Parseghian was 95-17-4 in his time at Notre Dame, winning national titles in 1966 and 1973. He never lost more than 2 games in a season, and all 11 of his Irish teams finished in the top 14 of the AP Poll, with nine of those in the top 9, seven in the top 5, and four in the top 3 (shout out to NDNation for all the awesome stats). Ara’s teams were ranked #1 at some point in the season in 8 of his 11 seasons!
His overall coaching record, which included stints at Miami of Ohio and Northwestern before he was hired at ND prior to the 1964 season, was a ridiculously good 170-58-6.
He was forced to leave coaching for health reasons after the 1974 season (you know, when he had been planning on putting Rudy into a game!), but stayed involved in the sport, as he worked as a broadcaster for CBS and ABC.
Ara was also a very good player back in his day, having started at halfback for Miami of Ohio and being named an All-Ohio halfback and a Little All American by sportswriters in 1947. He was drafted by the Cleveland Browns of the All-America Football Conference and played a brief season there, rushing 44 times for 166 yards and two touchdowns before an injury ended his playing career.
In his later years, he also established the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation in 1994 to help search for a cure to Niemann-Pick disease Type C, which he lost three grandchildren to over the years. Furthermore, he was very active in pursuing a cure for multiple sclerosis, as his daughter was diagnosed with that disease.
Parseghian has the third-most wins of any coach in Notre Dame football history, behind only Knute Rockne and Lou Holtz. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1980, and has also been inducted into the Miami University Athletic Hall of Fame, the Indiana Football Hall of Fame, and the Cotton Bowl Classic Hall of Fame. He also holds honorary degrees from Miami and Notre Dame, and served as a member of the Miami University Board of Trustees from 1978 to 1987.
Ara Parseghian was an absolute legend of a man and football coach, and he lived a long, extremely successful life.
What’s your favorite Ara memory? Post it in the comments below - this guy deserves the best One Foot Down send-off we can muster.