2021 Rockne Awards will highlight connections between Chicago, Notre Dame

Tribune Staff Report
In this Nov. 1, 1952, file photo, Notre Dame's John Lattner (14) reaches for a pass during a college football game against Navy in Cleveland, Ohio. The late Irish Heisman Trophy winner will be honored Sept. 24 at the 2021 Knute Rockne Spirit of Sports Awards Celebration in Chicago.

The long-intertwined history linking the Golden Dome with Chicagoland will be the focus of the 2021 Knute Rockne Spirit of Sports Awards Celebration on Sept. 24, the day before the Notre Dame football team takes on Wisconsin at Soldier Field in Chicago (Noon EDT; FOX).

The Rockne Awards are presented by the Knute Rockne Memorial Society, founded in 2017 to preserve and promote the legacy of Coach Rockne, and to “recognize and inspire great achievements in athletics…and in life” through the annual Rockne Awards.

In previous years, the Awards have honored Ara Parseghian, Rocky Bleier, Johnny Lujack, Muffet McGraw, Luther Bradley, Tony Roberts, and Alan Page, among other deserving recipients.

Chicago is central to the Rockne story, as he grew up in the Logan Square neighborhood, attended Brentano elementary and Northwest Division high school, and worked at the downtown Chicago post office for four years before heading to Notre Dame in 1910. Rockne excelled in track and field, competing for the Chicago Athletic Club.

The event takes place at the Chicago Sports Museum, seventh level of Water Tower Place, 835 N. Michigan Ave., on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. It begins with Tailgate Dining and cash bar from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., with the awards program to follow. Ample, free parking for Rockne Award attendees is being provided within the Water Tower Place parking facility.

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The Awards feature co-hosts Chris Zorich ’91 and Chris Ackels, the latter the recently named P.A. announcer for Notre Dame home games. They’ll recognize these Rockne Award winners:

• Lifetime Legend Award – the family of 1953 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Lattner ’54.

• Legacy Award – families of Charlie Bachman 1917, Norm Barry 1921 and Moose Krause ’34.

• Champion Award – Darius Fleming ’12, St. Rita HS and ND star, Super Bowl champion.

• Courage Award – Danielle Green ’99, ND basketball star and inspirational combat veteran.

• Perseverance Award – Peter Schivarelli ’71, ND walk-on to manager of the band Chicago.

• Determination Award – Molly Seidel ’17, Olympic marathon bronze medalist.

• Leadership Award – Jay Standring ’70, long-time beloved coach and teacher at St. Rita.

• Inspiration Award – Barry Sullivan, honoring Declan Sullivan through community service.

• Citizenship Award – Bob Thomas ’74, ND and Bears kicker, Illinois Supreme Court justice.

In addition, several 2020 Rockne Award winners will be recognized. These include: 1969 All-American and NFL star Mike McCoy ’70, long-time ND public address announcer Mike Collins ‘67, ND All-American and Super Bowl champion Aaron Taylor ’94, and 1988 ND national champion defensive coordinator and Hall of Fame coach Barry Alvarez.

For full details, and to reserve admission, please visit