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Winningest coach Gagliardi retiring

The SportsXchange

John Gagliardi, college football's winningest coach, announced his retirement from Division III St. John's (Minnesota) University on Monday.

Gagliardi, 86, started his college coaching career in 1949 and has coached at St. John's for 60 years. He has a 489-138-11 record with four national titles. He passed Eddie Robinson in wins in 2003.

The Johnnies finished the year 5-5, including 3-5 in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

"Seventy years is a long time to be doing the same job," Gagliardi said on the school's website. "Luckily, I've always been blessed with great players, friends, family and support to make it this far. Nobody ever said that getting older was easy. I just can't do the job at the level I used to anymore."

Gagliardi's 64 years are the most in college football history. The previous most was 57 years by Amos Alonzo Stagg at University of Chicago and University of the Pacific.

"On behalf of the President, I want to congratulate John Gagliardi on his retirement as the winningest coach in college football history," U.S. press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.

"With a career that began as a 16-year-old after his high school coach was called to serve in World War II, Gagliardi was never the most conventional figure. He instructed his players to call him 'John' instead of 'Coach,' and in turn, called each of his more than 100 players by their first names.

"His refusal to allow tackling in practice and his insistence that players make class before practice also became the stuff of legend. But the unusual methods worked -- earning St. John's four national championships. And even as his time on the gridiron comes to a close, Gagliardi's genuine concern for players as scholar athletes and human beings will ensure that his influence will be felt for years to come."

Gagliardi will stay on the staff until his contract expires at the end of next June. The school is immediately searching for his replacement.
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