/notables/2012/11/gagliardi-retires

Legendary St. John's coach John Gagliardi retires

More news about: St. John-s
John Gagliardi became a head coach when his high school's coach was drafted into World War II in 1943. He played at Colorado College and coached at Carroll (Mont.) after graduation. His first season at St. John's was 1953.
d3photography.com file photo by Tim Ward

After 64 years as a head coach and at 86 years of age, St. John's legendary football coach John Gagliardi has announced his retirement.

Gagliardi, who has been at St. John's since 1953, goes out as the winningest coach in college football history. He finishes with a 489-138-11 record overall, a .775 winning percentage, and four national titles, two of them in Division III.

“Seventy years (60 at SJU) is a long time to be doing the same job,” Gagliardi said. “Luckily, I've always been blessed with great players, friends, family and support to make it this far.

“Nobody ever said that getting older was easy. I just can't do the job at the level I used to anymore.”

St. John's finished this season 5-5, 3-5 in the MIAC, after ending its 2012 season with a 27-22 loss Nov. 10 at Bethel.

Gagliardi will remain on staff until his current contract expires June 30, 2013. The search process for his replacement begins immediately.

"Arguably, John Gagliardi has impacted the lives of as many young men as any individual in the history of Saint John's University,” SJU president Michael Hemesath said.

John Gagliardi and the Johnnies celebrate the 1976 Division III football national championship.

“His legacy of educating young men at Saint John's is one that any coach or professor would envy.

"The kind of loyalty and commitment John showed to Saint John's and his student-athletes is rare and exemplary. It is an example of how John modeled good character and ethical behavior for his student-athletes and the community for 60 years."

The first active head coach to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame (Class of 2006) and the 2009 American Football Coaches' Association Amos Alonzo Stagg Award recipient, Gagliardi (Guh-lahr-dee) ended his record 64th season as a collegiate head football coach and 60th season as head coach of the Johnnies this fall. Gagliardi ends his storied career with a 489-138-11 (.775) collegiate record and a 465-132-10 (.774) record at SJU, including a 362-99-9 (.780) record in Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference games.

Gagliardi's 64 years of collegiate coaching is the most in college football history, surpassing the old record of 57 years held by former University of Chicago and University of the Pacific coach Amos Alonzo Stagg (1890-1946).

“Today is another milestone for the greatest head coach in the history of college football,” SJU athletic director Tom Stock said. “We are so very happy and proud of John, and those of us who have been associated with him are so fortunate that he chose to spend his life and career at Saint John's, building a model NCAA Division III football program.

The scene from John Gagliardi's last game, as he shakes hands with opposing players for the final time as a head coach.

“I witnessed him spending his days passionately doing what he loved, coaching college football and mentoring young men. And, because it was such a passion for him, no one has ever done or will ever do it better.”

The 2007 Liberty Mutual Division III Coach of the Year, Gagliardi tied the all-time collegiate win record, held by former Grambling State head coach Eddie Robinson, on Nov. 1, 2003, and broke the all-time record on Nov. 8, 2003, en route to a perfect 14-0 season and an NCAA Division III championship, one of four national titles he won at SJU. Gagliardi also broke Robinson's record for the most games coached in college football history (588) in 2008 and coached his 600th game in 2009.

"I have had the utmost respect for what (Gagliardi) has been able to do at SJU," said Concordia-Moorhead coach Terry Horan. "I have always enjoyed competing against his teams as a player and coach, not only because of the high level of football being played, but more important the type of young men that were representing SJU were second to none. This is a direct reflection of the man in charge."

Gagliardi coached four national championship teams (1963, 1965, 1976 and 2003), and made the 2000 national title game. His teams reached the national semifinals six other times (1989, 1991, 1993, 1994, 2001 and 2002). As a collegiate coach, Gagliardi's teams won 30 conference titles (including three at Carroll, Mont.) and appeared in 58 postseason games. In the past 44 years, SJU was nationally ranked 43 times and owned a 39-19 postseason record. In 1993, SJU averaged 61.5 points per game, setting an all-divisions record that may never be broken.

