Edwards, who coached for 28 seasons at BYU, will receive the AFCA's Amos Alonzo Stagg Award (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
WACO -- Former Brigham Young University Head Coach LaVell Edwards has been selected as the 2003 recipient of the American Football Coaches Association's Amos Alonzo Stagg Award.
The award, which honors those "whose services have been outstanding in the advancement of the best interests of football," will be presented to Edwards at the AFCA Awards Luncheon on January 7 during the 2003 AFCA Convention in New Orleans. In addition to accepting the Stagg Award, Edwards will also speak during the "Master Coach" session on January 6.
"I'm extremely pleased and honored to receive this award," Edwards said. "To receive an award named after Amos Alonzo Stagg, a man who did so much for the game of football and accomplished so much in his career, is an honor. I remember seeing this award presented as a young coach but I never thought I'd receive it. This is a credit to the players and coaches I've worked with over the years."
Edwards, who is currently serving an LDS Church mission in New York with his wife Patty, is the first coach with Brigham Young ties to receive the AFCA's most prestigious award.
Edwards retired in 2000 after 29 seasons at BYU with a career record of 257-101-3 (.716) at the school. His teams won 20 conference titles, including a share of the 1999 Mountain West Conference crown and appeared in 22 bowl games. In 1984, he was named AFCA National Coach of the Year after BYU finished the season 13-0 and won the national championship.
Along with the national honor, Edwards was a five-time winner of the AFCA's Regional Coach of the Year Award. He was a member of the Association's Board of Trustees from 1978-1987, serving as AFCA President in his final year on the Board.
His 257 wins at BYU are the second-most in Division I-A by a coach at one school and the number ranks as the eighth-best single-school total in college football history. Only 12 coaches in the history of the game have won more games overall than Edwards.
Edwards joined Hal Mitchell's BYU football staff as an assistant coach in 1962. He was named BYU's head coach in 1972 and enjoyed non-losing seasons every year but 1973, when the Cougars finished 5-6. Labeled a "national coaching treasure" by USA Today, Edwards coached his teams to four top-10 rankings and 13 top-25 finishes. Edwards' teams were known for their wide-open offenses. His quarterbacks have thrown more than 11,500 passes for more than 103,000 yards and 645 touchdowns in 29 seasons. All-American quarterbacks to play for Edwards include Gifford Nielsen, Marc Wilson, Jim McMahon, Steve Young, Robbie Bosco, Ty Detmer and Steve Sarkisian. Awards won by his players include a Heisman Trophy, a Maxwell Award, two Outland Trophies, four Davey O'Brien Awards and 35 All-America citations.
Since his first season in 1972, Edwards guided BYU to 22 postseason bowl appearances, including a string of 17 straight from 1978-1994. In 29 seasons, Edwards was 132-33 (.800) in Cougar Stadium and 1-0 in LaVell Edwards Stadium after the stadium was officially named in his honor prior to Edwards' final game in Provo in 2000.
When he became head coach in 1972, Edwards inherited a BYU football program that had a .431 winning percentage in 47 seasons. Over the years, Edwards' teams made appearances in the Fiesta, Cotton, Holiday, Tangerine, Citrus, Copper, Aloha, Liberty, Freedom, All-America and Motor City bowls. In addition, Edwards finished his career with a 126-29-1 (.811) record against Mountain West Conference opponents.
Edwards' teams passed for more than 57 miles during his 29-year career. He coached two Outland Trophy winners, four Davey O'Brien Trophy winners, 35 All-Americans, 11 conference Player of the Year recipients, 32 Academic All-Americans and led the Cougars to seven NCAA single-season passing titles.
Edwards' impact on the coaching world will continue long after he has left the coaching limelight. His former assistant coaches and players are now making their mark on the game. Seattle Seahawks head coach and general manager Mike Holmgren got his first big break as quarterbacks coach at BYU under Edwards. Current NFL head coaches Brian Billick (Baltimore Ravens) and Andy Reid (Philadelphia Eagles) played for the Cougars during the Edwards era.
The eighth of 14 children, Edwards graduated from Utah State University, where he earned all-conference honors before serving a two-year commitment in the Army. He began his full-time coaching career at Granite High School in Salt Lake City, where he coached for eight years before moving to BYU.
Edwards and his wife, Patti, are currently serving an 18-month Mormon church mission in New York City.
The Award: The Amos Alonzo Stagg Award is given to the "individual, group or institution whose services have been outstanding in the advancement of the best interests of football." Its purpose is "to perpetuate the example and influence of Amos Alonzo Stagg."
