Notable Deaths ›

LaVell Edwards (1930 - 2016)

AP / Lenny Ignelzi

LaVell Edwards (1930 - 2016)

LaVell Edwards, the legendary Brigham Young University coach who turned the school's football program into a perennial powerhouse, died Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, of complications from a broken hip, according to multiple news sources. He was 86.

His wife, Patti Edwards, told the Provo Herald that Edwards broke his hip Christmas Eve.

Edwards coached BYU for 29 years, from 1972 to 2000, accumulating a record of 257 wins, 103 losses, and three ties. He is tied for seventh in all-time wins among coaches in the Football Bowl Subdivision, the higher level of NCAA Division 1 football.

Under his guidance, BYU won 20 conference championships and went to 22 bowl games. In 1984, the Cougars won the national championship, and Edwards received his second national coach of the year award.

Edwards’ teams were known for their high-flying passing attacks at a time when college football was still dominated by the running game. Notable BYU quarterbacks during his tenure included Jim McMahon, Steve Young, and Ty Detmer, who won the Heisman Trophy in 1990. He retired in 2000 and was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2004.


Click to get weekly celebrity death news delivered to your inbox. 


Born Oct. 11, 1930, in Orem, Utah, Edwards played football for Utah State University. A devout Mormon, he was a perfect fit for BYU, which is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 1972, he took over a lackluster football program and turned it into a perennial national powerhouse.

“I love LaVell Edwards. He came into my life, and the life of many others, at just the right time,” said BYU director of athletics Tom Holmoe in a press release. “I had the influence of a great coach, a wonderful person, a disciple of Christ, a loyal family man and a true friend, from the day I met him until the day he passed away.

"LaVell had a pure heart. He was the dream coach of every parent. His example will forever be with me and I will strive to live a life of love as he always did.”

Three children also survive Edwards.

We invite you to share condolences for LaVell Edwards in our Guest Book.