Alan Page is arguably one of the greatest athletes to have ever played football at Notre Dame, and Alan Page went on to a career after football that qualifies him among the finest graduates of ND, ever. A “Notre Dame man”, in every sense of the words.
Born on August 7, 1945 in Canton, Ohio, Page was raised in a strong family that stressed the importance of education and the importance of always striving for excellence. As a young man he worked a part time job doing construction. One of the projects he was on was the building of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his hometown.
At Notre Dame from 1963-1966 he applied the work ethic instilled by his parents and worked hard on the gridiron and in the classroom.
Page won a starting defensive end position at the start of his Sophomore season and became a key cog in the renaissance of Notre Dame Football under Ara Parseghian. Not quite as large as some defensive lineman, he relied on quickness and guile to defeat his opponents. Something he did extremely well. In the 1966 national championship season he spearheaded a defense that allowed just 38 points on the season, and was named as a consensus All-American. In May of 1967 he was drafted in the first round by the Minnesota Vikings.
Page excelled in a 15 season NFL career and played in 238 games. In 1971 he amassed 119 total tackles and became the first ever defensive player to be named as the Associated Press Player of the Year. 9 times an All-Pro, he was cut from the Vikings in 1978 when it was judged by the coaching staff that his weight had dropped down too low as a result of training for and running marathons. Page had the final NFL word however. He finished his career as a Chicago Bear for 3 more outstanding seasons.
In his NFL career, Page played in 218 consecutive games, made 1431 tackles and had 164 sacks. He recovered 24 fumbles. In 1988 he returned to the building he had helped build as a young man and was inducted into the Pro football Hall of fame.
Football was over for Page after the 1981 season but his professional career was far from finished. In 1978, while still playing, he earned a Law degree from the University of Minnesota, thus fulfilling a lifelong ambition to become a lawyer. For several years he practiced law during the off season and later he went to work for the Attorney General’s Office in Minnesota. In 1992 at the age of 47 he ran for and was elected to the Minnesota Supreme Court, where he had a distinguished career that lasted 22 years.
In 2018 the Honorable Alan Page received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He thus holds the distinction for reaching the pinnacle of achievement both on the field with his election the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and off the field by receiving the nation’s highest civilian honor.
In 1993 the University of Notre Dame bestowed upon Page an Honorary Doctorate of Law degree.
As a great football player, and contributor to the society, Alan Page is unquestionably deserving of the title: All-Time Irish Hero.