All is Well Lavell

Lavell bleeds blue.

He bled Aggie blue when he played on Utah State University’s football team as an offensive lineman from 1949 to 1951. He then bled Cougar blue as he came onto the college scene after coaching at Granite High School.

In the present day coaches struggle to stay at one school for even a few years. Lavell was the head coach of Brigham Young University for 28 years and the assistant for 11 years.

He was even beloved by some Utah Ute fans especially former Ute football coach Ron McBride who made the Utes relevant in the Holy War Rivalry after decades of Lavell’s domination. The two friends made a habit of golfing quite frequently together.

Lavell has coached many great passing quarterbacks such as 49ers Super Bowl champion Steve Young and Bears Super Bowl champion and college national champion Jim McMahon. Ty Detmer also was successful as he won the Heisman trophy in college and played in the NFL.

There is a reason that Cougar Stadium was re-named after Lavell Edwards after his retirement in 2000. Nobody has had a greater impact on BYU football than him. He took a team that traditionally struggled at the running game and turned them into a prolific passing team that surpassed every program in the state and many elite programs around the nation.

In the beginning of the Wagon Wheel rivalry, Edwards helped Utah Agricultural College (Now Utah State University) take home the first Wheel trophy. BYU only took home 10 Wagon wheels compared to 17 by the Aggies before Lavell took the helm as the BYU head coach and took home 21 Wagon Wheels calling the plays against the Aggies who only managed 6 against their former offensive lineman.

22-7 is the record that Lavell Edwards had in the Holy War rivalry against the Utah Utes. His friend and former head coach Ron McBride quipped, “When Brigham Young came into the valley, he pointed to where the University of Utah would be and said, “This is the place.” Provo was just an afterthought.”

BYU was the place of college football throughout the latter half of the 20th century though. Before BYU, you have to go back to the 1945 Army team to find a school outside the Power 5 conferences to win a national championship. BYU went undefeated in the Western Athletic Conference and defeated the mighty Michigan Wolverines in the 1984 Holiday Bowl to win their national title by popular vote.

When asked about how it felt when he started to lose to the Utes a couple times in the 90s, Edwards retorted, “I’d rather lose as a Cougar than win as a Ute.” Edwards had a serious look that seems to be eternally etched on his face. One person who knew Lavell joked that he thought Lavell smiled once but it turned out he was standing on his head. Lavell was calm and humorous when he wanted to be though.

When Cougar fans witness their national fan base, wins against power 5 teams and the volume of 65,000 fans screaming on a Saturday night, they can tip their hats to their former coach looking down on them. Every program that Lavell touched turned to gold from USU to Granite High School to BYU. Lavell is the past, present and future of Cougar football if the new coaches instill in their players what Lavell instilled in them.

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