The Following Article by Jim Lefebvre, the Executive Director of the Knute Rockne Memorial Society, has been posted as it covers Leo Great Jay Standring

In the Mold of Rockne,
Award Winners Have
Impacted Thousands

Jay Standring was a defensive back for the Fighting Irish in the late 1960s, just after Joel Maturi served as student trainer for the 1966 national champs. As teachers, coaches and athletic directors, they have positively impacted thousands of young lives. They’ll be honored at the 2021 Knute Rockne Spirit of Sports Awards Celebration in Chicago on Sept. 24.

For all his involvement with athletics, Knute Rockne did not believe that sports should be, for most people, an end in themselves. Rather, he saw them as a means to achieving success in life, with the lessons learned on the playing field translating to determination, teamwork and character in real life.
Today, we introduce you to two Rockne Leadership Award winners who exemplify Rockne’s ethic of empowering those you lead to live lives of meaning and service. They will be honored at the 2021 Knute Rockne Spirit of Sports Awards Celebration on Sept. 24 in Chicago (details below).

Jay Standring, Jr. ’70 attended Chicago’s Leo High School, where he was the team’s MVP running back, punter, kicker and option passer, leading Leo to a Catholic League championship showdown with Loyola at Chicago’s Soldier Field. He brought his skills to bear as a 5-9, 190-pound Notre Dame defensive back, making two Cotton Bowl appearances. 
Football was a vehicle for an education. Jay followed the family tradition of his maternal grandfather, Edward J. Figel, ND class of 1911, four uncles and several cousins who earned Notre Dame degrees.  Education became a way of life and expression.
A natural-born leader, teacher and coach, Standring used the lessons learned from Coach Ara Parseghian, Rev. Theodore Hesburgh and Notre Dame professors to guide youngsters to greater heights in academics and sports, with a zest that is his own signature style. Standring was a natural in the classroom and an inspirational ball of fire on the football field. 
After coaching stints at Northeastern University and the University of Chicago, he settled in at Saint Rita of Cascia High School, where he would teach theology and coach baseball and football for four decades. He also created summer recreation camps that always culminated in unforgettable visits to the sacred grounds of the Notre Dame campus.
Saint Rita refuses to let Standring retire and completed the spring baseball season naming the field after Coach Standring – Jaybird Field at St. Rita.
Jay Standring is the winner of the 2021 Rockne Leadership Award. 
As student trainer for Ara Parseghian’s national championship 1966 team, Joel Maturi ’67 got a birds-eye look at how a top-notch program operated, and he turned those lessons into a Hall of Fame career as a coach and athletic administrator. “To see how he operated back then, how he cared about people and treated others with respect, it’s not surprising how his career went,” noted an ND player from 1966.
Maturi’s career began in Madison Wis., as teacher, coach and athletic director at Edgewood High School of the Sacred Heart. In 1987, after 20 years at Edgewood, he made the extraordinary move to become an NCAA Division I assistant athletic director, moving a few blocks to the University of Wisconsin. “I was in the right place at the right time,” Maturi says modestly. But of course it was his leadership skills and ability to impact others that drew UW’s attention.
From there, Joel served two years as the Director of Athletics at the University of Denver and four at Miami (Ohio) University before being named the Director of Athletics at the University of Minnesota in 2002 until his retirement in 2012.  Maruti continues as an advisor to the University, and serves on NCAA committees.
In each position, Maturi consistently did all that he could so that the coaches and staff could do what they do best (coach and support) and that the student-athletes left with a degree and a positive and meaningful athletic experience.  

Joel Maturi ’67 will be honored with the Rockne Leadership Award.
Previously Announced Honorees
Mike McCoy ’70 – Inspiration Award 

After a football career that included All-American honors at Notre Dame, and 11 seasons in the NFL, Mike left the corporate world to become involved with ministering to young people. He offers a message of encouragement to lead a life of purpose and to be strong-willed when faced with negativity. McCoy speaks about peer pressure and bullying, and how to deal with these outside influences with self-confidence in order to achieve true success.
Peter Schivarelli ’71 – Perseverance Award
A walk-on defensive tackle and special teams player, Peter contributed to ND’s teams of 1969-70 before embarking on an incredible life journey… nearly a half-century managing a group of his teenage pals who became the iconic band Chicago. Along the way, Peter has given back generously to Notre Dame athletics, the Notre Dame Band, and charities in Chicagoland and beyond

2021 Knute Rockne Spirit of Sports Awards Celebration
Friday, September 24

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.   Socializing and “Tailgate Buffet” Dining

12:30 – 2:00 p.m.            Awards Program


Chicago Sports Museum
7th Level (adjacent to Harry Caray’s 7
th Inning Stretch)
Water Tower Place
835 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago
Ample FREE indoor parking for Rockne Awards attendees in the Water Tower Place underground parking facility, accessible from Chestnut Street.

Business casual (no sweatshirts or jerseys, please)


An outstanding slate of Rockne Award recipients representing the best of Chicagoland and Notre Dame.


In the interest of everyone’s health and safety, only fully vaccinated are invited to attend. 
The venue staff will make every attempt to create a safe environment for all.


General Admission Tickets — Early Bird Special pricing at $55 per person. Order tickets by visiting
For Sponsor Table information, please email:

Knute Rockne Memorial Society
We hope to see you there!
For Rock!

Jim Lefebvre
Executive Director
Knute Rockne Memorial Society
P.O. Box 881
Notre Dame, IN 46556

Copyright © 2021 Knute Rockne Memorial Society, All rights reserved.

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