In old age, Ara Parseghian was perhaps more revered than during his coaching days.
Parseghian was Notre Dame football coach during one of its most storied eras, 1964 to 1974. Think John Huarte, Joe Theismann, the “Game of the Century” against Michigan State. He led the Fighting Irish to two national championships. He welcomed a walk-on named Rudy Ruettiger – “Rudy.”
But then Parseghian retired, living quietly a few miles from the campus and wintering in Florida, and his legend grew.
Parseghian stepped into the spotlight only rarely, often on behalf of the foundation he started to search for a cure for Niemann-Pick Type C disease, a rare genetic disorder that caused three granddaughters to die very young. He also supported research on multiple sclerosis, which took the life of one of his daughters.
Ever gracious to his successors and to the media, ever remembered by fans, Parseghian died at 94 Wednesday at home in Granger, Indiana.