Doug Robinson: Utah Utes football: Coach Ron McBride deserves some credit for the raised level of U. football

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  • bgl Santa Monica, CA
    Aug. 30, 2011 7:22 a.m.

    This man took a program that was delivering it's last breath, and within a few years had them standing head and shoulders with a BYU program that had been trouncing us for over a decade. He turned the tables to the point where BYU was wondering if it would ever beat the Utes again---(I saw that in many posts). He quite simply, turned the Utes into a team that could and would stand toe to toe with their bitter enemy. For this, I will never forget him. He deserved better at the hands of the U and if there is ever a way to repay him--I hope Dr. Hill and the administration of the U will remember his efforts at least as much as the fans do. You are a special coach, Mac and have done so much to be proud of. Urban Myers and Kyle Whittingham truly stand on your shoulders. Gabby-learn your history.

  • UtahManSir22 SANDY, UT
    Aug. 29, 2011 10:42 p.m.

    He didn't even mention the fact that Urban Meyer won with Ron McBrides recruits. Alex Smith came in with Ron McBride, not Urban. The 10-2 '03 and the 12-0 '04 teams were mostly Ronnie Macs kids who changed the face of Utah, and NCAA football. Coach Mac was great.

  • eagle Provo, UT
    Aug. 29, 2011 6:02 p.m.

    Though Meyer and Whittingham brought Utah to new heights, McBride made huge contributions to bring Utah out of the doldrums of the Stobart/Fassel era. Under Mac, the BYU-Utah rivalry became relevant (I think in his years as head coach the series was even). McBride is a colorful, charismatic person and a good coach and I'm glad an article like this talks about his important contributions to Utah football.

  • Aloha Saint George Saint George, Utah
    Aug. 29, 2011 5:04 p.m.

    There's no question Utah became who they are because of Ron McBride. It's exciting to think where football is going in the state of Utah largely because of Coach McBride. Utah State now follows a similar outline, SUU as well.
    20 years ago football was either BYU or Bust because of the LDS missionaries and Poly's.
    Studies have shown that no FB program has been successful without at least 18 returned missionaries on the team- told to me by Coach Gary Andersen.
    I will have two sons playing college football in the next year. I really like that they have a chance to work and earn their own education while being taught by Coaches who accept them as LDS returned missionaries- it's a win-win. With the BYU or Bust mindset, it closed a lot of doors in the past for potential mission/FB players. Now doors are opening.

    Which is better? Returned missionaries going to a LDS school to promote their faith. OR the same RM's going to a state school, being missionaries to those on the team and example to the respective communities? In time, these RM's need to learn to stay where they committed- whatever school thatis.

  • TRUTH Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 29, 2011 4:57 p.m.

    Hill is a joke for letting Mac get away....he was the best thing to ever happen to Utah....including Urban~~

  • Utah/BYU man Kanab, Utah
    Aug. 29, 2011 4:34 p.m.

    It is hard not to love Mac -- if you played for him (he was a player's coach). Coach McBride was an inspiration to me an a force for good. He has a lot do with the Utes' success and he's a great man as well.

  • goutes92 RIVERTON, UT
    Aug. 29, 2011 4:18 p.m.

    Urban Meyer may have started the glory days, but Ron McBride made is possible. :)

  • Rational Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 29, 2011 3:00 p.m.

    "It's not still 1984, a bizarre year in millions of minds"

    Do I deduce someone revealing their birth year? I think so!

  • Uteology Fort Worth, Texas
    Aug. 29, 2011 2:44 p.m.

    "Coach Ron McBride deserves some credit for the raised level of U. football."

    Some credit? He turned the program into a winner, he deserves a lot of credit as far as this Ute is concerned. Under his leadership we went from defining our season by the BYU game to postseason success. Absolutely, without McBride there would be no BCS Buster or the ability to compete in the PAC-12.

    McBride laid the foundation which Urban and KW used to take Utah to the national stage.

  • Linus Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 29, 2011 1:59 p.m.

