Rudy Ruettiger Net Worth: Bio, Career, Personal Life & Many

Daniel Eugene Ruettiger, affectionately known as ‘Rudy,’ is an esteemed American author, motivational speaker, and former collegiate football player, born in 1948. Overcoming academic challenges stemming from dyslexia, he initially faced rejection from the University of Notre Dame but persevered to secure a spot on the football team. Married with two children, Rudy holds honorary doctorates from Long Island University and Our Lady of Holy Cross College, attesting to his inspirational journey. Embracing social media, Rudy actively engages with his audience on Instagram, showcasing his passion for outdoor pursuits and cinema. With a net worth exceeding $550,000, Rudy continues to inspire countless individuals with his resilience and determination.

Rudy Ruettiger Net Worth:

Rudy Ruettiger’s net worth is estimated to be around $550,000. Despite this modest sum compared to other public figures, Rudy’s narrative of perseverance and resilience has deeply resonated with millions worldwide.

Rudy’s journey commenced as a walk-on football player at the University of Notre Dame, where he overcame significant obstacles, including his small stature and dyslexia, to earn a cherished spot on the team.

Transitioning into a successful career as a motivational speaker and author, Rudy has penned inspiring books such as “Rudy: My Story” and “Rudy Ruettiger: The Walk On,” and has delivered countless impactful speeches globally.

While Rudy’s financial worth may pale in comparison to his peers, his profound impact on countless lives serves as a testament to the true essence of success: making a difference in the lives of others.

Who is Rudy Ruettiger?

Daniel Eugene ‘Rudy’ Ruettiger, born on August 23, 1948, in Joliet, Illinois, USA, falls under the zodiac sign of Virgo. He gained fame as a college football player at the University of Notre Dame and served as the inspiration for the critically acclaimed 1993 biographical sports film “Rudy.” Directed by David Anspaugh, the movie stars Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, and Ned Beatty. The film garnered praise, winning two out of its three award nominations.

Where was Reuttiger born?

Born in 1948, Daniel Eugene Ruettiger was the third child among 14 siblings, raised in a blue-collar family outside of Chicago. His father, employed in a mine, instilled in him a deep love for Notre Dame Fighting Irish football. Reflecting on his childhood, he emphasized the importance of sports as a means of understanding and excelling.

Profile Summary:

Full NameDaniel Eugene ‘Rudy’ Ruettiger
Date of BirthAugust 23, 1948
Place of BirthJoliet, Illinois, USA
Eye ColorBlue
Zodiac SignVirgo
Hair ColorBrown
Height5ft 6ins (1.69m)
Weight165lbs (75kgs)
Notable AchievementsInspirational story turned into the film “Rudy,” Successful career as a motivational speaker and author
AwardsHonorary doctoral degrees, Key to the city, Rudy Awards
InterestsOutdoor activities, watching films
Favorite ActorsTom Cruise, Arnold Schwarzenegger
Favorite Films“Rain Man,” “Eyes Wide Shut,” “Edge of Tomorrow”
OtherBaptized in 2017 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Education & Early Life:

Rudy grew up amidst his two older and 11 younger siblings in a German-American household, although he seldom discusses his parents publicly. The movie “Rudy” portrays his father as unsupportive, constantly dismissing his aspirations. Despite struggling academically due to undiagnosed dyslexia during his time at Joliet Catholic High School, Rudy excelled in sports under Coach Gordie Gillespie, participating in football, baseball, and basketball.

Following his graduation in 1966, Rudy enlisted in the US Navy, serving for two years aboard a communications command ship. He later worked at a power plant for two years before attempting to gain admission to the University of Notre Dame in 1970. Despite initial rejection due to poor grades, he attended Holy Cross College before finally transferring to Notre Dame after multiple attempts.

Physical Appearance:

Eye ColorBlue
Hair ColorBrown
Height5ft 6ins (1.69m)
Weight165lbs (75kgs)

At 74 years old, Rudy boasts blue eyes and brown hair, standing at 5 feet 6 inches (1.69 meters) tall and weighing approximately 165 pounds (75 kilograms).

