Former Colts coach Frank Kush dies at 88

AP

Former Colts and longtime Arizona State head coach Frank Kush has died at the age of 88.

Kush coached the Colts from 1982-84, which made him a first-hand witness to both the team’s move from Baltimore to Indianapolis before the 1984 season and then-owner Robert Irsay’s decision to draft John Elway in 1983 despite Elway’s desire to avoid the Colts. Elway was ultimately traded to the Broncos.

“That was old man Irsay’s decision,” Kush said in 2008, via the Arizona Republic. “I’m sure he [Elway] didn’t want to play for the Colts. If that included Frank Kush, that’s his opinion.”

Kush went 11-28-1 before resigning with a game left in the 1984 season. He coached one season in the USFL before that league folded and spent a year in the CFL between his Colts and Arizona State gigs. Kush spent 21 seasons at ASU and went 176-54-1, but his tenure came to a bad end after a player accused Kush of punching him during a 1978 game.

Kush returned to the school in 2000 as a special assistant to the athletic director. The field at Sun Devil Stadium is named after him and a statue of Kush sits outside a stadium entrance.

11 responses to “Former Colts coach Frank Kush dies at 88

  1. Inadvertently shaped the NFL for 2 decades.

    Elway wouldn’t play for the Kush and the Colts.

    Ernie Acorsi intended to trade him and draft Dan Marino.

    I’m not sure any franchise suffered a worse turn of events.

  2. cmoney20 says:
    Jun 22, 2017 3:03 PM
    Ex player here. Frank Kush was a great player, but an even better man. RIP Frankie boy
    ===

    I am not sure if you are trying to say you played with him (you call him a great “player”) or for him, but either way, lots of people would disagree with you.

    Frank Kush was a dinosaur before he was even old, a bad reminder of a dark era where coaches treated their players like cattle. Maybe he could sweet talk a recruit to come to ASU, but few left with a good taste in their mouths. He was a trainwreck in the pros, and mediocre in college.

    Let’s not sugarcoat things just because he passed. RIP, but keep it real.

  3. Yeah, Elway lovers, what do you worship most about Elway?

    Is it his 2-3 Super Bowl losing record or is it his dismal 53.3 Quarterback Rating he produced in his 5 Super Bowl appearances?

  4. Yeah, Elway lovers, what do you worship most about Elway?
    ====

    He wasn’t the best statistically. I’ve seen more efficient QBs. I’ve seen plenty of QBs function better in their system… But I’ve never seen a QB carry a team the way Elway did from 1984-1989. His teams won games they had no buisness winning.

    And you can talk all you want about the 3 Super Bowl losses; name another AFC QB that would have had a chance against those Giant, Redskin teams?!.. and the 1989 49ers have a case as the best team of all-time.

  5. lukedunphysscienceproject says:
    Jun 22, 2017 4:48 PM
    cmoney20 says:
    Jun 22, 2017 3:03 PM
    Ex player here. Frank Kush was a great player, but an even better man. RIP Frankie boy
    ===

    I am not sure if you are trying to say you played with him (you call him a great “player”) or for him, but either way, lots of people would disagree with you.

    Frank Kush was a dinosaur before he was even old, a bad reminder of a dark era where coaches treated their players like cattle. Maybe he could sweet talk a recruit to come to ASU, but few left with a good taste in their mouths. He was a trainwreck in the pros, and mediocre in college.

    Let’s not sugarcoat things just because he passed. RIP, but keep it real.

    ===

    Kush played at Michigan State. You said he was mediocre in college??!! Did you bother to read the article? He was 176-54-1 at ASU and made it a national powerhouse, going undefeated in 1975. They defeated Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl but got voted second in the polls to a 10-1 Oklahoma.

    That vote was BIASED because ASU (and UA) were in the WAC. That’s why both schools joined the Pac-8 conference and made it Pac-10 in 1978. That left the WAC with just one powerhouse, BYU, and just 5 years later, BYU went undefeated 13-0 and played a weaker Michigan in the Holiday Bowl and got voted number 1 by the polls.

    ASU deserved the national championship title in 1975, period.

  6. The thing I remember most about Kush was his offensive philosophy in his last year as Colts coach:

    Run Randy McMillan left.
    Run Randy McMillan right.
    Run Randy McMillan on 3rd and 20.

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