Don Coryell at San Diego State University

Don Coryell, during his coaching years at San Diego State University.

CANTON, Ohio — The late Don Coryell, a former St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Chargers coach who led the Knights for a season at Wenatchee Valley College, is among 25 semifinalists this year for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

Coryell, the first coach ever to win more than 100 games at both the college level and the pros, innovated WVC's football program when he took it over in 1955, and was long admired by players and fellow coaches there despite spending only one year on campus.

“He put WVC on the map because he was here," longtime WVC coach Sandy Cooprider told the Wenatchee World in 2010. "To be associated with him, that’s phenomenal.” Coryell also coached skiing and tennis while at the college.

From there, the Seattle-born coach and UW alumnus went on to head the football program at Whittier College and later at San Diego State University, from 1961 to 1972, where his teams won 104 games.

He coached the Cardinals to two division titles from 1973 to 1977, and led the Chargers to three titles from 1973 until his retirement in 1986. His NFL teams won a combined 114 games during his tenure.

In Ron Jaworski's 2010 book The Games That Changed the Game: The Evolution of the NFL in Seven Sundays, Coryell was quoted as saying, "I don't think a coach has to be a son of a bitch to be successful. I think you can treat men like men."

Coryell died in 2010 at age 85. He has been named to the Hall of Fame seminals 11 times, and consecutively each year since 2010. A Hall of Fame committee will narrow the potential list from 25 to 15 on Jan. 3, and the final inductees will be named Feb. 2. Fans can vote online for their preferred choice until the January selection.

Jefferson Robbins: 679-7013

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