ESPN college football studio analyst Lee Corso, the popular, mascot-gear wearing king of predictions on the network’s popular College GameDay show, has been named the winner of the United States Sports Academy’s Ronald Reagan Media Award.
Corso joined ESPN in 1987 after 28 years of coaching football at the college and pro levels. After originally calling games, he moved into the studio in 1989 and is a main reason GameDay is one of ESPN’s most popular shows. In 1993, the show began originating from campuses and attracted a cult-like following with college students. Corso’s end-of-show prediction, which includes him donning the headgear of school mascots, has become the signature moment of the show. His catchphrase, “Not so fast my friend,” Corso’s response when countering game picks by the show’s other analysts, is another staple.
Corso coached college football for many years before venturing into broadcasting. He was head coach at Louisville from 1969 to 1972 and compiled a 28-11-3 record, taking the Cardinals to their first ever bowl game. He spent ten years at Indiana starting in 1973, a stint highlighted by the school’s first bowl victory in 75 years, a Holiday Bowl win over Brigham Young in 1979. He also coached at Northern Illinois for a season before taking over as head coach of the Orlando Renegades of the United States Football League (USFL) in 1985.
Corso’s commitment to his profession was confirmed during this college football season. He suffered a minor stroke in May 2009, but his participation in GameDay hasn’t waned.
The Ronald Reagan Media Award, named in honor of the 40th President of the United States, is presented to an individual for outstanding contributions to sport through broadcasting, print, photography or acting. The individual should exhibit imagination, excitement and genius in kindling a keen public interest and appreciation for the role of sport in modern society.