Knute Rockne - Coach and Legend of Notre Dame
Knute Kenneth Rockne was born on March 4, 1888 in Voss, Norway. He first
moved to Chicago at the age of 5. Nobody liked him there, and he was in many
fights. Before football or even baseball, Knute discovered skiing. He loved it,
and went skiing every chance he got during the winter. Knute was a natural
athlete, and excelled in all of the sports he tried. He excelled in track,
making a name for himself later on.
Although he was always one of the shortest guys around, Knute was one of
the toughest. The only protective gear he ever wore was adhesive tape that he
stuck to his ears to prevent them from being torn off. Knute often said "Show me
a good and gracious loser and I'll show you a failure."
Knute discovered the great game of football at the age of 7. He played
in games against other teams his age. The team he played on was called the
Tricky Tigers. All of the teams were "sandlot" teams. Knute could not get enough
of the sport. He praticed every chance he got. In fact, the other boys thought
him crazy for practicing so much. This obsession almost got him an education.
Knute never made the starting team until he was a senior, so he played on the
At the same time, Knute tried playing many other sports. His school
attendance slipped and his grades became mediocre. Persistence paid off, and
after 3 years on the scrubs, Knute finally made it to the starting football team.
After this successful senior football season, it was time for him to leave high
school. It was a wonder that he got into Notre Dame with his high school record.
At the age of 22, Rockne decided that he wanted to fulfill a dream. That
dream was to become a pharmacist and to eventually own his own drug store. Two
of Knute's friends gained acceptance to a small college in South Bend, Indiana
called Notre Dame. Knute decided to try to get into this same school, although
his high school grades were dismal. He was accepted, but his parents were not
fond of the idea of him going to a Catholic school, as they themselves were
practicing Lutherans. However, they did not forbid him to go. Interestingly,
Notre Dame was not Rockney's first college choice. For years he had saved and
planned to go to the University of Illinois. Knute had not even planned on
playing football in college. That decision would have resulted in a very
different future for Knute. Basically, Knute's decision to go to Notre Dame was
an economic one; it was much cheaper than U.I.
While working during college to earn his way, Knute got a course in
memory training, which would later become a valuable asset in his coaching
career. A picture at this time revealed a cocky young man whose sparse hair
made him appear more like a young professor than a college freshman. Knute
made friends with the future quarter back Gus Dorais. They would be
roommates through all 4 years of college, and took vacations together during