Legendary Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian dies at age of 94

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Ara Parseghian, who took over a foundering Notre Dame football program and restored it to glory with two national championships in 11 seasons, has died. He was 94.

University of Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins announced in a statement that Parseghian died at home at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Parseghian had recently returned to his home in Granger, Indiana, after spending more than a week in a nursing care facility in South Bend, Indiana. He was treated for an infection in his surgically repaired hip, and was still receiving round-the-clock care at home.

“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,” Jenkins said. “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.”

Parseghian and the Irish won titles in 1966 and 1973, but he abruptly retired after the 1974 season at age 51 with a record of 95-17-4. He said he was worn out and ready for a change.

 

Parseghian, Knute Rockne and Frank Leahy are the only Irish coaches to lead the storied program to more than one national championship. His .836 winning percentage puts him third on Notre Dame’s coaching list behind fellow College Football Hall of Famers Rockne (.881) and Leahy (.855). Only Rockne (105, 1918-30) and Lou Holtz (100, 1986-96) won more total games at Notre Dame.

Parseghian’s Irish also finished No. 2 in 1970, No. 3 in 1964, were ranked in the top 10 in nine times and never finished ranked lower than No. 14. The Irish never lost back-to-back regular-season games under Parseghian.

Parseghian started his coaching career at Miami University, his alma mater, and then spent eight seasons leading Northwestern. He came to Notre Dame in 1964, with the Irish having gone five seasons without a winning record. Parseghian didn’t just revive Notre Dame football. He made Fighting Irish fans believe in the program again. He later became a powerful advocate and fundraiser in the fight against rare diseases.

Parseghian led Notre Dame to national championships in two different decades, restoring the luster to what had been college football’s most glamorous franchise in one of its most important eras. He began his tenure in South Bend with an impromptu pep rally that drew 2,000 students to the steps of a residence hall and eventually persuaded Notre Dame to end its longstanding policy against playing in bowl games.

Parseghian was so beloved by students that when the weather turned bad, chants of “Ara, stop the rain!” or “Ara, stop the snow” cascaded down from the grandstands.

“As a student, I enjoyed the thrill of being on campus for Ara’s last three years as head coach, including the 1973 championship, and saw firsthand the profound impact that he had on my classmates who played for him,” Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in a statement. “When I returned many years later as athletics director, Ara was unfailingly generous with his time, and his counsel proved to be invaluable.”

When Parseghian stepped down, he had established himself as part of the school’s “Holy Trinity” of coaches with Rockne and Leahy. He went into television work and spent more than a decade calling games on ABC and CBS.

Parseghian was awarded an honorary degree by Notre Dame for his efforts to fight multiple sclerosis, which afflicted his daughter, Karan, and Niemann-Pick type C disease, which claimed the life of three grandchildren. The Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation raised more than $40 million for research on Niemann-Pick type C disease.

“As you move through life, it’s not going to be a bright sunshiny day every day. You’re going to have disappointments. But how you handle those disappointments is the important thing for you and everybody that’s around you. That’s what I found from being not only a player, but also a coach,” Parseghian said in 2012, when he was honored by the National College Football Awards Association with the Contribution to College Football Award for his work off the field.

He shocked the college football world when he left coaching, and although his name frequently came up for NFL and college jobs, he never returned to the sideline.

When Parseghian took over as coach in 1964, there was talk about Notre Dame’s best days being behind it. He brushed away concerns that the academic standards were too tough and the Irish couldn’t compete with the likes of warm-weather powers Southern California, Alabama and Texas.

The Irish were coming off a 2-7 finish in 1963 under Joe Kuharich when Notre Dame made a change. Parseghian was the first Notre Dame coach in 46 years without ties to the school. After his first game, a 31-7 victory over Wisconsin, Parseghian had the Irish ranked in the top 10 for the first time in three years. By early November, the Irish were still undefeated and ranked No. 1 for the first time in a decade. He brought the Irish within 93 seconds of a national championship in his first season before losing in the finale to USC.

