Former Husky defensive back (1949-1951) passed away yesterday at the ripe old age of 85. Coryell coached at San Diego State producing three undefeated seasons before being named head coach of the St Louis Cardinals in 1973. He moved on to the the San Diego Chargers in 1978 staying until 1986.
His legacy will always be tied to record setting Charger QB Dan Fouts and his offense which was dubbed Air Coryell. Don Coryell was the first coach ever to win more than 100 games at both the collegiate and professional level. He is a member of the college hall of fame and has been a finalist for years in NFL hall of fame voting.
Don is the father of the modern passing game. People talk about what is now called the West Coast Offense, but Don started the "West Coast Offense" decades ago and kept updating it. You look around the NFL now, and so many teams are running a version of the Coryell offense. Coaches have added their own touches, but it's still Coryell's offense. He changed the game.
Coryell was once thought to be the probable successor to Jim Owens at Washington and it came close to happening in the late 1960's when racial issues began tearing apart the football program. Owens held on and retired after the 1974 season. Coryell was no longer available after being named head coach of the St Louis Cardinals the year before...sort of reminds you of Jim Mora Jr doesn't it?
Coryell, who was named the NFL and NFC Coach of the Year in 1974 and the AFC Coach of the Year in 1979, and posted an overall record of 114-89-1.