ESPN college football analyst Lee Corso is still battling effects of a stroke in May 2009 that nearly knocked him off the air for good. His speech is slower, more precise.
But Corso, who worked hard last summer through therapy to return to the ESPN "College GameDay" stage for the season opener, has a new goal this season.
Corso, who turned 75 on Aug. 7, told a crowd Tuesday night at the Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum that he hopes to fulfill all three years of a new contract he recently signed with ESPN.
"There is nobody older than me in television," Corso said. "ESPN has shown great faith. They signed me to a three-year contract. My goal is to make three more years."
After recently going from seven to 10 grandchildren with the birth of triplet grandsons, he said that also has given him incentive.
"If I can make those three years," he said, "I can get enough money to send those three boys to college."
In his first public speech since the stroke, Corso entertained the crowd attending St. Anthony Hospital's annual Stroke of Courage event with anecdotes about his 28 years in coaching and 23 years with ESPN. But he also spoke somberly about the stroke, which happened May 16, 2009, at his Central Florida home.
After retrieving his newspaper that morning, Corso said he couldn't talk or move his right arm.
"I was scared to death," he said. "My wife drove me to the hospital."
After three days in intensive care and another week in the hospital, Corso was released to begin occupational, physical and speech therapy. He said long walks with his wife, Betsy, proved therapeutic in helping to fight off depression.
"I wore old pajamas and a robe and my hair was all screwed up," he said. "I didn't care what I looked like. I had set a goal and you can get discouraged."
Corso fulfilled his goal of returning to "College GameDay," although he was forced to rely on note cards to make sure he got his comments across.
"I learned that less is more," he said. "I didn't say anything and I was still getting paid."
Corso said a modified schedule, in which he skipped the "SportsCenter" broadcasts, and naps helped him sustain his strength.
The "College GameDay" team of Corso, host Chris Fowler and analysts Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard makes its season debut Sept. 4 from Atlanta to preview the LSU-North Carolina game.
The show has been expanded to three hours with the first hour, which begins at 8 a.m., on ESPNU. Erin Andrews will host the first hour and also provide reports during the final two hours.
Lee Corso, known for putting on huge pieces of headgear in picking the winner of ESPN's "College GameDay" games, Corso gave his predictions on OU's and OSU fortunes this season.
"Oklahoma, I think, will go undefeated. I think Oklahoma is going to play Nebraska for the Big 12 championship. ... They are loaded. Landry Jones is going to be a Heisman candidate.
"Oklahoma State lost some real good players. Their quarterback, Zac Robinson, they are going to miss him. But they have a defensive coordinator named Bill Young — that guy can really coach defense. As long as he is there, I think Oklahoma State has a chance to be a good team."