Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Ruettiger grew up in a working class household as one of fourteen children. He attended Joliet Catholic High School, where he played for legendary coach Gordie Gillespie . After graduation, Ruettiger was a yeoman in the Navy and worked in a power plant before returning to school at Holy Cross Junior College in South Bend, Indiana.
After two years at Holy Cross, Ruettiger was accepted as a student at the University of Notre Dame. It was also at Holy Cross that Ruettiger discovered he suffered from dyslexia. The other dream was to play for Ara Parseghian and the Fighting Irish football team.
Rudy harbored these dreams despite being just 5'6" and 165 pounds. Ruettiger earned a place on the Notre Dame scout team that helped the varsity team practice for the next game. He was often injured due to his lack of size. In his last opportunity to play for Notre Dame at home, Ruettiger was allowed to play and made a tackle against Georgia Tech on November 8, 1975.
His story has since been told in the film Rudy.
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