The Legend of Arizona's Frank Kush by darreljefferson


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									The Legend of Arizona’s Frank Kush

Frank Kush is a legend of Arizona State football. His
performance as head coach brought a small-
college program into the headlines of college

Kush arrived at Arizona State as the assistant coach
in 1955. He was promoted to the head coach job in
1958, after his superior left to coach at the
University of Missouri.

Over the next 22 years he created a reputation as
one of the fiercest and most successful head coaches in Arizona State’s history.

Numbers-wise, Arizona State hasn’t seen a coach like him. After 22 years, he logged a record of 176-54-

A Unique Coaching Style

His time saw five consecutive Western Athletic Conference championships. If they weren’t winning the
other championships, they were playing in the big games.

Over six years (1970-1975), he led the Sun Devils to a 62-9 record and won all of five bowl games.

Throughout his career he only lost one bowl game, and that was the Fiesta Bowl in 1976. His record
turned the Sun Devils into a competitive national team that other teams had to work to defeat.

Kush’s secret was the conditioning he put his team through. He was a fierce coach, pushing his team to
the full extent of their fitness capabilities.

                                                        One of his famous drills was called the “Bull in the
                                                        Ring.” This drill was saved for those he thought
                                                        could use a bit of extra encouragement in

                                                        He would have the team line up in a big circle.
                                                        The player needing a bit of motivation would be
                                                        called to the center.

                                                        The coach would then call out a number at
                                                        random. The player with that number would rush
                                                        the man in the middle.
The two would grapple until the coach blew his whistle. The player that put in the best effort would get
the privilege of returning to the circle.

His vision was to have the best conditioned players on the field. That way, when it came down to the
last few minutes of the game, his team could have the advantage to win.

It worked too. His career proves the conditioning paid off, and Arizona State t-shirts are worn with pride
because of the accomplishments that followed.

Frank Kush’s Legacy

His success on the field led to a number of other benefits for the university and public at large. It
sparked the interest of investors to help build some of the grandest sports facilities of any university.

The Sun Devil Stadium was expanded to
include over 70,000 seats. Kush used his
influence to later start the Frank Kush
Youth Foundation, an organization created
to inspire youth to be self-disciplined; have
confidence; get involved with the family;
and live healthier, more productive lives.

The foundation does this by putting on a 5k
run every year. The proceeds from the race
go to help a number of youth clubs
including various Boys & Girl clubs, and
youth centers around the state.

Arizona State t-shirts still carry the pride of a university program that will never be the same because of
this great man. The football team and university continually look to perform with excellence in
everything they do.

Photo Credit: Kevin Dooley, John M. Quick, Scott Jones,

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