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Ara Parseghiah, Legendary Notre Dame Coach, Dead at 94

Tragically, the college football world lost an icon today. Former Notre Dame football coach Ara Parseghian died at the age of 94.

Everyone has an opinion of Notre Dame. But there is no way to deny it: The Fighting Irish are an institution in college football. And they were navigated through troubled times by Parseghian.

Prior to joining the team in 1964, the school had five losing seasons in a row. The team, under his leadership, had a dramatic winning turnaround.

What a sad loss:

During the decade that followed, the “Era of Ara” would secure a privileged place in the storied history of Notre Dame football. Parseghian led the Irish to national championships in 1966 and 1973, joining Frank Leahy (four) and Knute Rockne (three) as the only coaches in school history to win multiple titles. Notre Dame’s epic 24-23 victory over Paul “Bear” Bryant’s top-ranked Alabama team — the so-called “Game of the Century” — in the 1973 Sugar Bowl capped a perfect 11-0 season and is considered the high point of Parseghian’s career.

“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.”

During his 11 years, Notre Dame went 95-17-4. Only Rockne (105 in 13 years) and Holtz (100 in 11 years) won more games for the Irish. All of Parseghian’s teams finished in the top 15 in the Associated Press poll. He announced his resignation toward the end of the 1974 season, before the Orange Bowl, saying he would leave coaching for at least one year because of physical and emotional exhaustion. He was 51. He never coached again.

Parseghian concluded his coaching career with an overall record of 170-58-6 and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1980. He served as an analyst on college football broadcasts for both ABC and CBS from 1975 to 1988.

Let us pray for Ara Parseghiah’s family during this difficult time. Rest in peace.