Coryell Enters College Football Hall of Fame Tomorrow
Aug. 12, 1999
SAN DIEGO - In 1961, San Diego State College director of athletics Bill Terry hired a little-known assistant from USC to take over as head football coach of the Aztec football team. Twelve years later, Donald David Coryell left Montezuma Mesa for the National Football League, having made an indelible impact upon the San Diego State community and, maybe most importantly, on college football.
There are many reasons why the College Football Hall of Fame voted Don Coryell into its hallowed membership last spring.
In the first place, Coryell, who had previously been a head coach at Whittier College, was a winner throughout his career. At San Diego State, he compiled an astounding 104-19-2 record, capturing two national college division championships along the way. During his dozen seasons at SDSU, the team posted winning streaks of 31 and 25 games and in only one season did the squad lose more than twice. In 1966 and 1969, the Aztecs completed unbeaten and untied campaigns. San Diego State secured three bowl victories during Coryell's tenure.
It was Coryell who was the driving force in San Diego State's efforts to move from an NCAA college division (Division II) to a university division (Division I) program, a move that was brought to fruition in 1969.
Apart from his record or the 42 players who were drafted by the NFL during his tenure, Coryell had his greatest impact in bringing the modern passing game to college football. He was the first collegiate coach to make the commitment to the forward pass as the base component of an offensive scheme and use it as the means to be successful. Coryell's "passing tree", with numerically assigned routes, simplified the teaching aspect of his system in coordinating pass patterns for quarterbacks and receivers.
He went on to coach for nine years in the NFL (st. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Chargers) and remains the only coach to win 100 games at both the collegiate and professional levels.
Don Coryell will be formally inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in cermonies taking place at the Hall itself in South Bend, Indiana on August 12 and 13th. The Aztecs will give recognition to him at the school's Homecoming game vs. New Mexico on Oct. 9, 1999.