Former Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian dies

Former Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian, coach of two national-title winning teams for the Irish, died early Wednesday morning. He was 94



Parseghian had a record of 170-58-6 as a head coach at Miami (Ohio), Northwestern and Notre Dame. He was 95-17-4 with the Irish and his teams were declared the 1966 and 1973 national champions.

“Notre Dame mourns the loss of a legendary football coach, a beloved member of the Notre Dame family and good man — Ara Parseghian,” Notre Dame president Rev. John Jenkins said in a statement. “Among his many accomplishments, we will remember him above all as a teacher, leader and mentor who brought out the very best in his players, on and off the field.

“He continued to demonstrate that leadership by raising millions of research dollars seeking a cure for the terrible disease that took the lives of three of his grandchildren. Whenever we asked for Ara’s help at Notre Dame, he was there.”

Before he coached at Notre Dame, Parseghian was Northwestern’s head coach. (Getty)

After five years at Miami (Ohio) and eight at Northwestern, he coached at Notre Dame from 1964-1974 and later served as a college football analyst for ABC and CBS. Parseghian was also depicted in the 1993 movie Rudy, about Notre Dame walk-on Rudy Ruettiger. The walk-on joined the team in 1974, Parseghian’s final season at Notre Dame.

In his 11 seasons at Notre Dame, Parseghian’s teams lost two or fewer games in 10 of those seasons. The outlier season was an 8-3 season in 1972 that ended in an Orange Bowl berth. His success at Notre Dame in the 1960s and 1970s is a big reason the school still has one of the most revered college football programs.

Parseghian was the team’s coach when the school played in a bowl game on New Year’s Day in 1970. That’s a notable feat because it was the first time in 45 years the Fighting Irish had gone to a bowl.

Notre Dame had previously refused to go to bowl games because of the school’s academic calendar (which had changed in 1969). Couple the change along with the AP’s decision to start considering bowl results in its final rankings in 1968 and, voila, the bowl “ban” was gone. You can’t blame Notre Dame for not wanting to miss out on a higher ranking, right?

Only Knute Rockne (105) and Lou Holtz (100) have more wins at Notre Dame than Parseghian and he’s one of only three coaches at Notre Dame to have multiple national titles.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!