    Coach McBride was not filled with irrational hatred for BYU. A congenial relationship developed between Coach McBride and Coach Edwards. Fans almost followed the coaches into a more congenial relationship. I say "almost" because some of us grew weary of the monotonous score of 34-31. To continue to strum on that one string, 34-31, was salt in our wound.

    The only thing I disliked about Coach McBride was his salty language.

  • Coach Biff Lehi, UT
    Aug. 29, 2011 1:18 p.m.

    I bleed blue but I agree with the article. Coach Mac is a class act and did indeed build the foundation that the Utes are currently enjoying. We all benefitted from his work at the U. Glad he's still here in the state.

  • che loco Springville, UT
    Aug. 29, 2011 12:50 p.m.


    As great as Mac was for Utah, he's nothing close to what LaVell was for the Y. Their accomplishments are nowhere in the same area code. Mac was great for Utah and the article did a great job giving him the credit he deserved. But to compare Mac's impact on Utah to LaVell's impact on the Y is just really ignorant. Mac may have done something similar to Edwards, but none of Mac's greatest accomplishments even come close to Coach Edwards' accomplishments.

  • Shawnm750 West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 29, 2011 12:45 p.m.

    I agree with many other posters-Coach Mac is not forgotten. Perhaps his legacy has been overshadowed by the U's recent success, but any true Ute fan knows McBride turned that program around! That being said, I don't think he ever would have elevated the program to the level that it is now, but you cannot discount his impact and influence in getting it to where it is.

    Thanks Coach Mac, and all who worked and played for him throughout the years!

    GO UTES!

  • the REAL DEAL Sandy, UT
    Aug. 29, 2011 12:28 p.m.

    Coach Mac is my favorite Utah Football coach. I've witnessed the entire transformation over the past 21 years of Utah football. Coach Mac changed the attitude, recruiting and results. Long live Coach Mac. Coolest coach ever.

  • billybubba South Jordan, UT
    Aug. 29, 2011 11:10 a.m.

    I have read and reread all the comments on this article. There was nothing but positive thoughts from both sides. Coach McBride was a solid coach and made watching the U fun. I have always been a BYU fan but because of this coach I do watch the U play as often as I can. I dont see the need to post your hatred of BYU on this article; it is not necessary and has nothing to do with what anybody has been talking about.

  • footballfan6262 SANDY, UT
    Aug. 29, 2011 11:03 a.m.

    Coach Mac is not forgotten by Utah fans. He is loved by them because of what he did for this program. Every fan I talk to says Mac started the ball rolling.

    When he brought his Weber St. team to RES a few years ago he got a standing ovation from the crowd.

    He is a great man and wonderful coach and Utah fans will never forget what he did for us and this program.

  • TJ Eagle Mountain, UT
    Aug. 29, 2011 8:20 a.m.

    Coach McBride was my favorite Utah coach. He has class and wasn't afraid to be himself. He also had some pretty good teams.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 29, 2011 8:13 a.m.

    Long time Ute fans know exactly what Mac's role was. He absolutely built the foundation.
    One gripe I have with the article: you claim there was good funding before Mac was hired. That's not true. Dr Chris Hill started getting the funding going but before Hill came, Utah's funding was really poor.

  • Classless Ute Fan Magna, UT
    Aug. 29, 2011 1:36 a.m.

    I definitely remember Coach Mac. I was quite peeved when he was released. I think that he was a great coach. He was a great recruiter and motivator. He wasn't the greatest coach in the world but he was pretty darned good. If is wasn't for Mac, then it would have taken Meyer many more years, if ever, to get Utah to go undefeated. Meyer was able to work well with the recruits that Mac left him. After Meyer jumped ship, the recruits he left weren't as good as what Mac had left. Now that Whitt is head coach, he has brought the level of recruits back up, especially with the new PAC12 affiliation. But do you think that Whitt would be around if it weren't for MacBride? After all, didn't Mac hire Whitt?

  • mgr63 DALLAS, TX
    Aug. 29, 2011 1:05 a.m.

    McBride was great fun and his antics and enthusiasm were appreciated. There is no doubt that he raised the bar at the U. I remember when he started beating BYU and the buzz in SLC was tremendous. Now Utah expects to beat BYU every game and have thumped them ruthlessly a few times and will again until Utah stops scheduling BYU, hopefully very soon. It must be noted that Utah's rise to the big time is really because of Urban Meyer. He is one of the finest coaches to ever live and he instilled a sense of "perfection" in all Ute fan's mindset. Now the Utes quietly and humbly go about their business, win big games and are going to be a top program in the incredible PAC-12. No need for pipe dreams and bogus glory t-shirts at the U. We win and are very respected.......ask Nick Saban at Alabama. People worry about playing the U of U now. Let's hope Ron McBride takes his Weber St. Wildcats down to Provo in 2013-14' and gives the blue cougies another beat down!!!!!! It's not still 1984, a bizarre year in millions of minds. Go Utes!!!!!

  • Everest American Fork, UT
    Aug. 28, 2011 11:02 p.m.

    Weber State is lucky to have Coach Mac. He's a gem. I'm a BYU fan, but Utah has my respect, and Mac is a big part of that.

  • Nikon Guy Henderson, NV
    Aug. 28, 2011 11:02 p.m.

    I'm no longer a Utah fan but I will say this article is very good. McBride was a good coach in alot of ways. He laid the foundation for Urban Meyer. I have alot of respect for him. It's nice to see the Des News writing an article that honors him. It's good to remember your roots and where you came from even if one hates the MWC.

  • utahutesfanatic Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA
    Aug. 28, 2011 11:00 p.m.

    Coach Mac will always be one of my favorite all time coaches, but he still needed to go. In his last three years the Utes were predicted to win the conference twice and both times finished with losing records. His team would blow games late with poor play calling, and players were getting into trouble. Mac loved the players too much to show them the proper discipline. What he did in the previous decade before those last three years was a great gift to the University of Utah and he had some wonderful teams and players. I will always wish the best for Coach Mac but it was time for him to go, unfortunately.

  • Naval Vet Philadelphia, PA
    Aug. 28, 2011 10:58 p.m.

    "I wanted to establish something here." -- fmr-Head Coach Ron McBride

    I was on his sideline my entire tenure studying at the U. Utah has certainly moved up the ladder, and into the upper-echelon of college football. I'll certainly NEVER forget Ron McBride. He'd done too much for the Utah program to ever be an afterthought. Even Urban Meyer refused to take too much credit for our Liberty and Fiesta Bowl seasons; preferring rather publicly acknowledged McBride's ripple effect.

    Thank you Coach McBride. I know what you did for us. And you did it the right way. Well done!

  • Rational Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 28, 2011 10:52 p.m.

    Bill Meek had some good years, left the cupboard absolutely bare of players when he left, which is odd, because some of the players were driving some sweet rides...

    Utah beat UTEP 82-6 in 1973.

    Tom Lovat was a disaster. No discipline, no work ethic, no victories. Utah lost to UTEP in Lovat's first game. No QB, no offensive line, no running backs.

    Wayne Howard was obsessed. There were signs in each coach's office, all season long, that said, "What have you done today to beat BYU?"

    Chuck who?

    Fassell was one dimensional.

    McBride turned everything around, deserves more than "some" credit. Had passion, was a great recruiter, and had more class than any coach before and since. His players got unsportsmanlike penalties? Boo hoo! Passionate players. Mac's the one coach who understands you can be friends with your opponent and still try to beat their brains out -- like brothers do.

    Urban built on Mac's foundation, was a better coach, increased fan support.

    Whittingham is the perfect coach for Utah. Not a carpetbagger like Meyer, better coach than Mac, isn't looking to "move up." I suspect he'll stay at Utah no matter how much success they have.

  • Utah'95 FPO, AE
    Aug. 28, 2011 10:37 p.m.

