Chiefs coach Andy Reid has long mentioned former Brigham Young football coach LaVell Edwards as one of his greatest influences, and on Friday — one day after Edwards died at age 86 — Reid again spoke about why that is.
“He was my guy,” Reid said. “I’m probably one of 10,000 guys that are saying that right now. That’s what made him unique. That was the thing that made him such a great person.”
Reid, who played for Edwards in the late 70s, was asked what Edwards meant to him.
“He was everything,” Reid said. “I get too emotional on these things.”
From 1972-2000, Edwards amassed a 257-101-3 record. His entire career as a head coach was spent at BYU, where he served as an assistant before becoming the head coach. Edwards was inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame in 2004.
Reid said he greatly respected Edwards’ coaching style.
“I saw him do it in a calm manner — he was great with people, I mean, he was a people person,” Reid said. “You put the Xs and Os and all that aside. He was good at that too, but you put that aside. The way he handled people, I thought, was just unbelievable. I guess some of that, you take. He was a great example to me.”
Reid said Edwards is the reason he decided to get into coaching 30-something years ago.
After he finished his career as a player in 1980, Reid wasn’t sure exactly what direction he was going in. But the course of his life changed once he spoke with Edwards about his future.
“I wasn’t going into coaching; I mean, he’s the one who kind of talked me into doing it,” Reid said. “He goes ‘Well, you should give it a try. Give it a try and I’ll keep you on and pay for the extra school if you decide to go a different direction.’ So I got in, got the bug and here I am.”
And once Reid moved on from a graduate assistant at BYU in 1983 to embark on a long coaching odyssey, Edwards called him, faithfully, every week.
“Like he put me in a bad position or something,” Reid said with an earnest chuckle. “I knew when he was on vacation because then I wouldn’t get a call. But other than that, I got a phone call ...
“I always said that he probably liked my wife better than he liked me. That’s why he checked on me.”
Reid, who has long carried a reputation for being reliant on the pass, was if Edwards – whose BYU offenses were known for their exceptionally innovative passing attacks — ever encouraged him to run on third-and-1, which prompted a chuckle.
“He would never say to run the ball,” Reid said with another laugh. “That, he would never do.”