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Frank Kush, the preacher in the desert

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Published on May 06, 2020

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New York, April 26, 1983, the First day of the NFL draft.

The first overall pick of the Baltimore Colts chose John Elway, from Stanford University, but the QB, under the advice of his father, does not want to play for the franchise in Maryland because of the head coach of the team, a certain Frank Kush, known in the world of football for the hardness of his training. John Elway will win the arm wrestle with the management and end to the Broncos, where you take a lot of satisfaction. But who is Frank Kush?

Frank Joseph Kush was born 20 January 1929 in the mining town of Windber, Pennsylvania. At just 14 years old loses his father and must provide for the mother and her 14 brothers working in a garage before and after school, playing in the few free moments football with the team of his high school, where, despite a physique that is anything but statuesque is the pivot of a defensive team. Kush then plays at Michigan State between 1950 and 1952 as a defensive lineman, and although weights are not even 80 kilos, is a finalist among the All-American, winning the national title last year in Michigan.

Finished his career at college he enlisted in the army, reaching the rank of lieutenant at Fort Benning, Georgia, where, in the meantime he trains the football team of the base. Leave the military career in 1955, at age 26, to become an assistant to Dan Devine at Arizona State. When, 3 years later, Dan leaves Arizona, Frank Kush was appointed head coach of the Sun Devils, a role he kept until 1979. In his 21 seasons in the desert collezionerà 176 wins in 231 games, plus a 6 bowl, and 9 titles of the conference. In 1955 he had found a small college, 24 years after the you will leave as one of the best university programs of the time.

Of his years in Tempe today remains the legend of its fearsome workouts in the nearby sonoran Desert, where the sun (ab)pounded the players, and the thermometer was steadily more than 35°. To Kush you must also the inventions of the workouts, to say the least as tough as the Bull in the Ring", a “fight” - style sumo with the players that he often went out with emotions the brain, and a year even more special, which included a running play, the play by the center, the QB and two running backs against the entire defense lined up. During the training camp another exercise frightful was the ascent of Mount Kush was a steep hill full of big rocks and cactus that had to be traveled, running from those who, according to Kush, was in need of discipline.

But it is not gold all that glitters, and in September of 1979 Kevin Rutledge, a former punter of the Sun Devils, and accuses Frank Kush and his staff caused him physical damages and mental. In particular, the head coach is accused of having roughed up after he missed a punt against the Washington Huskies. October 13 is dismissed, but must also train in the next match against for a joke of fate, the same Huskies. The game will end with the comeback of her boys and that, at the end of the game, bring him in the shoulder in the locker room.

Knowing that his career within the college football is now over, Frank Kush arrives in Canada where, in 1981, trains the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Despite a record of 11 wins, 4 losses and 1 draw, is fired at the end of the season, because, obviously, some of the arguments with the players. Then arrives in the NFL, to the then Baltimore Colts, where, in the season 1982 disrupted by the lockout, collect 0 wins in 10 games, and causing the non-arrival of John Elway in Maryland. On December 13, 1984, two and a half years after his arrival, he leaves the franchise, which in the meantime had moved to Indianapolis. To stay closer to his family will accept, then a contract of 3 years in the Arizona Outlaws of the LEAGUE.

Frank Kush is gone on the 22nd of June 2017, at the age of 88 years, but for Arizona State, despite the scandals, if you still remember, and have dedicated the field on which to play the Sun Devils, in addition to a bronze statue outside the stadium.

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