    Shame on any Ute fan who has forgotten what Coach Mac did for the program.

  • II Las Vegas, NV
    Aug. 28, 2011 10:06 p.m.

    DR's column is right on. Coach McBride is second to none and Coaches Meyer, Whittingham, and those that follow will all stand on Mac's shoulders. Coach Mac's teams were the real deal, as evidenced by the 2001 LV Bowl where the tougher and more determined Ute's beat a more talented Pete Carrol and Carson Palmer lead USC 10-6. The next year USC received multiple #1 votes after humiliating Iowa in the Orange Bowl. Then USC won two NC's in a row and was barely beat by TX when going for #3. USC may have been lucky they didn't have to play undefeated Utah in 2004. Coach Meyer definately elevated things, but Coach Whittingham may have had the toughest job, i.e. continued growth after the Utes beat Pitt, and beyond. It's a great time to be a fan of Ute football, thanks to all three.

  • bluemoon1977 Provo, Utah
    Aug. 28, 2011 9:44 p.m.

    McBride completely changed the way Utah played football. Having come from Arizona, he built his Utah teams to be a mirror of top PAC 10 teams like Arizona, USC, and Washington. They ran the ball with punishing running backs, the offensive line became a bulwark, and the defense became an attacking group. He hired proven winnner coaches like Fred Whittingham.

    In addition, he decided that beating BYU was Utah's prime football directive. He refused to lay down and let BYU continue to destroy the Utes. He recruited some of the best players that ever played for the Utes, including star defensive linemen, star offensive linemen, star defensive backs, and those fantastic running backs. He even got Elliot and Smith to come to Utah to play quarterback.

    The whole program changed when the rivalry became a rivalry. It's all Ron McBride. He got the Utes into the Top 10.

    The whole state should give him tremendous credit for changing the face of college football and making key decisions that laid the foundation for the move to the PAC-12. Without him, none of this would have happened.

  • Jimmy James Salt Lake City, Ut
    Aug. 28, 2011 9:37 p.m.

    Great article. Ron Mcbride absolutely deserves credit for helping the U get to the PAC. After all, while Urban did amazing things, he did it with coach Mac's recruits (including Alex Smith). And if it wasn't for Mac's efforts beforehand, I doubt that Urban Meyer would have ever even came to the U.

    That said, for me the majority of the credit should rest with Urban Meyer. He took an average program and turned it around in a phenomenal way. He put us on the map. And of course, a large amount of respect should be given to Whittingham for continuing what Urban Meyer started. Initially I didn't think that Whittingham would be able to do what Meyer had done, but then came the Sugar Bowl. And in terms of earning national respect, that game is the most important football game Utah has ever played.

    So in sum, as a Ute fan, I want to give a huge thank you to those 3 incredible coaches who each played a pivotal role in getting us to where we are today!

  • SoCalUtahFan Utesville, CA
    Aug. 28, 2011 9:36 p.m.

    Coach Mac raised Utah football to another level up--just like Lavell did for BYU football when he took over in the early 70s.

    Urban and Kyle have taken Utah to the BCS-level.

    BYU has stayed the same level (if not slightly below the level that Lavell took them up to)--mid-major level still.

    Good article.
    And coach Mac is not forgotten by true Utah football fans.

  • Hawkyo SYRACUSE, UT
    Aug. 28, 2011 9:28 p.m.

    I disliked McBride for two reasons, the apparent lack of discipline in his players on the field (penalties, cheap shots, etc.) and the fact that he had figured out how to beat my cougars! I respect the ability of the man to do that second one.
    On a side note, I do not think it is a coincidence that Utah's improvement coincided with the embracing of LDS missions. There are a lot of KEY positions that the Utes needed to fill that were not willing to sacrifice their mission for football. They may not have been the star players all of the time, but they were the trench players you have to have in order for star players to shine. When Utah began bringing in those trench workers they were missing out on before, the difference between them and BYU was suddenly a moot point. Like or hate the Mormons, the U is who they are today as a school, and a football program because of a lot of Mormons who went there, played there, and coached there. Before this attitude change, BYU and Ricks were the only place to go, now players have another choice.

