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200 former football players return to ASU to honor Frank Kush

October 20, 2011

He led the Arizona State football program for more than two decades and during that time the institution became a university and moved from the Western Athletic Conference to the Pacific-10 Conference.

Now, the Arizona State University Alumni Association and the Sun Devil Club will honor former ASU head football coach Frank Kush (’61 M.S.) and the 1958-1979 teams at the Legends Luncheon at a special event from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Oct. 28, at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel.

Kush has left a legacy on football with 128 ASU football student-athletes drafted by teams in the National, American and World Football Leagues. Kush-coached players have 17 combined NFL Pro Bowl appearances and include 10 first-round NFL and AFL draft selections and 22 inductees into the ASU Sports Hall of Fame.

The event will feature video highlights and stories from former players about Coach Kush, who led the Sun Devils to nine conference titles and went 6-1 in bowl games. Coach Kush had two undefeated teams and was named the 1975 National Coach of the Year. He also was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1995, and the Sun Devil Stadium football field was named after him in 1996.

In advance of the Legends Luncheon, the ASU Alumni Association conducted a brief Q&A session with Coach Kush.

What are you most excited about related to this year's Legends Luncheon?

I'm really looking forward to seeing so many former football players! This event is a great way to bring the players back to the university.

Tell us about your current position with the Sun Devil Club.

I really enjoy it because I get to maintain my relationships with hundreds of former student-athletes, alums, media, and anyone affiliated with ASU.

What's your favorite ASU memory?

Probably the greatest memories I have are the associations I have with the players. At the collegiate level, in contrast to pro ball, you’re an extension of their family. In other words, you take over for their mother or father or brother, whoever was supervising them. I loved seeing players develop socially, academically and athletically – as long as that player was getting the maximum out of what he had, physically and mentally, that to me was a successful individual.

What current development at ASU do you find most exciting?

The university’s interest in the student body, that to me is a key factor – making the students feel wanted and needed by the institution. When I arrived here in 1955, the student body was only a few thousand students – it’s astronomical now! But students continue to receive individualized attention from faculty and administrators and the community.

I also think it's great how full the student section is at home games. That's what a football team needs – to have their peers cheering them on to victory!

What advice would you give to today’s students?

Get involved with your roommates, classmates, etc. The associations you form here reach beyond graduation into the business world. When I look on my wall at the photos here in my office, I can see the pictures of former players I still associate with, my college roommate, and many others. It’s almost like a brother-to-brother relationship.

For stories about Coach Kush from two of his former players, click here to listen to a podcast with Ron Erhardt (’59 B.S.) and Dan Kush (’78 B.S.E.), who is also the son of Frank Kush.

More than 200 former Sun Devil football players will return to honor Coach Kush including Bob Breunig, Curley Culp, Ron Erhardt, (Ret.) Lt. Gen. John Goodman, Mike Haynes, J. D. Hill, Stephen Holden, Darrell Hoover, Bob Kohrs, John Jefferson, Dan Kush, Steve Matlock, Richard Mann, Robert Minitti, Bobby Mulgado, Paul Powell, Ron Prichard, Joe Spagnola, Danny White and Kevin Woudenberg.