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Jeff Call’s LaVell Edwards memories

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Anyone who has spent time around LaVell Edwards knows that he treated everyone the same, and he was gracious with his time.

I learned that firsthand on several occasions.

When I was a student at BYU, I took a writing class and decided to write about something totally out of character for me — football.

With much trepidation, I decided to go to LaVell's office. I wasn’t a member of the media, just a nondescript student. I meekly requested an audience with the coach. Somehow, it was granted.

“Uh, coach,” I began nervously, “I’m writing an article for my journalism class. Do you have a minute?”

Of course, I took longer than a minute, but he was kind enough to talk with me.

Though I was intimidated by his aura and accomplishments, he put me right at ease.

Later, when I was the sports editor of The Daily Universe, BYU’s school newspaper, I called him at home late one night to ask him a question about an article I was working on. Not only did he answer the phone, he patiently answered my question.

After LaVell retired, he and his wife served a mission in New York City. Not long after they returned, I had the pleasure of interviewing them at their modest home in Provo. I looked around and there was no evidence whatsoever that he was one of the most successful coaches in college football history. No plaques, no trophies, no awards.

“Where do you keep all of your memorabilia?” I asked.

He shrugged. “In a room somewhere downstairs, I think.”

In the final BYU home game of the 2011 season, I couldn’t help but smile when LaVell’s grandson, Matthew Edwards, a senior walk-on, caught the first pass of his career — for a touchdown.

It marked the first time someone from LaVell’s family had scored a touchdown for the Cougars. He was a proud grandfather that night.

I asked LaVell if he had ever scored a touchdown when he played at Utah State.

“I had one up in Montana,” he said. “I intercepted a pass and I got to the end zone, then turned around and found out that I had dropped the ball somewhere along the way. It was so cold up there, it wasn’t knocked out of my hand. I think I just dropped it.”

LaVell laughed while telling that story.

It was one of many interviews that he granted me while I was writing stories for the Deseret News and other publications.

But I’ll never forget my first interview with LaVell. It was for an article that was never published and it was only read by one person, my professor. But that didn't matter to LaVell.

To me, one of the many reasons he's a legendary figure is the way he treated people — like the day he graciously allowed a neophyte journalist, who showed up at his office unexpectedly, to take a little of his time.