Ever the entrepreneur and marketing guru, Athletic Director Knute Rockne organized a six-week European tour with a stop over to watch the Track and Field events at the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam. He recruited friends, colleagues, and former Notre Dame athletes across the country to act as representatives to sell the tour within their social and professional circles and to the general public. Many of these representatives held positions as coaches and athletic directors at colleges, high schools, and local athletic clubs.
According the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “The Rockne pilgrimage is expected to be the largest tour ever conducted by an individual to the continent, and it is the first time that an individual has arranged for the use of a boat of such great tonnage as the Carmania for a trip to the old world” ["Rockne to Conduct Olympic Tour," January 30, 1928].
Form letter regarding the details of Knute Rockne’s Olympic Tour, 1928
The nearly 200 participants were made up of Rockne’s said friends and colleagues, including the likes of Pop Warner, Harry Stuhldreher, and Tom Lieb, college students, single men and women, and families. The party departed New York City on July 20, 1928, and returned on September 2nd. During the six-week summer trip, they visited England, Holland, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and France. Due to the success of the 1928 trip, it is likely that Rockne would have organized future Olympic excursions had he not met his untimely end on March 31, 1931.
PATH 3-5-Ol Folder
“Rockne to Conduct Olympic Tour,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 30, 1928
“Many Will Journey with Rockne abroad for Olympic Events,” St. Petersburg Times, March 27, 1928