Semper Victurus

Coach Rockne in 1920. As is evident in this photo, Rock did not become a fashionable dresser until later in his career.

Coach Rockne in 1920. As is evident in this photo, Rock did not become a fashionable dresser until later in his career.

 
Disce Quasi Semper Victurus Vive Quasi Cras Moriturus"
("Study like you will live forever; live like you will die tomorrow".)

Starting in the late 1870's, this rather intimidating phrase was the Scholastic Magazine credo. Ironically, the Scholastic proved to be the vehicle which has allowed the daily experiences of Notre Dame students during the past 150 years to truly "live forever". Scholastics are a virtual gold mine of Notre Dame history, and more importantly, of insight into the daily lives of its students. These first hand reports of campus life, written by student reporters, give a candid and personal view of important (and trivial) events on the Notre Dame campus. Joe Madonia, an '82 alum and partner in the Chicago law firm of Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon, will edit a monthly column of excerpts from his rare and wonderful collection of original Scholastic Magazines spanning the period from 1869 - 1931.
 

Semper Victurus is a profile of Rockne from the December 11, 1920 Scholastic.

The Coaches.

COACH KNUTE K.ROCKNE.

In the football world Mr. Knute K. Rockne, director of athletics at Notre Dame, is entitled "the Miracle Man of 1920"; by the student-body of the University he is considered "the greatest coach of all times; to his football men on the field he is known simply and affectionately as "Rock." As a student-athlete, as assistant-coach, and finally as head coach, he has a record of ten successful years at Notre Dame without a break. With not a little reason has he been called the "Victory Builder." In his first three years at Notre Dame, 1911 to 1913, the football team did not suffer a single defeat in twenty-two games. In his last year as player he captained the great Western eleven that startled the East, West, and South. As assistant-coach from 1914 to 1917 his linemen did I more than their share in the remarkable victories of that period.

When as successor to Coach Jesse Harper he took full charge of Notre Dame athletics in the war year of 1918, the football conditions were hopeless, but Rockne would not see them so. He drilled a squad of men averaging only 160 pounds and made of them one of the most heroic of Notre Dame's fighting teams. This midget Varsity fought the heavy Nebraska to a tie in the mud, won from Purdue, Wabash, and Case, and for a surprise climax tied the team of the Great Lakes Training Station, the national champions of that year. In 1919 Rockne's squad of veterans romped home without a defeat or a tie-in such an impressive way as to disconcert most of the adverse critics.

If any further success was needed to prove Coach Rockne and his Notre Dame system, it has been superabundantly provided this year. The success which has so uniformly attended his work Coach Rockne modestly and sincerely attributes to the quality of the material provided him, to the unmatched morale of the squad, to the superb leadership of such captains as Frank Coughlin, to the natural football instinct of such players as Gipp, Brandy, and Smith- summarily to the clean living, clear thinking, and hard fighting of his men. These no doubt have been important elements in Notre Dame's football successes, but we believe that they would have been of little consequence without the coaching of Rockne. His great elevens have on every occasion, and especially in the more trying ones, reflected the keenness, determination, and sportsmanship of their great coach- showing themselves true "Rockmen."

In order to make sure that our Notre Dame estimate of Coach Rockne is not an overestimate, we have asked several experts in football for an opinion concerning his work, and, with gratitude to them for kindness in sending us their words, we take great pleasure in quoting here their testimonies :

 

Major C. D. Daly, football coach at West Point:

"The Army-Notre game game has always been one of the best of the large intersectional contests. We have always found the Notre Dame team to be most excellent sportsmen, playing the cleanest and hardest of football, good losers and generous winners. It is very easy for me to testify to the high ability of Mr. Rockne. The clean sportsmanship of his teams and the high-grade, winning quality of their play leaves no doubt that Mr. Rockne is among the very best coaches in this country. It is a pleasure to so testify."

 

Walter H. Eckersall, sports-editor of the Chicago Tribune, writes to us concerning Coach Rockne:

"It has been my pleasure to know Knute Rockne ever since he broke into football fame as a member of an eleven in one of  the preparatory schools of Chicago. In those days, when he never dreamed of coaching an eleven which today is rated among the powerful of the country, Knute was a keen observer. It was his ability to absorb conditions and to reason for himself that has really made him the coach who is rated among the leading gridiron mentors of the country. Even in his preparatory-school days there was little about end-play he did not know, and when he entered Notre Dame he was considered a superb flank-player.

 

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