Legendary ASU football coach Frank Kush dies at 88
Jun 22, 2017, 9:17 AM | Updated: 11:34 am
(Arizona State University Photo)
PHOENIX — Legendary former Arizona State University football coach Frank Kush died on Thursday, the school’s athletic department said. He was 88.
Kush was the Sun Devils head coach from 1958 to 1979 and posted an overall record of 176-54-1. The field at Sun Devil Stadium is named in his honor, and he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1995.
“Frank Kush is Sun Devil football. Frank was the architect of Sun Devil football and is revered by all Sun Devils everywhere. He’s a college football Hall of Famer, he’s in our Hall of Distinction and the field at Sun Devil Stadium is named after him. Today, he and his family are in our hearts.”
Before his coaching career got started, Kush played three seasons of college ball himself as a defensive lineman at Michigan State University, where he was selected as an All-American.
Kush got his coaching start at Michigan State, but became a legend at ASU.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the Kush family,” said head football coach Todd Graham. “It was a privilege to have known such a coaching legend and man. His legacy will always be the cornerstone of the Arizona State football program. Coach Kush I will miss you my friend.”
He was known as one of the most physically demanding coaches in the game. His drills were tests of endurance, especially given the summer heat.
During his time at head coach, the Sun Devils posted only one losing season. He won two conference titles and finished as a runner-up five other times.
He coached multiple future NFL players, including quarterback Danny White who went on to play for the Dallas Cowboys.
“Frank Kush was able to get out of me something that no one else could get,” White said. “He affected hundreds of athletes that he coached in that same way.”
Baseball hall of famer Reggie Jackson also played one year under Kush on a football scholarship before trading the gridiron for the diamond.
Kush was fired as head coach in 1979 after interfering with ASU’s investigation into former punter Kevin Rutledge’s claims of mental and physical harassment.
He was found not liable in the case in 1980.
After his coaching career ended at ASU, Kush coached in both the Canadian Football League and National Football League. He won only seven games as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts in two seasons — one of which the team did not win a single game.