At memorial service forDon Coryell held Monday afternoon at San Diego State University, friends and family gathered to honor the former St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Chargers coach, who passed away July 1 at the age of 85.
NFL Hall of Fame members John Madden, Joe Gibbs and Kellen Winslow recalled Coryell’s unique and revolutionary approach to coaching and his role as one of the founding fathers of the modern passing game.
“It will be a shame if he is not inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” Winslow said. “I can’t be any more direct than that.”
Winslow even attempted to quantify Coryell’s contribution to the National Football League.
“You could probably put a dollar amount on the value of Don Coryell to professional football based on the television contract,” he said. “Because the television contract is based on entertainment value, and the passing game of Air Coryell has brought a great deal of entertainment value to the National Football League.”
Gibbs said he owed his coaching career to Coryell.
“I doubt seriously that I could have, you know, been any kind of a coach, whatever that was … or got the chances I got if it hadn’t been for Don. I doubt if I (would have) got a chance if it hadn’t been for Don,” Gibbs said.
Madden, who spoke at the memorial service, focused on Coryell’s coaching style.
“He was very passionate, very compassionate,” Madden said. “He was a genius and one of the things about a genius is that they have quirks. And Don Coryell had all the genius and he had all the quirks.”