TOP

A Life of Family, Football and Friendships: The Andy Reid Story

⇓   SCROLL DOWN TO BEGIN   ⇓

By BJ Kissel

Chiefs Reporter

The clock says 3:30 a.m.

The weather is bitter cold and it’s hours before many of those he works with will be at the office, but it doesn’t matter to him. There is work to do and even more importantly, there is somewhere he will soon have to be.

It’s 1992 and Andy Reid is the new tight ends coach for the Green Bay Packers. After 10 years at the collegiate level, he was given an opportunity by an old friend to reunite in the NFL.

The drive to the office is short, normally less than 10 minutes. He, his wife, Tammy, and their five children live close enough to make this work.

The 3:30 a.m. arrival wasn’t just about putting in the time at his new job or competing to get there first with his fellow assistant coaches—something that was par for the course with that group, but because of something far more important to Andrew, as only Tammy calls him.

Family.

The only thing in his life that would ever trump his love for football would be his love for family.

“He would go in at these crazy hours and then he would come home by a quarter to 7 and do breakfast with the kids,” Tammy explained. “He then would drive one group to school and I would take the others.”

It was a routine.

The early mornings at the office were a way for Reid to get some work done, but then get home to spend some quality time with his family before their day got started, even though his had already been going for four hours.

In this way, he wouldn’t fall behind in either of his duties—helping scheme ways for his old friend, Mike Holmgren, to find success on offense, while also staying true to his most important job—being a father.

It’s a balance he and Tammy have worked on together as a football family for the last 34 years, and through all of those years, the foundation of family, friendship and respect for those who have helped them along the way has always grounded the two through a life in the spotlight.

''He just had this air about him''

Andrew and Tammy were students together at Brigham Young University, and as fate would have it, both enrolled in the Fundamentals of Tennis class together.

“He had this air about him—this confidence,” Tammy recalled of Andrew, a member of the BYU football team, “but he wouldn’t ask me out, and I’d never not had a guy that I wanted to ask me out not ask me out. So the second half of the semester, since it’s a half credit, we played badminton. We were playing after he had already beaten me at tennis and I’m like, ‘Well, I could beat you at racquetball.’"

He’s like, ‘OK, well let’s go play racquetball.’”

All of Tammy’s friends knew the day they were going to play at the Smith Fieldhouse on the campus of BYU, and they were all peeking through the windows as the game, or for lack of a better term, shellacking, went on.

“He killed me,” she laughed. “Even though I’m really good, he killed me.”

After the game was over, they sat together in the bleachers and that’s when Andrew asked Tammy out to a movie that Friday night.

Their first official date would be on December 7—the anniversary of Pearl Harbor.

While Tammy was so nervous that she can’t recall the movie they saw that night, she can recall the date because of how much it meant to him.

It’s a day that has always been important to Andrew as both his father and uncle were in the Navy during World War II. His father was sent to Pearl Harbor as one of the first responders, while his uncle’s ship was out in the Pacific at the time and was hit by a torpedo. He thankfully lived to tell about it.

But their date led to another, and another, and just like that—things had gotten serious.

It wouldn’t be long before Tammy found herself at one of the most historic college football games in history—sitting with his parents, and the lessons she learned from that game still hold true to her today.

It was the 1980 Holiday Bowl, commonly known to BYU fans as “The Miracle Bowl.”

The game featured a pass-happy BYU offense led by future NFL quarterback Jim McMahon and his 409.8 yards passing per game, which led all of college football that year, as did the team’s 46.7 points per game.

They were matched up against an SMU team that couldn’t have been more different offensively. They were led by the backfield tandem of Craig James and Eric Dickerson, who were nicknamed the “Pony Express” and would combine to run for more than 330 yards in the game.

Dickerson would later go on to the NFL and a Hall of Fame career in his 11 seasons with the Los Angeles Rams (1983-87), Indianapolis Colts (1987-91), Los Angeles Raiders (1992) and Atlanta Falcons (1993).

Heading into that game back in 1980, BYU had never won a bowl game in their program’s history.

With four minutes left, they trailed 45-25.

It was all but over.

“People were walking away and we were up in the nosebleeds,” Tammy recalled. “I don’t know why we got such bad tickets. I was with his parents, but I’m screaming at people to sit down and saying, ‘This game is not over!’

“They were looking at me like I was crazy. I’m sure his parents thought I was crazy because we didn’t know each other very well at the time.”

McMahon threw a touchdown to Matt Braga to get the score within two possessions with a little more than 2 minutes remaining in the game.

Then, the first of two low-percentage special teams plays went BYU’s way.

First, they recovered the ensuing onside kick.

Just a few plays later, BYU was in the end zone again on a 1-yard touchdown run by Scott Phillips.

Now they only trailed by 6 points, but time was still an issue.

Current Chiefs defensive line coach Tommy Brasher was an assistant for SMU from 1977-81.

TOMMY BRASHER'S LONGFORM

This time it was the defense’s turn to make a play, and they were able to shut down SMU’s dominant running game on the next possession, setting up a fourth down.

Then, the second of two miraculous special teams plays happened that gave BYU an opportunity to win.

With less than 20 seconds remaining and trailing by just 6 points, BYU blocked the punt and recovered the ball at the SMU 41-yard line.

Unbelievably, they still had a shot.

The first pass from McMahon fell incomplete deep down the right sideline, and there was time left for just one play.

McMahon, who had already engineered a couple of late touchdowns to get them within striking distance, found Clay Brown on the final play of the game on a miraculous Hail Mary touchdown between several SMU defenders.

The extra point gave BYU a 46-45 victory.

BYU had scored 21 points in the final 2:33 to win the game.

After going winless in their first four bowl appearances as a program, including consecutive Holiday Bowls in the previous two seasons, Edwards and company pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in college football history that night at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego.

The "Miracle" Catch

“That was my first experience with football and trusting that no matter how bleak it looks, I always believe Andrew and his guys will figure out a way to do it,” Tammy said.

It’s a lesson that would serve her well later in life, when a team would struggle to a 1-5 start, and no matter how bleak it looked, she always trusted that Andrew would figure out a way to get it done.

Tammy and Andrew were married on August 8, 1981, just 232 days after that miraculous win over SMU.

Before BYU, there was John Marshall High School in Los Angeles

Andy Reid grew up in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles and lived in the same house until he left for college.

That house, which perched atop the hill on Holly Knoll Drive, was close enough to see the lights of Dodger Stadium at night and sat just a mile away from the famous Hollywood Boulevard.

It was an ethnically diverse neighborhood. Throughout his childhood in Los Angeles and even into his high school years, race relations were volatile, particularly in his neighborhood, but that didn’t matter to Reid. All of these children were his friends—the ones he’d begun playing football with when he was 5 years old.

He would be seen as a leader among his peers for keeping things together and uniting his teams.

His father, Walter, worked as a scenic artist. His mother, Elizabeth, was a doctor of radiology.

As a kid, Reid could often be found following his older brother, Reggie, around everywhere.

“Would you get your little brother out of here? I’m sick of him coming up to me and asking for my chin strap,” would be the kind of thing Reggie’s friends would often say, according to Dick Kiwan, Reid’s high school basketball coach and a friend he still talks regularly with to this day.

Dick Kiwan (highlighted on left) and Andy Reid

Reid, who was 10 years younger than Reggie, was the ball boy for the John Marshall High School Varsity football team.

He’d do anything he could do to be around his older brother—his hero.

The school, which is where most of the film Grease was shot and would years later be home to Leonardo Dicaprio and Will.i.am, was only a couple of blocks away from their house, so it was easy for Reid to always be around.

All that time hanging around his older brother and playing with the kids in the neighborhood paid off for Reid, who was a standout athlete even before he got to John Marshall.

As a 13-year-old, Reid competed in the national Punt, Pass and Kick competition, towering next to a kid in a now-infamous photo and video.

Andy Reid in the national Punt, Pass and Kick competition

The competition took place during a Monday Night Football broadcast. As it turned out, the kid behind him was actually in the 8-year-old division. A funny part of the whole thing was the organizers had to go into the Los Angeles Rams locker room to find a jersey that would fit him.

When Reid was a kid, it wasn’t just about football though.

“When I first met him, he was always hanging around the gym, always had a basketball in his hand,” Kiwan recalled. “After his school was out, he’d be up in the gym shooting baskets or hanging around the football field. I’d start my basketball practices and have to shoo him out of the gym.”

Once he got to high school, Reid was one of just two sophomores to make the varsity football team. He recalls to this day the lessons he learned from those upperclassmen.

When I first met him, he was always hanging around the gym, always had a basketball in his hand. After his school was out, he’d be up in the gym shooting baskets or hanging around the football field. I’d start my basketball practices and have to shoo him out of the gym."

- Dick Kiwan

“I remember the seniors getting after myself and the other kid and really making us grow up,” Reid recalled. “They did a good job with that. They tested us.”

By the time he was a senior, Reid had established himself as one of the best athletes in the area, lettering in football, basketball, baseball and track. He was named the most inspirational athlete on his football team as a senior, playing along the offensive and defensive lines while also handling the kicking duties.

“Andy is a great guy, but when he got on the football field, something clicked and he was nasty,” Kiwan recalled.

He led the team to a 7-3 record that final year, with three of the games being decided on his game-winning field goals.

“The school had traditionally not been a great football school,” Reid recalled. “My senior year, we were able to get ourselves in the second round of the city playoffs, which was a big thing at that time."

Reid’s affinity for physicality carried over to the other sports he played as well, which was a problem, particularly in basketball.

Kiwan remembered one game in particular against Hollywood High School during his junior season.

“I put him in at forward and he had four fouls in less than 2 minutes,” Kiwan said laughingly. “I remember pulling him out because he was just dribbling down the floor and running over people. I remember taking a timeout and saying, ‘Andy, what are you doing?’ and he looked at me like, ‘What?’

“The competitive juices were flowing so much from leaving football and getting into basketball, he couldn’t help himself.”

While the humor may not have been on both sides of that situation at the time, the relationships Reid developed with his high school coaches would become lifelong friendships, ones that would include inside jokes they remember three decades later.

Kiwan shared a story about a day Reid came to the coach’s office, a place he’d often frequent between classes, complaining about his ankles.

“He came in the PE office and said ‘My ankles are killing me,’” recalled Kiwan. “The defensive coach, who Andy was really close with, told him, ‘Aw, you’re OK, you damn baby. There’s nothing wrong with that ankle.’”

But it’s what happened next that makes the story memorable more than 30 years in the making.

“’Wait, we’ve got something here that I can put on that that’s going to really help that. It’s a special solution from Chicago,’” Kiwan said he told Reid, “and so I went into the coach’s shower room and got some of that powdered soap out of the container, mixed it up into a paste and put it on a towel. I came out and said, ‘Andy, we got this special solution from Chicago. What’s going to happen now is you’re going to take your shoe off, get your ankle up on the desk and we’re going to put this paste on it.’

We were back in Philadelphia and he was taking us around showing us the training facilities and I said, 'This is great, but one thing I want to know, do you have the special solution from Chicago?' and he said 'Oh, that was BS. I knew that was BS.' And I said, 'Oh yeah? You sat there for 20 minutes.'"

- Dick Kiwan, Reid’s high school basketball coach

“’But I don’t want you to move your foot. You just keep it absolutely still for 20 minutes until we come back, and you’ll feel that it’s going to draw that pain right out of there and that swelling is going to go down and that thing is going to feel 100 percent better.’”

The coaches left, snickering.

“We leave, have some coffee, come back about 20 minutes later and there he is in the same position on the table sitting up with that paste on there. I said, ‘I know that it feels better,’ and the defensive coach said, ‘Oh yeah, absolutely, it has to feel better.’

“I said, ‘Did you feel the pain coming out?’”

“Andy said ‘Yeah, you know, I’m moving it and it feels pretty good.’

“The other coach said, ‘Stand up on it, let’s see how it is,’ and Andy said ‘Oh yeah, look at that, it’s 100 percent better. You know, I think this really helped me.’

The coaches obviously had a good time with Reid, who was quick to recall this story a few years ago when they were visiting him during his time as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.

“We were back in Philadelphia and he was taking us around showing us the training facilities and I said, ‘This is great, but one thing I want to know, do you have the special solution from Chicago?’ and he said ‘Oh, that was BS. I knew that was BS.’

“And I said, ‘Oh yeah? You sat there for 20 minutes.’”

The ankle was fine, and Reid played well enough his senior year to start talking with some colleges in the area about playing football at the next level.

Growing up in Los Angeles at the time meant, as a football fan, it was all about USC. They had talked with Reid coming out of high school but didn’t offer him a scholarship. They actually recommended that he go to a particular junior college and develop there as a player and they could follow his progress.

That school was Glendale Community College.

“I was very lucky to do that,” Reid said. “ I mean they wore the exact same colors as USC, but the offensive line coach there had been an All-American at USC—Mike Scarpace.

From left to right: Andre Jones, John Cicuto, Bob Gagliano, Randy Tidwell, Andy Reid, Mike Scarpace and Mark Labonge

“He had a tremendous influence on me and really taught me how to play offensive line.”

Scarpace spent his college days blocking for future Kansas City Chiefs running back Mike Garrett, who ran in the famous “65 Toss Power Trap” touchdown from 5 yards out in Super Bowl IV.

After Garrett was drafted and signed by the Chiefs in 1967, Scarpace blocked for a junior college transfer who would go on to make plenty of headlines throughout his football career and life—running back O.J. Simpson.

The connection that might be the most interesting of them all is that Scarpace’s college teammate was Mike Holmgren, who would become a huge part of Reid’s life a few years later, and for many more after that.

“We had a great head coach in Jim Sartoris and John Cicuto—the defensive coordinator. All these guys, I'm actually very close with, so I'm very lucky in that way.”

Reid earned honorable mention All-American honors after a standout season at Glendale, helping coach Sartoris earn his first championship.

After developing as a player under Scarpace and company at Glendale, Reid had a scholarship lined up to play at Stanford to further his playing career.

“At the time, you could talk to colleges and take visits before your bowl game,” he explained. “So my last game at Glendale, we go to a little bowl game against Saddleback College. I had already been scheduled to go to Stanford and had been accepted, and then I blew out my knee in that game.”

Just like that, Reid’s plans had changed.

His good friend and the guy playing next to him along the offensive line, Randy Tidwell, was looking at BYU and mentioned to Reid that he should come with him on his visit now that his future was up in the air. Reid agreed and wound up enjoying the trip.

LaVell Edwards, the iconic coach at BYU who won 257 career games and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2004, had already been looking at Tidwell, and after the visit, Reid became part of the package of getting both of them to BYU.

LaVell Edwards and Andy Reid

Edwards quickly noticed how perceptive Reid was about playing along the offensive line.

“We'd be out there practicing and working, and there'd be questions coming up on how to pick up a certain blitz,” Edwards noted. “I noticed a lot of times [Reid] was helping the guard, the tackle or the center next to him, to make sure they understood what to do if there was some kind of stunt or whatever they did.

“I remember saying at the time that this guy's got an unusual feel and knowledge of the game.”

What stood out to Edwards is how Reid wanted to understand more than just his responsibilities.

1980 BYU football team photo. Enlarge photo

“He not only learned and knew what his assignment was, but also the reasons why and the concept of what you're trying to do,” Edwards recalled. “A lot of players didn't have that concept or ability, but Andy did. He had a feel for it.

“That's one of the things I admire most about him, and it made me think the more I was around him, the more I watched him, I realized this guy could be a very good coach."

I had a dream when I was a kid to write for Sports Illustrated, but it never worked out that way. It wasn't until just before my senior year that coach Edwards asked me if I had ever thought about coaching."

- Reid on his passion for writing

At the time, coaching wasn’t on Reid’s radar.

At different points in his life, he wanted to be a doctor, or even a writer—something he dabbled in during his time at BYU.

Reid had kept a journal since he was in 11th grade, and during a trip back from Hawaii with the football team at BYU, he was talking with one of the writers of the Provo Daily Herald about his passion for writing. He was minoring in English and the guy asked him if he’d be interested in writing a weekly column for the paper.

Reid agreed to do it.

“I wrote about our guys and had fun with it,” he explained. “It was kind of Jim Murray-ish (the legendary LA Times writer who often used humor and wit in his articles). I'm not going to tell you I was a great writer, but it was fun to do.

“I had a dream when I was a kid to write for Sports Illustrated, but it never worked out that way,” explained Reid, who would soon find his true calling. “It wasn't until just before my senior year that coach Edwards asked me if I had ever thought about coaching.”

That’s how it started.

A simple question followed by an offer.

The player who had made it a point to understand everyone’s responsibilities, not just his own, and would work with his teammates to make sure they understood what they were doing on any given play, would soon embark on a coaching career that has helped shape the lives of hundreds of others lucky enough to cross paths with him.

“I was very fortunate to play for him,” Reid said of Edwards. “He’s a tremendous human being and a big influence on me not only as a player, but even now as a coach.

“I talk to him once a week to this day.”

Reid became a graduate assistant football coach for BYU in 1982.

“He immediately stood out to me,” Mike Holmgren, who was responsible for the graduate assistants at the time, said of his first impression of Reid.

It was Holmgren’s first year at BYU after spending the previous three years coaching the quarterbacks at San Francisco State under the legendary Vic Rowen.

Before that, Holmgren had spent the previous 10 years coaching high school in the San Francisco area. Rowen had given him his first opportunity above the high school level.

“It was just his work ethic, his personality,” Holmgren added. “I think we just hit it off right away. I gave him more responsibility the more I knew him, and whenever I needed things done in my house or whatever, he’d always volunteer to come over, so we’d work together and we'd laugh together.”

Holmgren came to coach the quarterbacks at BYU, and he had a pretty good one to groom after they lost McMahon, who was the No. 5-overall pick in the 1982 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears.

McMahon would be a two-time Super Bowl champion during his 15-year NFL career.

The young quarterback Holmgren was there to help develop was a guy by the name of Steve Young, who would also go on to a pretty good football career.

The life of a traveling coach begins

Reid stayed at BYU as a grad assistant for just the one year in 1982, and his next opportunity would come through the help of Edwards.

“[Edwards] had hired Holmgren on the recommendation from Rowen,” Reid explained. “In return, a year later, it was like a trade out. 'I did you a favor, now you have to take this young guy that has no experience and do me a favor and hire him.'

“That's how I got to San Francisco State."

Every Tuesday and Thursday, the coaches would sell hot dogs to earn money for the football program. Andrew would sell hot dogs in the middle of the commons, you know, out in the middle of campus.”

- Tammy recalls their time at San Francisco State

Rowen and Edwards were both, at different times, presidents of the College Football Coaches Association. They were on the board together and had known each other forever.

The opportunity for Reid at San Francisco State was about learning how to coach—Rowen had a knack for developing coaches. It was a teachers college and the athletes were non-scholarship, so there wasn’t much pay and the coaches had to do a lot of different things to make ends meet.

“Every Tuesday and Thursday, the coaches would sell hot dogs to earn money for the football program,” Tammy recalled of that time. “Andrew would sell hot dogs in the middle of the commons, you know, out in the middle of campus.”

At the time they moved, Tammy and Andrew had one son, Garrett, but it wouldn’t be long before another son, Britt, came into the picture.

Their family would continue to grow with every new opportunity.

“I’d put the boys in the wagon and we’d walk over to campus and get hot dogs,” she recalled.

That money went to the football department, so there was still the matter of their own money that had to be made to make ends meet.

Reid was actually umpiring baseball games the night after Britt, his second son, was born.

“He couldn’t come visit me until he had umpired three games,” Tammy recalled. “They always started after dinner so he would make $10 or $15 a game and he did that as much as he could. I remember the night after Britt was born, he came in his gear, wearing the dark navy pants, the light blue shirt, the little pouch with the brush to wipe off the plate, the clicker and he came to see me the next night.

“I was just like, ‘Oh, my poor husband.’”

While money was scarce, that didn’t stop Reid from having his offensive linemen over once a week to watch film and study.

Each night they came over, Tammy would make Mississippi Mud Pie to feed them.

“We were super poor,” Tammy explained. “I can't even stress how much we did not have enough money to do this every week, but Andrew loved his guys and so I would have them over once a week and make it for them.”

He was only a few years older than the players he was coaching, but Reid felt like it was important to create a family atmosphere amongst his little faction of the team, so these weekly get-togethers were important to him.

One of the guys at that weekly get-together was Tom Melvin, who was his only senior offensive lineman on that team. Melvin is now the tight ends coach for the Chiefs.

Selling hot dogs, umpiring baseball games, in addition to being a coach—all of this was done because of his love for football.

With a wife, two young sons and a plethora of responsibilities, Reid knew it was important to take advantage of the time he had with Rowen because of all the sacrifices they were making.

“I've got this coach that's tougher than shoe leather, but he was a teacher of coaches,” Reid noted. “He'd have a banana, an onion bagel and a glass of water, and this was at 6 in the morning. He'd go 'If you were presented this defense right here, give me the top three runs and the top three throws you would do.'

“Then he had me explain to him how I would coach every player out there. He'd do this every day to me and just grill me. I was just out of college and he'd just grill me and grill me.”

This is how one of the greatest coaches in NFL history got indoctrinated in the coaching world.

At the crack of dawn every morning, Rowen, who would develop three NFL head coaches during his time at San Francisco State in Reid, Holmgren and Dirk Koetter, would make Reid explain how he would coach the techniques to every player on the field for multiple plays against multiple defenses.

Larry Kentera

It’s a process that worked, and while this may have been an early link in the chain of Reid’s Xs-and-Os development, the next opportunity would be helped along by an old friend—a pattern we’d continue to see, but was only made feasible through a determination unlike anything his next coach had ever seen.

“I knew LaVell Edwards really well,” said Larry Kentera, the longtime defensive coordinator at Arizona State.

At Arizona State, Kentera coached the likes of future NFL Hall of Famer and Kansas City Chiefs legend Curley Culp before eventually leaving for a head coaching position at Northern Arizona in 1985.

After three years grinding out a life financially at San Francisco State, Reid learned of an opportunity with Kentera at Northern Arizona, and he asked his old coach and the guy who got him started in coaching, Edwards, to put in a good word for him.

“[Edwards] gave [Reid] a high recommendation,” said Kentera.

Edwards made that call, but it wasn’t going to suffice for Reid. He wanted this job.

“I no sooner put the phone down with Lavell before it rings again,” Kentera recalled.

“Coach, this is Andy Reid. I want this job. I'm interested in this job.”

“I said, 'Andy, I'm in a hurry right now. I'm not going to do anything with the job until I get back from a recruiting trip. When I get back from Sacramento, I'll give you a call back.'

What happened next is a reason Reid is where he is today.

When I get to Sacramento, guess who was there waiting for me when I got off the plane? Andy Reid was standing right there. He said, 'Coach, I want that job.'"

- Kentera on Reid tying to get a job

“When I get to Sacramento, guess who was there waiting for me when I got off the plane?” Kentera explained. “Andy Reid was standing right there.”

“He said, 'Coach, I want that job.'”

Reid had found out what flight Kentera was on and made the two-hour drive from San Francisco to Sacramento to wait for him at the airport.

Kentera had no choice after that. Reid was his guy, although he did follow up with Edwards again just to be sure about a guy that would go to that kind of length to get a job.

It wasn’t just coach Reid moving for a new opportunity. Tammy and their two sons would obviously be affected by this life on the move.

“I’d never known a coach, I’d never been with a coach,” she explained. “I had no idea what our lives were going to be like. I was just a roll-with-the-punches kind of girl and I’m a bloom-where-you’re-planted kind of girl. So we’d move. I’d get everybody ready, I’d get the house ready, we’d sell the house, do whatever we needed to do, jump in the U-Haul, and we’d just move.

“It was just a part of life. You were so young that you didn’t even know that it was crazy, that what you were doing was crazy.”

The Northern Arizona University coaching staff. Enlarge photo

Reid had actually left immediately to begin working in Flagstaff after he accepted the job, which meant it was Tammy’s job to pack up the house and get everything their family owned to their new home in Arizona.

Luckily, she had help from one of Reid’s former players at San Francisco State and a guy he had brought on as a graduate assistant, Tom Melvin. Melvin helped her pack the house and actually drove the U-Haul with all of their family’s belongings to Arizona.

Reid would spend just one year at Northern Arizona, a school his brother, Reggie, attended for a short time, but that amount of time was long enough for Kentera to get an idea of the kind of coach and man Reid ultimately was.

“We had finished our spring ball that year and so I took all of the guys on the bus, we went out to the country, took a lot of drinks and all,” Kentera explained. “Once we got out there, Andy came over and sat by me and said, 'Coach, I don't drink.'

“I said, 'That's okay. I don't care whether you drink or not.'

“He said, 'You don't?'

“I said, 'Nope.'

“He said, 'You know I'm Mormon?'

I remember Dirk calling when we were in Flagstaff. I remember getting the call and saying, 'Dirk, you better not be calling about another job. We haven’t been here but one season.'"

- Tammy on Reid coaching at UTEP

“I said, 'Sure, I know you are. I respect you because you don't drink.'”

Reid’s Mormon faith has been an integral part of his life since he was baptized on August 2, 1980, as a junior at BYU.

It wouldn’t be long before another opportunity came calling.

Dirk Koetter had spent the 1985 season with Reid at San Francisco State as the offensive coordinator, and he had moved on to the University of Texas-El Paso when Reid had left for NAU.

UTEP was an option for Reid at that time as well, but he wasn’t interested.

“I said it’s a graveyard for coaches,” Reid admitted. “I said that and so I went to Northern Arizona. I didn't even want to talk to them.”

Then he got a phone call from an old friend a year later.

“I remember Dirk calling when we were in Flagstaff,” Tammy recalled. “I remember getting the call and saying, ‘Dirk, you better not be calling about another job. We haven’t been here but one season.’

“And he’s like, ‘Just let me talk to Andy, Tam.’

“Sure enough, it was for a job, and that’s why we only lived in Flagstaff for 11 months, 23 days. I don’t know if I’ll ever forget that call. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, we just bought a house. We’re settled. We have kids. It’s great here.’

“But, you’ve got to move on.”

Reid said the difference for him on UTEP this time around was that Edwards, who was in the same conference as UTEP—the WAC, told him the new coach there, Bob Stull, was doing good things with the program.

So Reid went to interview with UTEP, and after meeting with Stull, Koetter and company, was taken out to lunch by their young strength and conditioning coach, a guy by the name of Dave Toub.

Dave Toub and Andy Reid while coaching at UTEP.

DAVE TOUB'S LONGFORM

Koetter is now the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Reid ultimately got the job and left a good situation at Northern Arizona, where he was working with Kentera, Melvin and an offensive coordinator named Brad Childress. Their paths would cross again.

The new offensive line coach after Reid left was Bill Callahan, who is currently the offensive line coach for the Washington Redskins. Within the few years after Reid left NAU, Marty Mornhinweg and Darrell Bevell would also be a part of the program.

Mornhinweg is currently the quarterbacks coach with the Baltimore Ravens, while Bevell, who played at NAU in 1989, is the offensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks.

It’s an impressive group of coaches to have worked at NAU all around the same time.

“I was just fortunate enough to get these guys together,” Kentera explained. “They all went on to bigger things and all, and the reason they got to where they did was because they were that good."

Reid would spend two years at UTEP working under Stull as their offensive line coach.

During that time, Stull noticed how well Reid could manage his players—something that would be a common trait described of the former offensive lineman.

UTEP coaching staff. Enlarge photo

“He had a way that you always knew he was on your side,” Stull explained. “He’d get on you, but you knew you probably deserved it. He was never a yeller, a screamer or harsh like that, but he’d get on you pretty good if you weren’t doing the right effort and learning what you’re supposed to be learning. The offensive line guys really liked him a lot because, again, he was a great teacher. He wouldn’t let you get away with anything.

“He worked them hard, but he could also laugh. He could see something funny, they could make fun of him about something and he was all right with that. He had a really good sense about him like that.”

In two years at UTEP, team went a combined 17-7 and picked up their first 10-win season in 1988, a year that ended with an Independence Bowl loss to Southern Miss and their young playmaking quarterback—Brett Favre. But soon, the Reid family was on the move again after Stull accepted the head coaching position at the University of Missouri.

The family had grown by one more while they were in El Paso as their first daughter, Crosby, was born.

Reid's headshot from Mizzou.

Koetter was actually offered the head coaching position at UTEP after Stull had accepted the job at Mizzou and wanted Reid to stay with him in Texas, but Koetter ultimately declined the job and they both ended up heading to Columbia with Stull.

Reid would spend the next three years coaching the offensive line at Mizzou.

“It was an opportunity to coach in an awesome conference—the Big Eight,” Reid explained. “You’re talking about when Oklahoma and Nebraska were at their peak. Colorado was one of the best teams in the country.”

He was on the sidelines for the infamous “fifth-down” game, in which the University of Colorado and their star running back Eric Bieniemy would be given an extra down with just seconds remaining because of an official’s mistake.

The extra down gave the Buffaloes another chance to score, which they did.

“Eric Bieniemy cheated,” Reid laughingly said about the game.

Bieniemy went on to finish third in the Heisman Trophy balloting that year. He’s currently the running backs coach for the Chiefs.

After three seasons in Columbia, Reid would once again get a call from an old friend about an opportunity.

This time it brought back a conversation Tammy remembered having during a dinner they had years before when they were at BYU.

“We went to dinner at Mike’s and he asked Andy, ‘If I ever get a head coaching job, would you want to come with me?’

“And [Reid was] like, ‘Sure!’”

Well, it happened. Mike Holmgren had just been hired as the new head coach of the Green Bay Packers.

“When I got the Packers job, I phoned Andy first,” Holmgren recalled. “I said, ‘You’re going to be coaching tight ends. You’re going from coaching 10 or 12 guys, down to coaching probably three.’”

Mike Holmgren and Andy Reid during Green Bay Packers vs. Oakland Raiders on August 8, 1997.

The NFL wasn’t on Reid’s radar at the time.

While he had spent a lot of time during the offseason those years at Mizzou driving to Kansas City to talk with Howard Mudd, the offensive line coach with the Chiefs, it wasn’t about finding a way to the NFL. It was about learning as much as he could to develop his guys back at Mizzou.

"I never had that goal,” Reid explained of the NFL. “I know people say that. You'd love to have that opportunity, but I was always big on breaking it down to the things I controlled and not worrying about the things I couldn't control. That's the way you're raised as a lineman I think.

This was a hard decision. We were building something at Missouri, then you leave and you feel like [you're] divorcing the team. It was the first time I had felt that way."

- Reid on leaving the Universiy of Missouri

“So I figured if I worked hard and I kept my nose clean, good things would happen.”

Initially, Reid was skeptical about coaching tight ends. He had been coaching offensive line at the collegiate level for the past 10 years.

“When I was at UTEP and we moved to Missouri, there were a lot of seniors, so they were kind of moving on with us, but this was a different deal. None of the coaches were going with me.”

Their fourth child, another daughter, Drew-Ann, was born when they were in Columbia.

At the time the Green Bay offer came along, Tammy was also six months pregnant with their fifth child and third son, Spencer.

All these years coaching and the NFL had never been the goal.

