Lessons learned from LaVell Edwards and '100 Years of BYU Football'

"100 Years of BYU Football" is available now at Deseret Book, Amazon.com and other booksellers across Utah. (Rebeca Fuentes, BYU Photo)


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PROVO — Sometimes the greatest lessons from the game of football come away from the gridiron.

That was the case for Duff Tittle and Brett Pyne, two BYU communications directors and co-authors of the new book, "100 Years of BYU Football," available now at Deseret Book and other book sellers.

Through dozens of interviews and hundreds of digitized historical manuscripts and records, the duo set out to tell the story of the BYU football program since its inaugural season in 1922, through the three-year break during World War II, and past the rise of the program under legendary head coach LaVell Edwards.

That included several interviews with the legendary coach before his death eight years ago at the age of 86, as well as his successors Gary Crowton, Bronco Mendenhall and current head coach Kalani Sitake.

But perhaps the greatest lesson from Edwards had little to do with his revolutionary, pass-friendly offensive scheme, the dozens of All-American quarterbacks he produced, or the 1984 national championship he brought to the university.

"Just being around him and watching how he treated others," Tittle said during a recent episode of The Cougar Beat podcast. "I learned more about being a good person from observing LaVell in the few years I got to work with him than maybe anything else I've learned from anyone else, other than my parents."

Edwards is listed prominently among the hundred or so pages of "100 Years of BYU Football," as he should be, Pyne acknowledged. The College Football Hall of Famer's role at BYU and the college game merits his position as arguably the book's central tenant.

But there are hundreds of names that scatter the pages — from players, coaches and administrators to Edwards' longtime secretary Shirley Johnson and his wife Patti Edwards, who played a crucial role in the program and college football herself while building a legacy with the program that continued through Edwards' predecessors.

"She's such a big part of the whole BYU family, and so is the whole Edwards family," Pyne said. "They were such great leaders and stewards of the program. It's cool to see how Kalani and his wife echo in a lot of ways the culture that the Edwards put together in the way things are done now."

Listen to the podcast below, or click here.

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