By Kent Larsen
Will Reid be Issued a Mission Call . . . to BYU?
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA -- A new article in today's Philadelphia
Inquirer suggests that a BYU offer to Philadelphia Eagles head coach
Andy Reid may be made into something like a mission call. Following
its assertion Wednesday that LDS Church officials were pressuring
Reid to take the job, the Inquirer quotes "a friend of Reid" as
saying that Church officials have been talking to Reid about the
positon for months now.
Saying, "It's not just a job. It's a calling," the Inquirer quotes an
NFL insider as saying BYU's head coach is "the most visible official
of the Mormon Church in the world," and adds that Reid was identified
by current BYU head coach LaVell Edwards as the man to succeed him.
However, Reid told the Inquirer that he hasn't spoken to BYU about
the job. Nor does he want to at the moment, given the pressures of
the current NFL season. Reid "does not want or need anything to
distract him or his players during his second season as head coach of
the Eagles," and in response to the Inquirer article, BYU's athletic
director Val Hale told the Salt Lake Tribune that he had no knowledge
of LDS Church officials "getting involved in the interview process."
The Inquirer goes on today, saying that if LDS Church officials
present the BYU job as a calling, Reid will have a hard time saying
no. "If they present it to him as a calling," the Inquirer quotes a
'Mormon familiar with the workings of the church and the university'
as saying, "it will be almost impossible for him to turn the job
down." It also cites as an example former Atlanta Braves star Dale
Murphy, who recently served for three years as the president of the
LDS Church's Massachusetts Boston Mission, suggesting that Murphy
took the position on request, giving up other opportunites.
It also stresses the importance of the BYU head coach position to the
LDS Church, because of the visibility that it gives the Church and
BYU, and claims that LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley will
personally approve whoever is hired for the job.
To BYU sports fans the charges and rhetoric sound familiar. Former
BYU basketball coach Roger Reid used similar logic in 1996 on a
potential recruit, suggesting that by going elsewhere he would let
down the Church and its 10 million members. The suggestion caused a
storm of controversy among Utah church members, many of whom had
attended colleges other that BYU.
Andy Reid is currently the 2nd youngest head coach in the NFL and is
highly regarded. He is in his second year as the Eagle's head coach,
and is currently on the way to improving the team's record over last
year, and maybe even getting the team into the playoffs.
However, Reid also has roots at BYU, where he played as an offensive
lineman and coached as a graduate assistant under Edwards. He met his
wife Tammy there, and joined the LDS Church so that he could marry
her. But, Reid is, by all accounts, a faithful Church member, taking
his belief in the LDS Church very seriously. And, according to the
Inquirer, that could make the difference in his decision.
Will Reid heed BYU's call?
Philadelphia PA Inquirer 3Nov00 S2
By Phil Sheridan: Inquirer Staff Writer
Philadelphia Newspaper: Cougs Are Hot After Reid
Salt Lake Tribune 3Nov00 S2
By Patrick Kinahan: Salt Lake Tribune