Pro Football Hall of Famer Marv Levy, the winningest coach in Buffalo Bills history, was honored Tuesday, Dec. 4, as a “Hometown Hall of Famer™” by the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Allstate Insurance Company
during a special plaque ceremony at South Shore High School in Chicago. In front of a crowd of student-athletes, friends, faculty and alumni, Levy was welcomed home and recognized for his lasting legacy in Chicago.
Following the presentation of colors and a performance of the national anthem, South Shore High School football coach Sherwin Jarvis proudly welcomed Levy back to his alma mater before showing a highlight video of Levy’s coaching days.
“We take great pride in calling Marv Levy one of our own,” said Jarvis. “Today is about us, our school and our family.”
Presenting Levy with his plaque was Brock Richards, program director of Pro Football Hall of Fame Enterprises, who described for students the era in which Levy graduated from South Shore High School, a time when the United States was in the height of World War II. Richards also reflected on the state of the NFL in 1943 – a year when players were called to service and their deployment impacted NFL team rosters resulting in a combined Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers team called the “Steagles.”
“Today is about Marv honoring his hometown and the roots of his success,” said Richards. “The lessons that he learned right here at South Shore High School, and the influence that this Chicago community had on him, laid the groundwork that made him fitting of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”
After the unveiling of the plaque, Levy took to the podium as the school’s band played the FOX NFL Sunday theme song. He expressed his gratitude and excitement to return to South Shore High School while offering some advice to the students saying, “You’re in a spot now where I was so many years ago. If you go forth and get your education, you will get esteem from others and will have esteem in yourself.”
Levy closed by sharing two rules he always had for his football players and himself saying, “As a coach and still to this day, I have two rules: Be on time and be a good citizen. The game is important, so honor the game, honor your teammates and be persistent.”
In addition to the plaque, a commemorative Marv Levy Hometown Hall of Famer™ road sign will be on display in Chicago.
“I am privileged to help honor the legacy of Pro Football Hall of Fame member Marv Levy and recognize South Shore High School with a hometown plaque and commemorative road sign here today in our fine city of Chicago,” said Jack Hallberg, Sr., a longtime Chicago area Allstate agent.
After graduating from Coe College where he earned varsity letters in football, track and basketball, Levy continued his education at Harvard receiving a master’s degree in English History. Levy went on to coach college football at various schools including his alma mater Coe College, the University of New Mexico, the University of California, Berkeley, and finished his college-coaching career at the College of William and Mary.
Levy began his professional football coaching career in 1969 as a special teams coach for the Philadelphia Eagles and spent the next few years as a special teams coach for the Los Angeles Rams and the Washington Redskins.
He then served as the head coach of the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League for five seasons before returning to the NFL in 1978 as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. Levy became head coach of the Buffalo Bills in 1986 where it took him only two years to lead the Bills to the AFC Championship game. Under his direction, the team won the AFC Eastern Division six times and made the playoffs eight times. With his high-powered “no-huddle” offense, Levy went on to set a new standard for NFL coaches as he led his team to an unprecedented four consecutive Super Bowl appearances 1990-93. He became the most successful coach in Bills history with a 112-70 regular season record and was named NFL Coach of the Year in 1988 and AFC Coach of the Year in 1988, 1993 and 1995.
After retiring from the NFL in 1997, Levy became an analyst for NFL.com and from 2006-07 served as general manager and vice president of football operations for the Buffalo Bills.
Levy was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.
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