After Knute Rockne ascended to the head coaching job at Notre Dame in 1917 — he had accepted a graduate student post on the condition he could help then-coach Jesse Harper — Irish football was never the same.
In 13 years, Rockne won 105 games with only 12 losses and five ties — an .881 winning percentage that still ranks at the top in college football history. His Notre Dame teams went unbeaten and untied five times and beat Stanford in 1925 in the program's lone appearance in the Rose Bowl.
Many of Rockne's innovations are woven into the fabric of Notre Dame football — including actual woven fabrics, as he introduced satin and silk pants to reduce wind resistance — and his barnstorming philosophy lives to this day.
Rockne played anywhere and kick-started intersectional rivalries, a coast-to-coast mindset that continues as an integral part of Irish football independence. The current batch of Notre Dame's "off-site" home games — played in such locations as San Antonio, Washington and Chicago — essentially counts Rockne as its inspiration.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun