LaVell Edwards’ Impact On BYU Football Went Beyond The Field

Oct 25, 2022, 10:43 PM

LaVell Edwards, BYU Football, Podcast...

A Century of Cougar Football podcast in episode three dives into the career and life of BYU football head coach LaVell Edwards. (Deseret News file photo)

(Deseret News file photo)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is centered around LaVell Edwards and the history of BYU football. The inspiration is Episode 3 of “A Century of Cougar Football” podcast hosted by KSL Sports BYU Insider Mitch Harper, which examines the program’s history dating back to the first season in 1922. Follow A Century of Cougar Football on all podcasting platforms or KSLsports.com.

PROVO, Utah – BYU football under LaVell Edwards was a ride that no one ever envisioned. From inheriting a below-average program to National Championship glory, it’s remarkable to think what BYU accomplished Edwards.

LaVell was the head coach at BYU for 29 seasons from 1972-2000. During his nearly three decades as the headman at BYU, he piled up 257 wins, 19 conference championships, and the 1984 National Championship.

It was a remarkable career that culminated with Cougar Stadium being named after Edwards. A reminder of the legendary era that BYU football had under Edwards.

But the greatness of LaVell isn’t tied to a game plan, x’s, and o’s, or recruiting. Instead, it was how he treated people.

While putting together “A Century Of Cougar Football,” everyone I spoke with had nothing but high praise for Edwards, the coach, but more importantly, the man. Also, digging into the KSL archive, you find endless love and support of a coach that changed how football was played.

Former BYU assistant Barry Lamb

“I saw the same guy that you saw on the sidelines when you know he was walking up and down [as coach]. But we got in staff meetings and he was hilarious, not to the point of distraction, but he was just a funny guy. But he was so intelligent and so wise, that it just almost dripped off of him. So if you were there to collect some of [his knowledge], you were able to learn so much from him, because he didn’t speak that much. But when he spoke, you paid attention and it was a nugget that you put it in your pocket to save for later.”

KSL Sports Zone host, former BYU player Hans Olsen

“If I sat here and tried to recall a football conversation that I had with LaVell, I couldn’t do it. I had football conversations with Ken Schmidt, Tom Ramage. I even had football conversations with Norm Chow. I didn’t have football conversations with LaVell; I had life conversations.”

Former Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden

Quote from 2000 after LaVell’s retirement

“He’s one of the great men in college coaching and good for the game; one of the good guys. Really, a great moral man.”

Patti Edwards, wife of LaVell Edwards

“We never knew if he lost or won a football game when he came home. He didn’t force his sons into any type of athletic endeavor. He was a fun guy, and he loved so many different things. He was just a good person, just an ordinary person.”


Follow “A Century Of Cougar Football” on all podcasting platforms. Then, listen to episode three, “The Legend,” with more quotes and archived sound on the legacy of LaVell Edwards.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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A Century Of Cougar Football

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LaVell Edwards’ Impact On BYU Football Went Beyond The Field