LaVell: Airing It Out

by Lee Benson

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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.'

Family: 'More

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

LaVell Edwards,

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 Olympic


About the Author

Lee Benson

Lee Benson has been a journalistic icon in the Salt Lake City market since his graduation from Brigham Young University in 1976. He was a sports writer, sports columnist, and sports editor for the Deseret News in Salt Lake City, and is currently writing a Metro column which appears five days a week.

Honored as Utah Sportswriter of the Year on more than one occasion, Lee has traveled extensively in his career, covering such events as the Super Bowl (15 times), the Final Four (15 times), Wimbledon, the Masters, the British Open, seven World Series, seven Olympic Games and even one national political convention.

tHis Olympic experience includes reports from Los Angeles, Calgary, Seoul, Albertville, Barcelona, Lillehammer, and Sydney. In addition, he’s written five books about the Olympics, including two history books, Athens to Atlanta and Chamonix to Lillehammer; one book of inspirational stories, Glory and the Games; one book on Mormon Olympians, Trials and Triumphs, Mormons in the Olympic Games; and the latest release, Salt Lake 2002.

Mr. Benson has also written five other books, including two for Deseret Book/Shadow Mountain—And They Came to Pass (about BYU’s All-American quarterbacks) and LaVell, Airing It Out (LaVell Edwards’ memoirs).

\tLee Benson lives in Park City, Utah, with his wife Kerri, and their three children.

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