College football's winningest coach retires


College football's winningest coach retires

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) John Gagliardi put sleepy little Collegeville, Minn., on the national college football map with a style all his own.

After 60 years at Division III St. John's, four national titles and more victories than any coach in NCAA history, Gagliardi is calling it a career at the tender age of 86.

``It's unbelievable that I could make a living with a career in a game that is so popular and is such a huge business,'' Gagliardi said Monday after announcing his retirement. ``To be a small part of that has just been wonderful.''

He played a much larger role than he lets on, shirking the conventions of the stereotypical overbearing college coach. More teddy bear than Bear Bryant, Gagliardi banned whistles, tackling and, essentially, bad weather during practice.

If the notoriously thick swarms of central Minnesota mosquitos were out for blood, the coach who only responded to ``John'' simply called it a day.

``It was working,'' Gagliardi said. ``So I figured I'll keep doing it.''

Gagliardi started coaching college players in 1949 and spent the past six decades at the private school in central Minnesota. He retires with a record of 489-138-11 and surpassed Eddie Robinson for the career coaching victories record in 2003.

To think of St. John's without Gagliardi in these parts is like trying to think of Duke without Coach K, the Rolling Stones without Mick Jagger, peanut butter without jelly.

``I can't imagine St. John's football without John Gagliardi on the sideline,'' said Tom Linneman, a Johnnies quarterback from 1996-2000. ``I don't know what that looks like. And there are very few people alive that do know what it looks like.''

The seemingly carefree approach in a sport that seems to demand so much more certainly didn't hold the Johnnies back once the games started. He won national titles in 1963, 1965, 1976 and 2003 and had managed to maintain the high expectations late into his tenure.

The Johnnies lost three games or fewer 13 straight seasons, from 1998-2010, and went undefeated in the MIAC five times in that span. But they had stumbled in the last two seasons, going 11-9 and getting dominated by rival St. Thomas both years.

``Nobody ever said that getting older was easy,'' Gagliardi said. ``I just can't do the job at the level I used to anymore.''

Gagliardi's coaching career began in 1943 when he was just 16. His high school coach at Trinidad Catholic in Colorado was drafted for World War II and Gagliardi, a team captain, took over and wound up coaching there and at St. Mary's High School in Colorado Springs for six years.

In 1949, he got his first college gig at Carroll College in Helena, Mont., leading the team to three conference titles in four seasons. He took the reins at St. John's in 1953, and piled up 27 conference titles, often upsetting his competition with a penchant for running up the score on overmatched opponents. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006; since 1993, the outstanding Division III player of the year has taken home the Gagliardi Trophy.

``Arguably, John Gagliardi has impacted the lives of as many young men as any individual in the history of Saint John's University,'' school President Michael Hemesath said. ``His legacy of educating young men at Saint John's is one that any coach or professor would envy.''

His retirement even drew praise from the White House with press secretary Jay Carney lauding Gagliardi's career and unique approach to the job.

``Even as his time on the gridiron comes to a close, Gagliardi's genuine concern for players as scholar athletes and human beings will ensure that his influence will be felt for years to come,'' the statement read.

``Maybe I ought to change my vote,'' Gagliardi quipped.

Gagliardi's 64 years were the most in college football coaching history, surpassing the record of 57 years held by former University of Chicago and University of the Pacific coach Amos Alonzo Stagg.

Linneman said Gagliardi's trust in his players - he lets his quarterback call his own plays - is what endeared the coach to his pupils more than the easy-going nature in practice or resistance to calisthenics.

``I can talk to a guy who graduated in 1953 and we can have a mutually agreeable conversation because we have the same stories,'' Linneman said. ``That's amazing. You have 60 years of football players tied together by playing for the same coach. There's not a fraternity like Johnnies football.''

On the quiet campus 80 miles northwest of Minneapolis, the bookstore sells T-shirts with pictures of Gagliardi throughout his coaching career and the word ``Legend.'' There is no statue of Gagliardi on St. John's campus, which is nestled amid prairies, lakes and forest and encloses an abbey. Yet.

