Bob Stoops skipped out on a post-practice press briefing Tuesday, for a very good reason. He had a lunch date with Lee Corso.
The ESPN personality, one of the co-hosts of GameDay, was in Oklahoma City to visit St. Anthony Hospital, visit with patients, then deliver a speech at the Oklahoma Heritage Museum about coming back from the effects of a stroke.
“I appreciate old ball coaches,” Stoops said of Corso. “I hope to be one some day.”
Before he became the court jester of GameDay, Corso was a college football coach. Four years at Louisville, 10 years at Indiana, one year at Northern Illinois. Not easy places to coach, which is why Corso went 73-85-6. Twelve games under .500, in the days when few automatic victories were schedule, is not a bad record at those schools.
Corso coached Louisville to a 9-1 record in 1972, then coached Indiana to an 8-4 record in 1979, including a 38-37 loss to Brigham Young in the 1979 Holiday Bowl.
He might come across as a clown. He might joke about his record. But Corso wasn’t a bad coach.
“I always enjoy being around Lee,” Stoops said.
Stoops generally gets good treatment from ESPN. He had a little feud with ESPN in 2003, when he suggested the groundswell of Heisman support for Pitt’s Larry Fitzgerald centered around ESPN’s contract with the Big East. But mostly, ESPN personnel are very high on Stoops.
Corso told the crowd during his speech that Stoops is the only coach he’s close to. I don’t know how close they are, and I don’t know if Corso is only playing to the crowd, but Stoops definitely is congenial with one of the primary mouthpieces of college football.