LaVell Edwards Recognized As One Of College Football’s Greatest Coaches

Dec 12, 2019, 2:25 PM
Former BYU football coach LaVell Edwards acknowledges the crowd as he and other BYU Hall of Fame In...
Former BYU football coach LaVell Edwards acknowledges the crowd as he and other BYU Hall of Fame Inductees are honored after the first quarter of action as Utah State faces BYU in college football action at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Sept. 23, 2006. (Photo: Deseret News)
(Photo: Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – LaVell Edwards is the man who put BYU football on the college football map. For 29 years, Edwards roamed the sidelines as head coach of the Cougars and took BYU to heights never before seen in the program’s history.

In honor of the 150 years of college football, ESPN released its list of the 150 greatest college football coaches ever. ESPN recognized Edwards as one of the greatest coaches. In fact, Edwards was in the top 25 of the rankings.

LaVell checked in at number 22 on ESPN’s greatest college football coaches ever list.

Here’s a snippet of what ESPN had to say for Edwards’ tenure at BYU.

Edwards did more than lead the Cougars to 19 conference titles, 10 10-win seasons and that incredible run to the 1984 national championship. He did more than take the vertical passing game and use it as a cudgel to bash down the door to the national elite — although grooming five first-team All-American quarterbacks is pretty cool. Edwards used college football to take a regional religious institution and turn it into a brand.

In 29 years as head coach, Edwards led BYU to 257 wins and only 101 losses and three ties. Some of the coaches Edwards was ranked in front of include Lou Holtz, Bob Stoops, Urban Meyer, Dabo Swinney, Pete Carroll, and others.

Edwards and Meyer were the only two coaches who led programs in the state of Utah on the list. The top five coaches ever according to ESPN includes Paul (Bear) Bryant at number one, followed by Alabama’s Nick Saban, Knute Rockne, Nebraska’s Tom Osborne, and Grambling’s Eddie Robinson.

During Edwards’ tenure, he coached against two of the top 10 coaches from ESPN’s list in Penn State’s Joe Paterno (number 7) and Florida State’s Bobby Bowden (number 8) where his teams posted a 1-4 record against those legends.

Prior to LaVell’s final home game as head coach of BYU against the New Mexico Lobos, Brigham Young University announced that they would rename Cougar Stadium to LaVell Edwards Stadium. It has been the name of BYU’s stadium since that announcement.

Edwards passed away in his home in Provo back in December 2016 after suffering a hip fracture. BYU’s current head coach Kalani Sitake played for Edwards from 1994, 1997-2000, and is the first former BYU player to become the head man of the Cougars.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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