The 77-year-old Gagliardi handled his latest accomplishment with the utmost of modesty as he thanked the thousands of men who played for him over the years and said he was looking forward to coaching St. Johns in the NCAA Division III playoffs for the sixth straight year.
Players say he never mentioned the number 409 unless he was "talking about cleaning supplies."
Despite his efforts to downplay his accomplishment, there was clearly something special in the air as the Johnnies took the field in Collegeville, Minn. An estimated 13,107 fans braved the cold and packed the stadium to witness a piece of history.
Gagliardi owes his success not only to his keen grasp of football strategy and tactics but also to his unique coaching philosophy, which features his legendary "list of nos."
The list includes a mandate for no long practices (all practices are kept to less than an hour and a half), no tackling in practice (players wear shorts or sweat pants), and no calling him "Coach." His players are to call him John.
Gagliardi shows no signs of slowing down, saying, "I have never thought about retirement."
Like a fine wine, he keeps getting better with age. He has not lost his winning ways despite coaching for over half a century.
Gagliardi will undoubtedly win a few more games before his legendary career comes to a close.