Rockne Remembered

The death of Knute Rockne on March 31, 1931 elicited an unprecedented outpouring of sorrow from around the world. Below are a sampling of the telegrams and tributes paid to the Notre Dame coach.

Knute Rockne: Beloved around the country and the world.

Knute Rockne: Beloved around the country and the world.

“Mr. Rockne so contributed to a cleanness and high purpose and sportsmanship in athletics that his passing is a national loss.”

–Herbert Hoover, President of the United States

“All of Georgia Tech joins with me in offering our deepest regret and sorrow in the passing of the man whom we all loved and admired.”

–Coach W.A. Alexander

“Mrs. Jones and I offer our deepest sympathy to you. I have lost a true friend, and I shall always cherish the memories of the years of our association.”

–Howard Jones, University of Southern California

“Permit me as consul for and in behalf of Norway, the country your famous husband came from, to extend to yourself and your family my most sincere sympathy. His death was indeed a great loss to all of us.”

–Olaf Bernts

“Deaf students of Illinois school for the deaf, Jacksonville, grieve over passing of Knute Rockne whom they admire greatly. He was at our banquet and gave inspiring talk. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to you and your children. I consider Knute the greatest football instructor. Always good to me despite my deafness.”

–S. Robey Burns

“Please allow the members of the Alabama Football squad to extend sympanthy to you and your family in such a trying time. Sincerely

–Members Alabama Football Squad

“We mourn the loss of our beloved friend “Rock” and send our profound and heartfelt sympathy to you and the family.”

–B’Nai B’Rith of South Bend, Samuel B. Feiwell, Secretary

“It is with saddened hearts that we received news of your distinguished husband’s death. Please accept our sympathy in your hour of sorrow and grief.”

–L.Deibeis, Grand Knight, Palo Alto Council, Knights of Columbus

“The Colorado Schoolmasters Club wishes to express its deep sense of loss and sorrow in the passing of Mr. Rockne, one of our nation’s greatest educational leaders. The club wishes also to express its sincerest sympathy and condolences to you, your sons, and daughter.”

–The Colorado Schoolmasters Club

Knute Rockne at the BYU coaches school.

Knute Rockne at the BYU coaches school.

“Brigham Young University where Mr. Rockne held one of his first coaching schools cherishes the memory of association with this outstanding character whose remarkable ability, dynamic spirit, and brilliant personality made him a beloved national institution. We join the remainder of a bereaved nation in expression of sorrow and sympathy, and in prayers for your comfort.”

–G. Ott Romney, Athletic Director

“All Irish Americans mourn the loss of a great benefactor. His many Hibernian friends grieve at his passing. We will pray that his soul will rest in peace with God. Our deepest sympathies are with you.”

–Division No. 2, A.O.H., Los Angeles, California

“May we humbly add to that of thousands this expression of our sadness in Rock’s departure and sincerest sympathy for you and children in your bereavement. We all loved him here.”

–Mr. and Mrs. Clark D. Shaughnesey, Loyal University

“My sincere sympathy to you and family in this your sad hour. Knute Rockne was a strong moral force and an inspiration to the youth of our land. Fourteen hundred orphan children at Mooseheart, Illinois will always remember his timely and inspiring talks to them.”

–James J. Davis

“Seven hundred members of Fargo Council, Knights of Columbus join in extending sincere sympathy to you and your family in the great bereavement which has visited you. Mr. Rockne’s influence for good was felt by all of us, even though we did not know him personally. His life and accomplishments will be a constant inspiration.”

–W.H. Clemens, Grand Knight

“Words fail me in trying to express my profound sorrow and deepest regrets at being informed of Mr. Rockne’s tragic death. Kindly accept my sincere sympathy at your great loss. The Athletic fraternity of the entire nation mourns his passing with you.”

–Chas. A. Beyer, Iowa State College, Ames, Iowa

“Terribly sorry to hear of Rock’s death. Please accept my sympathy. Whole country will miss him.”

–Ring Lardner

“Words cannot express my sympathy for you and yours in your tragic loss. The name of Knute Rockne is synonymous with clean sportsmanship and virile manhood. May loving memories and the homage of the American people lessen this poignancy of your grief and bring you surcease of sorrow.”

–Gov. Harry G. Leslie, Governor of Indiana

“The members of the Instructional staff of the University of Wisconsin Athletic Department wish to extend to you and your family our heartfelt sympathy in your hour of bereavement. Many of us knew Mr. Rockne intimately and mourn his untimely death as a personal loss as one of America’s outstanding citizens. He has left a splendid heritage for his sons.”

–George Little

“Most sincere sympathy in your great sorrow.”

–Eddie Casey, Head Coach, Harvard Football Team

“Mere words cannot begin to convey an adequate expression of sympathy not only for your personal loss but also for the loss sustained by the entire nation.”

–Dick Hanley

“I am with you and the youngsters in deepest sympathy during these days of sorrow and hard trial and regret exceedingly that I cannot come to say these things to you and to honor Knute. I will say Masses for him and keep him in lasting memento.  The Faith to which you are so devoted will bring to you consolation. May his soul rest in peace!”

–Bishop Finnigan, Helena, Montana

“Please accept my sincere sympathy for you and your family. A great man has been lost to the football world.”

–Frank W. Cavanaugh, Coach of Fordham

“With heartfelt sympathy. Knute Rockne and my brother Walter were wonderful friends.”

–Etta Eckersall

“Please accept my heartfelt sympathy in this your hour of great sorrow.”

–Jack Dempsey

“Please call on me if I can be of the slightest help. God bless you and the children in your terrible loss.”

–Charles E. Dorais

“My deepest sympathy goes out to you. It was a severe shock to us who have known him so well. We all have suffered a great loss. Endeared in the hearts of all his colleagues. Our great esteem and admiration for him will endure forever. The Athletic Department of University of Minnesota joins me in expressing condolences to you now.

–Fritz Crisler