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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Flashback: Cougar Stadium Is Renamed LaVell Edwards Stadium

Exactly 10 years ago, tomorrow, November 18, 2000, the Brigham Young Cougars were preparing for their final home game of the year. The opponent was the New Mexico Lobos. As the final home game, it was senior day. That included senior citizen LaVell Edwards. After 29 years, the legendary head coach was retiring.

The team was in the locker room making final preparations for kickoff. Unbeknown to them, Gordon B. Hinckley, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Brigham Young University, walked in. Among other things, he told the players, “Don’t muff it,” referring to their “last chance to get a victory for LaVell on his home field.”

It is customary that when more visible employees retire after dedicating many years of service employers make a special tribute to recognize all that the employee has done for the company. Therefore, it was no surprise that President Hinckley delayed kickoff for a few minutes to honor Coach Edwards in front of the over 62,000 fans in attendance. What that honor was, however, surprised not only the thousands in attendance, but the old coach himself. President Hinckley announced:
“The Board of Trustees and the administration of the University, in recognition of a remarkable and wonderful man, have determined to name this the LaVell Edwards Stadium.”
The honor was very fitting. Thirty years earlier, the stadium was half the size it was now, and BYU was lucky of the stadium was half full. Towels adapting a popular moniker were made pronouncing the stadium as “the House that LaVell Built.”


In 29 years, LaVell had taken BYU from an unknown school tucked away in the Rocky Mountains to a team nationally known, respected, and followed. He also transformed the game of football in the process.



More flashbacks can be found on the Flashbacks page.

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