One on One: College Football Coach John Gagliardi Discusses Unconventional Methods

Paul Steinbach Headshot


Ooa 1207 Ab His players don't run sprints, hit blocking sleds or tackle each other during practice. Most don't even call him "Coach." But as heretical as his methods may seem within coaching circles, John Gagliardi has managed to win more college football games than any other coach in history. Last year, he became the first active coach to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Still, Gagliardi β€” the soft-spoken, octogenarian head coach at Division III St. John's University in Minnesota for the past 55 years β€” has no plans to retire. "I realize in the advancing years that I have to face reality," he says. "I can only coach for one or possibly two more decades." Paul Steinbach reached Gagliardi days removed from his 450th career victory (a 40-0 rout of normally high-scoring Gustavus Adolphus), and asked him about "Winning With Nos" β€” including no mandatory weight-lifting ("We encourage it, but we don't insist on it") and no whistles ("The way we practice, we don't need a whistle") β€” the unorthodox philosophy guiding the Johnnies.

Where did the catchphrase come from?

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