Then, all of the sudden, from selling hot dogs to driving to meet strangers in airports for coaching jobs, it had all come to this—Reid was now an NFL coach.

He had reached the highest level of football in the world, and he was just getting started.

''He just ate all of the saltine crackers.''

Mike Holmgren during his time in San Francisco.

In his first year as a head coach at any level, Holmgren, who had spent the previous six years with the San Francisco 49ers as quarterbacks coach (1986-88) and then offensive coordinator (1989-91), put together one of the best coaching staffs in NFL history.

In 1992, the Packers had five future NFL head coaches on staff in Reid, Jon Gruden, Dick Jauron, Ray Rhodes and Steve Mariucci. They combined to win more than 550 games in the NFL.

It was an exciting time for a group of young, talented coaches.

“I love football and had a lot to prove,” Gruden explained of that time. “Andy had a lot of love for the game and a lot to prove, too. It was all so exciting being in the NFL at a young age, being with Mike Holmgren—the Green Bay Packers—having a chance to show we belonged.”

The talent and passion they had for the game manifested itself into numerous competitions between Gruden, Reid, Mariucci and company.

“In our staff meetings, you could throw out ideas on the table, and if it was a good idea, I'd stick it in the game plan,” Holmgren explained, “and so, what I didn’t realize is they kept track of that. They'd go back and give a hard time to each other about that.”

Gruden remembers these times vividly.

“It became a competition between us young guys to see who could come up with the next great play,” he explained. “We wanted to impress Mike Holmgren. We wanted him to trust our research and to put that play in the game plan.”

It became a competition between us young guys to see who could come up with the next great play. We wanted to impress Mike Holmgren. We wanted him to trust our research and to put that play in the game plan."

- Gruden on working under Holmgren

“I was oblivious to it, which is kind of funny, actually,” Holmgren said laughingly, “but that's one of the things that made the staff great because they were bright guys and they cared a lot.”

After five straight winning seasons and a Super Bowl championship in 1996, Holmgren was put to the test of how much he valued Reid being on his staff.

In 1997, Mariucci was offered the head coaching position with the San Francisco 49ers, and he wanted Reid to be his offensive coordinator.

“I said no,” Holmgren noted. “I blocked it and said, ‘Look, I need you. I can’t let you go.’”

At the time, the NFL allowed you to protect or stop one coach from leaving your staff.

“Andy was upset about it and I don’t blame him,” Holmgren, who was receiving numerous calls at the time from everyone in San Francisco about letting Reid join them, recalled.

Holmgren then made a promise to Reid that he’d help him get a head coaching position and that he’d be coaching the quarterbacks that next season in Green Bay.

“I moved a really good offensive line coach to coach tight ends, then quarterbacks and Brett Favre, specifically,” Holmgren noted. “That’s quite a jump. That’s not easy to do.”

Reid had initially made the move to tight ends to learn more about the passing game, and now he was coaching a player who would go on to become one of the greatest passers in NFL history.

It caught the attention of the Packers director of college scouting at the time, a guy by the name of John Dorsey.

“As coach Holmgren was shifting him around and through the process, I just watched him grow,” Dorsey noted. “You just saw his ability to handle players and knew this guy was pretty special.”

Much like Kentera, Stull and everyone had always said about him before, Reid had just the right temperament to be a good teacher—regardless of the position he was coaching.

Andy Reid, Mike Holmgren and Brett Farve

“Most of the time, Andy had a clear head and I was the emotional one,” Holmgren noted. “He would have to get in the middle between me and Favre, and he would kind of take a bullet for him. Sometimes I'd lay it on Andy and I'd come down hard on him, but that was kind of the role of a quarterback coach.

“Whether it was Mariucci or Reid, instead of going after the player, sometimes I would go after the coach, and the player would feel bad and then look out for him.”

It was the way Holmgren ran his ship, and with more than 170 career wins, it obviously worked. They were special relationships he had with his assistant coaches, but the one with Andy was always strong—dating back to their time together at BYU.

We're both big guys. We both have mustaches. Every once in a while, somebody will come up and mistake me for Andy in the airport, or they would do the same thing and come up and ask him for an autograph thinking it was me. So Andy once told me, sometimes [if things were going well], I'd just sign your name."

- Holmgren on Andy Reid

“They were like sons to me,” Holmgren, who has four daughters, said, “but Andy, I don’t know, we just hit it off. It was just a friendship. I was his boss, but I hope he would say it was a friendship—that’s the way I wanted it to be.”

It’s not hard to see the resemblance between the two either.

“We're both big guys,” Holmgren laughed. “We both have mustaches. Every once in a while, somebody will come up and mistake me for Andy in the airport, or they would do the same thing and come up and ask him for an autograph thinking it was me.

“So Andy once told me, sometimes [if things were going well], I'd just sign your name.”

Obviously, this was a friendship Reid cherished as well.

“He told me that everything that I've ever said he has written down,” Holmgren said. “He had taken notes on everything I've ever said. When I worked for Bill Walsh, I took very, very clear notes, but Andy I think took it to the next level.”

Those notes, along with all the others he had taken dating back to his days at San Francisco State, put him in position to be ready for a head coaching position when one might eventually become available, something Holmgren had already said he’d helped Reid with when the day came.

After the 1998 season, Holmgren interviewed with the Seattle Seahawks for a position that, in addition to being their head coach, would include more responsibility on the personnel side.

“When I interviewed for the Seattle job, I was also going to come back and interview with the Eagles,” Holmgren explained. “I phoned (Eagles owner) Jeffery Lurie and said listen, I’m scheduled for the interview, but I'm staying in Seattle, I’m sorry, thank you for everything.

“But here's who you have to hire—you have to hire Andy Reid.”

Lurie listened, and for the first time in 10 years, an NFL head coach was hired after working as a positional coach, not a coordinator.

Over the next 14 years, under Reid’s watch, the Eagles went to the playoffs nine times, won six division titles and travelled to five NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl.

Doug Pederson, who had spent the previous three years with Holmgren and Reid in Green Bay as a backup to Favre, had the opportunity to play for both in 1999.

Doug Pederson speaks with the media after he was introduced as the Philadelphia Eagles new head coach.

DOUG PEDERSON'S LONGFORM

Holmgren had a place for him in Seattle and Reid had one in Philadelphia.

Pederson ultimately chose Philadelphia, and he’d learn under Reid, both as a player and later as a coach for eight years, before getting his big opportunity after the 2015 season, serendipitously, in Philadelphia as their new head coach.

