Friday, March 31, 2006

Passing of a legend | by Pat

Seventy-five years ago today, eight people lost their lives when TWA Flight 599 crashed into the fields of Bazaar, Kansas. Notable among the group was college football's greatest coach, Knute Rockne.

This somber anniversary is being marked with services both in Bazaar and back in his childhood hometown of Voss, Norway. In Voss, a statue of him, made in part with the metal from a carriage built in Voss by Knute's dad in 1888 (the year Knute was born), a gold leaf from the Golden Dome at Notre Dame, and metal scraps from the plane that ultimately took his life, is being dedicated at the exact time of the crash.

The full story of that fateful day is described in detail by Irish Legends and in this excerpt of a Rockne biography. Irish Legends also has a reprint of the eulogy at Rockne's funeral, as given by the President of the University, Rev. Charles L. O'Donnell, C.S.C.

Last year I ended the Rockne anniversary post with a quote from one of Rockne's contemporaries, Will Rogers. This year, I think it's fitting to use a quote from Charlie Weis, the current holder of the job made famous by Knute just over 75 years ago.

"It's a time for us to reflect on true greatness, which is what he was."