Thursday, May 28, 2009
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. 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. Lee also was an important baseball player for FSU.
Upon graduating from Florida State in 1959 with a degree in physical education, 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.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. 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. This ranks him 17th at Northern Illinois in total wins and 13th at Northern Illinois in winning percentage. After his brief stint as head coach at Northern Illinois, Corso returned to the USFL—this time as a coach for the Orlando Renegades.
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 Head 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. He is now doing college gameday on ESPN and does projections and also appears in all NCAA video games with Kirk Herbstreit
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 head prediction.
Other notable facts
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.
In May 2009, Corso suffered a minor stroke. He is expected to recover in time for the College Football season.