Vince Lombardi's Story

Vince Lombardi was born in Brooklyn, New York on June 11, 1913.

The son of an Italian immigrant and the oldest of five siblings, Lombardi was raised in a strict Catholic household. In 1928 at age 15, Lombardi entered the Cathedral College of Immaculate Conception to study for priesthood.

Two years later, Lombardi transferred to St. Francis Preparatory and played fullback for their football team.  Lombardi next attended Fordham University and starred on the football team as a member of Fordham’s famed “Seven Blocks of Granite.”

Lombardi graduated magna cum laude from Fordham in 1937, then attended law school in the evenings while working for a finance company during the day. 

Lombardi took a teaching and assistant football coaching position at St. Cecilia High School in Englewood, New Jersey.

During his successful eight-year stint at St. Cecelia, Lombardi married Marie Planitz in 1940 (with whom he had two children, Vince Jr. and Susan).

Lombardi joined the coaching staff at his alma mater, Fordham University, in 1947 and served for two years. But Lombardi was presented an opportunity to coach at West Point in 1949 under the direction of the great Red Blaik. 

as an assistant to Blaik, Lombardi Honed the hallmark of his great teams: simplicity and execution.

A reputation for being a tireless workaholic helped Lombardi land a position as an NFL assistant coach for the New York Giants.

In five years with the Giants, Lombardi helped lead the Giants to five winning seasons, culminating in the 1956 league championship .

lombardi next became head coach of the green bay packers in 1959, signing a five-year contract.

From day one, Lombardi  was firmly in charge. He conducted grueling training camps and demanded absolute dedication and effort from his players.

His hard-edged style turned the Packers into a fabled franchise in the 1960’s, leading them to five NFL Championships, including victories in Super Bowl I and II. Coach Lombardi had cemented his status as the greatest football coach in history.


His ability to teach, motivate and inspire players helped turn the Green Bay Packers into the most dominant NFL team in the 1960s.

After a one-year break from coaching, Lombardi returned to lead the Washington Redskins in 1969, leading them to their first winning season in more than a decade.

Tragedy struck as Lombardi was diagnosed with an aggressive form of colon cancer in June 1970.

He died a short ten weeks later on September 3, 1970 at the age of 57. As a beloved national icon, thousands attended two separate funerals.

Shortly after his death, Lombardi was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and was memorialized by the NFL with his name associated with the trophy awarded to the Super Bowl champion each year.