Oklahoma football: Bob Stoops had no idea he was talking to Knute Rockne's great grandson
Former OU cheerleader Chris Kochendorfer ran into Bob Stoops a few years ago outside Owen Field. They talked briefly and then went their separate ways. Kochendorfer never mentioned he was the great grandson of Notre Dame legend Knute Rockne.
NORMAN — Late one night a few years ago, Chris Kochendorfer was running the stairs of Oklahoma's football stadium. He used those cement steps as extra training to stay in shape for his gig as an OU cheerleader.
Videoview all videos
Oct 25Former OU cheerleader Chris Kochendorfer ran into Bob...
Photoview all photos
As he finished and walked out, he saw Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops' car parked just off the field. Stoops was near his car, so Kochendorfer went over and talked with the coach for a few minutes before both went their separate ways.
“I never told him about my lineage,” Kochendorfer said.
That night, one of Oklahoma's greatest football coaches met the great-grandson of one of college football's greatest coaches.
Christopher Knute Kochendorfer’s lineage is traced through his father’s mother, the daughter of legendary Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne. Kochendorfer's grandmother, Mary Jane, moved to Oklahoma with her husband, who studied seismology.
Rockne was head coach at Notre Dame from 1918 to 1930, where he set the greatest winning percentage of .881 with 102 wins, 12 losses and fives ties. In 13 seasons, Rockne led the Fighting Irish to six national championships and five undefeated seasons without a tie.
Rockne's memory lives on through a statue at Notre Dame Stadium. Through his famous practice sweater that is framed in the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind. Through the office of his great grandson's Oklahoma City home.
Hung on the wall across from his desk is a shadow box containing some of Rockne's belongings.
There's a faded black-and-white photo of the Rockne family, and a photo of his great grandfather and a friend with the writing of their conversation on the back. There's the yellow-stained coaches' card from the American Football Coaches Association for K.K. Rockne in 1926.
“One day, I'll pass it along,” Kochendorfer said about giving the things to the University of Notre Dame. “Right now, it's still too personal.”
Sports Photo Galleriesview all
- 100558Oklahoma tornadoes: The 'Big Dog,' the little boy and the hug that triumphs over tragedy
- 15302OKC Thunder: Kevin Durant tours Moore, meets with residents
- 13338Oklahoma tornadoes: ‘All I could do was sit there and hold her'
- 8709Line of storms brings flash floods to Oklahoma City area
- 8075Oklahoma tornadoes: Love for Oklahoma generates big donation
- 8036How to help tornado victims
- 7986Oklahoma tornadoes: Rams quarterback Sam Bradford leading aid effort