Rudy Ruettiger is a motivational speaker and author. He attended Joliet Catholic High School, where he played for locally famous football coach Gordie Gillespie.
Ruettiger joined the United States Navy after high school, serving as a yeoman on a communications command ship for two years; then he worked in a power plant for two years. He applied to Notre Dame and was rejected due to his low high school grades. Ruettiger enrolled and attended nearby Holy Cross College, and after two years was accepted as a student at Notre Dame on his fourth try, in the fall of 1974. It was during his time studying at Holy Cross that Ruettiger discovered he had dyslexia. Ruettiger harbored a dream to play for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team, despite being undersized at 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m) and 165 lb (75 kg). After tremendous hard work, Ruettiger earned a place on the Notre Dame scout team, a squad that helps the varsity team practice for games.
Ruettiger went on to play college football at the University of Notre Dame. His early life and career at Notre Dame were the inspiration for the 1993 film Rudy.