Rudy Ruettiger Speaker Profile
Rudy Ruettiger Biography
Rudy Ruettiger was born August 23, 1948 and is amotivational speaker and former collegiate football player for the Universityof Notre Dame, who is best known as the inspiration for the motion pictureRudy.
Daniel Ruettiger (nicknamed Rudy) had a hard time in school becausehe was dyslexica condition that was not well understood at the time. He wasthe third of fourteen children. He attended Joliet Catholic High School, wherehe played for locally famous coach Gordie Gillespie. Ruettiger joined theUnited States Navy after high school, serving as a yeoman on a communicationscommand ship for two years; then he worked in a power plant for two years. Heapplied to Notre Dame, but due to his marginal grades he had to do his earlycollege work at nearby Holy Cross College.
After two years at Holy Cross, Ruettiger was accepted as astudent at Notre Dame on his fourth try, in the fall of 1974. It was during histime studying at Holy Cross that Ruettiger discovered he had dyslexia.
Ruettiger harbored a dream to play for the Notre DameFighting Irish football team, despite being merely 5'6 and 165 poundsanundersized player. Head coach Ara Parseghian encouraged walk-on players fromthe 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 withthe Kansas City Chiefs.
After working as hard as possible and showing that he waswilling to work as much as he needed to, Ruettiger earned a place on the NotreDame scout team, a practice squad that helps the varsity team practice forgames. Merv Johnson was the coach who was instrumental in keeping Rudy on as ascout-team player.
After Parseghian stepped down after the 1974 season, DanDevine was named head coach. In Ruettiger's last opportunity to play for NotreDame at home, Devine put him into a game as defensive end against Georgia Techon November 8, 1975. In the movie Rudy, Devine is given a somewhat antagonisticrole, not wanting Rudy to dress for his last game. However, in actuality, itwas Devine who came up with the idea to dress Rudy. In the final play ofRuettiger's senior season with the Fighting Irish, he recorded a sack, which isall his Notre Dame stat line has ever shown. Ruettiger actually played for twoplays. The first play was a kickoff, and the second (and final) play he sackedGeorgia Tech quarterback, Rudy Allen. Ruettiger was carried off the field byhis teammates following the game.
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