Bo Rein Football Coach: What Could Have Been

One of the rising stars of the coaching ranks back in the late 1970s and early 1980 was Bo Rein. We will never know what we missed with Rein, but he seemed like a man with a lot of promise.

Bo Rein grew up in Niles, Ohio where he was a high school legend in both football and baseball.

He signed with Ohio State where he played both.

Rein played Shortstop and Left Field for the Buckeyes and he helped them win their first and only

national championship in 1966.

In football, he was a Halfback for Woody Hayes in his 3 yards and a cloud of dust offense. During his career at Ohio State, Rein ran for 938 yards but that was more a sign of the times than a reflection of his talent.

The Cleveland Indians drafted Rein and he was playing in their farm system when injuries ended his


Bo Rein was hired by brand new head coach Lou Holtz at William and Mary in 1969. When Holtz got the North Carolina State job, Rein went along with him.

In 1975, Rein was the Offensive Coordinator for Frank Broyles and his Arkansas Razorbacks. Holtz mistakenly took the head coaching job with the New York Jets and the North Carolina State Wolfpack hired Bo Rein to take over the head coaching job.

His first season as a head coach was a disaster and North Carolina State must have wondered what they had done.

The team limped out to a 3-7-1 record in 1976. But, he turned things around in a hurry.

His second season was much better with an 8-4 record and a win in the Peach Bowl.

He topped that by leading the Wolfpack to an impressive 9-3 record in the 1978 season and another bowl win in the Tangerine Bowl.

In each of the 1977 and 1978 seasons North Carolina State finished in third place in the Atlantic

Coast Conference.

The 1979 season was Rein’s time to lead his team to the ACC championship. Even though they only finished with a 7-4 record, they did win the title.

LSU had Charlie McClendon as it’s coach for 18 seasons. McClendon played college football for Bear Bryant at Kentucky way back in the day. After getting hired by Vanderbilt for an assistant’s job in 1952, he was then hired by legendary LSU football coach Paul Dietzel in 1953. As an assistant at LSU, McClendon helped the Tigers win their first national championship in 1958.

When Dietzel stepped down after the 1961 season, he hand picked Charlie McClendon as his successor.

McClendon was the head coach at LSU for 18 years.

McClendon had 3 college coaching jobs. One year as an assistant at Vanderbilt and then 9 seasons as an assistant at LSU. Then, 18 seasons as the head guy for the Tigers.

They say that LSU fans smell like corn dogs. I doubt that’s true, but if you had taken a whiff of Charlie McClendon I am sure you would have gotten the scent of a corn dog if it that myth was

actually real.

In 1969, LSU was 9-1. McClendon and LSU felt they deserved to go to the Cotton Bowl and play top ranked Texas for the national title. The Cotton Bowl picked Notre Dame because the Irish had banned bowl games for about 50 years and the Irish were, and still are, a big draw.

LSU felt cheated and McClendon got so mad that the Tigers chose not to go to a bowl game at all.

The last few years for McClendon at LSU were not all that great compared to earlier seasons. It’s hard to know if McClendon leaving the Tigers was his idea or somebody higher up chose to push him out.

Either way, McClendon was done after the 1979 season.

The LSU Tigers hired promising young 34 year old Bo Rein.

Rein had the look of a rising star in the coaching ranks.

As everyone knows, the hiring of a new coach at the end of a football season always results in a mad scramble.

There are so many things to do.

The head coach has to hire a new staff almost immediately so that he can get them out on the road recruiting and they will have generally about 2 months to get that all done. That’s not a lot of time

when you consider the new coaches will be going up against other coaching staff’s that have been on the job already and have connections with the recruits already established.

As every other head coach when hired on at a new school, Bo Rein undoubtedly hit the ground running.

42 days after being hired by the Tigers, Rein was out recruiting but instead of being on the road he was in the air.

Rein met another member of his newly hired coaching staff  in Shreveport, Louisiana and together they went to visit a recruit named Bobby Agnor.

The other coach had to drive back to Baton Rouge for another obligation, and Rein was going to fly to visit another recruit the following day in Mississippi.

That recruit was Paul Ott Carruth who would later sign with Alabama and play Running Back.

Everything I have seen about Bo Rein’s death have his plane going down in the Atlantic ocean. That’s odd since the only ocean anywhere close to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where Carruth was from, was the Gulf of Mexico.

Somehow, the plane drifted some 1,000 miles off course and crashed into the Atlantic.

LSU turned to Jerry Stovall for it’s new head coach and that didn’t work out so well for the Tigers or for Stovall. He had been a great player for the Tigers and he played in the NFL for St Louis for 9 seasons after he had been their 1st round pick.

But, he didn’t do well as the LSU coach and he was fired after posting a 22-21-2 record over 4 seasons.

Who knows what the LSU Tigers might have done if the tragedy had not happened to Bo Rein. By all accounts, Rein was a promising young coach.

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