With Ryan Pugh heading to Troy there are a handful of viable candidates to be BYU Football’s new offensive line coach, but Dallas Reynolds is the right man for the job.
Unlike last offseason, when BYU Football replaced almost its entire offensive staff, this offseason was uneventful until Ryan Pugh accepted the offensive coordinator’s position at Troy earlier in the month.
Once Pugh’s departure was official, former Cougar linemen Lance Reynolds, Jr. and Houston Reynolds took to Twitter and Facebook in pointed support of their brother (and current BYU Football graduate assistant) Dallas Reynolds to be Pugh’s successor.
In BYU football’s heyday, the program enjoyed a nice mixture of coaches that were in Provo for the long haul, supplemented by coaches using BYU as a step toward another job. Dallas Reynolds has twice chosen the Cougars, both before and after his NFL career.
BYU should now return the favor.
The Reynolds Family: Loyalty Personified
Before the Kaufusis there were the Reynolds.
Lance Reynolds, Sr. was an All-WAC performer at BYU in the 70’s. After a brief NFL career he returned to BYU as a graduate assistant for two years. He earned his stripes in the junior college ranks for two seasons before becoming a mainstay in BYU Football’s coaching staff for more than a quarter of a century, mostly as a running backs coach.
Lance, Sr. didn’t stay at BYU for the money. It is rumored that he had opportunities to make more money at other programs, but he was a BYU Cougar to his core. He was passed up for well-earned promotions (most notably when Bronco Mendenhall beat out Lance, Sr. for the vacant head coaching position left by Gary Crowton following the 2004 season), yet Reynolds served faithfully with those who were promoted over him.
All four of his sons – Lance, Jr., Dallas, Matt, and Houston – were starting offensive lineman at BYU. Jerseys bearing the name “Reynolds” were a fixture on BYU’s offensive line from 2001 to 2012. Lance, Jr., Dallas, and Matt were all-conference performers.
Like their dad, each of the brothers had options outside of BYU, as blue chip programs vied for the their services as student athletes. Stanford, Oklahoma, Washington, Nebraska, Oregon, and UCLA are a few of the programs that recruited the Reynolds brothers. In spite of these high-profile suitors, each of the brothers – like their father – were loyal to the BYU Football program.
After the 2012 season, Lance, Sr. abruptly retired. The man known for his gregarious, caring manner of coaching and passion for winning football games at BYU hung up his whistle for the last time. The motivations for his retirement were uncertain. Did Mendenhall let Reynolds go after there were no other Reynolds sons to recruit? Did Lance, Sr. finally grow fatigued of working for coaches that leap-frogged him, resulting in tension?
Without talking to Lance, Sr. directly, it’s impossible to know. But perhaps the way things ended in 2012 is one of the reasons Lance, Jr. and Houston were quick, thorough, and sharp in promoting Dallas’ candidacy for the offensive line coach position vacated by Pugh.
After two generations of literally leaving blood, sweat, and tears on turf and sidelines at LaVell Edwards stadium, it feels like BYU Football owes the Reynolds family a solid.
Very little has been stated publicly about potential replacements for Pugh. Mike Empey (who was let go after 2017) could be in the mix, as well as a handful of non-LDS coaches from the South with connections to Grimes.
Grimes may be tempted to replace Pugh with one of his contacts from the SEC, but the risk that the replacement coach will leave for perceived greener pastures seems high. Dallas Reynolds is a multi-generational BYU player and coach who chose to earn graduate-assistant money for two years to benefit the program his family has supported for over forty years.
Although religious diversity on BYU’s sidelines is a good thing, BYU remains a unique coaching destination. Position coaches like Grimes (in his first stint at BYU), Guy Halladay, Mike Holmgren, and Ryan Pugh, among others, are valuable recruiters and teachers, but they’re often not “stay for twenty-five years in a place I love” type of guys like Lance Reynolds, Sr.
If Dallas didn’t have the requisite ability, then why was he retained when Ty Detmer and his staff were sent packing? If he is able, the value of stability and loyalty likely outweighs the marginal benefit of an outsider.
There’s no way to tell if the right circumstances could keep a successful Dallas Reynolds at BYU for as long as his dad, but it certainly seems like the right time to try.
Extending the job to Dallas is not an act of charity, nor should it be. BYU should do its due diligence in hiring its next offensive line coach, but Dallas Reynolds is not some random guy off the street.
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As a student-athlete, Dallas was an all-conference performer, a candidate for the Outland Trophy, and an honorable mention All-American. Plus, Dallas played for Grimes during Dallas’ successful freshman and sophomore campaigns.
Furthermore, Dallas knows the path to professional football. Undrafted in the NFL, he capitalized on every opportunity – no matter how slight – to transform himself from a cast-away, to a practice squad warrior, to a starting player on multiple NFL football teams. In the face of adversity, he used a yeoman’s work ethic to earn a spot in the NFL, and he can help BYU’s offensive line NFL prospects learn the tools of the trade. That’s a major selling point for talented BYU offensive line recruits.
There may be another coach available that has a better track record and resume than Dallas Reynolds, but it’s doubtful there’s a coach with the loyalty and love for the program on par with Dallas. When facing the headwinds of the honor code and admissions limitations, the value of Reynolds-level loyalty and experience should not be discounted.