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Ara Parseghian (1923 – 2017)

by Legacy Staff

Legendary head coach led Fighting Irish to 2 national football titles…

Ara Parseghian, the legendary football player and coach who led the University of Notre Dame to two national championships, died early Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, at his home in Granger, Indiana, according to multiple news sources. Parseghian, who underwent hospital treatment recently for a hip infection, was 94.

Parseghian guided the Fighting Irish to national championships in 1966 and 1973 in his 11 seasons as coach. He amassed a 95-17-4 record as the team’s head coach before retiring after the 1974 season.


Parseghian also was head football coach for a time at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Under his guidance, the Wildcats were ranked No. 1 in 1962.

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Ara Raoul Parseghian was born May 21, 1923, in Akron, Ohio. He enrolled at the University of Akron after playing high school football. Parseghian quit to enlist in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After serving for two years, he attended Miami University in Ohio, then went on to play halfback for the Cleveland Browns professional football team. While with the team, the Browns won the league championship in 1948 and 1949.

A hip injury, however, ended his pro football career.

He took an assistant coaching position at Miami, and eventually became Miami’s head coach, succeeding Woody Hayes. In 1956, the Wildcats hired him away to serve as their head coach for eight seasons. Parseghian reversed Northwestern’s long drought, taking the team to No. 1.

Notre Dame was the next school to come calling. Seeking to halt a five-season string of consecutive losing records, the Fighting Irish signed him in 1964. Notre Dame would never experience a losing record while Parseghian was the head coach.

He coached the Fighting Irish to two championships and racked up 95 wins, 17 losses, and four ties in his 11 seasons in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame fans lovingly referred to his tenure as the Era of Ara.

After retiring from coaching in 1974, Parseghian became a color analyst for college football games that aired on the ABC and CBS television networks.

In 1980, he was inducted into the coaches’ wing of the College Football Hall of Fame.

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