Finding Knute Rockne

December, 12, 2012
12/12/12
9:00
AM CT
Knute Rockne? As in "Newt?" Turns out we -- and millions of others in the decades before us -- have been wrong all along.
“Excuse me, but I have to correct you. You’re saying my grandfather’s name wrong. It’s ‘Kuh-newt’ Rockne, not ‘Newt’ Rockne.”

The Observer's Andrew Owens traveled to Bazaar, Kan., to trace the legend of the man responsible for so much of Notre Dame's history. The piece, "Finding Rockne: A Journey to Find the Man Behind the Legend," serves as the paper's Irish Insider cover story, and it's well worth a read.

Andrew talks to Rockne's grandson, traces his religious roots and discovers where man became myth.
We trek through the bumpy trail, and after a few minutes we can see the memorial atop the hill.

Upon sight, we are speechless. Nothing but plains stretch beyond the memorial for miles. Engraved on the granite monument are eight names. Atop the list it reads, “ROCKNE MEMORIAL.” There is a small wiry fence around the monument [Tom] Easter constructed years ago to protect it from the cattle.

Even today you’ll find bits of glass from the plane sitting atop the soil. It was a cloudy day when we were there, but Tom said when the sun shines or the rain pours down, you can see the hill shine from miles away.

Perched atop the hill, the world comes to a halt. I picked up a couple small shards of glass, and was immediately humbled as I realized I was handling one of the last remaining physical connections to Knute Rockne, the man.

To learn more about one of the most famous coaches in college football history, read Andrew's piece here.

Matt Fortuna | email

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