Former Northwestern Coach Alex Agase Dies at Age 85

Agase was named National Coach of the Year in 1970

May 3, 2007

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Alex Agase, who served as Northwestern University's head football coach from 1964-72, died Thursday at a hospital near his residence in Tarpon Springs, Fla. He was 85.

Agase spent 17 years on the Wildcat sideline, first serving as an assistant to Ara Parseghian from 1956-63. When Parseghian left for Notre Dame following the '63 season, then-athletic director Stu Holcomb appointed Agase as the Wildcats' head coach.

"Northwestern University is saddened to hear of the passing of Alex Agase, a tremendous college player and coach," said Mark Murphy, Northwestern's director of athletics. "I know our former student-athletes who played for Coach Agase had great respect for him as an individual and coach. He had one of the longest tenures of any Northwestern football coach. We extend our deepest sympathies to the Agase family."

Agase's two best years at Northwestern came in 1970 and '71. In 1970, he received the Football Writers of America National Coach of the Year honor. It was one of the rare occasions when the award went to a coach for achievements other than producing a national or conference champion.

The Wildcats went 6-4 in '70, but were 6-1 in the Big Ten, with their only loss coming on the road to Ohio State.

The following year, Northwestern went 7-4 overall and 6-3 in the Big Ten. One of the victories that season included a 14-10 win over Ohio State in Columbus, the last time the Wildcats notched a victory at Ohio Stadium.

In 1963, Agase was inducted into College Football's Hall of Fame. He was one of the greatest players in the history of the game, holding the rare distinction of earning All-America honors three times -- twice at Illinois (1942, '46) and once at Purdue (1943), where he would later serve as head coach (1973-76).

In 1989, Agase was selected to Walter Camp Foundation's All-Century Team.

Agase went on to star at the professional level, winning world championships with the Cleveland Browns.


He also was a volunteer assistant coach at Michigan in charge of special teams from 1982-87. He served as Eastern Michigan University's athletic director from 1977-82.

Funeral services are pending.

Alex Agase served nine years as Northwestern's head football coach (1964-72).