|Birth Day:||March 4, 1888|
|Height:||in centimeters - N/A|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
He worked as a mail dispatcher for almost four years.
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 college 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.
At Notre Dame, Rockne was educated as a chemist and he 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. 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. 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.
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. They had four children: Knute Lars Jr., William Dorias, Mary Jeane and John Vincent. 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.
During the war-torn season of 1918, Rockne took over from his predecessor Jesse Harper and posted 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. In the backfield were Leonard Bahan, George Gipp, and Curly Lambeau. In Gipp, Rockne had an ideal handler of the forward pass.
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".
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." 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."
On November 10, 1928, 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." 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. Rockne's all-time All-America backfield was Jim Thorpe, Red Grange, George Gipp, and George Pfann.
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 damage 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.
Coincidentally, Jess Harper was a friend of Rockne and also the coach whom Rockne had replaced at Notre Dame. Harper lived about 100 miles from the spot of the crash and he was called to make positive identification of Rockne's body. A memorial dedicated to the victims stands on the spot where the plane crashed. The memorial is surrounded by a wire fence with wooden posts and was maintained for many years by James Heathman, who, at the age of 13 in 1931, was one of the first people to arrive at the site of the crash.
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.
Knute married Bonnie Skiles in 1914.
Currently, Knute Rockne is 135 years, 0 months and 28 days old. Knute Rockne will celebrate 136th birthday on a Monday 4th of March 2024. Below we countdown to Knute Rockne upcoming birthday.
Happy 125th Birthday Knute Rockne!
"When the going gets tough, the tough get going." "A winner never quits, and a quitter never wins." -- Knute K. Rockne (1888-1931) Yes, that's right, Notre Dame Football and Knute K. Rockne were bo...