American football player and coach at the University of Notre Dame, who revolutionized football strategy. He was born in Voss, Norway. His family settled in Chicago in 1893, and he was educated at Notre Dame. In 1913, as captain of the Notre Dame football team, he stressed the forward pass as an offensive weapon, especially in a game that Notre Dame won by a score of 35-13 over a heavily favored Army team. The forward pass, part of the game since 1906, had rarely been used by high-profile college teams. Rockne's use of the pass to defeat a much bigger, stronger team unskilled in this method of play led to the popularization of this strategy and to an increase in the popularity of football.
Rockne was one of the most successful coaches in the history of football. He was assistant coach at Notre Dame from 1914 to 1918 and head coach from 1918 until his death in a plane crash. He led Notre Dame to three national collegiate championships (1924, 1929, 1930). In his 13 years as head coach, Notre Dame won 105 games, lost 12, and tied 5, and scored 2847 points while conceding only 667 points to its opponents.
Back to the Biographies Page