The award is named in honor of a man who was instrumental in founding the AFCA in the 1920s. He is considered one of the great innovators and motivating forces in the early development of the game of football. The plaque given to each recipient is a replica of the one given to Stagg at the 1939 AFCA Convention in tribute to his 50 years of service to football.
Amos Alonzo Stagg: Amos Alonzo Stagg began his coaching career at the School of Christian Workers, now Springfield (Mass.) College, after graduating from Yale University in 1888.
Stagg also served as head coach at Chicago (1892-1932) and College of the Pacific (1933-1946). His 41 seasons at Chicago is one of the longest head coaching tenures in the history of the college game.
Among the innovations credited to Stagg are the tackling dummy, the huddle, the reverse play, man in motion, knit pants, numbering plays and players, and the awarding of letters.
A long-time AFCA member, Stagg was the Association's 1943 Coach of the Year.
According to NCAA records, Stagg's 57-year record as a college head coach is 314-199-35. He was 84 years old when he ended his coaching career at Pacific in 1946. He died in 1965 at the age of 103.
Previous Stagg Award Winners
1940 Donald Herring, Jr., (Princeton player) and family
1941 William H. Cowell (posthumously), New Hampshire
1946 Grantland Rice, sportswriter
1947 William A. Alexander, Georgia Tech
1948 Gilmour Dobie, North Dakota State, Washington, Navy, Cornell, Boston
College; Glenn S. "Pop" Warner, Georgia, Cornell, Carlisle, Pittsburgh,
Stanford, Temple & Robert C. Zuppke, Illinois
1949 Richard C. Harlow, Penn State, Colgate, Western Maryland, Harvard
1950 No award given
1951 DeOrmond "Tuss" McLaughry, Westminster, Amherst, Brown, Dartmouth
1952 A.N. "Bo" McMillin, Indiana
1953 Lou Little, Georgetown, Columbia
1954 Dana X. Bible, Mississippi College, LSU, Texas A&M, Nebraska, Texas
1955 Joseph J. Tomlin, founder, Pop Warner Football
1956 No award given
1957 Gen. Robert R. Neyland, Tennessee
1958 Bernie Bierman, Mississippi A&M, Tulane, Minnesota
1959 Dr. John W. Wilce, Ohio State
1960 Harvey J. Harman, Haverford, University of the South, Pennsylvania,
1961 Ray Eliot, Illinois
1962 E.E. "Tad" Wieman, Michigan, Princeton, Maine
1963 Andrew Kerr, Stanford, Washington & Jefferson, Colgate, Lebanon Valley
1964 Don Faurot, Missouri
1965 Harry Stuhldreher, Wisconsin
1966 Bernie H. Moore, LSU
1967 Jess Neely, Southwestern, Clemson, Rice
1968 Abe Martin, TCU
1969 Charles A. "Rip" Engle, Brown, Penn State
1970 Lynn "Pappy" Waldorf, Syracuse, Oklahoma City, Kansas, Oklahoma A&M,
Kansas State, Northwestern, California
1971 Bill Murray, Delaware, Duke
1972 Jack Curtice, Stanford
1973 Lloyd Jordan, Amherst, Harvard
1974 Alonzo S. "Jake" Gaither, Florida A&M
1975 Gerald B. Zornow, business executive
1976 No award given
1977 Floyd "Ben" Schwartzwalder, Muhlenberg, Syracuse
1978 Tom Hamilton, Navy, Pittsburgh
1979 H.O. "Fritz" Crisler, Minnesota, Princeton, Michigan
1980 No award given
1981 Fred Russell, sportswriter
1982 Eddie Robinson, Grambling
1983 Paul W. "Bear" Bryant, Maryland, Kentucky, Texas A&M, Alabama
1984 Charles B. "Bud" Wilkinson, Oklahoma
1985 Duffy Daugherty, Michigan State
1986 Woody Hayes, Denison, Miami (Ohio), Ohio State
1987 Field Scovell, Cotton Bowl
1988 G. Herbert McCracken, Allegheny, Lafayette
1989 David Nelson, Delaware
1990 Len Casanova, Oregon
1991 Bob Blackman, Denver, Dartmouth, Illinois, Cornell
1992 Charles McClendon, LSU
1993 Keith Jackson, ABC-TV
1994 Bob Devaney, Nebraska, Wyoming
1995 John Merritt, Jackson State, Tennessee State
1996 Chuck Neinas, College Football Association
1997 Ara Parseghian, Miami (Ohio), Northwestern, Notre Dame
1998 Bob Reade, Augustana (Ill.)
1999 Bo Schembechler, Miami (Ohio), Michigan
2000 Tom Osborne, Nebraska
2001 Vince Dooley, Georgia
2002 Joe Paterno, Penn State