Daniel Eugene “Rudy” Ruettiger is a motivational speaker who played college football at the University of Notre Dame. His early life and career at Notre Dame was the inspiration for the 1993 film Rudy. He was baptized as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently!

Mark Rasi-Koskinen posted the back story on his Facebook page.

“A few years back when BYU was playing at Notre Dame, Bronco Mendenhall invited Rudy to come and listen to a fireside the night before the game. He was very impressed listening to the testimony of the players and began asking questions. That culminated yesterday with his decision to be baptized. Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!”

Rudy ruettiger

Wikipedia has a short biography on Rudy:

“Rudy had a hard time in school because he was dyslexic. He was the third of fourteen children. He attended Joliet Catholic High School, where he played for locally famous coach Gordie Gillespie. Ruettiger joined the United States Navy after high school, serving as a yeoman on a communications command ship for two years; then he worked in a power plant for two years. He applied to Notre Dame, but due to his marginal grades he had to do his early college work at nearby Holy Cross College.

After two years at Holy Cross, Ruettiger was accepted as a student at Notre Dame on his fourth try, in the fall of 1974. It was during his time studying at Holy Cross that Ruettiger discovered he had dyslexia.

Ruettiger harbored a dream to play for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team, despite being undersized at merely 5’6″ and 165 pounds. Head coach Ara Parseghian encouraged walk-on players from the student body. For example, Notre Dame’s 1969 starting center, Mike Oriard, was a walk-on who was eventually nominated for a Rhodes Scholarship and an NFL contract with the Kansas City Chiefs.

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After working as hard as possible and showing that he was willing to work as much as he needed to, 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 who was instrumental in keeping Rudy on as a scout-team player.

After the 1974 season, Notre Dame coach Parseghian stepped down, and former Green Bay Packers coach Dan Devine was named head coach. In Ruettiger’s last opportunity to play for Notre Dame at home, Devine put him into a game as defensive end against Georgia Tech on November 8, 1975. In the movie Rudy, Devine is given a somewhat antagonistic role, not wanting Rudy to dress for his last game. However, in actuality, it was Devine who 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 actually played for three plays. The first play was a kickoff,the second play was an incomplete pass, and on the third (and final) play he sacked Georgia Tech quarterback Rudy Allen. Ruettiger was carried off the field by his teammates following the game.”

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