On Saturday March, 7, the son and 4 grandchildren of John Gagliardi (the winningest coach in College Football history) visited The College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience. Coach Gagliardi got his start in In 1949, at Carroll College in Helena, Montana, leading the team to three conference titles in four seasons. He then took the reins at St. John’s University in St. Cloud, Minnesota. There he piled up 27 conference titles and National Championships in 1963, 1965, 1976 and 2003.
Attending the Hall were John’s sone Jim Gagliardi, and his grandchildren Billy (21), Rachel (18), Vinny (13), and Jack (8). Jim has been following in his father’s footsteps and has been coaching for 25 years. He is the current offensive coordinator for St. John’s University. Billy is currently a receiver at St. John’s.
Gagliardi was unlike any other coach. He won with a collection of “No’s.” No players calling him “Coach.” No cutting a player from his team. No lifting weights. No whistles at practice. No hitting at practice, and practice never lasted more than 90 minutes. He began coaching at the age of 16 when his high school coach was called into service during World War II. While at St. John’s he also coached the hockey team for a number of seasons.
In 1993, a Division III Player of the Year award was created in his honor. The Gagliardi Trophy has become the Heisman Trophy of Division III football.
He retired in 2012 after 64 years and amassing 489 wins and a 77.5% winning percentage. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.