Rudy Ruettiger On Faith, Football And How To Succeed In Life
Dave Hartline†††††††† Rudy can you describe how your Catholic faith has influenced your most interesting life?
Rudy Ruettiger††††††† Well Dave, you have to understand that I came from a big Catholic family.† Faith was and still is very important to them.† You can never be the person God intended you to be if you are not right spiritually.† I mean you can never use all of your God given talent and achieve your goals if you are not right spiritually.† I see angry and bitter people and I think well thereís another person that could be achieving so much more in life
Dave Hartline††††††††† You had many childhood ďmentorsĒ so to speak that helped you through your teenage years, for example your friend Pete who died and your football coach at Joliet Catholic, Coach Gordie Gillespie.† Tell us how those people influenced you.
Rudy Ruettiger††††††††††† Well you see I believe that everyone has those kinds of people in their lives if they look close enough.† I realized how important they were to me and I thought I better do something with my life and follow the examples they set for me.
Dave Hartline†††††††††††† Ok Rudy, youíre trying to get into Notre Dame and live your dream of playing for the football team, tell us about that.
Rudy Ruettiger ††††††††††††You know the mistake some people make is to think I only went to Notre Dame to play football.† I went there first and foremost to get an education.† I truly wanted to learn and loved football so the two went hand in hand.
Dave Hartline†††††††††††††† The movie portrays Coach Ara Parseghian as being more sympathetic to your situation than Coach Dan Devine.† Was that the way it was?
Rudy Ruettiger†† ††††††††††I think Coach Parseghian was more sympathetic at first because he understood the situation, Coach Devine came in before my senior year so he wasnít familiar with what had taken place.† However, Coach Devine came to understand and supported my dream.† He let me dress for the game after all.
Dave Hartline†††††††††††††† Didnít some players persuade Coach Devine to let you dress for the game.
Rudy Ruettiger††† ††††††Pat Sarb and Ivan Brown were two seniors who really helped in persuading Coach Devine to let me dress for the game.
Dave Hartline†††††††††† Rudy when you were a senior, there were some freshman and sophomores that eventually won a national championship.† Did you think the younger teammates like Joe Montana were going to be as successful as they were?† Did you get to know any of them that well?
Rudy Ruettiger††††††††† Oh there was some talent there but I doubt some of the guys even knew who I was.
Dave Hartline††††††††††† We talked about all the positives of your Notre Dame experience, any negatives?
Rudy Ruettiger †††††††††I loved the spirituality of the campus and the many people who were being positive and thinking about what they could do to make their lives and the lives of others better but there were some negative things.† There were some guys on the team that had tremendous talent and never used all of it.† You have to understand with my size I was doing about all I could, so I could never understand those who werenít.†† I also think about some of the students that I got to know who were negative and disrespectful.† I have no appetite for negativity and people being disrespectful.
Dave Hartline††††††††††† It almost sounds like they could have made a movie about your efforts in getting the movie made.† Did you ever think it would be that big?
Rudy Ruettiger††††† ††††My idea of a movie being made was to put out a quality movie where people would be inspired to be their best.† I didnít think it would lead to this but I think it has lead to this because people understand my dream is their dream.† Some people in the movie business donít understand this because they have always been successful and they donít understand the talents that some people have may not always be easily noticed
Dave Hartline†††††††††††† Thatís an interesting point Rudy, because when the movie came out, life wasnít the happiest for me, and I remember being inspired to not give up on my dreams.
Rudy Ruettiger††††††††† ††Well you see then you understand, but some people either donít have dreams or give up on their dreams so they might even become a little negative about this kind of a story.
Dave Hartline†††††††††††† Coach Weis is certainly having a great season, some experts seem surprised how about you?
Rudy Ruettiger†††††† ††††I am not surprised at all, because as I have been saying, he understands Notre Dame.† Heís making the players believe and helping them get to the next level.†
Dave Hartline††††††††† ††††Coach Weis invited you back to address the team before the start of the season and most recently at the pep rally before the USC game.† You havenít been invited back in this capacity since you left the field in 1975.† Were you surprised by his invitation?
Rudy Ruettiger††††††† †I wasnít surprised because he understands Notre Dame since he was a student at the university.†† Because of these things, he understands where others have not.
Dave Hartline†††††††† †Any final thoughts you want to convey to the readers.
Rudy Ruettiger††††††† I would just like to pick up on what I said earlier.† I think faith is your foundation in life and that foundation helps you to better yourself and others.† The next step is commitment and if you can prove that you can follow through on your commitments, then courage is born and from there hope.† This all helps you battle the negativity that we all see in the world, whether that negativity is people or events.† The road to success starts with faith.
Dave Hartline††††††††††† Thank you so much Rudy.† I know through the movie you have touched a lot of people.
Rudy Ruettiger†††††††††† Thank you.