Tighe strolls down memory lane with Rudy

—Submitted photo Jim Tighe (left) and Dick Tighe (right) stand with Rudy Ruettiger at a convention in Spencer this past weekend. Ruettiger, who was a walk-on at Notre Dame is best known for the movie Rudy, which is based on his life.

SPENCER — When it comes to football, Dick Tighe knows all the ins and outs.

And when it comes to football movies, his alma mater produced one of the most memorable.

“Rudy” was based on the life experiences of Rudy Ruettiger, whose dream was to play football at Notre Dame. Ruettiger went through it all and eventually became a walk-on player for the Irish.

This past weekend, Tighe, Iowa’s all-time high school wins leader, got the chance to meet and hear about the making of the movie from Rudy himself.

Ruettiger spoke to fans in Spencer, where Tighe’s son, Jim, is the head football coach.

“He didn’t play much at Notre Dame, but he is one of the more well known alumni,” Tighe said. “He spoke in front of the whole student body, took pictures and signed autographs.

“It was very interesting to hear how things happened while he was at Notre Dame.”

Tighe also had a one-on-one discussion about Ruettiger’s time at Notre Dame and the making of the movie, as Tighe and his son drove him to Sioux Falls to catch his flight.

“He talked about the making of the movie and how he finally found someone to make it, but then had to convince Notre Dame to be a part of it,” Tighe said. “They did some of the live scenes at halftime of a game that said it was Georgia Tech, but it was Boston College.

“In the movie, they had a live shot of the actual game where Notre Dame scored and it made it in the movie.”

Tighe also got into a conversation about Notre Dame coaches Ara Parseghian and Dan Devine, who were at Notre Dame when Ruettiger was there.

“He talked about how they both had their own qualities,” Tighe said. “It was interesting to talk to him from a player’s perspective.”

Tighe enjoyed the conversation and the flashbacks to the glory days of Notre Dame football.

“I was asking him all kinds of stuff,” Tighe laughed. “We didn’t get out of there until late at night and I didn’t get back home and in bed until about 4:30 a.m. in the morning.”

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