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.
by Stephanie Kuzydym Published: October 24, 2012

There's also a worn blue-bound book of Rockne's autobiography that he was working on before he died in a plane crash in March 1931.

Only 1,000 of the books were made, Kochendorfer said. He has been passed down book No. 36.

A scrap piece of paper lies on page 59. It's the page that explains how to say his great grandfather's name, the correct way, the way Sean Astin does in the glorified Notre Dame movie “Rudy.”

“It's Ka-Nute,” Kochendorfer said.

His great grandfather, who was from Voss, Norway, had his name pronounced wrong his entire life and was setting it straight in his autobiography.

One day, Kochendorfer hopes to pass along the “Knute” middle name to a son. Right now, he and his wife Laura have a 20-month old daughter, Jemma.

“Maybe we'll pass it along if we have another girl,” Kochendorfer said as he looked at his wife.

“Um ... maybe,” his wife replied.

Then the husband and wife were off talking again about their family history, how neither has been to South Bend, Ind., but want to visit and the huge Notre Dame fandom of Chris' side of the family. His brother, who works on a submarine for the Navy, was able to get one day off. This Friday, he will fly in from Jacksonville, Fla., to watch the Notre Dame-OU game with his little brother.

On Saturday, sitting in the stands at the 40-yard line, two great grandsons of Notre Dame's greatest coach will watch the No. 5-ranked Irish take on No. 7 Oklahoma in one of the biggest matchups of the season. One will be dressed in blue and gold, the other in cream and crimson.

“He's a huge Irish fan,” Kochendorfer said of his older brother. “Don't get me wrong, I love the Irish. I'm a huge fan, but they don't play the Sooners that often and because I went there, I'm going to have to root for Oklahoma.”


by Stephanie Kuzydym
Reporter
Stephanie Kuzydym learned at a young age that life is a game of inches. That's just one reason why she loves football. Kuzydym joined The Oklahoman in July 2012. Before arriving in the state, Kuzydym was an intern for the sports departments at...
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