Fort Wayne’s NBC asked the Notre Dame Club of Fort Wayne to help us honor legendary head coach Ara Parseghian, who passed away Wednesday morning at the age of 94.
Club Treasurer Tom Skiba provided this personal account:
Ara was loved by everyone, including fans, faculty and staff, alums, students and former players.
This was particularly evident several years ago when those players who played for Ara returned to campus for a home game. Virtually every former coach and player returned. They had to find the biggest tent in the area to accommodate those players and coaches in a reserved tailgate area. I was the guest of a local law firm in a nearby tailgate tent and, as a former student athlete (swimming) back then, simply smiled at the sight.
As a student in the final four years of Ara’s coaching experience at ND, we enjoyed the best of college football, including a National Championship in 1973.
Like many students and fans during that time we remember the “Ara stop the rain” chant from the student section during a rainy game. The entire stadium erupted when the rain stopped shortly after the chant began. The stuff of legends or a student peeking over the top row wall?
He never hesitated to chat with fans or students or to help or offer advice. This was evident when he pulled his car over when a fellow dorm mate broke his nose in a dorm “touch” football game in a field near the road on campus. He saw our injured player fall to his knees. He pulled over and subsequently stuck his two fingers up his nose and noted “yep its broken” and then took our fellow classmate to the infirmary. The remaining players, including me, started chanting “Ara, Ara, Ara as they pulled away.” I will go with the stuff of legends.