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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended November 03, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 03Nov00

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


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