Rudy visits BYU football staff, shares LDS conversion story


Daniel E. “Rudy” Ruettiger (right) was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Jan. 21, 2017. (Photo courtesy United Latter-day Saints)

BYU football has just found itself a new “honorary Cougar.”

Daniel E. “Rudy” Ruettiger — who is best known for walking on to Notre Dame’s football team and the 1993 movie, “Rudy,” which was written about his experience — visited the BYU coaching staff on Thursday.

When Ruettiger interviewed with 1280 The Zone over the phone on Thursday, he had spent time with BYU football’s coaching staff along with some players, including BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum.

“I love (Kalani),” Ruettiger said. “He’s got the insight on kids on how to coach them. He’s been there. 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 is in Utah in preparation for the Zermatt Utah Sports Academy, a college athlete recruiting workshop. He will be a motivational speaker at the camp which runs from June 1–3 in Midway, Utah.

As part of his interview with 1280 The Zone, Ruettiger shared his a part of his conversion story to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with the hosts. He told them his conversion was a 10-year process, but the turning point was when he attended the BYU-Notre Dame football game at the South Bend with some of his LDS friends. He asked one of his friend’s son, “Can you tell me what this (the LDS Church) is all about from your point of view?”

“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.” — Daniel E. “Rudy” Ruettiger

“The Holy Spirit came in, you could feel it,” Ruettiger said. “It was a conversion moment, an alignment that was really awesome. That’s when it all happened.”

That discussion was in 2013. On Jan. 21, 2017, Ruettiger was baptized into the LDS Church. James Clarke, CEO of Clarke Capital Partners, spoke at Ruettiger’s baptism and shared his perspective on Ruettiger’s conversion on Facebook.

“The next day at the game proved the coldest of my life on the sidelines which later turned to the igniting fire of testimony on the plane ride home,” Clarke wrote on his Facebook page after pictures of him with Ruettiger at the baptism went viral. “What happened on that ride home is perhaps too sacred to share here.

“Suffice it to say, Rudy’s path to the fullness of the gospel is one that started long before that trip and is one of truly being ‘loved’ into the church through the efforts of Randy ‘Rudy’ Garn, supported by countless others.”

Listen to Ruettiger’s full interview with 1280 The Zone, starting at the 23:45 mark, here. His story on his conversion to the LDS faith starts at about 25:50.

Rebecca Lane

While her first language is sarcasm, Rebecca dabbles in English and Russian to achieve her lifelong dream of being a journalist. A BYU sports fan, reading enthusiast and wannabe world traveler, Rebecca is a Colorado transplant that is convinced Colorado's mountains are much larger than the many Utah County peaks. Rebecca manages for Bennett Communications. Follow her on Twitter @rebeccalane.

One Comment

  1. AvatarRod Franklin Reply

    Thanks for sharing. I was at the game in 2013, the only time I have been to Notre Dame. I enjoyed the game and visiting the school. I had no idea “Rudy” was there. I love his story and the movie! Very inspiring! I wish Daniel well as he begins his adventure of church membership. Hope it blesses his life as his life’s story has blessed mine!

    Rod from Iowa

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