The most famous head coach in the history of Arizona State athletics has passed.
The university confirmed Thursday that the legendary Frank Kush died earlier in the day of unknown causes. He was 88 years old.
— Sun Devil Athletics (@TheSunDevils) June 22, 2017
After finishing his collegiate playing career at Michigan State and a stint in the Army, Kush’s first job in coaching was as the line coach for the Sun Devils in 1955. When Dan Devine left to become the head coach at Missouri in December of 1957, Kush was promoted to head coach.
Kush spent the next 21½ years as the head coach at ASU, leading the Sun Devils to a 176-54-1 mark that included seven Western Athletic Conference championships. The wins are the most in the football program’s history; in fact, he’s the only coach in the school’s history who has accumulated more than 60 wins during his time in Tempe.
From 1969-73, Kush’s ASU squads won five straight WAC titles. They lost just six games total in that span against 51 wins. In 1975, they went a 12-0, capping off the second perfect season under Kush with a win over Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl.
In part because of Kush’s on-field success with the Sun Devils, ASU began play in the then-Pac-10 conference in 1978.
Kush’s tenure at the school ended in controversy, however, as he was fired in the middle of the 1979 season after a player accused the coach of mental and physical abuse in a September lawsuit. The coach was ultimately fired because the university accused him of hindering the investigation into the allegations.