In 1972, when the head football coach position came open at BYU, LaVell
Edwards didn't even consider applying. 'My resume was not even close to impeccable.
As a high school and college coach I had experienced four winning records in eighteen
seasons.' But he was hired anyway, and by 1994 he had become one of only thirteen
coaches in history to have won more than 200 collegiate games.
As of 1972 BYU had
won one conference championship in its history, period. It had never been to a bowl
game. Some called the school a 'coaching graveyard.' By 1994 Edwards-coached teams
had won sixteen conference championships and had gone to nineteen bowl
'Football is not nuclear science,' as LaVell says, nor is it even his top
priority (God and family really do come first), but it's still one of the greatest
loves of his life. 'It just doesn't get any better than a crisp fall afternoon and a
football game in the stadium,' he writes. 'Sixty-five thousand people. Tailgate
parties, all the pregame talk, the bands, the excitement. . . . When Karl Tucker
said, 'LaVell's happy; he just forgot to tell his face,' he hit it on the head. I've
never not enjoyed myself.'
But this book is not only about LaVell the football
coach. It's also about LaVell the man. His roots. His faith. His philosophy of
management. His sense of humor. His feelings about service. His methods of motivating
As coauthor Lee Benson writes: 'By anyone's standards he is a coaching
anomaly, one who has found stability and success without sacrificing anything at all,
principles included. This is a coach of whom the NCAA infractions department says
'LaVell who?' ; whose wife says, 'I still get goose bumps every time I hear his car
pull in the driveway'; and whose assistant coaches, many of whom have been around
since long before anyone in Provo knew how to spell 'sellout crowd,' beg to keep
LaVell Airs It Out On . . .
Job Security: 'Someone once told
me that whenever you had a winning season you could count on three more seasons
before they'd fire you. I guess I can count on three more seasons.'
Football and the Church: 'I never felt that football and religion couldn't
coexist. There are a lot of similarities. You teach love and togetherness and serving
each other. Competition often brings out the very best in people.'
than anything else, it's our families that help keep our perspectives square. They
keep us balanced. They're easily the best hedge I know of for runaway
LaVell is the personal story of an extraordinary man, a man who is a
model of stability in a very volatile business, a man who has risen to the top of his
profession by learning from his defeats, a man who cares much more about his
relationships than his trophies. LaVell: Airing It Out is for all those who
love football . . . who love a great success story . . . or who want to learn from
one of the greatest managers around.
About the Authors
head football coach at Brigham Young University, has coached football for more than
forty years. In 1994 he joined the exclusive '200-win' club (only thirteen other
coaches belong); and he has had more players win the awards given to the nation's top
quarterback, top lineman, and most outstanding player than any other coach in
history. He and his wife, Patti, live in Provo, Utah; they are the parents of three
Lee Benson is an award-winning sports writer for the Deseret News.
In addition to serving as coauthor on LaVell, he is the author of And They
Came to Pass and coauthor of Trials and Triumphs: Mormons in the OlympicGames.
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