published Sunday, December 16th, 2012

Countdown to BCS showdown: Stamps of approval

COUNTDOWN TO SHOWDOWN

In the 25 days leading up to college football's championship game between No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Alabama at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, the Chattanooga Times Free Press is counting down the traditions and memorable moments involving the Irish and the Crimson Tide. Today is No. 22.

Notre Dame's Knute Rockne is the greatest coach in the history of sports, at least according to the United States Postal Service.

Rockne became the first athletic coach at any level to be featured on a postage stamp when a commemorative stamp in his honor was dedicated at the university on March 9, 1988. The stamp was unveiled on the 100th anniversary of Rockne's birth, and it was the sixth in an American Sports Series that previously recognized Babe Zaharias, Bobby Jones, Babe Ruth, Jim Thorpe and Roberto Clemente.

There were roughly 160 million Rockne stamps printed.

Attending the unveiling of Rockne's stamp was president Ronald Reagan, who portrayed Irish halfback George Gipp in the 1940 Warner Brothers film "Knute Rockne -- All-American." Rockne coached the Irish to a 105-12-5 record from 1918 to 1930, winning six national championships.

After leading Notre Dame to a 19-0 record in the 1929-30 seasons, Rockne died on March 31, 1931, when a Transcontinental-Western plane going from Kansas City to Los Angeles became covered in ice and crashed in Kansas.

In 1997, the U.S. Postal Service issued commemorative stamps of former Alabama football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, former Chicago Bears coach George Halas and former Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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