Rudy Ruettiger Family:

Rudy Ruettiger’s remarkable journey from humble beginnings to becoming the inspiration for the iconic film “Rudy” is a testament to the power of perseverance. Born on August 23, 1948, in Joliet, Illinois, Rudy faced challenges early on due to dyslexia, impacting his academic pursuits. Despite this obstacle, he found solace and passion in football during his time at Joliet Catholic High School, guided by the legendary Coach Gordie Gillespie.

After serving in the United States Navy and working in a power plant, Rudy pursued his dream of attending Notre Dame, facing rejection multiple times due to his low high school grades. Undeterred, he enrolled in Holy Cross College, where he discovered his dyslexia. Finally, in 1974, on his fourth attempt, Rudy was accepted to Notre Dame, realizing his dream of playing football for the prestigious university.

Though his playing time was brief, Rudy’s tenacity shone through in a legendary play during the final game of his senior year, where he sacked the Georgia Tech quarterback, symbolizing his unwavering spirit. Throughout his journey, Rudy found unwavering support from his family, including his parents Daniel and Elizabeth Ruettiger, who instilled in him a strong work ethic and resilience.

Today, married to Cheryl Ruettiger with three children, Rudy remains grounded, never forgetting his roots and the significance of family.

When did Ruettiger start playing football?

Despite excelling as a cornerback in high school football, Rudy Ruettiger’s modest stature of 5 feet 6 inches posed a significant challenge in his pursuit of college-level play. Following high school, Ruettiger enlisted in the United States Navy, serving as a yeoman on a communications command ship for two years. Subsequently, he spent an additional two years working in a power plant, further shaping his character and resilience for the challenges ahead.

College Football:

Standing at 5 feet 6 inches tall upon his transfer to Notre Dame, Rudy Ruettiger nurtured an ambitious dream of playing football for the revered Notre Dame Fighting Irish. With the encouragement of Coach Ara Parseghian, who valued student participation in football, Rudy found a place on the team’s scout squad, honing his skills through rigorous daily practice sessions. Former coach Merv Johnson recognized Rudy’s determination, ensuring his spot on the scout team. In 1974, under the leadership of coach Daniel John Devine, Rudy finally made his debut for Notre Dame on November 8, 1975, recording a memorable sack against Georgia Tech.

After College:

Following his college graduation in 1974, Rudy ventured into entrepreneurship, establishing a maintenance company and engaging in real estate sales. In 1986, he relocated to South Bend, Indiana, where he seized the opportunity to sell the rights to his life story, eventually leading to the creation of the iconic film. Rudy secured a cameo appearance in the movie, portraying a fan alongside his father, portrayed by Ned Beatty. While the movie captured much of his journey accurately, Rudy has clarified that his coach, depicted negatively, was actually supportive and instrumental in his success, even advocating for his participation in the season’s final game.

Transitioning into a motivational speaker and author, Rudy penned several books, including “Rudy’s Lessons for Young Champions,” “Rudy & Friends,” and “Rudy’s Insights for Winning in Life.” However, in 2011, he faced legal troubles, charged with securities fraud related to his role as Chairman of Rudy Beverage, Inc., resulting in a substantial financial penalty. Despite these challenges, Rudy found solace in religion, being baptized at the age of 68 in 2017 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Personal Life:

Despite maintaining privacy regarding his personal life, Rudy Ruettiger has been married since 1996 to Cheryl, whom he met in 1985 as he embarked on his journey as a motivational speaker. Together, they founded the Rudy Foundation, which provides scholarships to disadvantaged youth interested in sports and theater. Their daughter, Jessica Noel Ruettiger, recently graduated from Boston Conservatory with a degree in musical theater, aspiring to pursue a career as an actress and dancer. Their son, Daniel Joseph Ruettiger, born on August 27, 2002, is currently pursuing hockey at the collegiate level. Rudy’s commitment to his family remains steadfast, with no public mention of any other relationships.

