Don Coryell wasn’t a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year because of his head coaching record. It was largely because of the innovations he brought to the game and all the lives he changed along the way.
Joe Gibbs, who played and coached under Coryell, released a statement about his mentor on Friday.
“Don was a great leader and a great coach. The greatest testimony to
that is what his players all thought about him. The loyalty they all
had. When you played for him, which I did, you knew he put everything he
had into the game plan. He had a great passion for what he did.
“He certainly had a huge impact on my thought process and coaching
career and he bred an atmosphere of creativity. Here is a guy that was
successful coaching at a small college, a major college, and two
different pro stops. He truly was an icon in the coaching profession. We
will all really miss him. His family is in our thoughts and our
Coryell’s influence was vast, but we’re struck by the warmth and loyalty he engendered from his players — not always a common trait among great coaches.
We also appreciate that Coryell dared to be different in an industry that plays it safe. Rest in peace.