A sold-out crowd of more than 250 attendees enjoyed the 7th annual Knute Rockne Spirit of Sports Awards Celebration, on Friday, Sept. 22 at the Smith Ballroom of the Morris Inn on the Notre Dame campus.
The Celebration honored an outstanding lineup of Rockne Award recipients, featuring host Allison Hayes of ABC57's game day Notre Dame Kickoff show.
The Rockne LIVING LEGEND Award was presented to Thom Gatewood '72, (pictured) consensus All-American wide receiver and College Football Hall of Famer. Thom served as the first Black captain of Notre Dame football and was an Academic All-American.
Other honorees included:
--NCAA champion men's lacrosse coach Kevin Corrigan
--Retired long-time ND broadcaster Jack Nolan
--Assistant director of Notre Dame bands Larry Dwyer '66
--ND senior deputy athletic director Missy Conboy '82
--South Bend businessman and philanthropist Michael Leep
--Curator of Notre Dame collectibles Jim "Augie" Augustine
--Legendary college basketball analyst and Notre Dame parent Dick Vitale
Watch the recorded Livestream at your convenience.
Award-winning journalist Bill Dwyre, winner of the 2022 Rockne COMMUNICATOR Award, wrote this 2000 piece about Joey Getherall, winner of the 2022 Rockne COURAGE Award.
The 2022 Rockne Awards was a celebration of nearly a century of Notre Dame football in southern California, starting with the Jan. 1, 1925 Rose Bowl vs. Stanford and continuing with the legendary ND-Southern Cal rivalry begun in 1926. And the event will feature several notable Notre Dame figures with southern California connections.
That includes Event Host Greg Bell, a running back and kick returner at Notre Dame (1980-83) who went on to a successful NFL career, including several seasons with the Los Angeles Rams. After his time at ND, Bell broke into the NFL in a big way, rushing for 1,100 yards and earning Pro Bowl honors with the Buffalo Bills in 1984.
After injuries slowed his production, he had a banner year with the Los Angeles Rams in 1988, rushing for 1,212 yards and an NFL-leading 16 rushing touchdowns, to earn the Comeback Player of the Year award. He led the league in rushing touchdowns again in 1989 with 15, then retired after the 1990 season with just shy of 5,000 career rushing yards.
Greg joined the NFL executive team and also became a national spokesman for anti-drug initiatives. He created the Athletes for Life (AFL) foundation, delivering the message of living an alcohol and drug-free life. Today, AFL has become one of the leading youth mentoring foundations in SoCal, providing services to more than 3,000 youth annually while providing life-changing opportunities, training, and job placement.
The 2022 Rockne Award winners:
--Legacy Award: the families of Notre Dame standouts from the Class of 1923, Glen Carberry (1922 captain) and Tom Lieb, who went on to a distinguished coaching career, stepping in for an ill Rockne several times during the 1929 national championship season. Lieb went on to serve as head coach of Loyola University of Los Angeles, leading the Rams to a record of 47-33-4.
--Living Legend Award: 1964 Heisman Trophy winner John Huarte ’65 (pictured) who came to ND from Mater Dei High School and was a reserve before new head coach Ara Parseghian elevated him to starter in his senior season. Huarte guided the Irish to a magical 9-1 season, marred only by a last-minute loss to USC in the season finale. He has been a successful businessman for decades.
--Communicator Award: Award-winning journalist Bill Dwyre ’66, retired award-winning Sports Editor and columnist for the Los Angeles Times.
--Champion Award: John Carney ’87, who set numerous records during a 23-year NFL career and currently ranks as the fifth leading scorer in NFL history. He now coaches and mentors aspiring kickers and punters from youth to pros.
--Humanitarian Award: Karen Phelps Moyer ’87, whose Foundation supports children dealing with the loss or a loved one, or family substance abuse.
--Inspiration Award: Alex Montoya ’96, speaker and author who offers an uplifting message, especially to the immigrant and disabled communities. He served 10 years as Manager of Latino Affairs for the San Diego Padres.
--Trailblazer Award: Dr. Carrie Hastings ’98, pioneer sports psychologist who works with youth through the Play Like a Champion Today sports education program, and pros as team psychologist for the Los Angeles Rams.
--Leadership Award: Kory Minor ’99 came to Notre Dame from Bishop Amat High School and left as the school’s all-time sack leader. He gives back today as a motivational speaker, coach, and mentor with the Play Like a Champion Today sports education program.
--Courage Award: Joey Getherall ’01, another Bishop Amat alum whose scintillating punt returns rank among all-time ND highlights. Has had a distinguished career with the Los Angeles Police Department
The Knute Rockne Memorial Society was founded in 2017 to preserve and promote the legacy of Coach Knute Rockne and all he stood for -- achievement with honor, sportsmanship, leading and encouraging others. The Rockne Society inspires and recognizes great achievement in athletics....and in life.
Your tax-deductible donation will join with others and enable us to honor the Rockne legacy and accomplish our goals. Thank you!
The 2021 Knute Rockne Spirit of Sports Awards Celebration, held Sept. 24 before a full house at the Chicago Sports Museum, honored an all-star lineup of Notre Dame and Chicago figures. Here, Big 10 commissioner Kevin Warren congratulates Barry Alvarez, winner of the Rockne Living Legend Award.
