December 2, 2013 Lee Corso from ESPN
- Lee Corso – ESPN Gameday Crew (OTC Finale Speaker Each Year)
Leland “Lee” Corso (born August 7, 1935) is an American sports broadcaster and football analyst for ESPN. He has been featured on ESPN‘s College GameDay program since its inception and he appeared annually as a commentator in EA Sports‘ NCAA Football through NCAA Football 11. In the off season, Corso serves as Director of Business Development for Dixon Ticonderoga, a Florida based pencil manufacturing company. Corso played college football at Florida State University. He served as the head football coach at the University of Louisville (1969–1972), Indiana University (1973–1982), and Northern Illinois University (1984), compiling a career college football record of 73–85–6. Corso was also the head coach of the United States Football League‘s Orlando Renegades in 1985.
Early life and playing career
Corso was born in Miami, Florida, and attended Miami Jackson Senior High where he played quarterback. He played college football at Florida State University (FSU), where he was a roommate of football player and actor Burt Reynolds and future University of Miami baseball coach Ron Fraser. While at FSU, Corso earned the nickname “Sunshine Scooter” for his speed on the football field. As a defensive player, he set the school record for most career interceptions (14), a record that stood for more than two decades until it was broken by Monk Bonasorte. 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.
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 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. In 1966, Lee took a job as the defensive backs coach at Navy. In 1969, he was given the head coaching position at Louisville where he coached his ESPN colleague Tom Jackson. After taking Louisville to only its second-ever bowl game in 1970, he was hired by Indiana in 1972.
Corso coached at Indiana from 1973-1982, leading the Hoosiers to two winning seasons in 1979 and 1980. The 1979 regular season ended with 7-4 record and earned a trip to the 1979 Holiday Bowl. There the Hoosiers would beat the previously unbeaten Brigham Young Cougars. Indiana’s victory over the Cougars propelled the team to 16th in the UPI poll, the Hoosiers’ first top-20 ranking since 1967. Corso’s record was 41–68–2 over his ten years at Indiana.
Corso was the 16th head college football coach for the Northern Illinois University Huskies. In his lone season as Northern Illinois’s head coach, his record was 4–6–1.
After a brief stint at Northern Illinois, Corso made his professional football coaching debut for Orlando Renegades of the USFL in 1985. The team, as well as the league folded following the season.
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 Desmond Howard, Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit as they cover the major college football games from August until January. Corso’s catchphrase, “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 appeared annually in EA Sports NCAA Football titles along with Herbstreit and play-by-play man Brad Nessler until NCAA Football 11 where he does not do play-by-play. The 2006 edition of the game begins with Corso making his mascot headgear prediction. If the team Corso chooses does not have a mascot, he wears the helmet instead like on College GameDay.
In 2001, Corso spearheaded an effort to create a crayon completely out of soybeans. Corso serves as honorary chairman of Coaches Curing Kids’ Cancer, a charity that raises money for pediatric cancer research through youth sports teams. Corso was honored with the NCFAA’s Contributions to College Football Award during the Home Depot College Football Awards show at the Atlantic Dance Hall at Walt Disney World on December 9, 2010 for his 57 year association with college football as a player, head coach and analyst. Growing up in Miami, Corso attended his local Boys’ Club and is listed in the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Alumni Hall of Fame.