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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