March 31, 2021 marked the 90th anniversary of Coach Rockne's last day on earth. This story in the Chicago Sun-Times describes his life in early 1931, the tragic events of March 31, and the affects it produced.
It's been a most unusual football season. One of the casualties of Covid-19 was the Rockne Awards celebration planned for Green Bay prior to the Notre Dame-Wisconsin game.
You'll notice that several of the 2020 Rockne Award honorees have ties to Green Bay or UW. We hope to honor each in person at a future event.
It was a magical season, featuring a dynamic young coach on the rise in national profile; another challenging schedule; and a singularly talented star destined for a tragic final act.
Knute Rockne. George Gipp. The 1920 Notre Dame football team. Here is the story.
CLICK THE BUTTON AT RIGHT TO GO TO 1920!
Click the button below to be brought to a recap of 1920 Notre Dame season.
The Knute Rockne Memorial Society is dedicated to "inspiring and recognizing great achievement in athletics... and in life." Through its Rockne Awards, the Society honors outstanding individuals who have gone beyond the playing field to impact the world around them.
The third annual Knute Rockne Spirit of Sports Awards Celebration took place Friday, Oct. 11, at the historic Palais Royale Ballroom in downtown South Bend, site of the first two Rockne Awards celebrations. Typical of attendees' comments: "It was a magical evening...a tremendous memory for everyone in attendance."
The Rockne Awards recognized an outstanding slate of honorees, headed by the 2019 Rockne LIVING LEGEND Award winner, Justice Alan Page.
Justice Page gave a powerful, moving acceptance speech. View it here.
An All-American and National Championship football player at Notre Dame, Page went on to become one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history. He is a member of both
the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame.
Alan Page earned a law degree while playing for the Minnesota Vikings, and went on to a successful career as a lawyer and 23-year justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. He and his wife Diane started the Page Education Foundation, which has helped thousands of students of color attend college. Last year, he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
LEGACY Award -- The family of Elmer Layden, member of the 1924 National Champs, and ND head coach 1934-40.
HERITAGE Award -- Prof. Michael Steele '67, author of numerous books on Coach Rockne and ND football history.
LEADERSHIP Award -- Clark Power, Ph.D., and Kristin Sheehan, directors of the Play Like A Champion Today Educational Series, which fosters moral and spiritual development through sports.
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE Award -- Patrick Murphy, better known as "Murf," who's been dispensing beverages and good cheer for 43 years.
COMMUNICATOR Award -- Legendary voice of the Fighting Irish Tony Roberts, who has called more Notre Dame football games than anyone.
The second annual Knute Rockne Spirit of Sports Awards Celebration, held Sept. 7, 2018, at the historic Palais Royale Ballroom in downtown South Bend, honored an outstanding lineup of individuals for their achievements in athletics...and in life.
More than 200 attendees gathered to enjoy an evening of conversation and congratulations. Among the comments from attendees:
"It was a magical night!....The speakers were all excellent, funny, inspiring...A very memorable evening."
" It was a great event in all respects...an absolutely wonderful time."
"The evening was perfect for the ND family."
For a brief video with highlights of the entire evening, click here.
For Jim Lefebvre's Opening Remarks, click here.
At the Awards Celebration, we previewed the upcoming Rockne documentary film in this presentation.
For a video of each Rockne Award presentation, click on the Award name. (Awards correspond to Rockne Award winners pictured above, from left):
INSPIRATION Award -- Luther Bradley, 1977 Notre Dame All-American, active in Youth for Christ ministry, in Detroit and nationally.
COURAGE Award -- Haley Scott DeMaria, former Notre Dame swimmer, author, inspirational speaker.
COMMUNICATION Award -- Bob Nagle, 43-year broadcast veteran, and voice of Fighting Irish women's basketball.
CHAMPION Award -- Coach Muffet McGraw, two-time and defending NCAA Champion, and Hall of Famer.
HERITAGE Award -- Jerry McKenna, renowned sculptor, whose work includes sculptures of ND national champion coaches at the Stadium.
LEGACY Award -- Bob Dorais, grandson of legendary ND quarterback Gus Dorais, who has co-authored a biography of his grandfather.
PERSEVERANCE Award -- Bill "Red" Mack, who rose from a childhood in a Pittsburgh area orphanage to play halfback for ND, and win a Super Bowl.
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE Award -- Jan Blazi, long-time ND Athletic Dept. staffer, served as assistant to football coaches Parseghian to Willingham.
Earlier in the week, at a luncheon in Bettendorf, Iowa, the other 2018 Rockne Award was presented to:
LIVING LEGEND Award -- Johnny Lujack, at 93 the oldest living Heisman Trophy winner, having won the honor in 1947 for Notre Dame's national champs.
And, finally, the Closing Remarks and invitation to attend the 2019 Rockne Awards.
Our mission: To perpetuate and advance the name and legacy of Coach Knute Rockne and all that he stood for, honoring his life and all the lives he touched, by teaching, recognizing and supporting coaches and athletes in their pursuit of outstanding leadership, achievement and sportsmanship.
The inaugural Rockne Awards honored, from left:
Devoted Friend -- Art Decio
Champion -- Ryan Harris
Loyalty -- Coach Brian Boulac
Distinguished Service -- Roger Valdiserri
Humanitarian -- Dan Harshman
Perseverance -- Mike Oriard
Innovation -- Tom Reynolds
Courage -- Rocky Bleier
Take a look a the great Photo Gallery from the event.
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