LaVell Edwards, BYU Head Football Coach (1972–2000), Dies at 86

  • 29 December 2016

Former BYU football coach LaVell Edwards acknowledges the crowd as he and other BYU Hall of Fame Inductees are honored after the first quarter as Utah State faces BYU in college football action at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on September 23, 2006.  Photo by Jason Olson, Deseret News.

Article Highlights

  • Coach LaVell Edwards died December 29, 2016, at age 86.
  • He was the head football coach at BYU from 1972 to 2000.
  • He lead the Cougars to the college football national championship in 1984.

LaVell Edwards, the head football coach at BYU from 1972 to 2000 who led the Cougars to the college football national championship in 1984, died on December 29, 2016. He was 86.

Coach Edwards was born October 11, 1930, to Philo and Addie Edwards and spent most of his life in Utah County. He graduated from Lincoln High in Orem before attending Utah State University. In Logan, Edwards became a football star. He played linebacker and center and was soon named team captain. He was an all-conference lineman before serving a two-year commitment in the army.

In Logan he met Patti Covey from Wyoming, who would become his wife. They have three children, Ann Cannon, John, and Jim.

After 29 seasons and 257 wins at BYU when he retired, Coach Edwards ranked as the sixth all-time winningest coach. When hired at BYU, the Cougars had won just 173 games the previous 49 years, with just one conference championship and no bowl invitations. By his retirement, BYU had 22 bowl appearances and 20 league titles.

BYU head football coach LaVell Edwards is honored by Elder Thomas S. Monson and Elder Gordon B. Hinckley December 13, 1984. Photo from Deseret News archives.

Coach LaVell Edwards. Photo courtesy of BYU.

BYU head football coach LaVell Edwards called as a bishop with G. Perrin Walker, Ben Christensen, and Lynn Dayton of the BYU 36th Ward. Photo from Deseret News archives.

BYU head football coach Lavell Edwards. Photo from Deseret News archives.

Retired BYU coach LaVell Edwards is the recipient of the 2013 Paul “Bear” Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award. The coach received the award on January 17, 2013, in Houston, Texas. Photo by Kelly Foss.

BYU head football coach LaVell Edwards waves during a parade June 9, 1986. Photo from Deseret News archive.

BYU coach LaVell Edwards is all smiles before the BYU vs. Utah game at Rice Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah, Friday, November 24, 2000. Photo by Johanna Workman, Deseret News archives.

Utah State quarterback Lavell Edwards, September 18, 1951. Photo from Deseret News archives.