Vince Lombardi (Brooklyn, New York, 1913 – Washington, D.C. 1970) (Italian parents), was an American football coach. He was the head coach of the Green Bay Packers of the NFL from 1959-67, and of the Washington Redskins for the 1969 season. He was one of football's most accomplished and respected coaches.
Lombardi won five league championships during his 9 years as a coach. He began his career as a professional football coach in 1954 for the NFL's New York Giants.
Vince was raised in the Catholic faith and studied the priesthood for two years before transferring to St. Francis Preparatory High School, where he became a star fullback on the football team. When coaching the Packers Lombardi, who had a zero tolerance policy towards racism, warned his team that if any player exhibited prejudice, in any manner, then that player would be thrown off the team. Lombardi, who was vehemently opposed to Jim Crow discrimination, let it be known to all Green Bay establishments that if they did not accommodate his black players equally as well as his white players, then that business would be off-limits to the entire team. Lombardi was also aware of tight end football player Jerry Smith's homosexuality, and upon arriving in Washington told Smith in confidence that it would never be an issue as long as he was coaching the Redskins. Smith flourished, becoming an integral part of Lombardi's offense, and was voted a First Team All-Pro for the first time in his career, which was also Lombardi's only season as Redskin head coach. Lombardi invited other gay players to training camp, and Lombardi would privately hope they would prove they could earn a spot on the team.
- Jerry Smith NFL Football Statistics - Pro-Football-Reference.com