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John Levra

Former defense line coach for the Buffalo Bills


John Levra retired from coaching after serving for 44 years in the profession. He finished his career as the defense line coach for the Buffalo Bills (five years). He served in the same position with the Minnesota Vikings for three years. For two years at the Denver Broncos, he was the offensive line coach. Prior to that experience, he coached the defensive line for the Chicago Bears for seven years.

His first NFL position was as the running backs coach for the New Orleans Saints (five years). In 1980, he was the defensive line coach for the British Columbia Lions of the CFL. In his 15 years as a defensive line coach, his units averaged 46 sacks a season. John spent seven years as a high school coach in Kansas before his college coaching career began at New Mexico Highlands as an assistant in 1966. He then became the Cowboys’ head coach (1967–70) and posted the best coaching record (35-4-1) in school history.

He was named the athletic director and head football coach at Stephen F. Austin University in 1971, where he established the second-best winning percentage in the school’s history. In 1974, he moved to the University of Kansas, where he served as the Jayhawk’s offensive coordinator for four seasons. He then accepted the same position at North Texas State for one season (1979).

John is a graduate of Pittsburg (KS) State, where he earned All-Central Intercollegiate Conference honors as a guard/linebacker. John is widely respected as one of the most outstanding “teachers” in the coaching profession. He is a much sought-after clinic speaker and has produced three best-selling instructional videos: Pass Rush Fundamentals and Techniques, Pass Rush Games and Stunts, and Pass Rush Drills.