He’ll be most remembered for Notre Dame’s 10-10 tie against second-ranked Michigan State in 1966 — the so-called Game of the Century — and a 24-23 victory over top-ranked Alabama in the 1973 Sugar Bowl. Both led to national championships and are still talked about decades later.

“I don’t think I was a miracle man,” Parseghian said in 2001. “Neither were Lou Holtz or Frank Leahy. We all found ways to win.”

Critics said Parseghian couldn’t win the big games, pointing to the loss to USC in 1964, that famous tie against the Spartans and Notre Dame’s 0-4-2 record against USC from 1967-72. But he finished with a 95-17-4 record.

Among the star players he coached were tight end Dave Casper, defensive ends Alan Page and Ross Browner, linebacker Jim Lynch, offensive guard Gerry DiNardo and quarterbacks Terry Hanratty and Joe Theismann.

“I’ve always been in awe of the man,” Theismann said in 2004. “I’ve always felt uncomfortable in his presence. I’ve always looked at him in a regal way.”

Parseghian, who was born in Akron, Ohio, and served in the Navy, went 36-35-1 at Northwestern and 39-6-1 in five seasons at Miami of Ohio. At Miami, Parseghian played under Sid Gillman, renowned for his innovations in the game. With the Cleveland Browns in 1948-49, he played for Paul Brown until an injury ended his playing career. His first coaching job was as an assistant to Woody Hayes at Miami.

In 2007, Notre Dame unveiled a statue of Parseghian pumping his right fist as he sits atop the shoulders of three players after the win over Texas in the Cotton Bowl. The former coach said he didn’t like the idea of a statue until he saw it.

“He had a mythic persona on campus,” Jenkins said at the unveiling.

Parseghian spent his winters in Florida and the rest of the year in the South Bend area, watching the Irish closely. Coach Brian Kelly said he used to get a weekly notecard during the season from Parseghian with observations.

“He’ll write a note like he doesn’t want to assume anything, you know what I mean? Like he’s never given any advice, just talking as a Notre Dame fan and alum. Great to just get that communication with him,” Kelly said before the USC game in 2012.

Parseghian often tailgated before games outside Notre Dame Stadium, and then went home to watch the game on TV. He was worried that people at the stadium might misinterpret his reactions. And he could watch the game without being interrupted.

Parseghian is survived by his wife of 68 years, Katie; son Michael and daughter Kriss.

