Knute Rockne

 



        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 scrubs team.



        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 school breaks.



        Rockne didn\'t make the varsity squad until his third year. There were many theories about why this was. Some said he was too short and caused too many turnovers as a freshman. Whatever the reason, Knute palyed on the scrubs for two years. A new coach entered the picture by his junior year and gave Knute a chance at the end position. Everyone knows what he did from there. (If you don\'t already, you will!) In his  career at Notre Dame, Knute averaged a 92 grade point average. In his senior year of college, he was still determined to become a pharmacist. He had no intention of becoming a coach!



        Rockne did not invent the forward pass - he revolutionized it! During a summer break form school, Gus and Knute decided to fool around with The forward pass. Knute got an idea telling Gus "What if you hold the football closer to this end?" Gus tried it and was astonished by the outcome. He could actually control the speed and accuracy