Kush has high respect for Snyder
The true Fiesta Bowl festivities started Thursday night in Bramlage Coliseum with 23 members of the Tempe Diablos organization on hand to host a Margarita Party to welcome Kansas State to their community.
One of those dressed in black vests and matching hats was honorary member Frank Kush, the legendary football coach of Arizona State University in the 1960s and 1970s.
A member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the 1975 National Coach of the Year, Kush marveled at the coaching ability of Kansas State's Bill Snyder and the consistency he has demonstrated over the last 15 years.
"No. 1 recruiting, it starts with recruiting, then the ability to create big plays, whether offense or defense, and then to play without penalties. At least that's my opinion in what you have to have to have a winning team," Kush said. "From what I've seen of Kansas State, they make very few mistakes and that comes from the head coach. You can tell he is a great teacher."
Doug Weaver, coach of the Wildcats from 1960 to 1966, was Kush's college roommate at Michigan State in the mid-1950s. In addition, he served in the Army aside Ellis Rainsberger, who graduated from K-State, and coached the Wildcats from 1975 to 1977.
Because of that, Kush said he's heard the stories of how tough of a challenge it is to be successful at K-State.
"To get kids to come here is very difficult. It was then, and I'm sure it still is when you think of the competition like Oklahoma, Colorado and Nebraska," Kush said. "Those are all programs with tremendous traditions."
Laughing, Kush said, "I don't mean to hurt anyone's feelings, but Manhattan ... Manhattan (Kan.) isn't Manhattan, New York. You come here and freeze your butt off.
''For a variety of reasons it's just not conducive to recruiting,'' Kush said. ''But again, you have to credit Bill Snyder. He recruits them, he motivates them and he disciplines them. He's done a helluva job."
Kush coached under Dan Devine at ASU for three seasons prior to succeeding him at the age of 29. Twenty-two years and a 176-54-1 record later, he "was booted," which sent him on to the Hamilton Tiger Cats in the Canadian Football League for one year, then the Baltimore Colts for four seasons, and finally on to the Arizona Outlaws of the United States Football League.
With this varied background, Kush said, "No ... it's not only amazing, but it's unbelievable," when asked if he believed that K-State could ever have been a program that would reach 11 consecutive bowl games.
"It's not been a yo-yo deal," Kush emphasized. "Bill has been consistent. He has done just a remarkable job of maintaining what I would call the integrity of the program."
While saying that he believed that USC had the most talent of any program in the country, Kush said he had great appreciation for how K-State played in the Big 12 title game against Oklahoma.
"You talk about preparation, that Kansas State team was prepared, and that's what's wonderful about college athletics," said Kush, who has the field at Arizona State's Sun Devil Stadium named after him. "Those things can happen when truly prepared.
"Bill's just a helluva example of what character, determination and perseverance can do for a program," Kush said.
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