Ara Parseghian

Ara Parseghian

American football player and soccer coach
Date of Birth: 21.05.1923
Country: USA

  1. Ara Parseghian
  2. Early Life
  3. Playing Career
  4. Coaching Career
  5. Notre Dame
  6. Later Years

Ara Parseghian

Ara Raoul Parseghian, an American football player and coach, is best known for his work with the University of Notre Dame football team. He transformed the program from a small project into a nationally recognized team.

Ara Parseghian

Early Life

Parseghian was born in Akron, Ohio, to an Armenian father and a French mother. His father fled to the United States from Turkey during the Armenian Genocide. Parseghian grew up active and participated in sports from a young age. In eighth grade, he even joined the school patrol to help protect the school from vandals. Although his mother was overprotective, Parseghian became a tough child and excelled in sports.

Ara Parseghian

Playing Career

After graduating from high school in 1942, Parseghian enrolled in college but later decided to join the Navy. During his military training, he continued to play sports under the guidance of renowned coach Paul Brown. Parseghian learned a lot from Brown, which later helped him in his coaching career. After serving in the Navy, Parseghian continued his education at the University of Miami. He played for the university's football team and gained recognition from professional teams such as the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers. He ultimately chose to sign with the Browns.

Ara Parseghian

Coaching Career

Unfortunately, a serious injury ended Parseghian's playing career. However, he didn't want to completely leave football behind and decided to become a coach. He started his coaching career at his alma mater, the University of Miami, as an assistant coach. After Woody Hayes left the head coaching position, Parseghian quickly showed excellent results. His team performed impressively in 1950 and 1951, showcasing their talent in the Mid-American Conference. In 1956, Parseghian was hired to coach the Northwestern University team in Evanston, Illinois. The team was struggling, but Parseghian managed to turn things around. Although they experienced some setbacks, the team showed improvement under his leadership.

Notre Dame

In 1964, Parseghian was hired to coach the University of Notre Dame football team. This appointment was unexpected, as he was not a graduate of the university and did not have a strong affiliation with the Catholic faith. However, he quickly proved himself by revitalizing the struggling team. In his first season, the team had an impressive record, with their only loss coming from USC. Despite this loss, they still won the MacArthur Trophy. In 1966, Parseghian led the team to their first national championship in over a decade. They continued to have successful seasons, but the championship title eluded them until 1973 when they won their second national championship under Parseghian's guidance.

Later Years

Unfortunately, the following year was a challenging one for Parseghian. Several players were accused of a crime, and the team faced injuries and personal tragedies. The pressure became too much, and Parseghian decided to step down as head coach midway through the season. He later worked as a commentator for ABC Sports and CBS Sports. Parseghian dedicated his time to charitable projects, particularly those related to medical research. He was honored as the honorary coach at a Notre Dame spring game in 2007, and the university erected a statue in his honor. Parseghian passed away in 2017, leaving behind a legacy of success and philanthropy.