How one Texas kid walked on to Knute Rockne's Notre Dame team

The Waterston family has ties to the University of Notre Dame and Coach Knute Rockne.

People are already flocking to Austin for the University of Texas v. Notre Dame football game Sunday night.
One family has strong ties to both teams.

Brothers Ted and Tass Waterston went to UT. Their parents met at the University of Texas. But their grandfather played football at Notre Dame.

The Waterston family has lived in the Georgetown area dating back to the Civil War. As stone masons, they helped build the Texas State Capitol, the Cullen building on Southwestern University’s Campus and Garrison Hall on UT’s campus, just to name a few.

Ted and Tass met with KVUE on Friday to show letters, photos and a lifetime of memories.

"We would just be captivated listening to him tell all these amazing things that he did,” said Waterston.

Their grandfather Tass Waterson, who died in 1994, played football at Georgetown High School in 1920.

He went on to play half back at Southwestern University, where he also ran track.

But after his sophomore year, he decided he wanted to learn more.

"He wanted to go and play and learn from the absolute best,” said Ted Waterston.

And that was Knute Rockne, the football coach at Notre Dame.

"He thought that was the place to be, that was mecca for football,” said Tass Waterston.

After his sophomore year, he worked at Raymondville High School in South Texas to save money.

Eventually, Waterston fought his way onto the Fighting Irish football team as a walk on.

"He'd have a perfect spiral but it was underhanded,” said Ted Waterston. He worked two jobs, at a bowling alley and gas station, to afford school.

During the summer went back to Central Texas to help his family build Garrison Hall on UT's campus.

That's when Coach Rockne sent him the letter, asking Waterston to come back and play for his senior year.

He graduated from Notre Dame in 1927.

Ted said his grandfather put in the hard work, all so he could coach back in Texas.

He went back to the team where it started -- Georgetown High School.

"We don't know the direct connections, we like to think he played a role to bringing Texas football to what it is today,” said Ted Waterston.

We're sure to see hard work and dedication, like Waterston had, at the UT v. Notre Dame game this Sunday.

"When Texas Notre Dame get together, the stakes are big, they don't play every year, but when they do, the whole world's watching,” said Tass Waterston.

Ted and Tass, both former UT students, said there's no confusion on who they're rooting for.

"Texas needs to win,” said Tass Waterston.

A win their Grandfather would hope for too.

"He always said when he came back south of the red river, he'd always pull for the home team,” said Ted Waterston.

Waterston later became the Travis County District Attorney.

(© 2016 KVUE)


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