Born: 11 June 1913
Died: 3 September 1970 (colon cancer )
Best known as: The head coach of the Green Bay Packers during the 1960s
As head coach and general manager, Vincent Thomas "Vince" Lombardi led Wisconsin's Green Bay Packers to dominate professional football in the 1960s. He was once a defensive guard at Fordham University, part of the "Seven Blocks of Granite" that gained fame in the 1930s. After he graduated in 1937 Lombardi went to law school, but then shifted gears and became a football coach at St. Cecilia High School in Englewood, New Jersey. He left in 1947 to join the coaching staff at Fordham, and in 1949 he went to coach at West Point. His first job in professional football came in 1954, coaching offense as an assistant for the New York Giants. He helped the Giants to five winning seasons and a league championship (1956), and in 1959 was hired by the Green Bay Packers as both head coach and general manager. An unrelenting workhorse with no patience for tomfoolery, Lombardi re-shaped the Packers and lifted them from a decade-long slump to a winning season in his first year. In the nine seasons he was there the team won five league titles and the first two Super Bowls (1967 and 1968). He left coaching in 1968 and stayed on as general manager, but in 1969 Lombardi took the head coaching job with the Washington Redskins. He led the Redskins to a winning season, but was diagnosed with cancer at the end of the season and died the following September, at the age of 57.
His most famous quote, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing,” is now considered to be a misquote, even though it’s generally agreed it sums up his approach to coaching… Lombardi’s name is on the trophy given to Super Bowl winners… His lifetime record was 105-35-6.
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