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Former Arizona State Football Coach Frank Kush Dies at 88
25 June 2017, 01:10 | Katrina Lee
Former ASU head football coach Frank Kush died Thursday at 88
During Kush's three seasons on the varsity team, the Spartans produced a 26-1 overall record, including back-to-back National Championships in 1951 (9-0) and 1952 (9-0).
After a period of estrangement, Arizona State welcomed back Kush in 1996, holding a "Frank Kush Day" and naming the playing field at Sun Devil Stadium "Frank Kush Field". In a key game vs. Purdue, Kush recovered a fumble and helped limit the Boilermakers to just 31 rushing yards.
Famously demanding, he was known for putting his Arizona State players through grueling training camps in the August heat and requiring those who committed mental lapses to run up and down a steep, treeless 500-foot slope of loose sand and shale that became known as Mount Kush.
Kush was sacked by Arizona State in 1979 due to an incident during a 1978 game in which he punched punter Kevin Rutledge and shook his face mask during a game.
Kush coached the Fort Benning football team during a stint in the U.S. Army. Kush would win 176 games over 22 seasons with the Sun Devils, overseeing the program as it migrated from the Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association to the Western Athletic Conference, and then finally to the Pac-10 in 1978. Kush's Sun Devils teams played in five Fiesta Bowls, winning four of them. Kevin Rutledge, a former Sun Devil punter, filed a lawsuit in September 1979 seeking damages against Kush and others associated with the football program. Kush coached 38 All-Americans and 128 of players he coached went on to play in the NFL. The Hall of Famer also holds the ASU football record for most postseason victories.
Kush is of Polish descent and was inducted into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame. The Peach Bowl marked ASU's first bowl game in 19 years and the Fiesta Bowl win pushed the Sun Devils to second in the national rankings, the highest ever under Kush. He became a special assistant to the athletic director in 2000.
A defensive lineman at Michigan State in the early 1950s, Kush was the head coach at Arizona State from 1958-79.
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