Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
Carole Mikita ReportingLavell Edwards and his wife Patti are back on Utah soil following an 18-month mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The former BYU head coach did not leave football behind while in New York City.
When Lavell and Patti Edwards landed in Manhattan a year and a half ago to serve a public affairs mission for their church she was excited, he was a bit skeptical. What would they do, he wondered, how could they help? Their best experiences happened in Harlem.
Lavell Edwards: "You know, frankly, I'd never been to Harlem. Meeting the people, that was probably one of the real highlights of our whole mission."
That's where retired Coach Edwards found himself back on the playing field. Wait, you say, there is no football in Harlem...
Jachin Brown, Harlem Hellfighters: "I'm so excited about playing the game that it hasn't sunk in that we're actually making history."
Thanks to former NFL player, Duke Fergerson, the high schoolers there are an official team, the Harlem Hellfighters. One of the players is a Latter-day Saint and asked Elder Edwards to help his coach.
Duke Fergerson, Coach Harlem Hellfighters: "Little anxious, little nervous, particularly because we don't have a quarterback and we don't have running backs."
Just last week the team made its debut with the first game.
Lavell Edwards: "They got their equipment the night before...(he laughs)"
So did they win?
Elder Lavell Edwards: “No, no, no, no, but they did score. Naw, it's gonna take 'em awhile to win. Hey, these kids have never had a uniform on, most of 'em. So, it's a whole new experience."
And speaking of new experiences still 'Elder' Edwards until his release is starting with a new car and then who knows, maybe a team in Utah could use that gridiron experience.
His coaching duties for the Harlem Hellfighters are not over; he will continue in an advisory capacity, long distance.