Handling the ups and downs as important as winning

PROVO, Utah — Wins have piled up faster than losses during LaVell Edwards' tenure as head football coach at BYU. That changed the attitude about the football program at the school.

During a Church News interview, he said, "I coached around here when football didn't matter one iota. Now fans question our decisions and there is a lot of scrutiny, but that means football means something and is important. I'm probably as satisfied with that one issue as much as anything — the fact that football is now a major presence at BYU. It's a happening."

Crowning his career was watching his team come back in the final minute to beat the University of Utah, 34-27, in his final game. He compared the excitement to the 1980 "Miracle Bowl," when BYU also pulled out a last-gasp victory over Southern Methodist University in San Diego's Holiday Bowl.

In spite of the wins, Coach Edwards also faced losing.

"The last couple of years, the losses seemed to be so much more difficult to take, whether it's because of age or the pressure or whatever," he said. "I've never really felt pressure from fans or the administration or anything like that. The pressure that I always feel is self-imposed because we've always set a very high standard for ourselves. And when you don't accomplish that, it just bugs you.

"I know I stand around on the sidelines like I'm not concerned, but the old fire is burning and it's absolutely killing me when we're not performing the way we think we should. That got to be more difficult."

Then he said, "You just learn to handle the ups and downs, because they are going to be there. But that's not a whole lot unlike life. Our ability to handle adversity and discouragement and disappointment sometimes is maybe more important that our ability to be successful in our family or life or work or whatever. It's really all just a part of life."