PROVO, Utah, Dec. 29, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — LaVell Edwards, head coach of the Brigham Young University football team for nearly three decades, is dead at the age of 86.
Word of Edwards’ passing comes by way of his wife Patti who says the former coach died after breaking his hip in a fall on Christmas Eve.
Edwards assumed the top job as the Cougars’ head coach in 1972 and went on to post an overall record of 257 wins, 101, losses and 3 ties.
BYU’s current head coach Kalani Sitake said he was saddened by the news and called Edwards a great man.
“He’s a great man, very wise,” Sitake told the Herald Journal. “I hope I can be just like him.”
Late Thursday morning, BYU issued the following statement from President Kevin J. Worthen:
“LaVell’s humble, humorous and loving character inspired not only his players, but countless others as well. All who knew him considered him a friend. He was a personal mentor to All-Americans and walk-ons alike. His positive impact reached well beyond BYU and well beyond college football. Cougar Nation– and numerous others– mourn his passing. We extend our condolences to Patti and the Edwards family.”
Gov. Gary R. Herbert also issued the following statement:
“Jeanette and I were saddened to learn of Coach LaVell Edwards’ passing this morning. The Edwards’ have been good friends to my family for many years. Of course LaVell will be remembered and revered as one of the great coaches of all time for the way he transformed BYU Football into a national powerhouse. But just as important is how he worked to transform young men into successful and better human beings. He truly cared about his players both on and off the field.
“A big part of what made him such a legend was his example of excellence in sportsmanship — he always showed the utmost respect for his opponents. LaVell was not just a great coach, but more importantly, LaVell Edwards was a good man and a decent human being. He and his wife Patti have always been great examples to me about how to conduct one’s life.
“LaVell was both a legend, and a friend. Our prayers are with Patti and entire Edwards family at this time. LaVell, you will be dearly missed.”
Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham issued the following statement:
“It was heartbreaking to hear the news of Coach Edwards’ passing. He was a close friend of our family and we will all miss him. I have many fond memories of Coach Edwards and was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to play under his tutelage as well as coach under him as a graduate assistant. He made such a positive impact on so many lives and to me that is what his legacy is all about and what’s most important.”