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Legendary BYU Football Coach LaVell Edwards Dies At 86

Mark Philbrick/BYU

Legendary BYU football coach LaVell Edwards died Thursday at age 86.


Over his 29 seasons with the Cougars, Edwards led the team to a total of 257 wins, including one national championship.

In an interview with ESPN, two of Edward's former players, Steve Young and Trevor Matich, discussed the legacy their coach left behind.


“The number one quality that coach had was a gift, I’m going to say it’s from heaven, that he had the ability to look at you and get a sense of you and be able to have a vision for your future," said Young."


Young said that vision extended to BYU’s football program and the entire Western Athletic Conference, which Edwards helped bring bring from relative obscurity into the national spotlight with a championship win in 1984.


Matich was a player on that championship team. He said Edwards was able to get the best out of his players because he was more than a coach.


“He would mentor in a way that you found your own way," said Matich. "He just made sure you stayed within the lines.”


Matich said that kind of mentorship went far beyond his player’s football careers.


“He made them better husbands, better fathers, better men," said Matich. "And that’s the trophy, that’s the legacy of LaVell Edwards.”


A Utah native, Edwards began his coaching career in 1954 at Granite High School in Salt Lake City.


He is survived by his wife Patti and their three children.

Lee Hale began listening to KUER while he was teaching English at a Middle School in West Jordan (his one hour commute made for plenty of listening time). Inspired by what he heard he applied for the Kroc Fellowship at NPR headquarters in DC and to his surprise, he got it. Since then he has reported on topics ranging from TSA PreCheck to micro apartments in overcrowded cities to the various ways zoo animals stay cool in the summer heat. But, his primary focus has always been education and he returns to Utah to cover the same schools he was teaching in not long ago. Lee is a graduate of Brigham Young University and is also fascinated with the way religion intersects with the culture and communities of the Beehive State. He hopes to tell stories that accurately reflect the beliefs that Utahns hold dear.
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