During 52 years of coaching football, 42 of them at Saint John's University in Minnesota, John Gagliardi has established a winning record by adopting a long list of no's. No tackling, wind sprints, or lengthy calisthenics during practice, for instance; no training tables and no compulsory offseason weight lifting.
By eliminating tackles in practice, Gagliardi says he believes injuries are reduced. ``Form tackling,'' in which defenders put their arms around and shoulders into the ball carrier, simulates full contact, only no one is brought to the ground.
``Once we know a guy can tackle, we don't need to keep testing him,'' Gagliardi says.
At last count, the list of Gagliardi ``no's'' ran to about 100. They began casually and emerged more definitively in the 1960s, when Gagliardi was invited to speak at coaching clinics.
``I didn't know what to talk about, so I gave them this approach,'' he says. ``I figured it's different; They'll like it. I made a list and built on it.''
His so-called rules are neither arbitrary nor unduly rigid. For example, he's not opposed to being called ``coach,'' it's just that as young upstart in the profession he didn't feel comfortable with the title. ``If my players want to call me coach, that's fine,'' Gagliardi says, ``but most of them call me John. There's a lot of informality. We like it that way.''
Today his ``Winning With No's'' philosophy includes:
* No players cut.
* No one considered too small.
* No grading of game films.
* No signs in dressing rooms.
* No laps.
* No use of the words ``hit, kill,'' etc.
* No practice on Sundays or Mondays.
* No big deals when we score. We aren't surprised.
* No play calling from the bench.
* No statistics posted.
* No cheap shots tolerated.
* No practice in rain, mud, or excessive wind.
* No timing anyone in 40 yards, mile, etc.
* No superstitions.
* No player unsuited at home games (115 or more dress).
* No pampering athletes.