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Frank Kush, who built ASU into a powerhouse, dies at 88

Frank Kush, who built ASU into a powerhouse, dies at 88

The first head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, Frank Kush, has died. The words weakness and mediocrity were never found in his vocabulary. He was also honored with the Walter Camp Coach of the Year Award in 1975 after guiding the team to a flawless 12-0 campaign.

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

Michigan State went 26-1 in Kush's three years on the team, including flawless 9-0 seasons in 1951 and 1952. Kush was sacked nearly a year later for interfering with the school's investigation.

Devine brought Kush on as an assistant coach when Devine took the Arizona State head coaching job in 1955. Described in a 1982 Sun Magazine profile before his first season helming the Colts as a "a combination of [actor James] Cagney, Vince Lombardi and Darth Vader", Kush found reversing the woebegone franchise's fortunes as hard as staying out of the headlines. A man who made his mark in the desert, who set the standards for excellence for others to follow.

Kush also coached the Baltimore Colts for two-and-a half seasons in the early 1980s, finishing with a record of 11-28-1.

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Dan Kush, the coach's oldest son, told The Arizona Republic that his father suffered from dementia.

As ASU head coach, Kush would amass a school-record 176 wins, collecting a record of 176-54-1.

After his coaching career ended in 1979, he went back to ASU 21 years later and served as a special assistant to the Athletics Director and then as an ambassador for Sun Devil Athletics. He guided the Sun Devils to seven Western Athletic Conference Championships, part of posting a winning season in 19 of his 22 seasons as head coach.

After Kush was sacked from the program in 1979, he went on to coach in professional football coaching a season in the Canadian Football League with Hamilton in 1981 before returning to the United States to spend three seasons as the coach with the Indianapolis Colts from 1982-84 before ending his coaching career with the USFL's Arizona Outlaws in 1985.

During his tenure Kush coached and mentored three College Football Hall of Fame inductees, including Bob Breunig (1972-74, inducted in 2015), Mike Haynes (1972-75, inducted in 2001), and John Jefferson (1974-77, inducted in 2002).

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