Hall of Fame - Inductee Detail

Ernie "Pug" Rentner

Ernie "Pug" Rentner


  • Position: Halfback
  • School: Northwestern
  • High School: Joliet, IL (Farragut HS)
  • Years: 1930-1932
  • Inducted: 1979
  • Place of Birth: Joliet, IL
  • Date of Birth: Sep 18, 1910
  • Place of Death: Glencoe, IL
  • Date of Death: Aug 24, 1978
  • Jersey Number: 23
  • Height: 6-1
  • Weight: 185

Member Biography

He was regarded as one of Northwestern's All-Time players. Ernest "Pug" Rentner was probably the best all-around halfback in the country during the years he played in Evanston. Rentner was known for being an accurate passer and a dazzling breakaway runner. While running, Rentner slashed through the opposition's ground defense and slipped through their secondary en route to another score. Rentner had great arm strength and huge hands that enabled him to "thread the needle" with passes of 60 yards or more. In almost every game he played, Rentner reeled off long runs either from scrimmage, punt returns, kickoffs or pass interceptions. Rentner led Northwestern through an "almost" undefeated season in 1931. The Wildcats had won every game until the conference office decided to play extra games for charity. Northwestern faced Purdue, and the game would count in the standings. The night before the contest, several members of the Northwestern team were involved in an elevator accident. Although none of the Wildcats were seriously injured, they were badly shaken and lost to Purdue the next day. Rentner was chosen to the All-America team that year, along with two other members of his team. He was selected as Northwestern's Most Valuable Player in 1932.