Gagliardi's coaching career began when his high school coach at Trinidad (Colo.) Catholic was drafted into World War II. As the team's captain, Gagliardi took over the reins at the age of 16 in 1943. His teams won four conference titles in six years of coaching high school at Trinidad Catholic and later, at St. Mary's in Colorado Springs.

John Gagliardi did not name a successor. Jimmy Gagliardi, right, is one of several former SJU players who might be candidates for the job, which will draw a lot of interest.
d3photography.com file photo by Tim Ward

After graduation from Colorado College in 1949, Gagliardi began his first college coaching position at Carroll College in Helena, Mont. The college explored the possibility of dropping football because of losing seasons and lack of interest.

Gagliardi led Carroll to three conference titles in his first four seasons and won conference championships as head coach of the basketball and baseball programs.

His success caught the attention of Saint John's, which needed a coach to succeed the legendary Johnny "Blood" McNally, a charter member of the National Football League Hall of Fame. Compared to Carroll, the SJU football program was healthy before Gagliardi's arrival, but not exactly thriving. SJU had not won a conference title in 15 years. Gagliardi took over the program in 1953. Meanwhile, Blood offered this gloomy prediction: "Nobody could ever win at Saint John's." Gagliardi proved McNally wrong by winning the MIAC title that fall.

Aside from the football field, Gagliardi also won two conference championships with SJU's track team and coached the SJU hockey team for five seasons from 1954-59, compiling a 42-25-1 record. The .625 winning percentage is still the best of any hockey coach in school history. In addition to his various head coaching duties, Gagliardi has also been athletic director at both Carroll (1949-53) and Saint John's (1976-94). In June 2006, Gagliardi was inducted into the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Hall of Fame.

