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Former Northwestern coach Ara Parseghian passes away at age 94

The legendary Notre Dame coach also spent eight seasons at NU.

Former Northwestern and Notre Dame football coach Ara Parseghian passed away Wednesday morning. He was 94.

Parseghian is best known for his success at Notre Dame, where he returned the Fighting Irish to glory by winning National Championships in 1966 and 1973.

Prior to his achievements in South Bend, though, Parseghian was head coach at Northwestern for eight seasons from 1956 to 1963. He compiled a 36-35-1 record in Evanston, which was no small feat for any Northwestern coach in the second half of the 20th century.

His most impressive season as head of the Wildcats was his penultimate in 1962, when Parseghian led Northwestern to a No. 1 national ranking for two weeks, and ultimately a 7-2 record.

Parseghian grew up in Akron, Ohio. After serving in the Navy during World War II, he attended and played football at Miami University (Ohio), then briefly for the Cleveland Browns. After injuries ended his professional playing career, Parseghian coached at his alma mater until taking the Northwestern job.

At Notre Dame, Parseghian went 95-17-4, including the two championships. In 1980, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

After his coaching career was over, Parseghian spent time as a broadcaster for ABC and CBS. He also dedicated himself to fighting multiple sclerosis, which had a major effect on the life of his daughter, Karan, and Niemann-Pick type C disease, which was the cause of death for three of his grandchildren.

He died at his home in Granger, Indiana, at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Jim Phillips’ statement:

“The entire Northwestern community is saddened by the passing of Coach Ara Parseghian. I was privileged to get to know Coach Parseghian well during my time at Notre Dame, the impact he had on young men during his 25 years coaching at Miami, Northwestern and Notre Dame can not be overstated. Our love and thoughts are with his wife, Katie, and their family during this trying time."