ad-high_impact_4
News
Hundreds Attend Slides, Rides and Rock and Roll in North Las Vegas
Hundreds attended the inaugural slides, rides and rock and roll event in North Las Vegas Saturday. The event featured a car show, water slide park and live music. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
It's All Rainbows At The Center's New Cafe
The Gay and Lesbian Center of Southern Nevada (The Center) introduced its new coffeeshop, Little Rainbow Cafe, in June. Rainbows are everywhere, even in the lattes and toast, and employees wear t-shirts with the quote "Be a rainbow in someone's cloud." Owner Ben Sabouri said the concept is "built around the idea of, you know, be kind and treat everybody the same." (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Get a Rainbow Latte at the The Center's Little Rainbow Cafe
The Center, a community center for the LGBTQ community of Southern Nevada, has a new cafe. Little Rainbow Cafe serves up a pride-inspired signature "Rainbow Latte." (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pedestrian killed trying to cross Sahara
A pedestrian was killed Friday trying to cross Sahara Avenue near Maryland Parkway about 5 a.m. A sedan struck the pedestrian while the person was outside the crosswalk between Maryland Parkway and Pardee Place, according to Las Vegas police. Police also said the driver of the sedan remained at the site of the crash. The pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene. This is the 75th fatal crash that Las Vegas police have investigated in 2018.
Man shot multiple times
Las Vegas police are investigating after a man was shot multiple times early Friday morning. The shooting was called in about 3:20 a.m. at the Harbor Island Apartments, 370 E. Harmon Ave., near Koval Lane. The man was hospitalized and is expected to survive, but police are still searching for the shooter.
Former Military Police Corps Officer Celebrates 100th Birthday
Summerlin resident Gene Stephens, who served as a military policeman in WWII and escorted then-Gen. Dwight Eisenhower and President Roosevelt during the war, turned 100 on July 13, 2018. He credits his longevity to living a normal life, exercising regularly and eating three square meals a day. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Motorcyclist suffers serious injuries
A motorcycle rider was seriously injured Tuesday night after a crash on Charleston Boulevard. The crash was reported just before 10 p.m. near Durango Drive, according to Las Vegas police. The motorcyclist was hospitalized with unknown injuries but is expected to survive. Las Vegas police are investigating the cause of the accident.
CCSD Superintendent Jesus Jara Has Lunch With Students
New Clark County School District superintendent Jesus Jara continued his listening tour by having lunch with students at Red Rock Elementary School as part of the district's summer lunch program. In conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, children under the age of 18 can find a free lunch at 104 different locations across the valley through the summer months. Jara highlighted the free program and the importance of eating healthy during his visit. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Timeline Leading Up to Scott Dozier's Execution
Scott Dozier is set to be executed by lethal injection the night of July 11 at Ely State Prison. Dozier was convicted of the April 2002 killing of 22-year-old Jeremiah Miller and was given the death penalty in Oct. 2007. In 2016 Dozier asked in a letter to District Judge Jennifer Togliatti requesting that he “be put to death.” A three-drug cocktail of midazolam, a sedative; the painkiller fentanyl; and cisatracurium, a paralytic, is expected to end his life. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Program Helps Mothers Battling Addiction
Jennifer Stanert has battled drug addiction on and off for the last 21 years. It caused her to lose custody of one of her children, Alec, after she gave birth while high. A new program at Dignity Health St. Rose Dominican Hospitals aims to connect mothers like Stanert with community resources and provide case management services while still pregnant to get connected to lactation and parenting classes, group peer support and education on neonatal abstinence syndrome. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Felon caught with guns in Mandalay Bay room 3 years before Las Vegas shooting
A felon was caught with guns in a Mandalay Bay hotel room three years before the October 1st mass shooting. Six weapons were found inside Kye Aaron Dunbar’s 24th floor room in November 2014. Four were semi-automatic. One was a scoped rifle pointing toward the Strip, according to court documents. Dunbar was sentenced to 40 months in federal prison for unlawful possession. The case just came to light in a lawsuit accusing Mandalay Bay of negligence in connection with the Oct. 1st shooting.
Illegal fireworks in the Las Vegas area garner complaints
Clark County received nearly 25,000 complaints over the Independence Day holiday on a new illegal fireworks site. Reports from the site led to at least 10 illegal fireworks busts across the valley overnight. As of Thursday morning, the county is still compiling the total number of citations issued.
House fire displaces 2 people
Two people were displaced after a house fire early Thursday morning. The fire, at 963 Temple Drive in east Las Vegas, was reported just after midnight, according to a battalion chief from the Clark County Fire Department. Crews from the North Las Vegas and Las Vegas fire departments also were called in to help. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
"Red White and Boom" July 4 Fireworks at the Stratosphere
Full video of the Fourth of July "Red White and Boom" fireworks show at the Stratosphere as seen from the 8th floor Elation Pool. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
July 4th fireworks at the Eureka Casino Resort in Mesquite
