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Coach now in Hall of Fame

NEW YORK — After LaVell Edwards retired from his career, he and his wife, Patti, made themselves available for missionary service and were called as public affairs missionaries in New York City.

Returning to the mission field where he and his wife served honorably in 2002 to 2003, Brother Edwards was spotlighted for another phenomenally successful mission — as head football coach at BYU — with his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday.

In lavish ceremonies at New York City's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, Brother Edwards was recognized as a new member of the hall of fame along with 13 other men who excelled in college football.

"Edwards' success and longevity is seldom paralleled in our profession," said former Baylor coach Grant Teaff who introduced the legendary Cougar coach. Teaff, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, called Brother Edwards "an icon in coaching."

His selection to the hall of fame was announced last April. He and the others will be enshrined in ceremonies at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., in August.

The fame of the coach is well documented. The stadium at BYU where he was head coach for 29 years is now named for him. The recognition that has flowed his way since his retirement followed a career in which he compiled a 257-101-3 record, won 20 Western Athletic Conference titles and, his crowning achievement, the 1984 national championship. He was named national coach of the year twice, earning the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award in 1979 and Kodak national award in 1984.

While succeeding as a coach, his personality earned him friendship and respect. Recorded in the 2004 BYU football guide is the quote by Dodd, former Tennessee and Georgia Tech coach: "This man is the kind you'd like to have your son playing football for. And the kind I like to have my name attached to."

Such comments have been common since Brother Edwards took over a lackluster BYU football program in 1972.

While coaching, he also served in the Church, including time as a bishop. He helped his players in any way he could, including in their decisions regarding Church missions. He was supportive of his players who wanted to go on missions and made that a part of his program.

The night before the official ceremonies in New York, Brother Edwards was feted in a reception attended by BYU administrators and former players.

Steve Young, one of four quarterbacks he coached who preceded him into the hall of fame, paid his former coach a compliment at the reception: "He's a phenomenally gifted, people-skilled coach who could see things in people that they might not see inside themselves — he certainly saw something in me."

The other BYU quarterbacks Brother Edwards coached who are in the hall of fame are Gifford Nielsen, Marc Wilson and Jim McMahon.

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