Alex Agase Dies at 85

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Alex Agase, an All-America guard and former head coach at Purdue University, died Thursday at a hospital in Tarpon Springs, Fla. He was 85 years old.

Agase was a three-time All American at Purdue University and the University of Illinois, during a playing career that was interrupted by a two-year stint in the U.S. Marine Corps. Agase also played professionally for six seasons before entering the coaching ranks as an assistant to Ara Parseghian at Northwestern University.

Agase began his playing career at the University of Illinois, where he was named an All-American in 1942. He had joined the Marines and because of the V-12 training program in West Lafayette during that time, Agase transferred to Purdue for the 1943 season. Playing guard and linebacker, he helped lead the Boilermakers to a perfect 9-0 record and a Big Ten title.

Agase actually only played in seven games that season, as he and 12 other players were called to active duty with two weeks left in the season. Agase spent time in training at Paris Island, before serving in the Pacific Theatre, most notably in the Battle of Iwo Jima and the Battle of Okinawa. Agase earned a bronze star and a purple heart during his two years of active duty.

Upon returning stateside following the end of the war, Agase returned to the University of Illinois, where he once again earned All-America honors, before earning his degree in 1947.

Agase played for six season in the All American Football Conference and the National Football League, winning three league titles with the Cleveland Browns. He then served on Parseghian's staff at Northwestern from 1956-1963.

In 1964, Agase became the head coach at Northwestern, where he compiled a 32-51-1 record while earning National Coach of the Year honors following the 1970 season.

In 1973, Agase returned to West Lafayette, to coach the Boilermakers. His teams posted an 18-25-1 record in four seasons. The highlights of his coaching tenure were a 31-20 win over defending national champion and second-ranked Notre Dame in South Bend on Sept. 28, 1974, and a 16-14 victory over top-ranked and Rose Bowl-bound Michigan on Nov. 6, 1976.

After leaving Purdue, Agase spent five years as the Athletic Director at Eastern Michigan University and was named to the Walter Camp Foundation's All-Century team in 1989.

Agase was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1963, making him just the second Purdue player or coach to be so honored. He is one of just 12 members of the Boilermaker football family in the Hall of Fame.

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