Former Notre Dame football player Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, the inspiration for the blockbuster film “Rudy,” will be the keynote speaker at the Northwood High School Athletic Hall of Fame ceremony.
In his book, Dream Big and Never Quit, Ruettiger stated that his odyssey trying to walk onto the Notre Dame football team and other people’s goals “start with a dream.”
“Visualize your dream and make a commitment. Having a dream is what makes life exciting. Never underestimate the power of a dream. It will change your life. A dream gives you the ability to determine your future,” Ruettiger wrote.
The event, sponsored by the NHS athletic boosters and the athletic department, will be Oct. 24 from 2-4 p.m. at the high school.
Northwood will induct 14 football players, six basketball players, one softball player, six baseball players, three cross country athletes, 11 track and field athletes, two volleyball players, 14 wrestlers, a baseball team, track and field relay team, and a wrestling team.
Football players include All-Ohio athletes Mike Scanlan, Tim Williams (second team), Bob Snider (first team, 1977), Rick Coy (first team, 1977), Randy Coy (honorable mention, 1978), James Grigson (special mention, 1979), Bruce Hewer (HM, 1981), Darryl St. Claire (SM, 1981), Tim Whitmore (SM, 1982), Eric Hirzel (third team, 1980), Jerry Gladieux (first team, 1989), Matt Kulwicki (HM, 1989), Jason McGaharan (First Team All-Ohio, All-Blade Team, 2002), James Blankenship (SM), Ricky Crispin (SM). Also being inducted is football coach Lew Tudor (Coach of the Year, 1977).
Basketball players include all-state players Bud Felhaber (Olney H.S., HM All-Ohio, 1951), Bob Kimball (Olney, First Team All-Ohio, 1956), Dick Rolfes (third team, 1965), Jim Stoner (SM, 1970), Tim Williams (HM, 1970), and Mike Scanlan.
The lone all-state softball player is Jessica Rameriz (second team, 2005; first team, 2006).
All-state baseball players include Joe Vancena (1983), Todd Mahaney (1984), Scott Rode (1985), Dave Minarcin (1987), Jeff Schwegler (1986). The 1990 baseball team is also being inducted.
Cross country athletes include Nick Kahl, a state qualifier in 1988 and 1989, and Harvey Wilson, who placed fifth at the state meet.
Track athletes include Dan Orange (high jump state champ, 1970; high jump state runner-up, 1969; high jump third place, 1971; 880 run, third place, 1971; long jump, fifth, 1971); Luie Garcia (state champ, 880, 1973), John Bodi (state champ, discus, 1975), Jeanne Conley (third, 100 meter low hurdles; eighth, 300 meter low hurdles, 1984; fourth, 100 meter low hurdles, 1983); Jodi Susor (state qualifier, 3,200 meter run and relay team, 1986, 1987); the 1,600 meter relay team (1987, Anji Laforme, Jodi Susor, Stephanie Rowe, Kelly Huss); Junior Conley (fifth, pole vault, 1984), Jesse Morgan (fifth, long jump, 1985); Scott Wisniewski (sixth, high jump, 1998); Ben Brown (state qualifier, 110 hurdles, 2001), Jarret Hartman (eighth, high jump, 1994); and Kelly Huss (state qualifier, 100 meter run and relay team).
All-state volleyball athletes include Chris Shepherd (first team, 1997; second team, 1996) and Julie Stover (second team, 2001, and a three-time All-District Player of the Year from 1999-2001).
All-state wrestlers being inducted include Troy Fowler (state champ, 1994; runner-up, 1993; fourth place, 1992); Steve Simok (state champ, 1999; fifth, 1998); Mike Gregory (runner-up, 1984); Dave Wolfe (third place, 1970), Ken Gustin (fifth, 1967); Randy DeLuca (fifth, 1982); George Abbott (fifth, 1983); Jim Boisselle (fourth, 1984); Brandon McGaharan (sixth, 2004; state qualifier, 2003); Josh Grigson (fourth, 2003), Bill Wauford (qualifier, 1996); Dan Hockenberry (qualifier, 1984); Jerry Moon (qualifier, 1984); Mike Susor (qualifier, 1984); and the 1984 wrestling team that took sixth place at state.
An account of Reuttiger’s story online (Wikipedia.com) says that he “grew up dreaming of playing football at the University of Notre Dame. While achieving some success with his local high school football team, Ruettiger lacked the grades and money to attend Notre Dame, and talent and physical size to play football for the Fighting Irish. He was only 5-6 and the film suggests that the fictional Rudy was even smaller than that.
‘Instead, he takes a job at the local steel mill where his father Daniel Ruettiger Sr. (a huge Notre Dame fan) works, and he prepares to settle down.
‘When his best friend Pete is killed in an explosion at the mill, Rudy decides to follow his dream of attending Notre Dame and playing college football for the Fighting Irish, and leaves for Notre Dame, against his father's warning that "Ruettigers don't belong at college." Ruettiger fails to get admitted to Notre Dame, and instead goes to a small junior college, Holy Cross College, hoping to qualify for a transfer to the university. Holy Cross College is now a four-year liberal arts college. However, Rudy does manage to get a part-time job as part of Notre Dame's groundskeeping staff to help pay his tuition.
‘During his final semester of transfer eligibility, he is granted admission to Notre Dame. After "walking on" (a term used to designate the process by which non-scholarship players join a college team) for the football team, Ruettiger convinces coach Ara Parseghian (Jason Miller) to give him a spot on the football practice or scout team, where Rudy exhibits more drive and desire than some of his big-name varsity teammates.
‘Upon Dan Devine's installation as head coach, Ruettiger fears he will lose the chance to dress for a home game (and thereby establish himself on the official team roster for that year), an arrangement to which Parseghian had agreed in recognition of Ruettiger's drive and his dedication to the football program. Late in the season of 1975, his teammates, led by team captain and All-American Roland Steele, rise to his defense, pressuring Devine to allow Rudy to suit up for the final game of the season in their place by putting their jerseys, one at a time, on top of Devine's desk.
‘The final game of the season comes against Georgia Tech. And while Rudy is suited up, his teammates feel this is not enough. One of the varsity players starts a chant that soon goes stadium wide. Coach Devine eventually gives in and lets Rudy play on the final kickoff. Rudy then stays in for the final play of the game and sacks the opposing quarterback. The final scene depicts him being carried off the field by his teammates.”