When Frank Kush died Thursday at age 88, his obituaries featured his role in transforming Arizona State into a national football power and a university during his two decades there.’
He then had his Woody Hayes moment and punched punter Jeff Rutledge on the sidelines and was fired a year later in 1979. His players carried him off the field after his last game.
The way his career ended was obscured over the years by the memories of how he built Arizona State with his hard-nosed style of coaching.
Also overlooked was the fact that Kush leaving Arizona State wound up starting a series of events that helped lead to John Elway spending his career in Denver and ending up as the team’s general manager.
Kush was coaching the Baltimore Colts in 1983 when they had the first pick in the draft, and Elway was the obvious choice. But he let it be known he didn’t want to play in Baltimore.