Frank Kush, Windber native and Hall of Fame coach, dies at 88

TEMPE AZ- APRIL 15 An Arizona State Sun Devils helmet during the Arizona State Sun Devils Spring Game
Kevin Abele Icon Sportswire
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25 June, 2017

Frank Kush, the fearsome coach who transformed Arizona State from a backwater football program into a powerhouse, died Thursday. The words weakness and mediocrity were never found in his vocabulary.

In 1975, Mr. Kush was named coach the year after his team beat undefeated Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl, 17-14. Kush was 88-years old. Kush was sacked nearly a year later for interfering with the school's investigation.

Kush went on to win 176 games - the most in school history - across 21.5 seasons and was elected into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1995.

He went on to make stops with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL, Baltimore Colts of the National Football League and Arizona Outlaws of the USFL, but Kush never matched the consistent success he found with the Sun Devils. A man who made his mark in the desert, who set the standards for excellence for others to follow. He was retained despite a winless (0-8-1) campaign and ended up going 11-28-1 in three seasons, culminating in the Colts' first year in Indianapolis following their move.

Before he became a coach, Kush served as a first lieutenant in the Army and he was known for his tough, demanding style.

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After ASU Kush served as Head Coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL in 1981 and as Head Coach of the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts from 1982-84. He took the Sun Devils to six bowl victories, sent dozens of players to the pros and won seven Western Athletic Conference championships.

Kush started his career at ASU in 1955 as an assistant under former head coach Dan Devine.

Arizona State unveiled a stature of Kush outside Sun Devil Stadium in 1997. Miller also cited an apparent attempt by Kush to cover up the incident as his reason for firing the coach when he did.

"Coach Kush built ASU into a national football power", ASU President Michael M. Crow said in a statement. Some of Mr. Kush's assistant coaches were allegedly told to lie in an effort to hide the actions.


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