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A Legacy Unrivaled

A Legacy Unrivaled

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The Story of John Gagliardi

Author Boz Bostrom, Foreword by Lou Holtz

Minnesota Historical Society Press (September 1, 2016)


Get up close and personal with one of the most successful coaches in college football history through the wit, wisdom, and philosophy of John Gagliardi.


John Gagliardi, who served as the head football coach at Saint John’s University from 1953 to 2012, won more football games than any coach at any level of collegiate ball. His innovative and unconventional approach to coaching— including not allowing tackling during practices— not only helped the team win nearly five hundred games and four national championships, but placed Gagliardi as an inspiring leader, mentor, and father figure to hundreds of student- athletes over his sixty years as a head coach. Gagliardi continues this role as teacher and mentor through his “Theory of Coaching Football” course at Saint John’s, which is one of the most popular classes on campus every year.

A Legacy Unrivaled explores the man, his football philosophy, his life lessons, his sense of humor, and his connections to others through a very personal journey by author and former player Boz Bostrom. Including recollections from former Johnnies, the book offers a firsthand look at how Gagliardi’s high expectations for his students and his focus on making the person rather than the player made him so successful on the gridiron.

Author information

Boz Bostrom, a graduate of Saint John’s University, played football for four years under Coach John Gagliardi, earning academic All-America honors his senior year. Boz has been close, personal friends with Gagliardi for more than a decade. He is currently an associate professor of accounting and finance at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University.

Lou Holtz spent thirty-three seasons as a college football head coach and ranks among the top ten in wins for Division I coaches. He won a national championship with Notre Dame following an undefeated season in 1988. Holtz is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and currently works as a college football television analyst

Reviews and news

In the Media:


AFCA Weekly (American Football Coaches Association)

St. Cloud Visitor

Read and excerpt on

Advance Praise:

“Not only will you enjoy reading this book, you will be a better person for having done so.”
from the foreword by Lou Holtz

“When I met John in his office, he told me to check out a book on his shelf that explained everything he knew about coaching. The pages inside were totally blank. Yet here’s a man who’s rewritten the record books on winning and doing it the right way. This book captures his sense of humor and humility, combined with an unorthodox approach that’s propelled him to heights we’ve never seen in the game.”
Sara Walsh, anchor for ESPN’s SportsCenter

“The record of John is well documented, but not so much his dedication to his family and to his former players who became his friends, and his love for and loyalty to Saint John’s. It’s all here, how he evolved with the times to become the greatest college coach of all time.”
Bud Grant, Hall of Fame coach of the Minnesota Vikings

“John Gagliardi’s true legacy isn’t a record of wins, national championships, NFL players produced, or times his team trounced its rivals. More than all that, it’s a legacy of someone who showed us how to be better at whatever we did after we put down the ball. He has inspired generations of men who, because of him, are better husbands, fathers, leaders, educators—simply better people. This is a must read not only for football fans but for anyone who is looking to lead a richer life.”
Blake Elliott, three-time All-American at Saint John’s and 2003 Division III Player of the Year

“Filling it with wit, insight, anecdotes, and life lessons, author Boz Bostrom offers an all-inclusive look at a man whose greatness as a coach is surpassed only by how great a person he is. John Gagliardi has done it his way for most of the past century, and based on his successes in coaching and in life, he has done it the right way.”
Bob Sansevere, radio personality and columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press

  • This title is also available at your favorite e-book vendor.
  • 216 pages
  • 50 B&W Photos
  • 5.5x8.5 inches
  • ISBN: 9781681340166

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