ESPN’s Lee Corso – one of college football’s most knowledgeable, opinionated and entertaining analysts and a part of the two-time Emmy Award winning College GameDay Built by The Home Depot from its first year in 1987 – will be the recipient of National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) 2010 Contributions to College Football Award. The award given annually by NCFAA, an association of all the major awards in college football, recognizes exceptional contributions to college football and a lifetime of achievement and integrity.
“I am humbled and honored to receive the NCFAA Contributions to College Football Award, especially following the previous recipients of the award,” said Corso. “I have enjoyed my involvement in college football – as a player, coach and analyst for the past 52 years. It has been an amazing ride.”
Corso will be the ninth recipient of the award with previous honorees including Darrell Royal, Keith Jackson, Vince Dooley, Tom Osborne, Chuck Neinas, Frank Broyles, Bobby Bowden and LaVell Edwards. The award will be presented to Corso Thursday, Dec. 9 as part of The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards on ESPN at 7 p.m. ET.
NCFAA President Danielle Moorman added, “We cannot think of a more deserving individual than Lee Corso for this award. As a player, coach and broadcaster, Lee is woven into the fabric of college football and his presence on College GameDay has helped the show become the most authoritative and comprehensive in college football.”
Corso joined ESPN in 1987 after 28 years as a coach at the college and professional levels, including 17 seasons as a head coach. While he is known for his opinions, analysis and daring predictions, Corso’s style of picking his winning team from the featured game by donning that team’s mascot head has become a fan favorite and the most anticipated moment of each show.
In 2001, Sporting News magazine selected Corso as the 17th most influential person in college football. The magazine in January 2004 ranked Corso and fellow GameDay hosts – Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit – as 2003’s “Most Powerful Media Personalities in Sports.”
Corso was head coach at Louisville from 1969-72 and led the Cardinals to two Missouri Valley Conference titles and their second-ever bowl game, the 1970 Pasadena Bowl. He then moved to Indiana in 1973 where he spent 10 seasons as the head coach of the Hoosiers, leading the school to their first bowl victory in 75 years, a 38-37 decision over previously unbeaten Brigham Young in the 1979 Holiday Bowl. He coached Northern Illinois in 1984 before taking over the reins of the Orlando Renegades of the United States Football League (USFL) in 1985 for one season. He began his coaching career as an assistant coach for 11 seasons (1958-68) at Florida State, Maryland and Navy. In addition, from January-July 1991, Corso served as General Manager of the World League’s Orlando Thunder.
Corso began his television career serving as an analyst on bowl games for Mizlou (1979-82) and USFL games for ABC (1983). He debuted on ESPN in 1987 as a game analyst, calling one season of Arena Football and two seasons of college football. Corso’s seasoned presence and insightful analysis on College GameDay have helped the show earn a huge following. The in-season Saturday morning show won a Sports Emmy in 2009 and 2007 and received nominations in 2000 and 2003. In 2006, College GameDay received the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame’s Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award.
Corso, whose college roommate was actor Burt Reynolds, received four varsity letters in both football and baseball at Florida State. He is a member of the Hall of Fame at Florida State and the Louisville. Corso was also inducted into the state of Florida Sports Hall of Fame in St. Petersburg. In 2006, he received the Florida State Alumni Association’s Gold Medal, the highest alumni honor.
A graduate of Florida State University, Corso earned a bachelor of arts degree in physical education and a master’s degree in administration and supervision. Corso is director of business development for Dixon Ticonderoga, Heathrow, Fla., an international diversified manufacturer and marketer of writing and arts products.