Parseghian rebuilt Notre Dame football during the ‘Era of Ara’

12:27 PM ET

When I called former Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian at his winter home in Marco Island, Florida, more than five years ago, I told him I was writing a “legacy” article about one of college football’s most revered coaches.

Parseghian chuckled, and then said, “You’re writing my obituary, aren’t you?”

For more than an hour, Parseghian shared intimate details of his life as the son of immigrants, his unlikely journey to becoming one of Notre Dame’s most beloved coaches, and his battle with an incurable disease that killed three of his young grandchildren.

Parseghian, 94, died early Wednesday morning at his home in Granger, Indiana, the university announced. He had been battling an infection in his hip. In his final days, his players wrote him letters to tell him what he meant to them.

“He was the right guy at the right time everywhere he went,” said former Notre Dame linebacker Jim Lynch, co-captain of the 1966 team. “I think he was the right guy when he went to Miami [Ohio]

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