All-American, longtime coach Agase dies at 85

CHICAGO -- Alex Agase, a three-time All-American and a College Football Hall of Fame member who coached at Northwestern and Purdue, died Thursday. He was 85.

Agase died at a hospital near his home in Tarpon Springs, Fla., Northwestern officials said Thursday.

A guard and linebacker, Agase was an All-American at Illinois in 1942 and at Purdue in 1943 after transferring to train for the Marines. He returned to Illinois after World War II and earned All-America honors again in 1946 and went on to a six-year pro career that included three championships in four seasons with the Cleveland Browns.

A native of Evanston, Ill., Agase spent 17 years on the Northwestern sideline. He was an assistant to Ara Parseghian from 1956-63. He became head coach when Parseghian left for Notre Dame, going 32-58-1 in nine seasons.

His best years at Northwestern were 1970 and 1971.

The Wildcats went 6-4 overall and 6-1 in the Big Ten in 1970, their only loss coming at Ohio State, and Agase was selected the national coach of the year by the Football Writers Association. The Wildcats were 7-4 and 6-3 in the conference the following year, winning 14-10 at Ohio State -- the last time Northwestern won there.

Agase served as head coach at Purdue from 1973-76 before spending five years as athletic director at Eastern Michigan. In 1989, he was selected to the Walter Camp Foundation's All-Century Team.