Homecoming: A timeline of LaVell Edwards at BYU

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LaVell Edwards at LES after a BYU football game. (Elliott Miller)

LaVell Edwards led the Cougars for 29 seasons and turned an unknown program in the West into a national brand while revolutionizing college football with his passing offense.

As BYU honors Edwards this homecoming week, we take a walk down memory lane and look at his accomplishments with the football team.

FTB 52 September 16, 1972 BYU vs. Kansas State, LaVell’s first game.

1962 — Edwards is hired by BYU coach Hal Mitchell as an assistant coach in charge of the defensive line.

1972 — Edwards is named head coach of BYU (taking over a losing record of 173-232-23) and the Cougars go 7-4, with halfback Pete Van Valkenburg winning the NCAA rushing title.

1972 – BYU goes 7-4 and beats Utah 16-7 — the first victory against Utah in four years (and ninth total victory against Utah since their first game together in 1896).

1973 — The Cougars begin implementing the passing game but go 5-6 on the year, Edwards’ only losing season. Quarterback Gary Sheide is runner-up in the NCAA for passing yards. Jay Miller leads the nation in pass receiving (100 receptions for 1,181 yards).

FTB 70 E-4 Football BYU v. Arizona. Coach LaVell Edwards. November 10, 1973 Photo by Mark A. Philbrick.

1974 — BYU wins the WAC championship and gains its first-ever postseason berth, playing Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl.

1976 — The Cougars tie for the WAC title and play in the Tangerine Bowl under the direction of All-American Quarterback Gifford Nielsen. BYU leads the nation in passing offense.

1977 — BYU leads the nation in passing offense again and is second in scoring with Marc Wilson as quarterback. BYU is nationally ranked — 16th in the Coaches Poll and 20th in the AP Poll.

BYU football coach LaVell Edwards stands in the “quarterback factory.” Geneva Steel was the setting for this 1985 BYU football poster (Mark A. Philbrick).

1978 — Marc Wilson and Jim McMahon share Quarterback duties as the Cougars go to the first-ever Holiday Bowl, the beginning of 17 consecutive bowl appearances. Edwards receives a doctorate degree in education from BYU.

1979 — Edwards receives the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year award after guiding BYU to an 11-1 record (first time in BYU history the Cougars win more than 10 games).

1980 — The Cougars lead the nation in total offense, passing and scoring for the second consecutive season and go to the Holiday Bowl for the third year in a row. The Cougars and McMahon win their first bowl game in what would be known as “The Miracle Bowl,” beating SMU 46-45, after trailing by 21 points with four minutes to play.

1981 — After leading the Cougars to an 11-2 record and a Holiday Bowl win over Washington State, Edwards coaches the West to a victory in the Hula Bowl. Jim McMahon wins Davy O’Brien award and is a consensus All-American.

1982 — Cougar Stadium is expanded to 65,000 seats. Games continue to sell out.

1983 — BYU, under Steve Young, finishes the year ranked No. 7 in the polls, the best ever up to this point. Steve Young wins the Davy O’Brien award.

FTB 611 DD 43A Holiday MO Football Holiday Bowl. Coach LaVell Edwards with trophy, by Mark Philbrick.

1984 — The Cougars are the only team in the nation to go undefeated, at 13-0, and win the national championship in Robbie Bosco’s junior season. Edwards is named National Coach of the Year (by Kodak, AFCA, and Eddie Robinson). Shortly after the end of the season, Edwards turns down offers to be head coach for the Detroit Lions and for the Texas Longhorns.

1986 — Edwards passes Arizona State’s Frank Kush as the winningest coach in WAC history.

1990 — Cougars beat #1 Miami. BYU wins the WAC for the first time in three seasons. Sophomore Ty Detmer leads the Cougars to the Holiday Bowl. Detmer passes for 4,560 yards — the third BYU quarterback to surpass 4,000 yards (McMahon, Boscoe).

1990 — Detmer becomes the first Cougar to win the Heisman Trophy (Detmer also wins the Maxwell Award and Davy O’Brien award).

1991 — Cougars tie Iowa in the Holiday Bowl in Detmer’s final game, after finishing the final nine games of the regular season with eight wins and a tie. Detmer wins Davy O’Brien award again.

1994 — BYU beats both Notre Dame and Oklahoma. The Cougars’ Copper Bowl victory is Edwards’ first bowl win since 1988. Edward has his 200th win, beating New Mexico 49-47.

FTB 9409-626 Coach Lavell Edwards Celebrating on teams’ shoulders. Photo by: Mark Philbrick.

1996 — The Cougars complete the longest season in Division I history with a 14-1 record after beating No. 20 Wyoming in the WAC Championship and No. 14 Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl, BYU’s first-ever New Year’s Day game. BYU spends 13 weeks ranked in the Top 25. The Cougars finish the season ranked No. 5. Edwards finishes his 19th season with 10 or more wins.

1999 — The Cougars tie Utah and Colorado State for the first-ever Mountain West Conference title and attend their 22nd bowl game under Edwards.

2000 — Edwards, with an all-time record of 257-101-3 (174-43-2 conference, ranking No. 7 in NCAA Division-I history) announces his retirement after 29 seasons. Cougar Stadium is renamed “LaVell Edwards Stadium” in his honor. At his retirement, Edwards is ranked sixth in all-time coaching victories. Edwards also wins final game against rival Utah 34-27 (BYU played Utah 29 times under Lavell Edwards, beating them 22-7, including a nine-year streak from 1979-1987, improving BYU’s record against Utah from 41-8-4 to 48-30-4).

On November 8, 2000 the BYU football stadium was renamed to LaVell Edwards Stadium. Patti, LaVell and Jayne Edwards stand with President Hinckley as he announces the name change. (BYU Photo).

2003 — Edwards receives Amos Alonzo Stagg Award.

2004 — Edwards is inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

2009 — Edward receives NCFAA Contributions to College Football Award.

LaVell Edwards rides in a car. (Ryan Turner)

2011 — Edwards receives Football Bowl Association Champions Award.

2013 — Edward Receives Paul “Bear” Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award.

2016 — Edwards dies at age 86 on Dec. 29th.

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LaVell and Patty Edwards with their family, Ann and Ken Cannon, John and Beck Edwards, Jim and Lori Edwards (BYU Photo).