Knute Rockne died by a mobster's bomb. The greatest football visionary in American history shaped the game and, literally, the ball itself, but his death in a plane crash on March 31, 1931, was written off as an accident and forgotten for nearly 90 years.
The truth: Rockne and seven others were murdered in one of the most fascinating true-crime mob stories never told.
"Rockne of Ages" resurrects the legendary Notre Dame football coach through a posthumous voice that refreshes an American icon's legacy for a millennial audience starved for fresh insight. This modern-day historical revelation gets right to the heart of the matter in the opening section with the series of events leading into the true account of Rockne's death - retaliation against a Notre Dame priest who gave Rockne his plane ticket the day after testifying against a hitman for Al Capone charged in the June 1930 murder of Chicago Tribune reporter Jake Lingle.
Author Jeff Harrell is an award-winning investigative journalist who worked 10 years in New York City covering police, federal courts and organized crime for the daily Staten Island Advance. John Davenport spent 15 years piecing together Rockne's epic life in Rockne's own words from volumes of interviews, magazine articles, essays and books. "Rockne of Ages" presents a magnificent array of historic, rare photos to give readers a visual update of a long-lost era that melded the birth of American football with Al Capone's Chicago.
The University of Notre Dame has been extremely kind providing photographs from the university's archives. On April 1, Notre Dame Magazine published Jeff's feature on the circumstances surrounding Rockne's crash for the magazine's spring edition. Prior to the 2019 annual spring Blue-Gold game, Jeff was interviewed by Len Clark from Irish 101 to give Notre Dame football fans an introduction to a story that died in 1933 after headlines splashed across the country linking the Rockne crash to a bomb planted by Capone's mob.
Jeff Harrell and John Davenport would like to thank John Bybee, Jim Managan, Jim "Augie" Augustine of Augie's Notre Dame memorabilia shop in South Bend, Ron Karten, the Rev. Richard Layton, C.S.C., from Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey in Lafayette, Oregon, and artist Jerry McKenna, for pumping a treasure trove of materials, information and insight that make "Rockne of Ages" a true spiritual resurrection of not only the legendary football coach Knute Rockne, but also Father John Reynolds, the Notre Dame priest who lived life by his own terms and stuck to his Bible-sworn truth when it mattered the most.
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Featured below: Historical photos documenting Knute Rockne’s life and career highlights. Click to learn more.