Rudy has been married to Cheryl since January 2023, and they share two children.

Honors, Recognition & Awards:

Rudy Ruettiger’s impact extends beyond his personal journey, as evident in the creation of the College Football Rudy Award in 2007 by the Rudy Foundation. This award recognizes Division I football players who embody character, courage, contribution, and commitment. Following its success, the High School Football “Rudy” Awards were launched in 2009 to uncover exceptional talent among high school teams. Ruettiger’s influence was further recognized in 2009 when he was initiated into the Kappa Sigma fraternity and received honorary doctoral degrees from several universities. His dedication to inspiring others has earned him numerous accolades, including keys to several cities and special proclamations celebrating his unwavering commitment and human spirit.

Where is Ruettiger Now?

As a motivational speaker and author, Rudy Ruettiger has imparted wisdom through his books “Rudy’s Insights for Winning in Life” (2000) and “Rudy: My Story” (2012). His remarkable life story has been immortalized in various forms, including the cherished 1993 biopic “Rudy” and the 2018 documentary “Rudy Ruettiger: The Walk On.” Rudy believes that his story resonates with people because it transcends barriers, emphasizing the power of self-belief. Despite personal challenges, Rudy remains dedicated to inspiring others. He shares two children, Daniel and Joyce, with his ex-wife Cheryl Ruettiger.

Interesting Facts and Hobbies:

Rudy has been honored with honorary doctorates from both Long Island University and Our Lady of Holy Cross College, alongside receiving keys to various US cities for his enduring spirit and inspiration. His notable encounters include a visit to the White House and a meeting with former US President George W. Bush. With over 35,000 followers on Instagram, Rudy shares his passion for sports and outdoor adventures, often spending quality time in nature with his children. A fan of actors Tom Cruise and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rudy enjoys movies like “Rain Man,” “Eyes Wide Shut,” and “Edge of Tomorrow” during his leisure time.

Social Media:

Rudy has garnered a substantial following on social media platforms, boasting over 31.9k followers on Instagram, 1.2k followers on Twitter, and 208 followers on Facebook. Through these channels, he engages with his audience, sharing insights into his life and promoting his passion for sports and outdoor activities.

FAQs about Rudy Ruettiger:

What inspired the movie “Rudy”?

The movie “Rudy” was inspired by Rudy Ruettiger’s inspirational journey as a walk-on football player at the University of Notre Dame. Despite facing numerous obstacles, including his small stature and struggles with dyslexia, Rudy earned a spot on the team and became a beloved figure at the university.

What is Rudy Ruettiger’s net worth?

As of 2024, Rudy Ruettiger’s net worth is approximately $550,000.

What are some of Rudy Ruettiger’s notable achievements?

Rudy Ruettiger’s notable achievements include having his inspiring story turned into the film “Rudy,” building a successful career as a motivational speaker and author, and receiving honorary doctoral degrees and awards for his inspirational work.

What are Rudy Ruettiger’s interests and hobbies?

Rudy Ruettiger enjoys spending time outdoors, watching films, and promoting sports through his activities on social media.

What are some key moments in Rudy Ruettiger’s life after college?

After college, Rudy Ruettiger founded a maintenance company, sold real estate, and became a motivational speaker and author. He faced legal issues in 2011 but continued to share his message of perseverance and determination.


Rudy Ruettiger’s narrative epitomizes the triumph of perseverance and resilience. Despite encountering academic setbacks, rejections, and legal hurdles, Rudy’s relentless pursuit of his dreams has inspired countless individuals worldwide. From humble beginnings as a walk-on football player at Notre Dame to his prominence as a motivational speaker and author, Rudy’s journey resonates with hope and determination. Through his books, speeches, and the iconic film “Rudy,” he continues to ignite a spark of resilience in others, emphasizing the power of self-belief and unwavering support. Rudy’s story stands as a beacon of possibility, illustrating that with dedication, self-confidence, and the backing of loved ones, no obstacle is insurmountable.

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