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March 28, 2001|LARRY STEWART

What: "SportsCenter Flashback: Knute Rockne"

Where: ESPN Classic, today, 4 p.m.

On March 31, 1931, Knute Rockne boarded a plane with four other passengers, along with the pilot and co-pilot. Forty minutes into the flight, near Bazaar, Kan., the plane crashed, killing all on board. One witness described the sound of the crash as "two 50-gallon oil drums banging together." Today, nearly 70 years later, ESPN looks back at the career and legend of the fabled Notre Dame coach in a one-hour special hosted by Charley Steiner.

From 1918-1930, Rockne had a record of 105-12-5, a winning percentage of .881, an all-time high, and won three national championships.

But the Rockne story is about more than wins and losses, and this special examines other aspects of the Rockne mythology. Included is a look at the 1940 movie, "Knute Rockne: All-American," in which Ronald Reagan played George Gipp.

The crash site is revisited, and among those interviewed is James "Easter" Heathman, who to this day preserves the history of the site. Also part of the special is Rockne's funeral, attended by more than 2,000, including President Hoover.

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