Daniel Ruettiger

Daniel Ruettiger

Infobox CollegeFootballPlayer
name= Daniel Eugene "Rudy" Ruettiger

caption=Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger dressed in his #45 for the Georgia Tech game
school=University of Notre Dame
currentposition=Defensive End
birthdate=birth date and age|1948|08|23
birthplace=Joliet, Illinois
highlights=Last player carried off the field at Notre Dame
highschool=Joliet Catholic High School
pastschools=Notre Dame University, Holy Cross Junior College

Daniel Eugene "Rudy" Ruettiger (b. August 23, 1948 in Joliet, Illinois, United States) is a motivational speaker best known as the inspiration for the motion picture "Rudy".

Early life and college career

Daniel Ruettiger (nicknamed "Rudy") grew up in a middle class household, the third of fourteen children. He attended Joliet Catholic High School, where he played for locally famous coach Gordie Gillespie and led the team in tackles his junior and senior years. After graduating from high school, Ruettiger worked in a steel mill where a close friend and mentor died in a explosion influencing him to attend Holy Cross Junior College in South Bend, Indiana.

After two years at Holy Cross, and three rejections to transfer to the University of Notre Dame, Ruettiger was accepted as a student in the Fall of 1974. It was during his time studying at Holy Cross that Ruettiger discovered he suffered from dyslexia.

Ruettiger harbored a dream to play for Ara Parseghian and the Fighting Irish football team, despite being 5' 7" and 165 pounds (far shorter and lighter than would be expected of a collegiate football player). [ [http://www.rudyinternational.com/truestory1.cfm Rudy international ] ] Parseghian encouraged walk-on players from the student body. For example, Notre Dame's 1969 starting center, Mike Oriard, was a walk-on who eventually won a Rhodes Scholarship and an NFL contract with the Kansas City Chiefs [ [http://nd.edu/~ndmag/su2002/oriard.html It's Not All Fun and Games: college athletics, Notre Dame Magazine Online, summer 2002 ] ] .

Ruettiger earned a place on the Notre Dame scout team, a practice-squad that helps the varsity team practice for games. Merv Johnson was the coach that was instrumental at keeping Rudy on as a scout team player.

After Parseghian stepped down after the 1974 season, Dan Devine was named head coach. In Ruettiger's last opportunity to play for Notre Dame at home, Devine put him into a game at defensive end against Georgia Tech on November 8, 1975. In the movie "Rudy", Devine is depicted as a villain, not wanting Rudy to dress for his last game; however, during the actual game, Devine reportedly came up with the idea to dress Rudy. In the final play of Ruettiger's senior season with the Fighting Irish, he recorded a sack, which is all his Notre Dame stat line has ever shown. Ruettiger was carried off the field by his teammates following the game. Ruettiger actually played for two plays. The first time he was unable to get to the quarterback, but on the second play he sacked the Georgia Tech quarterback. [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wpzcWJtLys Actual footage of Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger recording the final sack for Notre Dame against Georgia Tech on November 8th, 1975.] ]

He and fullback Marc Edwards are the only players in Notre Dame history ever to be carried off the field by his teammates.

Later life

On October 14, 2005, Ruettiger was the master of ceremonies at a pep rally for Notre Dame Football. The Fighting Irish were about to play rival and then #1-ranked University of Southern California (USC) the following day and Head Coach Charlie Weis asked some Notre Dame legends, including Tim Brown and Joe Montana, to come back and speak at the rally. Ruettiger came out of the tunnel at Notre Dame Stadium to a loud ovation. [ [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9707335/ "One for the ages: USC edges Notre Dame: Leinart pulls trickery with 3 seconds left, Bush scores 3 TDs in 34-31 win"; msnbc.com] ]

Ruettiger is currently married and has two children.

In film

Ruettiger's story was told in the 1993 film "Rudy", which starred actor Sean Astin in the title role. The film was written by Angelo Pizzo, directed by David Anspaugh and produced by Rob Fried, the award-winning team that created "Hoosiers". Ruettiger appeared in a cameo as a fan behind Rudy's dad in the final game scene.Fact|date=September 2008


* "Rudy's Insights for Winning in Life"
* "Rudy's Lessons for Young Champions"
* "Rudy & Friends"
* "Dream Power" (audio cassette)


*Pagna, Tom, "Notre Dame's Era of Ara", Diamond Communications, Inc., 1976, ISBN 0-912083-74-3, pp 182-183, regarding Parseghian's use of walk-ons.


* Honorary Doctorate Degree from Our Lady of Holy Cross College
* The key to numerous cities across the nation along with special proclamations for his inspiration, commitment, and human spirit
* Honorary assist to the Attorney General of Louisiana
* Distinguished American Award
* Recognition from President George W. Bush
* Recognition at the White House
* Recognition from the House of Representatives in the state of Texas
* A Proclamation from the Governor of Nevada granting an Official Rudy Award Day

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