Mike Deneen is Inside NU’s historian. This is his story on the life and success of Ara Parseghian, focusing on the legendary coach’s role in Northwestern history.
Last week, the football world lost legendary former Northwestern and Notre Dame head coach Ara Parseghian. There was a great outpouring of appreciation and grief on social media and across the web, which may have surprised many college football fans unfamiliar with Parseghian’s legacy. Like former Oakland Raiders coach John Madden, he was a prodigy that achieved great success and retired at a young age. Unlike Madden, Parseghian did not have a 30-year broadcasting career or a video game franchise to keep his name and face in the public eye.
When people think of the greatest names in college football coaching history, they tend to think of long-time coaches like Bear Bryant or Woody Hayes.

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