July 4th fireworks at the Eureka Casino Resort in Mesquite. (7-04-18) (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Crowds Enjoy Fireworks at the Stratosphere
Revelers enjoyed watching fireworks displays from the Stratosphere's 8th floor Elation pool on July 4. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pedestrian killed in Henderson
A pedestrian trying to cross St. Rose Parkway at Bermuda was hit by a vehicle on Tuesday night and later died. The crash was reported around 11:30 p.m. Las Vegas police responded initially, but handed over the investigation to Henderson police once it was determined the accident happened in their jurisdiction. Las Vegas police did respond to a report of a pedestrian being hit by a vehicle on the Strip. The person, who was hit by a BMW near Fashion Show mall, suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries.
USPS owes $3.5 million for using Vegas Statue of Liberty on stamp
The United States Postal Service has been ordered to pay $3.5 million to a sculptor after using the Las Vegas replica of the Statue of Liberty in a stamp. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Officer Brent Horlacher shoots at Jessie Murillo
Las Vegas police video of an officer-involved shooting on June 29, 2018. Officer Brent Horlacher, 28, fired a single shot at suspect Jessie Murillo. Murillo was not injured. The radio audio is of the officer who fired the gun and the body camera video is from a different officer. Radio audio excerpts are added to the video and are not the precise times the audio was spoken.
Pawn Stars' Richard Harrison honored at memorial service
A memorial service was conducted for Richard "Old Man" Harrison at Palm Mortuary in Las Vegas on Sunday, July 1, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
UNLV professor cautions dangers of distracted walking
An alarming number of adults do not cross the street safely according to a study conducted by professor Tim Bungum of the School of Community Health Sciences at the UNLV. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas-Review Journal) @brokejournalist
Car left in remote desert 21 years is recovered for late owner's children
Showboat casino blackjack dealer Mark Blackburn died outside of White Hills, Ariz. 21 years ago. His 1980 Datsun B310 wagon remained in the remote desert until a network of volunteers recovered the car for his children. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Resort on Mount Charleston Sold for $4.8 million
North Carolina couple and hoteliers Deanna and Colin Crossman have purchased the Resort on Mount Charleston for $4.8 million. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Traffic stop turns into officer-involved shooting
Las Vegas police are investigating after an officer fired a shot at a suspect fleeing a traffic stop early Friday morning. The officer tried to pull over a black Dodge Durango with license plates that belonged to a different vehicle. The driver took off northbound on Lamb Boulevard and at one point crossed into the southbound lanes. A man got out of the car and fled on foot. During the chase, the officer saw something in the man’s hand and fired a single shot, police said. The man wasn’t injured and was later taken into custody. Police could not confirm if the man had a weapon when he was arrested. This is the 9th officer involved shooting of 2018. Per police policy, the identity of the officer will be released after 48 hours. 01:05
5 Dead in Shooting at Capital Gazette Newspaper in Maryland
5 Dead in Shooting at Capital Gazette Newspaper in Maryland Five people have been killed and two have been injured in a "targeted attack" at the newspaper, which is owned by the Baltimore Sun. Anne Arundel County deputy police chief Bill Krampf said the suspected gunman entered the building with a shotgun and walked through the lower level of the building, where the newspaper is housed. According to Krampf, the suspect "possibly" had a connection to the paper through social media. The suspect was identified as Jarrod Warren Ramos. Ramos filed a defamation claim in 2012 against the paper but the case was dismissed. He is currently in custody. President Trump was briefed on the events.
Clark County Fire inspects fireworks booths
Clark County Fire Prevention Inspector Amanda Wildermuth talks about inspecting fireworks booths to keep everyone safe on Fourth of July. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Robbery suspects apprehended
Four robbery suspects were taken into custody Thursday morning after a vehicle and foot chase that ended in an east Las Vegas neighborhood. The incident began when a person was robbed at gunpoint around 4:45 a.m. near Maryland Parkway and Desert Inn. Officers arriving at the scene tried to stop two vehicles. One vehicle escaped but police chased the second into a neighborhood on Flamingo Road near Mountain Vista Street. Police surrounded the neighborhood and the suspects were apprehended. It looked like one police vehicle was involved in a collision with the suspects' car. One woman suffered an unknown injury and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. 01:04
Las Vegas Monsoon and Flood Season Are Approaching
The Clark County Flood Control District held a press conference to remind the public that monsoon season begins in July and runs through September. The exceptionally rainy season brings with it dangerous flooding events that can put the public in danger. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Garage catches fire in central valley
No one was injured after a detached garage caught fire early Wednesday morning on Lawry Avenue near Lake Mead Boulevard and MLK. Crews from the Las Vegas Fire Department responded to a fire call just after 2 a.m. When they arrived, firefighters had to cut holes in the roof to clear out smoke inside the garage so firefighters could enter safely, The cause of the fire is still under investigation. No injuries were reported.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like