Thomas Freemire, age 6, can claim some fame even before he steps on the football field. He can boast that his great-great uncle was Knute Rockne, the famed coach of the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. It may be a long and circuitous route for the boy, but he already knows the legend of Rockne through a trip to South Bend to stand beside the statue of Notre Dame’s most successful coach.
Freemire is pictured here with his father John, his mom Monica, his sister, and his grandpa, Tom Siewert, of St. Joseph, who traveled to Vicksburg to watch his grandson play in his first flag football practice. The relationship is somewhat shirttail, in that Siewart’s dad’s sister married Knute Rockne’s oldest son, Knute, Jr. The Rockne family had a summer home in Stevensville, not far from the Siewart’s family farm.
Young Freemire wants to be a football coach like his uncle. His mom cautions that he will have to learn to play the game first.