On Saturday legendary football Coach John Gagliardi coached a record breaking 600th game. Never heard of John Gagliardi? That is because he coaches at tiny Division III St. John’s University 70 miles northwest of Minneapolis. However, in many circles Coach Gagliardi is revered as a coaching genius. He sports a .782 winning percentage and has won 4 national championships over an incredible 61 seasons.
Even more impressive and unique than his record, is the manner in which he won so many games. Coach Gagliardi is famous for his winning with no’s philosophy. Tackling is not allowed in practice. He has no playback. Yelling and whistles are both banned from practice. Player’s are not required to participate in off-season conditioning. His quarterback calls most of the plays.
“We don’t have no mission statement’s, no big philosophy,” Gagliardi said. “We just do it.”
He developed his unique philosophy when he was handed his first coaching job at the age of 16. He simply cut out the parts of practice that he disliked.
Many more well-known coaches, like Joe Paterno, have the utmost respect for what he has accomplished.
“John is what the coaching profession is all about,” Paterno said in a telephone interview. “He’s loyal to his institution. He’s loyal to his players. He’s had a tremendous influence on not only the people that have played for him, but the people who have played against him. He’s been a wonderful example.”
There are unique stories about college programs like St. John’s all over the country. Unfortunately, many recruits don’t take the time to discover the opportunities that are available. The reality is that these opportunities are real and the education offered at many of these schools tops their better known competition. If recruits are truly serious about finding the right fit for them, they need to find out about schools like St. John’s.