In 1972 LaVell Edwards assumed command of a mediocre college football program. Many thought Edwards had been hired to run the team until someone more qualified for the job could be hired. The move to promote the Cougars' defensive coordinator to head coach turned out to be the beginning of one of college football's most successful coaching tenures.
At the time Edwards was hired, the Cougars had posted just 173 victories over the previous 49 seasons, winning just one conference championships and no bowl games to the team's credit.
Undaunted by the formidable rebuilding task that lay ahead, Edwards wasted little time in transforming BYU into a national power. In his first season as the head coach, he gave BYU fans a glimpse of the future. Edwards led the Cougars to a 7-4 overall record, including a 16-7 win over in-state rival Utah. Just two seasons later, Edwards had the team rolling. The Cougars won the WAC Championship after a 48-20 victory over the Utes and accepted an invitation to the Fiesta Bowl -- the team's first-ever bowl appearance. The 1974 season turned out to be the first of 27 straight non-losing seasons. The 1974 Fiesta Bowl was the first of 22 bowl appearances. The conference championship was also the first of 19 league titles. And thevictories, they just kept coming.
After recording an 11-1 record in 1979, a 12-1 record in 1980 another 11-win season in 1981, eight more wins in '82, and 11 additional wins in 1983, Edwards led BYU to a perfect 13-0 season in 1984. Following a 24-17 win over Michigan in the Holiday Bowl, the Cougars were crowned National Champions. Not surprisingly, Edwards was named the National Coach of the Year for the second time in his career.
Over his 29 seasons as the head coach at BYU, Edwards recorded 257 victories, ranking as the sixth all-time winningest coach in college football history. Under his direction, BYU recorded 10 straight WAC championships from 1976 through 1985. The Cougars also played in 17 straight bowl games from 1978 until 1994.
Labeled by USAToday as a "national coaching treasure," his teams passed for over 57 miles during his 29-year career. He coached four College Football Hall-of-Fame inductees, a Heisman Trophy winner, seven Sammy Baugh Trophy winners, two Outland Trophy winners, five Davey O'Brien Trophy winners, 34 All-Americans, including 10 consensus All-American performers, 11 conference player-of-the-year recipients and 24 Academic All-America player citations.In 2004, Edwards' tremendous career was immortalized as he was inducted into the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.
The eighth of 14 children, Edwards graduated from Lincoln High School in Orem. He attended Utah State University, where he was an all- conference lineman before serving a two-year commitment in the Army. He and his wife Patti recently celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary. The Edwards have three children, Ann [Cannon], John and Jim.