Don CoryellRIP Don Coryell, innovator and aerial conductor. 

Scott Brooks comments:

St. Louisan's suffered for years with the Big Red (the football Cardinals). But under Coryell, we had several years of great excitement! If only we'd had a better owner (Bill Bidwell) and a better draft department (George Boone), we might have done something.

Don Coryell, should be in the Hall of Fame for no other reason that he took a pathetic franchise, with a pathetic owner and a pathetic draftnik, and turned them into a team that contented.

Stefan Jovanovich adds:

More about DC:

He played quarterback and running back at Washington but was never good enough to start because his classmates happened to include Don Heinrich and Hugh McIlhenny. He was the university champion in the light heavyweight division; people who saw him fight said he was a copy of Jack Dempsey as a teenager, pure aggression for 3 minutes of every round.

Dan Fouts: "He was an atypical coach. A lot of football coaches believe it's my way or get on the highway-thing. But Don gave us as players a feeling of ownership of the offense, the plays. He took our ideas and tried them. He wasn't afraid to try things."

John Madden: ""It was the way he treated players. I think that was something that was missed. We tend to jump right to the coaching part, the offensive part, and the passing game. But his No. 1 thing was his handling of the team. He was a master of it. As an assistant, he treated you as an equal. Players were always the most important thing to him. I think he had more respect for his players and coaches than anyone I've ever known."

Like Pete Newell and John Wooden the man put literally everything he had into coaching. When someone asked him in 1992 if he was sorry he had retired, his answer was: " I don't miss coaching one bit. Not a lick. I miss the people, the coaches and those great players. Those great guys. But I gave it everything I had. I didn't want to die on the football field, and I might have if I had stayed around much longer. I was tired. No question, I was physically and mentally shot."

No one who knew him can remember his having ever been cruel or even petty.

Scott will get his wish; they will get round to voting him into the Hall of Fame now that he is safely dead. When they voted him down earlier this year, he told his daughter not to worry because they would get round to it some day. Committees always have an impeccable sense of timing.





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1 Comment so far

  1. steve on July 13, 2010 9:44 am

    I remember Air Coryell well esp when they played the greatest game ever against the Miami Dolphins on New Years eve. In my view, he made hall of famers out of Dan Fouts and Kellen Winslow. He helped change the game into modern day football. Dan Marino, and Peyton Manning followed in his footsteps.

    As they say “Often imitated but never duplicated” I put Coryell right up there with George Allen as great coaches but more importantly great men.


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