Funeral, celebration for Ara Parseghian open to public Sunday

 AP file photoIn this Oct. 31, 1970, photo, Notre Dame head coach Ara Parseghian (center) talks to Navy head coach Rick Forzano during a football game in Philadelphia. Notre Dame defeated Navy 56-7. Parseghian died Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, at his home in Granger, Ind. He was 94.

NOTRE DAME — Both a funeral service and a memorial celebration planned for beloved Notre Dame head football coach Ara Parseghian will be open to the public, the university has announced.

Each will take place Sunday on the Notre Dame campus.

"A Mass for the Feast of the Transfiguration and Celebration of the Life of Ara Parseghian" is set for 2 p.m. at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, located at 1 Holy Cross Drive. The Rev. John I. Jenkins, president of the university, will preside.

That's followed by the memorial celebration at 3:30 p.m. in the Joyce Center's Purcell Pavilion. Family members, former players and colleagues are scheduled to speak.

The 94-year-old Parseghian, a resident of Granger, died early Wednesday morning at his home.

Parseghian was Notre Dame's coach from 1964 to 1974, guiding the team to two national titles (1966, 1973), then remained an active and visible supporter of the university the rest of his life, besides venturing into broadcasting and insurance.

Arriving at Notre Dame at a time the program was struggling mightily with five straight non-winning seasons and a 19-30 mark over those years, Parseghian's ND teams went 95-17-4.

Eight of his 11 Fighting Irish clubs finished in the top five in major college polls, and all of them in the top 15.

The Akron, Ohio, native started his college head coaching career in 1955 at his alma mater, Miami of Ohio, where he succeeded Woody Hayes and went 39-6-1 in five seasons.

That was followed by eight years at Northwestern with a 36-35-1 mark, including a stunning No. 1 ranking in 1962, before he came to Notre Dame in '64.

Well into retirement, Parseghian became relentlessly active in the fight against Niemann-Pick Type C, a rare disease that would result in the death of three of his grandchildren at ages ranging from 9 to 16 between 1997 and 2005. They were each diagnosed in 1994.

Parseghian also long championed against multiple sclerosis, which one of his daughters battled for about 40 years before dying in 2012 at age 61.

The Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation that he co-founded continues the work against Niemann-Pick.

(1) comment

Tim Stewart

R.I.P. Coach.

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