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Legendary Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne reburied on campus

In Sports
April 30, 2024
Knute Rockne led Notre Dame to three national championships and a 105-12-5 record through 1930. (Photo by Bettmann Archive/Getty Images)

Knute Rockne led Notre Dame to three national championships and a 105-12-5 record through 1930. (Photo by Bettmann Archive/Getty Images)

The grave of legendary Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne was moved to Cedar Grove Cemetery at the University of Notre Dame on Monday.

Rockne had been buried at Highland Cemetery in South Bend after he died in a 1931 plane crash at the age of 43. But after concerns from the Rockne family that the grave was not being protected, his casket was exhumed and reburied on campus.

The graves of Rockne’s wife, Bonnie, and his son Bill and grandson Timothy, were also moved.

“At the request of the Rockne family, the University of Notre Dame was honored to assist with the disinterment of the remains of football player, coach and athletic director Knute Rockne and several Rockne family members from Highland Cemetery in South Bend and their subsequent burial at Cedar Grove Cemetery on campus,” read a statement from Notre Dame. “The prayers of the Church were offered for the repose of their souls upon their reinterment.”

After playing for the Fighting Irish from 1910-1913, Rockne was hired as head coach in 1918. He led Notre Dame to three national championships and a 105-12-5 record through 1930.

After his death, Rockne’s family chose to bury him at Highland Cemetery because it offered perpetual care — something Cedar Grove did not at the time.

“During football season, you come out here and you find shot glasses, whiskey bottles, cigar butts, you name it,” said Rockne’s granddaughter, Jeanne Anne.

There was no ceremony when the move began on Sunday morning. Only a few family members were there and it ended with priest leading prayers at Notre Dame.

“We just didn’t want to make a circus out of it,” Rockne’s grandson, Nils, told WNDU. They wanted to pay the reverence it’s due and keep it at the appropriate level, he said.

“I’m glad he’s here,” Nils Rockne said. “I’m glad Notre Dame will look after the family. I feel comfortable knowing he’ll be cared for forever.”

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