PROVO, Utah (ABC4 News) - A memorial service for beloved football coach Lavell Edwards is expected to draw a large crowd as Utahns prepare to say goodbye to a legend.
A career spanning 29 season, legendary football coach became the 6th all time among Division 1 football coaches at Brigham Young University.
"He did a huge thing for the whole state. He was able to bring football to the national level, which I don't think it had before," said BYU Track coach Niklas Arrhenius.
Edwards lead the Cougars to 20 conference titles, 22 bowl games, he was the national coach of the year, not once but twice. But, his highest accomplishment, leading the team to the national championship in 1984.
Those who knew him best say his biggest priority, his pride and joy, were his players.
"You still don't hear from anyone who feels like coach Edwards was ever not good to them or didn't have time for them. I think that is a great mark of the type of person that he was," says Coach Mike Empy, who played for and coached with Edwards.
His failing health and death came as no surprise to those who were close to him. But, shocked the state of Utah when t he news spread of his passing. Though he may be gone many will agree that his legacy will live on forever.
"This is his house, he built it, His influence is everywhere," said Empy.
That influence was far reaching impacting some of the biggest names in Utah sports and politics.
Moments after his passing, University of Utah Coach Kyle Wittingham tweeting, "Heartbreaking to hear the news of Lavell's passing. He made such a positive impact on so many lives and was a loyal family friend."
Governor Gary Herebert (R-Utah) along with Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) also released statements calling Edwards a great man.
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