Jack Robert Lengyel (born March 4, 1935) is a software executive and former American football coach, lacrosse coach, and college athletics administrator. He served as the head football coach at the College of Wooster from 1966 to 1970 and at Marshall University from 1971 until 1974, compiling a career college football record of 33–54. At Marshall, he took over the Thundering Herd football program after the Southern Airways Flight 932 plane crash that killed nearly the entire team in 1970. Lengyel was the athletic director at California State University, Fresno from 1983 to 1986, at the University of Missouri from 1986 to 1988, and at the United States Naval Academy from 1988 to 2001. He served as the interim athletic director at Temple University in 2002, at Eastern Kentucky University from 2002 to 2003, and at the University of Colorado Boulder from 2004 to 2005.
Lengyel in 2008
|Born||March 4, 1935|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|Administrative career (AD unless noted)|
|1978–1980||Louisville (associate/acting AD)|
|1980–1983||Missouri (associate AD)|
|2002||Temple (interim AD)|
|2002–2003||Eastern Kentucky (interim AD)|
|2004–2005||Colorado (interim AD)|
|Head coaching record|
Early life and coaching careerEdit
Lengyel's family name means "Polish" in Hungarian. He graduated from the University of Akron where he was an assistant coach in 1959, and was a member of the Lone Star Fraternity (Pi Kappa Epsilon). In 1962, he earned a Master of Education degree from Kent State University. He was an assistant coach at Heidelberg College (1961–1962) and Cornell University (1963–1965)  before becoming head football at the College of Wooster in 1966. At Wooster, Lengyel transformed a team that was 0-9 to winning consecutive games. He also coached lacrosse at Wooster for three seasons, from 1968 to 1970.
Lengyel was hired by athletic director Joe McMullen after head coach Rick Tolley was killed along with 37 players and 37 coaches and administrators of Marshall in a plane crash on November 14, 1970. He was selected for the job after it was rejected by a Penn State assistant and an assistant from Georgia Tech turned it down. When Lengyel arrived at Marshall he was forced to recruit athletes from other sports (baseball and basketball) as well as allow a large number of walk-ons in order to rebuild the devastated football program. Although the team struggled in Lengyel's first season at the helm, it managed to win a stunning 15–13 victory over Xavier, scoring a touchdown on the final play of the game. His overall record at Marshall as the head coach was 9–33.
After leaving Marshall, Lengyel went into the private sector before returning to sports as associate director of athletics at Louisville (1978–1980) and Missouri (1980–1983). He then went to Fresno State as director of athletics from 1983 to 1986. He returned to University of Missouri to become their athletic director from 1986 to 1988.
In 1988, he became the athletic director at the United States Naval Academy, where he served for 14 years before retiring in 2001. He received the 2005 John L. Toner Award from the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame for his service at Navy. Since retiring from Navy in 2001, he has also been the interim director of athletics at Temple University, Eastern Kentucky University, and most recently University of Colorado.
Lengyel also served many years on the board of trustees for the Foundation of the United States Naval Academy. He is currently the vice president of business development for XOS Digital, a sports media and technology company.
On January 12, 2008, seven members of a high school basketball team from Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada and their coach's wife were killed in a highway crash when the 15-seat van they were traveling in collided with a tractor-trailer while returning from a game in Moncton in snowy conditions. Drawing similarities between the two tragedies, on March 13, 2008, Jack Lengyel funded his own traveling expenses to New Brunswick, Canada to assist in counseling the grieving community.
Lengyel went on record with the Canadian Press stating that schools should not be transporting students in small, multi-passenger vans. The New Brunswick government announced soon after the crash that it was suspending the use of the vans.
In 2019, Lengyel was named to the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame's 150th Anniversary Team of Excellence.
Head coaching recordEdit
|Wooster Fighting Scots (Ohio Athletic Conference) (1966–1970)|
|Marshall Thundering Herd (NCAA University Division / Division I independent) (1971–1974)|
- The Citizen-Advertiser (Auburn, New York, "Cornell Grid Coach Believes His Team Will Be Stronger", August 29, 1963, page 16
- Mansfield News-Journal, March 21, 1967, page 16
- Hybl, Dean. "Chatting College Football with Former Marshall Coach Jack Lengyel". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2020-11-09.
- RepublicHerald-Dispatch.com, PAOLA BOIVIN / The Arizona. "Following crash, Lengyel helped community heal". The Herald-Dispatch. Retrieved 2020-11-09.
- "Jack Lengyel - General". National Football Foundation. Retrieved 2020-11-09.
- Book Jack Lengyel, inspirational We Are Marshall coach, at Speakers.com, accessed 30 December 2009, 
- "Akron Alum Jack Lengyel Named to NFF 150th Anniversary Team". University of Akron Athletics. Retrieved 2020-11-09.
- Media related to Jack Lengyel at Wikimedia Commons