“He always kept those spiral notebooks,” Pederson noted of Reid. “It’s something I learned to do, document your history. He just had volumes of that stuff going back to his early days in coaching. If it’s a scheduling issue, like around Thanksgiving or Christmas, he’ll look back at what they did three or four years ago in a similar situation and know what to do.”

These notes also included practice schedules, Super Bowl itineraries, bye-week schedules and draft philosophies.

He was meticulously organized.

“When you think of him, [you think of] consistency, reliability, hard work and a genuine care about the details,” Gruden noted. “You know, as a player, as a secretary, as an offensive coordinator—how we're going to set this drill up. Just meticulous detail and maniacal preparation, along with genuine heart. If you did a bad job, he knew how to deal with you and say the right thing.

“That goes right back to those days at Green Bay, being in there at 3:30 in the morning. He just ate all of the saltine crackers.”

''He had a clear vision for how he liked to operate''

After 14 years in Philadelphia and just three losing seasons, Reid was fired by the Eagles on Monday, December 31, 2012.

It was the first time in his 30 years of coaching that he had been fired from a job.

Just two days later, the Chiefs, who had just moved on from their head coach, Romeo Crennel, on that Monday as well, made it their mission to bring Reid to Kansas City.

Not only did Clark [Hunt] come, but he brought everybody with him. It was like the whole front office of the Kansas City Chiefs parked in this private plane area meeting room they had set up. So I got to meet everybody."

- Reid on the Chiefs interview

They flew to Philadelphia Tuesday night and scheduled an interview with Reid that was to last three to four hours on Wednesday at the airport in Philadelphia.

“Not only did Clark [Hunt] come, but he brought everybody with him,” Reid recalled of that interview. “It was like the whole front office of the Kansas City Chiefs parked in this private plane area meeting room they had set up. So I got to meet everybody.”

Reid recalled his first impression of Hunt at that meeting.

“He was very aggressive,” Reid recalled. “He wanted to find out first if I still wanted to coach. Once he found that out and felt comfortable, he made sure that we covered every base.”

The Reid family had been through a lot over the previous year, and after 30 years of grinding it out day after day, there was an obvious question as to whether or not he was going to want to take some time to step back and breathe.

“What stood out to me right away was his energy and passion for coaching,” Hunt recalled. “I thought he might be ready to take a break, but I could tell from the start that he was ready to go, and we clicked almost immediately.

“I could tell in the interview that he had a clear vision for how he liked to operate, and I think that comes from experience, obviously, but I also think that’s just his personality. He communicates very well, is highly intelligent and an excellent teacher.”

What was supposed to be a three to four-hour interview all of the sudden turned into a nine-hour conversation, which put Tammy, who was waiting at home, in a strange position when a limo showed up to take Reid to the airport to fly out for an interview with another team.

“I’m sitting there and all of a sudden I look out the door and there’s a limo driver,” Tammy recalled. “I walk out there and I go, ‘What are you doing?’

“He said, ‘I’m here to pick up Andy Reid.’

“This is hours after he left, so I’m calling him, texting him and I’m getting nothing. I didn’t know what to do so I called (his agent) Bob LaMonte, and Bob said, ‘He’s not going on that interview. Tell the guy to just go.’

“I said, ‘Really?’ And he goes, ‘Yeah.’”

Reid came home from the interview and talked everything over with Tammy, and ultimately, they decided that Kansas City was the right place for them.

It’s a decision that has profoundly affected the Chiefs franchise.

Reid was announced as the new head coach of the Chiefs on January 4, 2013, and just a week later, his good friend from the Packers, John Dorsey, was hired as the general manager.

Andy Reid signs his contract with the Chiefs.

In the three years that Dorsey, Reid and company have guided the franchise, the Chiefs have put together three straight winning seasons and have had two playoff berths, including the team’s first playoff win in more than two decades. Together they have helped establish a winning culture within the entire organization.

For Reid, the ability to have made this transformation started with the leadership at the top.

“I love the Hunts, the entire family and the way they go about their business,” Reid said. “I love Clark’s leadership ability. He had big shoes to fill and I think he’s progressed and taken this to another level in today’s National Football League.

“He’s a brilliant person. He’s got a great mind and he’s going to shoot you straight.”

In the six years before Reid arrived in Kansas City, the Chiefs had won a total of 29 regular season games. In the last three years—half of that time—Reid has led the Chiefs to 31 wins.

It can’t be shot any straighter than that.

One of the reasons for that has been because of the play of quarterback Alex Smith, who came over via trade with the San Francisco 49ers as one of Dorsey and Reid’s first moves after arriving in Kansas City.

Alex Smith

From their very first conversation, Smith knew it was going to be a good fit with Reid and the Chiefs.

“He asked me if I knew what a ‘22 Z in’ was,” described Smith.

The play is a staple of the West Coast offense, and Smith knew exactly what it was.

It signified what their relationship would become over the next three years—a symbiotic pairing of two great football minds.

Smith has thrived under Reid over the past three years, putting up the best numbers of his career and leading the team through a tough start to the 2015 season.

While many people on the outside were doubting the team after a 1-5 start, Reid wouldn’t let anyone in that locker room think outside of what they could control.

It’s how he’s approached everything in his life, and it was going to be what ultimately got them to where they wanted to be.

At home, Reid had the unwavering support of Tammy, who had learned long ago while sitting with her boyfriend’s parents at the Holiday Bowl in San Diego, to never doubt that a comeback is possible, regardless of how bleak it might look.

Even when we were 1-5, I was like, 'Everyone needs to calm down. Andrew can do this. He'll figure out a way.'"

- Tammy on the 2015 season

“Maybe people don’t know this about me but I’m a very positive person and I have the ultimate trust in Andrew as a coach,” she mentioned. “We’ve been through 34 years of coaching and so I never don’t think we’re going to win.

“Even when we were 1-5, I was like, ‘Everyone needs to calm down. Andrew can do this. He’ll figure out a way.’”

The unflappable and even-tempered coach did figure out a way, and in doing so, received the praise of an old friend and mentor for what he was able to help achieve.

“I just told him how proud I was of him and what he did this year,” Holmgren said of reaching out to Reid via text after the season, “and that extends to when I was still coaching too. We would play a game against his team and I'd look across the field, and of course we're in a battle that day and we're competing like crazy against each other.

“But also, I just had a great sense of pride about the guys that worked with me and how good they were.”

