John Gagliardi

Last updated
John Gagliardi
Sport(s) Football, ice hockey, basketball
Biographical details
Born(1926-11-01)November 1, 1926
Trinidad, Colorado
DiedOctober 7, 2018(2018-10-07) (aged 91)
Collegeville, Minnesota
Alma mater Colorado College
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1949–1952 Carroll (MT)
1953–2012 Saint John's (MN)
Ice hockey
1954–1959 Saint John's (MN)
1949–1953 Carroll (MT)
Head coaching record
Overall489–138–11 (college football)
42–25–1 (college ice hockey)
Tournaments4–1 (NAIA playoffs)
34–18 (NCAA D-III playoffs)
Accomplishments and honors
2 NAIA (1963, 1965)
2 NCAA Division III (1976, 2003)
3 MCC (1950–1952)
27 MIAC (1953, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1971, 1974–1977, 1979, 1982, 1985, 1989, 1991, 1993–1996, 1998, 1999, 2001–2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009)
Amos Alonzo Stagg Award (2009)
Most wins in college football history (489)
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006 (profile)

John Gagliardi ( /ɡəˈlɑːrdi/ gə-LAR-dee; November 1, 1926 October 7, 2018) was an American football coach. He was the head football coach at Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota, from 1953 until 2012. From 1949 to 1952, he was the head football coach at Carroll College in Helena, Montana. With a career record of 489–138–11, Gagliardi has the most wins of any coach in college football history. His Saint John's Johnnies teams won four national titles: the NAIA Football National Championship in 1963 and 1965, and the NCAA Division III Football Championship in 1976 and 2003. Gagliardi was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006. [1]


Early life

John Gagliardi was born to Ventura and Antonietta Gagliardi in Trinidad, Colorado, in 1926. [2] He began coaching football at Trinidad High School in 1943, at the age of 16, when his high school coach was called into service during World War II. [3] He was a player-coach his senior year of high school and continued to coach high school football at St. Mary's High School while obtaining his college degree at Colorado College. [4]

College coaching career

At the age of 22, with six years of high school coaching, Gagliardi was hired at Carroll College in Helena, Montana. In four seasons as head coach at Carroll, Gagliardi compiled a 24–6–1 record, winning three Montana Collegiate Conference championships. After the 1952 season, Gagliardi left Carroll for Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota. [1]

NFL Hall of Fame player Johnny "Blood" McNally coached football at St. John's from 1950 to 1952. On leaving the job he said "Nobody can win at St. John's." [5]

In 60 seasons coaching the Saint John's Johnnies, Gagliardi won a school and conference record 27 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) titles and four national championships: in 1963 (at the Camellia Bowl), [6] 1965, 1976, and 2003. His record at Saint John's was 465–132–10, bringing his career college football mark to 489–138–11. [7]

On November 8, 2003, Gagliardi broke the record for career coaching wins with his 409th victory, passing Grambling State's Eddie Robinson. The 13,107 fans who witnessed the victory over Bethel at Saint John's Clemens Stadium were the largest crowd in NCAA Division III history. The win also gave Saint John's its 23rd MIAC championship and an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III playoffs. [8] The Johnnies went on to win the national championship with a 24–6 victory over Mount Union. [9]

In 1993, Jostens and the J Club of St. John's University began awarding the Gagliardi Trophy annually to the most outstanding player in NCAA Division III. On August 11, 2006, Gagliardi and Florida State's Bobby Bowden became the first active head coaches to be enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame. [1] (Nevada's Chris Ault had been inducted in 2002 and returned to coaching two years later.)

Gagliardi was known for his unique coaching approach, which he called "Winning with No's." He instructed his players not to call him "coach", did not use a whistle or blocking sleds, prohibited tackling in practices, did not require his players to lift weights, and limited his team practices to 90 minutes. [10] [11]

Gagliardi announced his retirement from coaching on November 19, 2012. [12] Galiardi died on October 7, 2018, at the age of 91. [1] [13]


In 2003, Gagliardi received the Amos Alonzo Stagg Coaching Award from the United States Sports Academy. He won the 2007 Liberty Mutual Division III Coach of the Year. In 2009, Gagliardi won the Amos Alonzo Stagg Award from the American Football Coaches Association. Gagliardi received the National College Football Awards Association's (NCFAA) Contributions to College Football Award in 2013. He was inducted into the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Hall of Fame in 2006, the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 2015, and Saint John's University's J-Club Hall of Honor in 2018. [14]

