Photo courtesy of Tempe Mortuary - Tempe

Frank Joseph Kush

Jan 20, 1929 – Jun 22, 2017 (Age 88)


January 20, 1929
June 22, 2017


Tempe Mortuary - Tempe Obituary

Frank Joseph Kush died peacefully surrounded by his children, grandchildren and brothers on June 22, 2017 in Mesa, Arizona. He joins his beloved wife Frances Marie Kush, who preceded him in death (November 2010).

Frank is best known for his outstanding achievements in football, both as an All-American player at Michigan State University and as the head coach of Arizona State University. His work and dedication to ASU laid the foundation for both the University and Football programs to become what they are today. His family and friends will best remember him for his devotion as a family man and loyal friend.
Frank was born January 20, 1929 in Windber, Pennsylvania to Alexander and Mary (nee Melenda) Kush. He was one of fifteen children. Frank attended Windber High School where he started his football career. After graduating from Windber High School, Frank attended Michigan State University where he earned a Bachelor's degree in Physical Education and played football as a defensive lineman. During Frank's time as a Spartan, 1950 – 1952, he was a three-year letter winner and All-American. His teams went 26-1 during those three years and were undefeated in 1951 and 1952. The 1952 team was crowned National Champions his senior year. Frank played under Biggie Munn whom he respected, admired and always credited for being an exemplary mentor.
It was at Michigan State that Frank met his future wife, Frances Marie Theroux. After graduation he and Miss Theroux were married and together they moved to Fort Benning, Georgia. While there he served in the U.S. Army as a First Lieutenant and took on his first head coaching position with the Fort Benning football team. Upon completion of his two-year commitment to the U.S. Army, Dan Devine, Head Coach at Arizona State, offered Frank an assistant coaching position and he moved his family to Tempe, Arizona. It was 1955 and he often joked that as he drove into Tempe for the first time he wondered what the heck he had gotten himself into. Frank served as an Assistant Coach until 1958 when Dan Devine left and Frank assumed the role of Head Coach. He was the Head Coach at Arizona State from 1958 – 1979. Early in his career at ASU he earned a Master's degree in Education while coaching.

Over the next 22 years, Frank led the Arizona State Sun Devils to a 176-54-1 record, which included two Border Championships and seven Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Championships. Two of his most outstanding seasons were 1970 and 1975 when both teams finished undefeated. The 1970 team beat North Carolina in the Peach Bowl, finishing 11-0 and ranking No. 6 nationally. The 1975 team beat Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl, finishing 12-0 and ranking No. 2 by both the AP an the United Press International. The 1975 season earned Frank the honor of being named Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association and the Walter Camp Foundation.
Frank left ASU in 1979 and went on to coach the Canadian Football League's Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1981 and the National Football League's Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts from 1982 – 1984. He left the Colts in 1985 in order to return to Arizona and coach the United States Football League's Arizona Outlaws. He gladly welcomed this opportunity as it allowed him to be near his children and grandchildren enabling him spend more quality time with his family. After coaching with the Outlaws, he went on to serve as Executive Administrator at the Arizona Boys Ranch for 10 years. There he continued to positively make a difference in the lives of many before returning to ASU in 2000 as an assistant to the Athletic Director.
During his career, Frank received many honors including induction into the Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame (1967), College Football Hall of Fame (1995), National Polish American Sports Hall of Fame (1998), Michigan State University Athletics Hall of Fame (2000) and the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame (2015).

Frank learned the value of discipline and hard work at a young age. These fundamental principles helped him transition from his tough beginnings in a small coal mining town to a successful coaching career at the national level. It was these roots that led him to be a champion of youths. His biggest honor was the opportunity to work with the young men he coached. Coach Kush built discipline, accountability, responsibility and character into these young men that they would then use to direct themselves towards success both on and off the gridiron. Working with the young men at Arizona Boys Ranch was of great importance to him because he knew they could succeed if they had the proper guidance in developing the skills necessary for a successful life. Frank also thoroughly enjoyed working with adolescents at the many football clinics he hosted.
In spite of a successful, busy and hectic career, Frank was a devoted family man and loyal friend, always setting aside time to spend with those that meant so much to him. Frank and his wife Fran had three sons, Daniel, David and Damian; two granddaughters, Jenna and Jordyn and two grandsons, Dane and Blake. When his boys were young he spent time helping them develop their athletic skills. His family enjoyed regular fishing trips to Roosevelt Lake and the White Mountains. They also took regular ski trips to Sunrise, Purgatory and the Snowbowl. Many of these trips often included members from his coaching staff and their families as well as many of his closest friends. As his sons grew and began their own lives, he was the first to volunteer to help with tree trimming and yard maintenance at their houses. When his granddaughters arrived he took every opportunity possible to spend time with them as he loved them very much. He frequently took them to the local parks, the Phoenix Zoo and mountain climbing at Papago Park where they nicknamed the hole in the rock as "Pete's Dragon Cave." He even went to his granddaughters' Home Economics classes in Jr. High and demonstrated how to make strawberry rhubarb pie – a treat he made quite well. Frank loved to go on fishing trips to Alaska, Wyoming and Mexico with his brothers and close friends. Often times, he included his granddaughters on these trips and made an annual outing of visiting Yellowstone National park staying at Flagg Ranch and fishing the surrounding lakes. He continued to ski with family until he was 82.