Reid’s 172 career wins as a head coach put him at No. 15 on the NFL’s all-time list, just two shy of tying Holmgren.

''He never forgot where he came from''

It’s been a life of football.

"I owe a lot to the sport,” Reid explained. “How many guys get to start playing football when they’re 5 years old and then continue that as a profession now when they're 57 years old? It's crazy to think about that and all the people I've had the opportunity and privilege to meet in between.

“I've been so lucky all the way through this whole deal."

While much of what Reid gets credit for on the outside is explained through a final standings sheet or a box score on a Monday morning, the things he’s done for his players and his staff off the field and the respect they have for him can’t ever be quantified.

It’s something that goes beyond the field and something that’s real.

Eric Berry’s now-famous “Fear nothing, attack everything” slogan was something Reid had said, and it became the rallying cry for the best story in all of sports over the past year.

The things he’s done for his staff members, going out of his way to help them in different matters, might never make headlines or see the light of day, but will be remembered forever by those he helped because of his sincerity in helping them for the right reasons.

It’s a side of him that most will never know, and it’s how he’ll be remembered by those who do know Reid the person, not just the guy who stands in front of the cameras and answers questions about football.

There’s a depth and genuineness there that only those who have known him the longest can truly appreciate. They know where he came from, how hard he worked, how he treated those before he was Andy Reid, the NFL coach, and how he still values those relationships to this day.

I had great high school coaches. They were phenomenal and they cared about the kids like no other. Now that I've raised kids and I've been around more, I see this because I thought it was this way for everybody, and it's not. I still talk to my basketball coach, my football coaches—I talk to all these guys from high school. Half of them raised me; half of them were in my brother's class. They saw me as a baby."

- Reid on his childhood influences

He is the man he is today because of the people he looked up to as a kid, and outside of his parents and older brother, those were his coaches.

“I had great high school coaches,” Reid explained. “They were phenomenal and they cared about the kids like no other. Now that I've raised kids and I've been around more, I see this because I thought it was this way for everybody, and it's not.

“I still talk to my basketball coach, my football coaches—I talk to all these guys from high school. Half of them raised me; half of them were in my brother's class. They saw me as a baby.”

Maintaining those relationships keeps him grounded and allows him to never lose sight of how he got to where he is today.

“One of the things we’ve always said about Andy that is so hard to find, is that Andy never forgot where he came from,” Kiwan, who has known Reid longer than most, said. “He maintains his relationships with the guys he played with in high school and even his old coaches.

“It’s something that you just don’t find with someone in his position. You just don’t find that.”

His position is one of the best coaches in the league right now, and when it’s all said and done, probably NFL history. Currently, only 14 head coaches have ever stood on an NFL sideline and shook hands victoriously more after a game than Reid.

With another 11-win season in 2016, Reid would enter the top 10 in all-time wins.

He’s already in rare company, but it’s the way he’s done it that has earned him respect across the league among his peers.

A few years ago, Reid made his way back to John Marshall High School as he was inducted into their Hall of Fame. In the trophy case, there is the Andy Reid Trophy, given to the school’s best offensive lineman each year.

That school is part of his foundation—a building block of the man he is today.

Britt Reid

The field at John Marshall High School was a stone’s throw away from his house, and it didn’t take much convincing for Reid and his friends to hop that 15-foot fence and to play on what used to be a mostly dirt field (before they became sophomores and played on it for real).

Now, his kids don’t have to hop a fence to find a field to help lay their own foundations.

His son, Britt, who was born in San Francisco when Reid was out selling hot dogs to make ends meet, works as an assistant defensive line coach for the Chiefs.

"I think that it's awesome that he has an opportunity to learn from great coaches,” Reid said of Britt. “Tommy Brasher, Bob Sutton, Gary (Gibbs) and Emmitt (Thomas), these are coaches that have been around the profession, so for a young guy getting into coaching, what great examples here that he's been lucky enough to be surrounded by."

Reid’s other son, Spencer, who’s currently a student at the University of Utah, was able to be with his dad on the sideline for the playoff win in Houston.

“Just to see your husband next to your sons, it’s awesome,” Tammy said. “All the pictures we have of them hugging after games, just to know that they’re with their dad and that they get to share this joy together. It’s emotional.”

For Tammy, the life of a coach’s wife isn’t easy, but it’s one that she has loved since her husband accepted that first job in San Francisco.

“I’m the head coach of our family,” she explained. “Even though he is the patriarch and does all these great things for our family, I kind of run everything when he’s not around. I let him know where he’s needed and what’s going on with the kids.

We love it here. The people are so nice and kind and happy and respectful. I just love the values and the morals of the Midwest. Andrew isn’t able to be out in the community like I am because he's working so much, but I'm just out in the grocery store having a great time talking to people in line."

- Tammy on living in Kansas City

“I also try and take care of him.”

After seven stops in this journey, from the West Coast to the Midwest to the East Coast and back, the Reids have enjoyed the last three years in Kansas City.

“We love it here,” she explained. “The people are so nice and kind and happy and respectful. I just love the values and the morals of the Midwest. Andrew isn’t able to be out in the community like I am because he’s working so much, but I’m just out in the grocery store having a great time talking to people in line.”

It’s a balance they have figured out together.

“It’s not just the time he spends working,” Tammy explained of what drives her husband. “It’s how much he cares about his players and the team and doing everything in his power to help them be successful.”

The man known for his work ethic, sincerity and staying true to his roots, often seen in Tommy Bahama Hawaiian shirts, has proven that in a cutthroat business like the NFL, relationships and how you treat people ultimately matters.

"I love the fact that of all the coaching jobs that I ever had, I'm talking from college to the NFL, I’ve been able to spend more time with my family coaching for him than anyone I’ve ever worked for,” the assistant head coach and receivers coach, David Culley, said of Reid. “It’s important to him.”

The only thing that would ever trump his love for football is the love for family, and that extends to those he works with.

“He's a very Christian-type man and he cares about people,” Holmgren said. “If you’ve bumped into him somewhere along the way, or created a friendship with him, it stays forever.”

It’s a life bred of a deep love for the game of football, the respect of those who have come before him and a love for those who helped him along the way.

“He's a historian,” Dorsey added. “I bet you he's got his very first playbook from BYU. He's got playbooks upon playbooks—the depth, the knowledge, he has all of that, but at the end of the day, he's got a good heart.

“He's a good man, and to me, that spells it all.”