INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (WCMH) — A family who spent decades living in central Ohio has connections to one of the most iconic coaches in football history.
Knute Rockne is a college football legend. The game between Ohio State and Notre Dame will be played in, “The House that Rockne Built.” He won three national championships as Notre Dame’s coach and has the highest winning percentage in college football history. Anne Rockne and Vincent Volpe are his granddaughter and great grandson.
“Grandpa Knute, the coach, Rock,” Anne listed as different ways he’s referred to by the family.
Despite the family ties and dedication to the Fighting Irish, Vincent grew up in Buckeye country. Before moving to Indianapolis, Anne lived in central Ohio for more than 30 years.
“When people found out I was a Rockne I took a lot of ribbing because that is big Ohio State country,” Anne said. “Some people you could talk to and other people you just couldn’t say anything because it would just cause a big ole fight.”
Given the legacy, there was also a lot of respect. Vincent said as he got older, more and more friends would ask about the history of his great grandfather.
“As you get older you appreciate and you understand the stamp this gentleman has left not only on the country but on the sport,” Vincent said.
Even when they lived in Newark, they traveled to South Bend each season for games. No matter how many times she visits, Anne is in awe each time.
“It’s amazing because there isn’t anybody like grandfather and after what he’s been dead 93 years and it’s still going strong, the tradition is there and every year it just amazes me, the impact he has,” Anne said.
They’ve been to most of the Ohio State – Notre Dame matchups since the mid 1990s, including last year’s game at Ohio Stadium.
“My thoughts are may the best team win, I’m sure everybody is just going to be ready to go tooth and nail. It’s going to be a nail biter I’m sure,” Anne said.