March 2 - Coach Coryell Tells His Secret

Coach Coryell Tells His Secret


Don Coryell drew up the plays that helped him become the only coach in football to win 100 games on both the college and professional levels. BUT sixty years ago, standing at a blackboard in his Seattle junior high school, Coryell couldn't diagram a sentence if his life depended on it.

In an emotional speech in South Bend during his induction into the "College Football Hall of Fame," Coryell revealed that he suffers from dyslexia...a learning disorder that made him stutter and have difficulty reading and spelling as a school junior higher. At this induction Coryell is 74 years old and credits sports and football with allowing him to live a very productive life.

"I was always this dumb kid who talked funny," says Coryell, who fine-tuned his "Air Coryell" passing attack as the head coach of San Diego State from 1961 to 1972, where he went on to win 104 games while losing only 19. Three of the seasons were undefeated...not a single loss, before he was hired by a professional team to bring his brand of football to the National Football League.

"It was embarrassing for me to talk about an imperfection," Coryell says of his Hall of Fame speech to a crowd that included fellow inductees Bo Jackson and Tom Osborne. "I was scared. But we were supposed to talk about how the sport has affected our lives and football was the one thing that gave me the self-esteem to pick up my grades, go to college and become a coach. Maybe someone with a disability will look at me and say 'If that guy did it, why can't I'?"

"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity!" (I Timothy 4:12)