Head coaching record

College football

Carroll Fighting Saints [15] (Montana Collegiate Conference)(1949–1952)
1949 Carroll5–1
1950 Carroll5–21st
1951 Carroll6–1–11st
1952 Carroll8–21st
Saint John's Johnnies [16] (Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference [17] )(1953–2012)
1953 Saint John's6–25–1T–1st
1954 Saint John's6–24–2T–3rd
1955 Saint John's7–24–2T–2nd
1956 Saint John's3–4–13–3–15th
1957 Saint John's5–34–34th
1958 Saint John's6–26–23rd
1959 Saint John's5–34–34th
1960 Saint John's4–3–13–3–1T–5th
1961 Saint John's6–25–22nd
1962 Saint John's9–07–01st
1963 Saint John's10–07–01stW NAIA Championship (Camellia)
1964 Saint John's4–34–3T–3rd
1965 Saint John's11–07–01stW NAIA Championship
1966 Saint John's4–3–13–3–15th
1967 Saint John's3–53–45th
1968 Saint John's6–44–3T–3rd
1969 Saint John's8–1–15–1–12ndW Mineral Water
1970 Saint John's6–35–2T–2nd
1971 Saint John's8–16–1T–1st
1972 Saint John's7–25–22nd
1973 Saint John's4–43–4T–5th
1974 Saint John's7–25–2T–1st
1975 Saint John's8–1–16–0–11st
1976 Saint John's10–0–17–01stW NCAA Division III Championship
1977 Saint John's7–27–01stL NCAA Division III Quarterfinal
1978 Saint John's6–35–34th
1979 Saint John's7–26–2T–1st
1980 Saint John's5–35–3T–3rd
1981 Saint John's7–26–2T–2nd
1982 Saint John's9–18–01stL NAIA Division II Quarterfinal
1983 Saint John's7–47–22nd
1984 Saint John's6–36–34th
1985 Saint John's8–28–11stL NCAA Division III First Round
1986 Saint John's4–4–14–4–15th
1987 Saint John's8–37–2T–2ndL NCAA Division III Quarterfinal
1988 Saint John's7–27–23rd
1989 Saint John's10–1–18–0–11stL NCAA Division III Semifinal
1990 Saint John's7–36–3T–3rd
1991 Saint John's11–18–01stL NCAA Division III Semifinal
1992 Saint John's8–1–17–1–12nd
1993 Saint John's12–19–01stL NCAA Division III Semifinal
1994 Saint John's11–28–11stL NCAA Division III Semifinal
1995 Saint John's8–1–17–1–1T–1st
1996 Saint John's11–19–01stL NCAA Division III Quarterfinal
1997 Saint John's6–46–34th
1998 Saint John's11–19–01stL NCAA Division III Quarterfinal
1999 Saint John's11–28–11stL NCAA Division III Quarterfinal
2000 Saint John's13–28–12ndL NCAA Division III Championship
2001 Saint John's11–38–1T–1stL NCAA Division III Semifinal
2002 Saint John's12–28–01stL NCAA Division III Semifinal
2003 Saint John's14–08–01stW NCAA Division III Championship
2004 Saint John's7–36–2T–2nd
2005 Saint John's11–18–01stL NCAA Division III Second Round
2006 Saint John's11–27–1T–1stL NCAA Division III Quarterfinal
2007 Saint John's10–27–12ndL NCAA Division III Second Round
2008 Saint John's8–36–21stL NCAA Division III First Round
2009 Saint John's10–18–01stL NCAA Division III First Round
2010 Saint John's7–36–23rd
2011 Saint John's6–45–34th
2012 Saint John's5–53–56th
Saint John's:465–132–10364–98–9
      National championship        Conference title        Conference division title or championship game berth

See also

Further reading


  1. 1 2 3 4 Press, The Associated (2018-10-08). "John Gagliardi, Winningest College Football Coach, Dies at 91". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 2018-10-08.
  2. "John Gagliardi's legendary college football career throughout the years". St. Cloud Times. 2018-10-08. Retrieved 2018-10-08.
  3. John Feinstein (2018-10-08). "John Gagliardi was nothing like a college football coach, and won more than any". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-10-08.
  4. "John Gagliardi through the years: A football timeline -". 2018-10-08. Retrieved 2018-10-08.
  5. Bob Sansevere (2018-10-07). "Bob Sansevere: John Gagliardi loved football; he loved people even more". Twin Cities. Retrieved 2018-10-08.
  6. Reusse, Patrick. "Mike Grant on John Gagliardi, 'the smartest man I've ever known'". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2018-10-08.
  7. Wells, Adam. "Winningest Coach in College Football History John Gagliardi Dies at 91". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2018-10-08.
  8. "Johnnies get Gagliardi record 409th career win - D3football". 2003-11-08. Retrieved 2018-10-08.
  9. Finley, Bill (2003-12-21). "COLLEGE FOOTBALL; St. John's Completes Mission Improbable". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 2018-10-08.
  10. "Inductees - Football Players & Coaches - College Football Hall of Fame" . Retrieved 2018-10-08.
  11. "FTW Explains: Who was John Gagliardi and why was he so important?". For The Win. 2018-10-07. Retrieved 2018-10-08.
  12. Dennis Brackin (November 19, 2012). "St. John's coach John Gagliardi retires". Star Tribune . Retrieved November 19, 2012.
  13. "Relive John Gagliardi's Hall of Fame days". St. Cloud Times. Retrieved 2018-10-08.
  14. "Saint John's Mourns the Passing of Football Coaching Legend John Gagliardi". Saint John's University. 2018-10-07. Retrieved 2018-10-08..
  15. "Football Coaching History". Carroll College Athletics. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  16. "John Gagliardi - 2011 Football Coaching Staff - Saint John's University". The Official Athletics Site of St. John's University. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  17. "John Gagliardi - Staff Directory - Saint John's University". Saint John's University. Retrieved 9 October 2018.