Legendary ASU football coach Frank Kush dead at 88

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(Source: Arizona State University via AP) (Source: Arizona State University via AP)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Frank Kush, the legendary, hard-nosed football coach who led Arizona State University to college football prominence, has died. He was 88 years old.

Kush, who was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1995, coached the Sun Devils from 1958-1979. During that time, Kush compiled a record of 176-54-1, with only one losing season.  

He brought an energy and passion the Sun Devils had never seen. The words weakness and mediocrity were never found in his vocabulary.

From 1969-1973, Kush engineered one of the greatest football eras in school history. His teams won five consecutive Western Athletic Conference Championships, winning 50 of 56 games.  ASU won the 1970 Peach Bowl and three straight Fiesta Bowls.

Kush's 1975 team is regarded as one of if not the best in school history. The 1975 Sun Devils went 12-0 defeating Nebraska 17-14 in a Fiesta Bowl thriller. 

"The irony? We all hated him," said former Arizona State Quarterback Danny White.  

White holds his former coach in the highest regards as does former Sun Devils offensive tackle and long snapper Kani Kauahi.  

"He made me a man," said Kauahi.

NFL players who played under Kush at ASU include White, Charley Taylor, Mike Haynes and Curly Culp.

Frank Kush's time at Arizona State did contain controversy allegedly punching kicker Kevin Rutledge in the face at a game in Washington in 1978. Kush was fired almost a year later for interfering with the school's investigation.

Time healed wounds as Kush was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1995 and rejoined the ASU Athletic Department in Fundraising.

On September 21, 1996, the school held "Frank Kush Day" and announced that the playing field at Sun Devil Stadium would be named "Frank Kush Field" in his honor. That night ASU went out and upset No. 1 Nebraska.  It was the Cornhuskers' first loss in two seasons.

In addition to the field honors, a bronze statue was placed outside Sun Devil Stadium. They are honors for a man who made his mark in the desert, who set the standards for excellence for others to follow.

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