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.
Create a lasting legacy of support for the work of the Knute Rockne Memorial Society. Your supports joins with other to help the Society reach its goals of bringing Coach Rockne's principles and practices to a 21st century audience. See details an hit the DONATE button below.
Become a FOUNDING MEMBER of the Knute Rockne Memorial Society, and receive this limited edition print (retail value $100), signed and numbered by third-generation legacy Notre Dame artist Kathleen Keifer; also, a FOUNDING MEMBER certificate, recognition on all Rockne Society communications, and inclusion in credits of Rockne film.
All for a one-time $500 donation.
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