A name synonymous with Notre Dame football is fast becoming an honorary BYU Cougar.
Daniel E. "Rudy" Ruettiger, who is best known for walking-on to the Fighting Irish football team in the 1970s as depicted in the 1993 film, "Rudy," relished an opportunity to spend time with Brigham Young University coaches and players Thursday, including head coach Kalani Sitake and quarterback Tanner Mangum. Ruettiger gave a glowing report of his BYU association in a radio interview with Hans and Scotty G on 1280 The Zone.
"Wow, so impressive. ... I love (Kalani)," Ruettiger said. "He's a player's coach. He's real, a real guy. I love his spirit. He's a true warrior. You can see that. He's going to do some great things with these kids. These kids are drinking his Kool-Aid all the way."
Ruettiger, who makes a living as motivational speaker, was in Utah for a speaking engagement. In addition to discussing his movie and work, Ruettiger was asked about his conversion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints last January.
Ruettiger said his baptism was the result of a 10-year journey. A significant turning point came when he attended a cold BYU-Notre Dame game in South Bend, Indiana, with Mormon friends. On their flight back to Utah, Ruettiger asked the teenage son of one of the men to share his perspective on the gospel. What the young man said "at 40,000 feet" touched Ruettiger's heart.
"The Holy Spirit came in, you could feel it. It was a conversion moment, an alignment that was really awesome. That's when it all happened," Ruettiger said. "Ever since I joined the church, good things have been happening."
"BYU is going to take you as one of their own, they are going to call you an honorary BYU Cougar after that," joked one of the radio hosts.
To hear the entire interview, click here. The interview with Ruettiger starts near the 23:45 mark.