LaVell Edwards, a revered figure in Hawaii despite how his Brigham Young University football teams tormented Hawaii for decades, died today in Utah.
Edwards, who coached BYU to 20 conference championships and a 1984 national championship in 29 years at the helm of the Cougars, was 86.
“He was so special to so many people aside from being a fabulous coach,” said former UH coach Dick Tomey.
Between 1978 and 1988 Edwards’ teams beat the Rainbows 10 consecutive times earning the Cougars — and Edwards — the role of UH’s biggest rival.
Overall, he was 17-4 against UH in a career in which he went 257-101-3 while revolutionizing the passing game.
That the Cougars annually had a roster that included players from Hawaii made the series more intense, often playing to sellouts in Aloha Stadium and Provo, Utah.
Not until 1989 with a 56-14 victory did UH succeed in ending the string. After UH followed it up with a 59-28 victory in 1990, Edwards declared he would jump off Mount Timpanogos in Utah if UH won in Provo.
“We had fabulous games with them and he was very respectful of the program we had,” Tomey said. “He had respect for Hawaii period. He had great respect for the players he was able to get from Hawaii and he had a tremendous impact on the development of Polynesia athletes.”