The Coaching Factory

A Brief History of SUU's Physical Education Department

At the founding of the SUU institution, Physical Education and Athletics were within one department, in which both professors and coaches taught with the objective of preparing students for a major curriculum at a four-year school.

In 1963, a curriculum for a bachelor’s in physical education was begun, and in 1966, the department presented its first graduating class.

The Physical Education and Athletics programs separated into two departments in the 1987-88 school year so that coaches would be able to dedicate the majority of their time to coaching, normally only conducting classroom instruction on specific training and coaching methods. With such an arrangement, more diversity became available to students pursuing a bachelor’s.

In the late 80s in particular, evidence of the high-quality physical education program at SUU began surfacing with alumni across the southwestern part of the country winning championships.

A few years ago, a sports reporter from Northern Utah dubbed “that little school down south,” the Coaching Factory. Forty percent of Utah’s high school football coaches are from SUU; that’s twice as much as the University of Utah and BYU combined. In the 2000-2001 school year, SUU’s Coaching Factory Hall of Fame was established and will be erected on a wall within the new building.

Reflective upon the history of the Physical Education Department, Dr. Steven Lunt, longtime department chair, attempts to summarize the accomplishments and potential of the P.E. program as it makes its home in an extraordinary new building.

“How do you knock success?” the P.E. professor of nearly 40 years rhetorically inquires. “If people want good attorneys, they look to a great law school to find them. If you want a good coach, or any kind of practitioner of physical education, you look to a great physical education school—SUU.” 

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