A lot of younger people have never even heard of Frank Kush, but he just passed away today at 88 years old.
In 1957, Kush was an assistant coach at Arizona State working for Dan Devine who put together an amazing record at Tempe of 27-3-1. Devine would obviously go on and win a national championship at Notre Dame with Joe Montana at Quarterback.
Kush coached his first team in 1958 and they finished 7-3. He had some really good years there in 21 years as the head coach including unbeaten seasons in 1970 and 1975.
Most of his career was coaching in the Western Athletic Conference which led to lack of respect, even if he did lead the team to a 176-54-1 record.
The Arizona State Sun Devils and their in-state rivals Arizona were accepted into the Pac 8 Conference. However, unlike the Big 10, they actually changed their name to the Pac 10 with the two additions.
Kush was known as a tough coach that liked to practice in the Arizona heat and didn’t believe in
drinking water and liked to punch his players. He was fired in 1979 for supposedly punching his punter and mistreating him.
Hey, we all want to punch a punter at some point.
After he was fired, Kush coached in the Canadian Football League and the NFL. He coached the Hamilton Tiger Cats for one season and then was hired by the Baltimore Colts. His team in Hamilton was 11-4-1, but it was said he couldn’t get along with the players.
At Baltimore, that was in the days that they were trying to move and Kush was supposedly disappointed that the Colts did not move to Arizona. He quit near the end of the 1984 season and returned to Arizona.
The bottom line is he probably just wanted to return to Arizona. Maybe he just loved being hot.
RIP Frank Kush, thanks for the memories.