LaVell Edwards

LaVell Edwards

Edwards in 2010
Biographical details
Born (1930-10-11) October 11, 1930
Orem, Utah
Playing career
1949–1951 Utah State
Position(s) Offensive lineman
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1954–1961 Granite HS (UT)
1962–1971 BYU (assistant)
1972–2000 BYU
Head coaching record
Overall 257–101–3 (college)
Bowls 7–14–1
Accomplishments and honors
1 National (1984)
18 WAC (1974, 1976–1985, 1989–1993, 1995–1996)
1 MWC (1999)
Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award (1979)
AFCA Coach of the Year (1984)
Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year (1984)
Amos Alonzo Stagg Award (2003)
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2004 (profile)

Reuben LaVell Edwards (born October 11, 1930) is a former American football head coach for Brigham Young University (BYU). With 257 career victories, he ranks as one of the most successful college football coaches of all time. Among his many notable accomplishments, Edwards guided BYU to a national championship in 1984 and coached Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer in 1990.

Edwards played football for Utah State University and earned a master's degree at the University of Utah prior to coaching at BYU. While head football coach at BYU, Edwards also earned a doctorate. He and his wife served an 18-month mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) in New York City during 2002–2003.[1]

Edwards serves as a National Advisor to ASCEND: A Humanitarian Alliance. This non-profit organization plans expeditions to African and South American countries to provide life skills mentoring with sustainable solutions in education, enterprise, health and simple technology.[2]

Coaching career

Edwards was BYU's head football coach from 1972 to 2000. His offensive scheme was passing-dominated. He started coaching in an era when college football offenses were dominated by strong running attacks. His quarterbacks threw over 11,000 passes for more than 100,000 yards and 635 touchdowns. He got the idea to switch to a pass oriented team by looking at BYU's history. The BYU football program had struggled before Edwards with the notable exception of one conference championship that resulted from the aerial attack of Virgil Carter. This past success encouraged Edwards to open up the BYU offense.

Edwards coached prominent quarterbacks such as Steve Young, Jim McMahon, Ty Detmer, Marc Wilson, Robbie Bosco, Gary Scheide, Gifford Nielsen, Steve Sarkisian, and Virgil Carter.

Awards won by his players include a Heisman Trophy, a Doak Walker Award, a Maxwell Award, two Outland Trophies, four Davey O'Brien Awards, seven Sammy Baugh Awards, and 31 All-America citations, including 11 consensus All-Americans. In 1984, he was named National Coach of the Year after BYU finished the season 13–0 and won the National Championship. Edwards retired after the 2000 season with a 257–101–3 record for a .717 winning percentage.

Prior to Edwards' final game, the football stadium at BYU was renamed LaVell Edwards Stadium in his honor. At the time of his retirement, he ranked sixth in all-time victories. Edwards received the Amos Alonzo Stagg Award, presented by the American Football Coaches Association, in 2003.

In the 1980 Holiday Bowl, BYU rallied from a 45–25 deficit with only 4 minutes to play to defeat Southern Methodist University (SMU). Trailing 45–39 with seconds to go, McMahon completed a game-winning touchdown pass to Clay Brown.

Following the 1984 national championship, Edwards was offered the head coaching positions with the Detroit Lions as well as the University of Texas at Austin.

Edwards remains a prominent leader and speaker for members of the LDS Church, which owns and operates BYU.


Edwards carrying the Olympic Torch in 2002

Coaching tree

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
BYU Cougars (Western Athletic Conference) (1972–1998)
1972 BYU 7–4 5–2 T–2nd
1973 BYU 5–6 3–4 T–4th
1974 BYU 7–4–1 6–0–1 1st L Fiesta
1975 BYU 6–5 4–3 T–4th
1976 BYU 9–3 6–1 T–1st L Tangerine
1977 BYU 9–3 6–1 T–1st 16 20
1978 BYU 9–4 5–1 1st L Holiday
1979 BYU 11–1 7–0 1st L Holiday 12 13
1980 BYU 12–1 6–1 1st W Holiday 11 12
1981 BYU 11–2 7–1 1st W Holiday 11 13
1982 BYU 8–4 7–1 1st L Holiday
1983 BYU 11–1 7–0 1st W Holiday 7 7
1984 BYU 13–0 8–0 1st W Holiday 1 1
1985 BYU 11–3 7–1 1st L Florida Citrus 17 16
1986 BYU 8–5 6–2 2nd L Freedom
1987 BYU 9–4 7–1 2nd L All-American
1988 BYU 9–4 5–3 T–3rd W Freedom
1989 BYU 10–3 7–1 1st L Holiday 18 22
1990 BYU 10–3 7–1 1st L Holiday 17 22
1991 BYU 8–3–2 7–0–1 1st T Holiday 23 23
1992 BYU 8–5 6–2 T–1st L Aloha
1993 BYU 6–6 6–2 T–1st L Holiday
1994 BYU 10–3 6–2 T–2nd W Copper 10 18
1995 BYU 7–4 6–2 T–1st
1996 BYU 14–1 8–0 1st (Mountain) W Cotton 5 5
1997 BYU 6–5 4–4 5th (Mountain)
1998 BYU 9–5 7–1 T–1st (Pacific) L Liberty
BYU Cougars (Mountain West Conference) (1999–2000)
1999 BYU 8–4 5–2 T–1st L Motor City
2000 BYU 6–6 4–3 T–3rd
BYU: 257–101–3 175–42–2
Total: 257–101–3
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
#Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.

See also


  1. A Legend in the Making
  2. “Lavell Edwards, His influence is felt across the World,” Shulte, Scott; Davis County Clipper, November 2006.
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