Oct. 11, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Last weekend the Rockne Heritage Fund welcomed four-time Super Bowl Champion and former Notre Dame running back Rocky Bleier (’68) back to campus for its annual Director’s Circle Recognition Weekend.
As the keynote speaker for the Director’s Circle Recognition Dinner, Bleier spoke about his football career at Notre Dame and as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, his service to the nation in the Vietnam War, and overcoming adversity.
Attending the dinner were several Notre Dame coaches and student-athletes, as well as members of the Rockne Heritage Fund’s Director’s Circle and Irish Legends members.
A football and basketball star in Appleton, Wis., Bleier attended Notre Dame as a standout running back for the Irish under Hall of Fame coach Ara Parseghian. He received his degree in business management in 1968.
Bleier then played one season in the NFL before being drafted by the U.S. Army to fight in Vietnam. While serving in 1969, Bleier’s platoon was ambushed and his left thigh was wounded. Additionally, a grenade sent pieces of shrapnel into his right leg while he was down. His courageous service earned him the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.
Bleier returned to the pros in 1970, but he played only sparingly for the Pittsburgh Steelers over the next three seasons. He not only needed to gain a great deal of weight back, but his war injuries made it difficult for him to walk. Through perseverance and a strict training regimen, Bleier worked his way into a starting spot in 1974. He would retire from the NFL as a four-time Super Bowl champion. He resides in Pittsburgh.
Members of the Rockne Heritage Fund’s Director’s Circle and Irish Legends include alumni, parents, and friends who provide high levels of annual support to Notre Dame Athletics for scholarships awarded to deserving student-athletes.
— ND —