A 2004 College Football Hall of Fame inductee, from 1972 to 2000 Edwards led the BYU Cougars to a 257-101-3 record, 20 WAC titles, 13 Top 25 finishes, four Top 10 finishes and the 1984 national championship. At a time when most prominent football programs placed an emphasis on the running game, Edwards embraced a wide-open style of passing offense that is known today as the West Coast Offense. This system produced a number of celebrated quarterbacks including 1990 Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer, Jim McMahon, Steve Young, Gifford Nielsen and Marc Wilson.
The School of Physical Education offers at least one lecture each year in the series, featuring outstanding coaches from professional, collegiate and international sports. The series began in 2001; previous speakers have been Bo Schembechler, Grant Teaff, Dick MacPherson and Jim Boeheim. The series was established to honor Nehlen, who is serving as an adjunct professor in the School of Physical Education after his retirement from coaching in 2000.