  • motorbike Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 28, 2011 9:25 p.m.

    I know what Doug Robinson is trying to point out in this article - basically just remind people of what Mac did for the Utes - but I disagree with the statement that people have forgotten what Mac did. I haven't forgotten and never will. I think most true Ute fans that have been around long enough would feel the same.
    We'll always appreciate what you did Coach Mac!

  • Wiley Old School RIC, VA
    Aug. 28, 2011 9:19 p.m.

    No true Ute fan has forgotten. McBride belongs in the Utah hall of fame!

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    Aug. 28, 2011 9:13 p.m.

    Mcbride has personality which has been lacking since he left.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    Aug. 28, 2011 9:12 p.m.

    GABBY, I think you just don't understand enough of the history of Utah football.

    McBride took a bad program and made it average.
    Urban took an average program and made it good.
    Whit took a good program and made it great.

    The fact that McBride got fired doesn't mean he didn't do his part. He raised the level of the program - his issue was that he couldn't raise it any further.

  • Red Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 28, 2011 9:11 p.m.

    Gabby you are not very aware of the history of Utah.

    I love Mac and agree with this article.

    I want to clarify one thing though. It was Coach Fassel that really started the turnaround at Utah because he is the one that brought the LDS missionary program back. It was Fassels first recruiting class of LDS players that went to the Copper Bowl their Senior season.

    Wayn Howard Jinxed Utah because he wouldn't hold scholarships for LDS players. He really didn't have a clue about Utah and the caliber of players he was missing out on.

    Mac is the one who really got the ball rolling though and deserves the credit of building the foundation of a great program.

    Go Utah!

  • aljmac Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 28, 2011 8:50 p.m.

    @ GABBY/8:38 - If you were a student at the time Urban was a coach, then it's no wonder you don't really appreciate what McBride did because you're too young to remember "pre" McBride.

    Coach Mac totally changed the culture at the U. IMO, he did the heaviest lifting between he, Meyer, and KW; that is, he did the most inglorious part, and that was pulling us out of the gutter, dusting us off and giving us a shave.

    IMO, Mac should be the one we honor for beginning the modern era of Ute football and our current run of success.

  • GABBY Farmington, UT
    Aug. 28, 2011 8:38 p.m.

    It was Urban Meyer that raised the level of football, not Ron McBride. Why do you think they got rib of Ron McBride, duh
    Urban Meyer totatlly changed everything about the U football team. When I had classes with the football team the first year Urban was coaching, the football team would come in class with ice packs on them. Urban totally changed the way things were done at the U and Kyle Whittingham followed suit and continues the legacy today...
    McBride had his time, but didn't accomplish what Urban made the team into.

  • KamUte South Jordan, UT
    Aug. 28, 2011 8:24 p.m.

    Loved McBride but hated the apparent lack of discipline. We lost a few games (or kept games too close) due to too many penalties and especially unsportsmanlike penalties always at bad times Loved his emotion but felt he took us as far as he could take us. I remember Ronnie giving me a hug after a few thousand of us celebrated a Freedom Bowl victory in Anaheim. More good memories than bad.

  • MiP Iowa City, IA
    Aug. 28, 2011 8:11 p.m.

    "Ron McBride is a forgotten man in Utah's graduation to the football big-time, but he played a big role in making it happen."

    We haven't forgotten coach. Thanks for the great memories!

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Aug. 28, 2011 8:09 p.m.

    Absolutely! It really took the three of them Ronnie Mac, Urban Meyer, and Coach Kyle to move the program to where it is. Dr. Chris Hill also deserves a tremendous amount of credit for moving the entire athletic department forward. No wonder he's been around for 26 years!

  • rvalens2 Burley, ID
    Aug. 28, 2011 8:05 p.m.

    Thanks Coach Mac ... this is one Ute fan who will never forget what you did for us.