Known as one of the sport’s pioneers in the early 20th century, Knute Rockne was the leader of Notre Dame football in its infant stages.
He was among the first coaches to use the forward pass and unbalanced backfield sets. But he was more than just a tactical coach.
In the Winter 2015/16 issue Coach & Player Magazine, Mike Mankoff explored how Rockne innovated the game beyond just X’s and O’s. His skills as a motivator were special and helped keep his winning ways alive.
“He was known to make up stories of sick children writing letters begging for the Irish to win,” Mankoff writes, “and even threatening to resign if the team didn’t win a particularly important game.”
Rockne was preoccupied with making Notre Dame Football well-known across the United States. He strove for attention. He wanted all eyes on him and his team, even as the Irish continued to establish themselves as a national power.
“Winning too often is as disastrous losing too often,” Rockne said. “Both get the same results, the falling off of the public’s enthusiasm.”