Beck comments on Tittle's 'What it means to be a Cougar,' a BYU football retrospect

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 2 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

Belcher received a call from a person he thought was Ray Nagel, Utah’s coach at the time. Belcher learned hours later, when Cougar coach Mal Mitchell and an assistant stood at the door of the Belcher family’s Vernal, Utah, home, that it had been Mitchell on the other end. Following a three-year letter at defensive back, a first-team all-WAC senior season and marriage to his wife Sheila, Belcher told Tittle that the accidental path that took him to BYU was nothing less than “some type of divine intervention.”

“I will always feel that there have been several times where maybe the Lord intervened with me going to BYU,” Belcher says in the chapter.

Such a mindset is a recurring theme throughout the "What it Means to be a Cougar."

Pyne spoke of an account where Marc Wilson credits Lance Reynolds for the reason he came to BYU. Reynolds was serving his mission in Washington when he met Wilson and encouraged him to go to Provo. He also mentioned LaVell Edwards’ passion for the missionary program, where under his watch, “serving was encouraged much more than before he came around,” Pyne said.

“Coach Edwards was influencing them in that regard, coach Mendenhall does the same,” Pyne said. “They both really look out for the young men in the program in that manner. Obviously, both men have been very successful on the football field as well as when it comes to the gospel. They could have had parallel philosophies, but they help encourage it and help the young men feel comfortable with doing both (playing football and serving a mission).”

Be it never-before-heard experiences or the spiritual and well-rounded nature of the legends that have come from Provo, Tittle said while he is not sure about writing another book about BYU athletics in the immediate future, he enjoyed every detail of bringing the book forth.

“I enjoyed the process,” Tittle said. “I’m excited for the readers to see this because of the stories I’ve been able to tell. There’s some great stuff in there.”

Such quality is only a reflection of the school and program the stories speak about, Beck said.

"If I had to go back to make my decision about where to attend school, I would go back to BYU because it's such a special place," Beck said. "That's why I think you get people with such great experiences there. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to have been a part of the school of the faith I believe in. The book probably captures a portion of that feeling. At Washington, as the only member on my team, the feeling is different."

Email: rwilkinson@desnews.com

Twitter: wilklogan

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