Frank welcomed his two grandsons, Dane (age 4) and Blake (age 2) just recently. His age and health prevented him from enjoying fishing and skiing activities with them but he thoroughly enjoyed regular visits from them at home and had time permitted, it is guaranteed he would have been playing ball, fishing and skiing with them as soon as he had the opportunity.

Frank loved music with classical and polka music ranking as his favorites. He loved history and was avid reader of the Civil War, WWII and Native American literature. He loved Kachina dolls and collected them for many years.

Frank is survived by his sons, Daniel J. Kush (Linda), Tempe, Arizona; David J. Kush (Joanna), Phoenix, Arizona, Damian J. Kush, Tempe Arizona; his grandchildren, Jenna Kush, Jordyn Kush, Dane Kush and Blake Kush; his brothers, Thomas Kush, Redwood City, California, Michael Kush (Pauline), Deltona, Florida, Stanley Kush, Sun City, Arizona, Joseph Kush, (Mary Lou), Scottsdale, Arizona, Stephen Kush (Joanna), Sun City Arizona; and his sister, Frances Kush, Charleston, West Virginia. He is preceded in death by his beloved wife, Frances Marie (nee Theroux) Kush; his parents, Alexander and Mary (nee Melenda) Kush; his brothers, August Kush, George Kush, Alex Kush and Anthony Kush; his sisters, Mary (nee Kush) Styduhar, Ann (nee Kush) Cartica, Sophie (nee Kush) Verostick and Evelyn (nee Kush) Troupe.
Services, being handled by Tempe Mortuary, are as follows:
Public Visitation will be Wednesday, July 5, 2017 from 5 PM to 9 PM at the All Saints Newman Catholic Center, 230 E. University Drive, Tempe, Arizona 85281.

Sun Devil Athletics and the ASU Alumni Association has plans to honor Coach Kush at Camp Tontozona and dedicate a 2017 home game to him and his legacy. Those details will be announced at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Frank Kush Football Endowment, payable to ASU Foundation, PO Box 2260, Tempe, AZ 85280,the link to make a gift online The Frank Kush Youth Foundation c/o Landings Credit Union, 2800 South Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85282.

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One of my heroes! I grew up in Tempe & sold seat cushions before ASU games for the Tempe Boys Club from late 60s to the early 70s. Chills still go up my spine when the crowd roars at the games! I miss Franks consistency (25 yrs.) and toughness. A great leader who made all of us better for knowing him. God Bless the Kush Family.

My prayers and condolences to the Kush family. Worked for his son , Mr. Dan Kush. Very awesome and down to earth gentleman. Dan, I will always remember our talks about ASU and the University of Hawaii games of the past. God bless you and I still think you should have been the MVP of that winning kick. Go Bows---

Rest in peace frank and go devils!!

David & Danny - I remember you both well at Tempe High. Your Dad was an Arizona icon who we all admired and respected. He and the teams he coached made us all proud to be from Tempe indeed, Arizona. My Dad and I (who was on Faculty at ASU as Dr. of Music for 37 years and who passed in December of 2015) reveled in so many of your Dad's biggest coaching moments... including that field goal you kicked against Nebraska Danny. Thanks for the memories. May your Dad Rest in Peace and God...

I remember the 1970 season when Coach Kush brought home so many victories. As an older student, I was very busy with my studies, but I managed the time to attend several home games. Thanks, Coach Kush for all the excitement. Your coaching achievements are legendary. Rest in peace, and may your memory be a blessing.

I have great memories of my time at ASU from '74-79. I got to work in the Football Department during what I think were the best years of ASU football ever ! Coach and his wife were great to me and I enjoyed visiting with them many times. He was an amazing person and larger than life......its so sad what happens with age and the end of life. We will always think of him and those days in the 70s ...when he was the king of football. Rest in peace Coach...God Bless the family.

We will miss you, Uncle Frank. You have left such a remarkable legacy and will be remembered always as doing such amazing work with ASU. You were a great uncle and will be missed

Joanna and Dave,
Our most sincere sympathy to you and your family. Even though we didn't know Frank we understand how a loss of a family member can be one of, if not the, most difficult times in a ones life.

Fork Em!!!

Besides being the greatest sports icon in Arizona sports history, Frank taught me a great life's lesson by example. It was probly twenty plus years ago. I played in a golf tournament with him, his brothers Steve and I think Tom
at the Wigwam Resort Course. We won the tournament thanks to Frank sinking a 60 foot two tiered putt on one of the last few holes.
We all received gift certificates for the win. We all went into the clubhouse and we're picking out various merchandise for...