Steve Musseau

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Steve Musseau
Sport(s) Football
Biographical details
Born (1923-07-15)July 15, 1923
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S.
Died December 28, 1997(1997-12-28) (aged 74)[1]
Everett, Washington
Alma mater Louisiana State University
Playing career
1941–42 LSU
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Mater Dei HS (CA)
Orange Coast
Idaho - (assistant)
Head coaching record
Overall 13–17

Stephen Joseph "Steve" Musseau, Jr. (July 15, 1923 - December 28, 1997) was an American college football coach, the head coach at the University of Idaho for three seasons, from 1965 to 1967. Following coaching, he was a motivational speaker and mental performance teacher.[2]

Early years[edit]

Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Musseau played football at LSU until interrupted by World War II. While serving as a paratrooper, he incurred a badly fractured leg that ended his football career, but led him to his future wife, a nurse he met while recuperating. He returned to LSU to finish his degree, changing from engineering to pre-dental to education.[3]


He was a high school head coach in Louisiana and California, he was at Mater Dei High School for two seasons,[4] then moved to the junior college level in 1957. He was the head coach at Orange Coast College for five seasons when named to the staff at Idaho in 1962 by new head coach Dee Andros.[3] Three years later, Andros left for Oregon State in 1965 with several assistants and offered him an assistant coaching position in Corvallis as well; Musseau was named head coach at Idaho within two days.

Idaho head coach[edit]

Musseau's 1965 Vandals, with fullback Thunder Ray McDonald, won the Battle of the Palouse over neighbor Washington State for the second straight year, this time on the road in Pullman, and finished at 5-5.

Although Idaho was a charter member was the Big Sky Conference in 1963, it had only played one conference game in football in the first two seasons, a previously scheduled game against Idaho State. Idaho was a "university division" program and a longtime member of the defunct PCC, while the other four football-playing members of the Big Sky were "college division" (Division II). Under Andros, Idaho viewed the six-team Big Sky as an answer to its basketball scheduling problems, as well as other sports, but had desired to continue as an independent at the top level in football.

Directed by the conference to comply, Idaho played its first full conference schedule in football in 1965 and was 3-1 for the first two seasons, but posted a disappointing 2-2 in the third. A November defeat at Weber State and non-conference blowout losses at Washington State (14-52) and Houston (6-77) closed out the 1967 season at 4-6 overall. Although his 13-17 (.433) record was better than each of the previous eight head coaches, pressure from alumni and boosters forced Musseau's resignation,[5] despite a signed petition by the Vandal football players that he remain for a fourth year.[6] He stayed with the university in 1968, but outside the athletic department in a fund-raising role under the university president.[7]

After coaching[edit]

Following coaching, he was a motivational speaker and mental performance teacher.[2] For several seasons in the mid-1990s, Northwestern head coach Gary Barnett brought in Musseau as an inspirational mentor on adversity, including their 1995 run to their first Rose Bowl in nearly a half century. At the 1995 pre-season camp, Musseau dressed up in costume as Moses to help emphasize his key points. Two of Musseau's sons had played high school football for Barnett in the 1970s at Air Academy High School in Colorado Springs. After AAHS was beaten by its overmatched archrival, Barnett discovered that the rival team had been mentored by Musseau that week.[8][9]


At the time of his hiring as head coach at Idaho in 1965, Musseau and his wife Yollanda were the parents of twelve children: ten sons and two daughters.[3]

Musseau had ongoing problems with his health; following his first season as head coach at Idaho, he had a heart attack in early 1966 at age 42,[10] and had several triple-bypass surgeries, as well as diabetes.[2][11]

In his later years, Musseau was a resident of Marysville, Washington, north of Seattle. He died of heart failure in late 1997 at a nursing home in Everett.[12]

Head coaching record[edit]

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Idaho Vandals (Big Sky) (1965–1967)
1965 Idaho 5–4 3–1 T-1st
1966 Idaho 4–6 3–1 2nd
1967 Idaho 4–6 2–2 3rd
Idaho: 13–17 8–4
Total: 13–17
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
#Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.


  1. ^ Stephen J. Musseau - profile - genealogy - accessed 2012-04-04
  2. ^ a b c "Motivational speaker works with Northwestern". Gadsden Times. Associated Press. December 10, 1995. p. D5. 
  3. ^ a b c Hartley, Tom (September 18, 1965). "Most famous papa in the Palouse". Spokesman-Review. p. 3,Inland Empire. 
  4. ^ - football history - accessed 2012-04-04
  5. ^ "Alums stalk Idaho coach". Deseret News. United Press International. November 28, 1967. p. 10B. 
  6. ^ "Musseau still leaving Idaho: petition ends in dust". Bend Bulletin. United Press International. November 30, 1967. p. 6. 
  7. ^ "Idaho retains Musseau". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. February 9, 1968. p. 19. 
  8. ^ Adande, J.A. (November 29, 1995). "Northwestern returns to the Rose Bowl". Washington Post. 
  9. ^ Alexander, Rachel (December 29, 1995). "Wildcats follow path of motivator". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. 
  10. ^ "Musseau to stay at Idaho". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Associated Press. December 17, 1966. p. 11. 
  11. ^ Spokesman Review - Idaho seems insured against 1965 problem - 1966-04-04 - p.12
  12. ^ "Death notice - Stephen Joseph Musseau". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. January 1, 1998. p. 3A. 

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