The Badgers upset the Irish 22–6, and Wisconsin fans still refer to the game as "The Victory In The Tall Grass." It was called the first win by a Big Ten Conference team over Notre Dame in over a decade, but that has been disputed.

Washington D.C. Touchdown Club

The Washington D.C. Touchdown Club was started in 1935 with a passion for charity and sports. In the ensuing years the Club has benefited many local charities as well as providing scholarships to deserving student/athletes.

The Touchdown Timmies, the club's trophies, are given each year to athletes who excelled in their respective arenas including professionals, college and scholastic players. Additionally, the Club provided monies to 15 charitable organizations each year.

Recently, the name was changed to "Touchdown Club Charities of Washington, DC". It was founded by a group of college football enthusiasts in 1935, among them Dutch Bergman. The motto is "Children, Scholarship, and Community".

The Timmie Awards began with a formal dinner at the Willard Hotel in 1937 where All-American Quarterback Marshall Goldberg was honored as Best Player of the Year. Over the past sixty years, the club's dinner awards programs honoring of more than 200 outstanding college players and hundreds of professional high school athletes, have attracted celebrities from many fields and national media attention.

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