Former Arizona State Football Coach Frank Kush Dies at 88
- Author: Joanne Flowers Jun 23, 2017,
Jun 23, 2017, 4:40
He took over the program in 1955 after then head coach Dan Devine left to take the same job at Missouri. He was named national Coach of the Year after a flawless 12-0 season in 1975, one of two undefeated seasons for his ASU teams. Although he was only 5-9, 180 pounds, Kush combined excellent quickness and sound technique, often disrupting plays before they even got started.
The coach ended his tenure at Arizona State after punter Kevin Rutledge claimed Kush shook his face mask and punched him during a game in 1978. His Sun Devils went 11-0 in 1970 and 12-0 in 1975, finishing the latter season ranked No. 2 in the country. "Coach Kush, I miss you my friend".
Before he became a coach, Kush served as a first lieutenant in the Army and he was known for his tough, demanding style. Following the 1975 Fiesta Bowl win, the Sun Devils finished second in the national polls, their highest ever under Kush. In his 22 years at Arizona State, Kush had 19 winning seasons. Three of his players were inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, including Bob Breunig (1972-74, inducted in 2015), Mike Haynes (1972-75, inducted in 2001), and John Jefferson (1974-77, inducted in 2002).
After a period of estrangement, Arizona State welcomed Kush back in 1996, holding a "Frank Kush Day" and naming the playing field at Sun Devil Stadium "Frank Kush Field". In between, he coached the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Canadian Football League and the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts of the NFL.
He was hired as an assistant to the athletic director in 2000, helping with fundraising efforts. ASU's football field is named after Kush, who is also in the College Football Hall of Fame.