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Rudy Ruettiger: Notre Dame Legend

RUDY RUETTIGER
Notre Dame Legend


Rudy Ruettiger was born in 1948, the third of 14 children. After graduating from high school, Rudy Ruettiger worked at a power plant both before and after serving in the Navy. Ruettiger, however, dreamed of entering the University of Notre Dame and playing for the Fighting Irish football team. When an industrial accident killed his best friend at the plant, Rudy Ruettiger was finally galvanized into pursuing his dream, a pursuit that is the basis of the film, "Rudy."

At the age of 23, Rudy Ruettiger won admittance to Holy Cross Junior College in South Bend, and plunged into his studies, while working as a groundskeeper at Notre Dame's Knute Rockne Stadium. While at Holy Cross, Rudy discovered he suffered from a mild case of dyslexia, which may have affected his academic performance in school. He learned to compensate for the condition and earned good grades, during his two years at Holy Cross.

For three semesters, Rudy Ruettiger sought admission to Notre Dame as a transfer student, but each time he was rejected. Time was running out for him to play football for the Fighting Irish, because Notre Dame does not accept senior transfer students. Finally, however, the first part of Rudy's dream came true: he was accepted into the university.

Rudy Ruettiger again beat the odds and won a spot on the scout team, against which the varsity team ran its plays. His goal, however, was to play with the Fighting Irish in a real game. During his two years at Notre Dame, Rudy Ruettiger won the respect of his teammates and of the coaches, and ultimately his dream came true: during the last moments of the last home game, he was sent out onto the field, where he tackled the Georgia Tech quarterback. When the game ended, Rudy's victorious teammates carried him off the field on their shoulders.

In 1976, Rudy Ruettiger received his bachelor's degree in sociology from Notre Dame. Since then, Rudy has worked in a variety of occupations-from insurance sales to real estate to owning his own janitorial and real estate title companies-while, as he says, "chasing my dream." That dream: to have his story made into a film that might serve as an inspiration to others.

On October 25, 1992, nearly 20 years after winning admission into Notre Dame, Rudy Ruettiger finally saw his story begin to unfold in front of the cameras as the "Rudy" production got underway in South Bend. On the set every day of production, Rudy Ruettiger also served as a consultant and appears in the film as a fan in Knute Rockne Stadium. Rudy Ruettiger recently began a new career as a speaker motivating others to do as he has done and realize their full potential.

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