NO playbook, NO long practices and NO blocking sleds. Not exactly what you would expect from a successful college football team. But at St. John's College, the word "NO" is often used to inspire, not limit the players.
John Gagliardi is in his 57th season as head football coach at this Minnesota Division III school. He has won four national championships and is in the College Football Hall of Fame. He also holds a record that may surprise you. Coach Gagliardi began this season with 463 career wins, the most of any coach in the history of college football.
Coach Gagliardi became a high school football coach when he was just 16 years old! When he switched to the college game, he brought his philosophies of teamwork along with him. He also continued his tradition of NO yelling, NO whistles and NO roster cuts, everyone makes the team. This year's St. John's team has over 150 players in uniform. Coach Gagliardi has also said NO to tackling during practice to reduce injuries and fatigue. He emphasizes fundamentals and repetition.
Coach Gagliardi's unique approach to motivating his players through positive reinforcement has created an environment for them to succeed. The Johhnies have had NO losing seasons in over 35 years. In 2003 the team went 14-0 on its way to the NCAA D-III Championship. That season Coach Gagliardi also surpassed Grambling's Eddie Robinson's 408 wins to become the all-time winningest coach in college football.
After so many seasons at one school, Coach Gagliardi has even coached the grandchild of a former player. He shows no sign of stopping anytime soon, as he teaches another generation the benefits of saying "NO."
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