Gagliardi will remain on the staff until his contract expires June 30, 2013. The search process for his replacement begins immediately.

And Gagliardi has a search of his own to begin. He said he doesn't know what he's going to do without the job that has in many ways defined him for three quarters of his life.

``It's unchartered territory for me,'' Gagliardi said. ``Who knows what I'm going to face?''

He is looking forward to getting up in the stands at Clemens Stadium to see the view he's been missing all these years.

``I'll get up there and know everything,'' he deadpanned, ``just like the fans always seem to do.''


Associated Press Writer Amy Forliti contributed to this report.

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Oklahoma star freshman Trae Young to enter NBA Draft

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Oklahoma star freshman Trae Young to enter NBA Draft

After a sensational freshman season at the University of Oklahoma, point guard Trae Young plans to enter the 2018 NBA Draft, according to a report by ESPN.

Young will be one of the most fascinating prospects in this class given the extreme highs and lows of his one college season. He vaulted into the top 10 in most mock drafts after beginning his freshman year on fire, but then began to slip over the final months as his shooting percentage dropped.


Right now the Wizards are lined up to be in the late teens, so it's unlikely he falls to their range. But at this point it's difficult to predict where he will go, whether that is top five or later in the lottery.

It really could go either way. Some teams may see him as a Steph Curry-like scorer who can hit shots from unusually deep range. There were certainly times where Young backed up those comparisons.

Teams could see his flaws as a result of opposing defenses honing in on him because they could at the college level. In the NBA he may have more space and therefore be able to play to his strengths.


Or, teams could look at the fact he shot 36.1 percent from three on a whopping 10.2 attempts per game as a sign he is a chucker. He also led the nation in turnovers, commiting 24 more than the next guy. Young averaged 5.2 giveaways per game.

While Curry is the best-case scenario, Jimmer Fredette may be the worst-case. Fredette was the 10th overall pick in 2011 and now plays in China. 

Young will be an intriguing prospect in the draft because the ceiling is high and the basement is low. 

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Redskins bring in another defensive lineman for free agency visit, per source


Redskins bring in another defensive lineman for free agency visit, per source

The Redskins hosted Sylvester Williams for a free agency visit on Tuesday morning, per a source with knowledge of the situation. 

Williams played in 2017 with the Titans, logging 20 tackles in 11 starts. Tennessee released Williams this offseason, just one year into a three-year, $16 million deal. 

Drafted in the first round by the Broncos in 2013, the 6-foot-3, 313 lbs. Williams' stat line has never really popped. That isn't uncommon for a nose tackle though, as the job is less about tackles than it is holding leverage against the interior of an offensive line. 


Should the Redskins sign 29-year-old Williams, it would represent the first true nose tackle free agency addition since Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton joined the team in 2015 from Denver. In an ironic twist, Williams took over at nose in Denver when Knighton left for Washington, and posted his best season as a Bronco. 

Washington restructured its deal with Terrell McClain, reported first by ESPN, which could allow more flexibility to add another defensive lineman. That could come in the draft, but the club has been very active talking with free agents to play on the defensive front. 

On Monday, Johnathan Hankins and Pernell McPhee visited with Redskins officials in Ashburn. Hankins would carry the heaviest price tag, but his past performance would also indicate the most promise. 

McPhee is an edge rusher with enough bulk to play against the run as well. Williams compares more with Hankins, and could be seen as the secondary option.

Among 79 nose tackles Pro Football Focus graded, Williams ranked 36th. For comparison, Bengals star Geno Atkins ranked No. 1, Dontari Poe ranked 26th, former Redskin Chris Baker ranked 65th and current Redskin Ziggy Hood ranked 79th. 

It's also worth noting that since the Titans released Williams, should the Redskins sign the nose tackle, his contract would not count towards the NFL compensatory pick formula. 

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