Ara Parseghian: 5 things to know about Miami/Notre Dame football coach

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Ara Parseghian: 5 things to know about Miami/Notre Dame football coach

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Ara Parseghian reacts at the unveiling of his statue during a ceremony for the Cradle of Coaches before Miami University’s football game against Army on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011 at Yager Stadium in Oxford. The RedHawks defeated Army 35-28. Staff photo by Samantha Grier.

Legendary college football coach Ara Parseghian passed away early Wednesday morning at the age of 94.

Here are five things to know about the College Football Hall of Famer:

1. Parseghian played and coached at Miami University after serving in the Navy during World War II.

The Akron native initially enrolled at the University of Akron before joining the war effort. Parseghian’s military experience would change his life in more ways than one.

After playing for the legendary Paul Brown at Great Lakes Naval Academy in 1944, he ended up in Oxford (where Brown had also coached) when his service was up. There he played for another of the most innovative coaches in the history of football: Sid Gillman.

2. The Steelers and the Browns both drafted Parseghian.

He chose to play in Cleveland, where Brown was building a dynasty by Lake Erie, but a hip injury cut short his playing career after one season.

3. Woody Hayes recruited Parseghian back to Miami, where he ended up becoming part of the Cradle of Coaches.

When Hayes left for Ohio State after the 1950 season, Parseghian was elevated to head coach of the Redskins. He led them to a 39-6-1 record, winning two MAC titles.

4. Parseghian restored the glory at Notre Dame in the 1960s.

After a successful eight-year run at Northwestern, Parseghian took over a Fighting Irish team five years removed from its last winning season.

His first team in South Bend went 9-1 in 1964, finishing third in the Associated Press poll and being named national champions by the National Football Foundation.

Parseghian’s Irish were consensus national champions in 1966 and won the AP crown in ’73.

5. With the help of his family, he began the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation in 1994.

The foundation raises funds for the fight against Neimann-Pick Type C Disease, a genetic pediatric neurodegenerative disorder that took the lives of three of his grandchildren.

Partnered with Notre Dame since 2010, the foundation has raised more than $45 million.

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