Although he was too small, Kush made it big as a defensive tackle at Michigan State; he was All-America. Kush impressed coach Dan Devine with his tenacity, so when Devine was looking for an assistant to help him at ASU in 1955, he thought of Kush. "Plus," says Devine, "I needed somebody I could get to work for $3,600 a year." For Kush, given his background, that sounded like all the money in the world. In 1958 Kush was named head coach at ASU when Devine left for Missouri.
After the Rutledge incident, it looked as if Kush might be through in football. He tried TV commentary and was terrible at it. Then he sold metal detectors and was terrible at it. In 1981 he got a chance to coach the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Canadian Football League. He was thrilled with the possibilities. Says Kush, "I was reborn, let me tell you. I would have taken that job even if I had seen Hamilton first." He went 11-4-1 and was immediately picked up by the Colts.
So isn't coaching the Outlaws a comedown from the NFL? "I never came down and I never went up," he says. "In life, you win and you have setbacks. This is another chapter and another page, and I'm enjoying it. I don't look back on accomplishments. Anything in the past is something I did and I enjoyed it. I am satisfied but not impressed. I provided for my family. That's it."
It could be, of course, that Kush's tough-guy history will be enough to keep the Outlaws toeing the line. Strong safety Bruce Laird says, "He may be a sleeping lion." Loia says, "I don't think there will be an explosion. But don't be surprised if there is." Says quarterback Doug Williams: "I don't have no hangups about a coach that gets excited. He wants perfection, he wants it to work, and so do I. I look for a coach to be upset. Whatever Coach Kush does is O.K. with me."
Lathrop thinks there definitely will be an explosion "unless I'm right and that's not really Frank Kush out there." Kush laughs—yes, he really does—and says, "When you rant, rave and get internally upset, that doesn't do any good." Yes, he actually said that. But it would be wise to keep your eye on the Richter scale, just to stay on the safe side.