KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chiefs coach Andy Reid stands near the top of his profession, yet he wouldn’t be there at all without the mentorship and support of longtime Brigham Young football coach LaVell Edwards, who passed away Thursday at age 86.
“He was my guy,” Reid said, as he at times battled his emotions in talking about his late mentor. “So, 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 played offensive line at BYU for Edwards during the 1979-81 seasons. As his college career winded down, Edwards approached young Reid about going into coaching. It wasn’t a path Reid considered until then.
“He goes, ‘Well you should give it a try,'” Reid remembered. “‘Give it a try and then I’ll keep you on and pay for the extra school if you decide to go a different direction, we’ll do that.’ I got in, I got the bug, and now, here I am.”
Edwards and Reid kept in touch through the years, talking on the phone on a weekly basis.
“I knew when he was on vacation because then I wouldn’t get a call,” Reid said. “But other than that I got a phone call.”
Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen played at BYU and had the opportunity to meet Edwards. He says Edwards legacy means much to BYU community and the coaches and players who followed him.
“He was an important figure,” Sorensen said. “Pretty progressive for what he was able to do with the West Coast offense and different things like that. I never really knew him all that well. His legacy obviously speaks for itself at BYU.”
Reid praised his mentor not for his skills as a football coach — although Edwards won a national championship in 1984. Instead, Reid said the relationships he built with people mark his legacy.
“He was a people person,” Reid said. “You put the X’s and O’s, you put all that aside – he was good at that too – but you put all that aside, the way he handled people, I thought was just unbelievable.”