PROVO, Utah "It was obviously a great honor," legendary BYU football coach LaVell Edwards said after he was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., on Saturday, Aug. 13.
"It's something you never think about a lot because you never know if it's going to happen," the former coach said during a Church News telephone interview. "But if you stay in the business long enough and things happen right. . . ."
One of 20 new members enshrined, Brother Edwards joined four of his former quarterbacks who are in the hall of fame Steve Young, Gifford Nielsen, Marc Wilson and Jim McMahon.
Elected to the College Football Hall of Fame on April 6, 2004, Brother Edwards was inducted into the hall in ceremonies at New York City on Dec. 7, 2004, prior to his enshrinement.
After stoically strolling the sidelines, arms folded across his chest, as the producer and director of one of college football's most successful programs for 29 seasons, the popular head coach retired after the 2000 season. He finished with a 257-101-3 record, placing him in sixth-place all-time in victories among college coaches. Since his retirement, the BYU football stadium has been renamed in his honor and he has served a full-time mission in New York City with his wife, Patti.
Speaking about the honor he received, he emphasized, "One thing about coaching football, it's not a one-person operation. You've got to have the good players to go along with you, and the coaches."
He continued, "I came at the right time at BYU. It was waiting to happen and I was fortunate enough to be there."
He said he continues to keep his eye on the Cougars football program and plays some golf while filling much of his time speaking to various groups around the country, accompanied by his wife. "But I've got to slow down a little bit," he said.
Brother Edwards, 74, said he grew up in a large family on a farm where he had great parents and learned the value of work. He said the Church has always been a part of his life.
Reflecting on the career that took him to the hall of fame, he said, "I just determined early on in my coaching career that if I was to survive the pressure I had to put everything into perspective, family first and things like that. We talk about it being only a game, and that's true. But it can engulf you if you let it."
And with that attitude, he has joined the elite of college football.
But he summed up the weekend's ceremony saying, "It was a great tribute to the school and the Church and the program and the players we had and the coaches and all those who made it happen."
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