Sep. 23: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Massachusetts Maritime at Framingham State
Video Preview Live stats
12:00 PM
Muhlenberg at Juniata
Live stats
12:00 PM
Becker at Dean
Video Live stats
12:00 PM
Salisbury at TCNJ
Live stats Audio
12:00 PM
MIT at Catholic
Video Live stats
12:00 PM
Merchant Marine at Maine Maritime
Video Preview
12:00 PM
Endicott at Hobart
Video Live stats Audio
12:00 PM
Nichols at Morrisville State
Video Live stats
12:00 PM
Stevenson at Delaware Valley
Live stats
1:00 PM
Widener at Albright
Audio
1:00 PM
Christopher Newport at Montclair State
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Bethany at Westminster (Pa.)
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Middlebury at Bowdoin
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Williams at Colby
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Amherst at Hamilton
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Ursinus at Moravian
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Trinity (Conn.) at Bates
Video Preview Live stats
1:00 PM
Brevard at LaGrange
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Geneva at Thiel
Live stats
1:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Plymouth State
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Kean at Southern Virginia
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Frostburg State at Rowan
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Union at Curry
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Thomas More at Carnegie Mellon
Video Preview Preview Live stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Lycoming at King's
Video Live stats Audio Audio Tickets
1:00 PM
Husson at Western New England
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Johns Hopkins at Dickinson
1:00 PM
Wooster at DePauw
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Allegheny at Ohio Wesleyan
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Wilkes at Misericordia
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
FDU-Florham at Lebanon Valley
1:00 PM
Rochester at Alfred
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Wesley at William Paterson
Video Live stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Maryville (Tenn.) at N.C. Wesleyan
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Huntingdon at Ferrum
Video Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Gettysburg at McDaniel
Video Video Preview Live stats
1:00 PM
RPI at Buffalo State
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Franklin and Marshall at Susquehanna
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Oberlin at Denison
Video Preview Live stats
1:00 PM
Westminster (Mo.) at Northwestern (Minn.)
1:00 PM
Crown at Eureka
Video Live stats
1:30 PM
John Carroll at Heidelberg
Video Live stats Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Otterbein at Ohio Northern
Video Live stats Audio
1:30 PM
Baldwin Wallace at Mount Union
Video Live stats Audio
1:30 PM
Defiance at Rose-Hulman
Video Preview Live stats
1:30 PM
Muskingum at Marietta
1:30 PM
Franklin at Bluffton
Live stats
1:30 PM
Anderson at Hanover
1:30 PM
Mount St. Joseph at Manchester
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Worcester State at Westfield State
2:00 PM
Coast Guard at Norwich
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Fitchburg State
Live stats
2:00 PM
Wittenberg at Kenyon
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Hiram at Wabash
Video Video Live stats Tickets
2:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Millikin
Video Live stats Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Sewanee at Millsaps
Video Preview Live stats
2:00 PM
Birmingham-Southern at Rhodes
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Austin at Hendrix
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Greenville at Martin Luther
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Chapman at Trinity (Texas)
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Buena Vista at Loras
Video Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Washington U. at Wartburg
Video Preview Live stats
2:00 PM
Hamline at Gustavus Adolphus
Live stats
2:00 PM
Augsburg at Carleton
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
St. Olaf at Bethel
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Dubuque at Luther
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Nebraska Wesleyan at Central
Audio
2:00 PM
Simpson at Coe
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at Elmhurst
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
North Park at Illinois Wesleyan
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
St. Norbert at Grinnell
2:00 PM
Ripon at Knox
2:00 PM
Iowa Wesleyan at MacMurray
2:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Howard Payne
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
Southwestern at Louisiana College
Video
2:00 PM
Monmouth at Macalester
2:10 PM
St. John's at St. Thomas
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
Video Live stats Audio Audio
2:30 PM
WPI at Springfield
Video Live stats
3:00 PM
Beloit at Cornell
4:00 PM
Utica at Brockport
Video Live stats
4:00 PM
St. John Fisher at Hartwick
Audio
4:00 PM
Carroll at UW-La Crosse
4:00 PM
Minnesota-Morris at St. Scholastica
Video Live stats
4:30 PM
UW-Eau Claire at George Fox
Video Preview Preview Live stats Audio
5:00 PM
Salve Regina at Western Connecticut
Video Live stats
5:00 PM
Adrian at UW-Stevens Point
Video Live stats
6:00 PM
Tufts at Wesleyan
Video Live stats
6:00 PM
Methodist at Averett
Video Live stats
6:00 PM
Centre at Berry
Video Live stats Audio Tickets
6:00 PM
Lake Forest at Lawrence
Video Video
7:00 PM
Waynesburg at Case Western Reserve
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
St. Vincent at Grove City
Box Score Live stats
7:00 PM
Texas Lutheran at Mary Hardin-Baylor
Video Live stats Audio Audio
7:00 PM
Lakeland at UW-Platteville
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Carthage at Augustana
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Chicago at Illinois College
Video Preview Live stats
7:00 PM
McMurry at Sul Ross State
Audio
7:30 PM
Capital at Wilmington
Video Live stats
8:00 PM
Belhaven at East Texas Baptist
8:00 PM
Arizona Christian at Whittier
Video Live stats
Sep. 23: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Stevenson at Delaware Valley
Live stats
1:00 PM
Wesley at William Paterson
Video Live stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Rochester at Alfred
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Johns Hopkins at Dickinson
1:00 PM
Frostburg State at Rowan
Video Video Live stats Live stats Audio Audio Audio
1:30 PM
John Carroll at Heidelberg
Video Live stats Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Baldwin Wallace at Mount Union
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
Wittenberg at Kenyon
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Hiram at Wabash
Live stats Tickets Video Video
2:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Howard Payne
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Millikin
Video Live stats Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at Elmhurst
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
North Park at Illinois Wesleyan
Video Live stats Audio
2:10 PM
St. John's at St. Thomas
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
Video Live stats Audio Audio
4:00 PM
Utica at Brockport
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Waynesburg at Case Western Reserve
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Lakeland at UW-Platteville
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Texas Lutheran at Mary Hardin-Baylor
Video Live stats Audio Audio