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]

American football Team field sport

American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, which is the team controlling the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the defense, which is the team without control of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and aims to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays, and otherwise they turn over the football to the defense; if the offense succeeds in advancing ten yards or more, they are given a new set of four downs. Points are primarily scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.

College of Saint Benedict and Saint Johns University

The College of Saint Benedict (CSB), a women's college, and Saint John's University (SJU), a men's college, are private liberal arts colleges respectively located in St. Joseph and Collegeville, Minnesota, United States, near St. Cloud. Under CSB's and SJU's coordinate relationship, students at the two colleges have a shared curriculum, and access to the resources of both campuses.

Collegeville Township, Stearns County, Minnesota Township in Minnesota, United States

Collegeville Township is a township in Stearns County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 3,343 at the 2010 census.


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]

Trinidad, Colorado Town in Colorado, United States

Trinidad is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous city of Las Animas County, Colorado, United States. The population was 9,096 as of the 2010 census, up slightly from 9,078 in 2000. The estimate as of 2012 was 8,771. Trinidad lies 21 mi (34 km) north of Raton, New Mexico, and 195 mi (314 km) south of Denver. Trinidad is situated on the historic Santa Fe Trail.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

St. Mary's High School is a private, Roman Catholic high school located in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States. St. Mary's colors are kelly green and white, and its mascot is the Pirate.

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]

Carroll Fighting Saints football

The Carroll Fighting Saint football program represents Carroll College of Helena, Montana in college football. The team competes in the Frontier Conference, which is affiliated with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The Carroll Fighting Saints football team began playing in 1920 and is one of the most successful programs in the NAIA division of college football. The program has won six NAIA Football National Championships and 40 conference championships, 14 while a member of the Montana Collegiate Conference and 26 as a member of the Frontier Conference. The team is currently coached by Mike Van Diest who in his 17th season at Carroll, has compiled a career record of 194– 36. His winning percentage of .8145 is the third highest of any head coach with at least ten seasons of experience in college football history, behind only those of Mount Union's Larry Kehres and Notre Dame's Knute Rockne. The Carroll College Fighting Saints plays their home games on campus at Nelson Stadium.

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]

Johnny Blood American football player and coach

John Victor McNally, nicknamed Johnny Blood, was an American football player and coach. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1963.

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]

The Saint John's Johnnies football program represents Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota. They compete at the NCAA Division III level and are members of the (MIAC) Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. From 1953 through November 19, 2012 John Gagliardi coached the Johnnies, having a 489–138–11 record over 59 years. The current coach is Gary Fasching, who was named to the position on December 28, 2012.

Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference NCAA Division III athletic conference in Minnesota

The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) is a college athletic conference which competes in NCAA Division III. All 13 of the member schools are located in Minnesota and are private institutions, with only two being non-sectarian.

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]

Grambling State Tigers football

The Grambling State Tigers are the college football team representing the Grambling State University. The Tigers play in NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) as a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

Eddie Robinson (American football coach) American college football coach

Eddie Gay Robinson Sr. was an American football coach. For 56 years, from 1941 to 1942 and again from 1945 to 1997, he was the head coach at Grambling State University, a historically black university (HBCU) in Grambling, Louisiana. Robinson is recognized by many college football experts as one of the greatest coaches in history. During a period in college football history when black players were not allowed to play for southern college programs, Robinson built Grambling State into a "small" college football powerhouse. He retired in 1997 with a record of 408–165–15. Robinson coached every single game from the field and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997. Robinson is arguably the most successful college football coach in FCS history and third most victories in college football history.

Bethel University (Minnesota) Minnesota

Bethel University is a private, evangelical Christian, liberal arts university located primarily in Arden Hills, Minnesota. Founded in 1871 as a Baptist seminary, Bethel is currently a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and affiliated with Converge, formerly known as the Baptist General Conference. Bethel University enrolls 5,600 students in undergraduate, graduate, and seminary programs. These programs are composed of 90 majors in over 100 different areas of study, and are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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

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