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Lee Corso
Corso on the set of College GameDay
Corso on the set of College GameDay
Sport American football
Born 1936
Place of birth Lake Mary, Florida
Career highlights
Coaching stats
College Football DataWarehouse
Playing career
1953-1957 Florida State
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1959-1968
1969-1972
1973-1982
1984
1985
Maryland Terrapins (QB)
Louisville Cardinals
Indiana Hoosiers
Northern Illinois Huskies
Orlando Renegades

Leland "Lee" Corso (born 1936) is a sports broadcaster and football analyst for ESPN. He has been featured on ESPN's College GameDay program since its inception and appears annually as a commentator in EA Sports' NCAA Football. In the off season, Corso serves as Director of Business Development for Dixon Ticonderoga, a Florida based pencil manufacturing company.[1]

Contents

Biography

College playing career

Corso was born in Lake Mary, Florida, and attended Miami Jackson Senior High where he played quarterback. He played college football at Florida State University, where he was a roommate of football player and actor Burt Reynolds and former University of Miami baseball coach Ron Fraser. As a defensive player, he set the school record for most career interceptions (14), a record which stood for more than two decades until it was broken by Monk Bonasorte.[2] He was also a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. Corso was the starting quarterback for the South in the 1956 Blue-Gray Game, though his squad lost to the Len Dawson-led North team, 14–0. Corso was also an important baseball player for FSU.

Coaching career

Upon graduating from Florida State with a bachelor's degree in physical education in 1957 and a master's degree in administration and supervision in 1958, Corso became the quarterbacks coach at the University of Maryland under his former FSU coach Tommy Nugent. In 1962, Corso followed Nugent's guidance to recruit an academically and athletically qualified black player and convinced Darryl Hill to transfer from the Naval Academy, making him the first African-American football player in the Atlantic Coast Conference.[3] In 1966, Lee took a job as the defensive backs coach at Navy. In 1969, he was given the head coaching position at the University of Louisville where he coached his ESPN colleague Tom Jackson. After taking Louisville to only its second-ever bowl game in 1972, he was hired by Indiana University.

Corso's record was 41–68–2 over his ten years at Indiana, and in 1983 he became an announcer for the fledgling United States Football League (USFL).

Corso was the 16th head college football coach for the Northern Illinois University Huskies located in DeKalb, Illinois and he held that position for the 1984 season. His career coaching record at Northern Illinois was 4 wins, 6 losses, and 1 tie. After his brief stint as head coach at Northern Illinois, Corso returned to the USFL—this time as a coach for the Orlando Renegades.

Broadcasting career

In 1987, Lee was hired by ESPN as an analyst for the College GameDay program. He often plays the role of comic foil to co-hosts Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit as they cover the major college football games from August until January. Corso's catch phrase, "Not so fast, my friend!", with pencil always in hand, is usually directed at Kirk Herbstreit, in disagreement with Herbstreit's predictions. Corso is also known for ending every weekly show with his mascot headgear prediction, when he chooses who he thinks will win the game at GameDay's site by donning the headpiece of the school's mascot. Corso also says "sweetheart" to almost everyone.

Corso makes a brief cameo in a 2006 Nike commercial featuring the fictional Briscoe High School football team, portrayed by football icons such as Michael Vick, LaDainian Tomlinson, Brian Urlacher, Troy Polamalu, by coaches Don Shula, Jimmy Johnson, and Urban Meyer, and by fellow FSU great Deion Sanders. Corso takes his hawk mascot head off while the game's deciding play unfolds in slow-motion.

Corso also appears annually in EA Sports NCAA Football titles along with Herbstreit and play-by-play man Brad Nessler. The 2006 edition of the game begins with Corso making his mascot headgear prediction.

Other notable facts

In 2001, Corso spearheaded an effort to create a crayon completely out of soybeans.[1]

Corso serves as honorary chairman of Coaches Curing Kids' Cancer, a charity that raises money for pediatric cancer research through youth sports teams.

Coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl Rank#
Louisville Cardinals (Missouri Valley Conference) (1969–1972)
1969 Louisville 5-4-1 2-3
1970 Louisville 8-3-1 4-0 1st 24-24 Tie Pasadena Bowl
1971 Louisville 6-3-1 3-2 5th
1972 Louisville 9-1 4-1 T-1st 18 (AP)
Louisville: 28-11-3 13-6
Indiana Hoosiers (Big Ten Conference) (1973–1982)
1973 Indiana 2-9 0-8 T-9th
1974 Indiana 1-10 1-7 10th
1975 Indiana 2-8-1 1-6-1 10th
1976 Indiana 5-6 4-4 T-3rd
1977 Indiana 5-5-1 4-3-1 4th
1978 Indiana 4-7 3-5 7th
1979 Indiana 8-4 5-3 4th W 38-37 Holiday 19th (AP)
1980 Indiana 6-5 3-5 T-6th
1981 Indiana 2-9 1-8 9th
1982 Indiana 5-6 4-5 6th
Indiana: 41-68-2 27-53-2
Northern Illinois Huskies (Mid-American Conference) (1984–1984)
1984 Northern Illinois 4-6-1 3-5-1 T-6th
Northern Illinois: 4-6-1 3-5-1
Total: 73-85-6
      National Championship         Conference Title         Conference Division Title
Indicates BCS bowl game. #Rankings from final Coaches Poll.

References

  1. ^ a b Hiestand, Michael. "Corso penciled in for variety". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/football/2005-04-20-corso-cover_x.htm. Retrieved 2008-04-20.  
  2. ^ "2002 Record Book". Florida State University. 2002. p. 259. http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/fsu/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/02Records-DefandSpecialTeam.pdf. Retrieved 8 September 2009.  
  3. ^ Tom D'Angelo, "Barriers made to be broken" University of Maryland Terrapins Official Athletic Site, 25 October 2006, accessed 17 January 2008.

External links

Awards and honors

  • Member, Florida State University Hall of Fame
  • Member, University of Louisville Hall of Fame
  • Member, Florida Sports Hall of Fame
  • Member, Seminole Club of Greater Miami - Inducted into the "77 Club"
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Frank Camp
University of Louisville Head Football Coaches
1969-1972
Succeeded by
T.W. Alley
Preceded by
John Pont
Indiana University Head Football Coaches
1973-1982
Succeeded by
Sam Wyche
Preceded by
Bill Mallory
Northern Illinois University Head Football Coaches
1984
Succeeded by
Jerry Pettibone







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