We already know he looks good in blue…
Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen a lot of names tossed around as potential new head football coaches, ranging from the absolutely absurd (Bill Cowher, Tony Dungy, Jon Gruden) to “for the love of God, NO!” (Tommy Tuberville, Houston Nutt). While I think Kentucky’s next hire will fall somewhere in the middle, that hasn’t stopped me from creating a fantasy wish list of potential replacements, combed from the best breeding ground of football coaches known to man: fiction.
Since we’re apparently shooting for the stars with this next hire, here are my top five picks from the world of television and film:
5) Coach Klein, The Waterboy
By the end of The Waterboy, Henry Winkler’s character finally overcame his fear of Coach Beaulieu (aka Les Miles) and got back to creating amazing offensive plays to lead the Mud Dogs to a win in the Bourbon Bowl. It’s unclear how successful Coach Klein would be without Bobby Boucher, but if he’s willing to come to Lexington and shake things up with his little green notebook, I’m willing to give it a shot. Who doesn’t love a high-powered offense?
4) Kevin and Danny O’Shea, Little Giants
In Little Giants, Ed O’Neil and Rick Moranis play two brothers who coach pee-wee football teams in the same town. Ultimately, after many hijinks and hysterics, they merge the teams to create a pee-wee football powerhouse. If they can whip a bunch of scrawny misfits into the pride of Urbana, just imagine what they can do with this squad. In fact, for the SEC, Danny’s motivational speech is pretty perfect:
“Well, wait a second, guys. Who said you had to be good to play football? You play football because you want to. You play football because it’s fun. You play football so you could pretend you’re Joe Montana throwing a touchdown pass, or Emmitt Smith going for a long run. And even if those Cowboys are better than you guys, even if they beat you 99 times out of 100, that still leaves…”
And, if all else fails, they can bus in some NFL players for inspiration.
3) Coach Hayden Fox, “Coach”
Craig T. Nelson both looked and played the part of a hard-nosed football coach. Okay, so “Coach” was more about Coach Fox’s personal life than his football team, but in the series’ later years, he earned an NFL job coaching the Orlando Breakers, so he must be good, right? However, that does create some concern about whether or not Fox would stick with the Cats once we won two or three Pioneer Bowls. Maybe if we’re lucky, Dauber would succeed him. He did go on to win two Super Bowls, after all.
2) Coach Boone, Remember the Titans
Coach Boone managed to get black and white football players to play together as one at a desegregated high school in Virginia in 1971. Through hard work, practice, and some Marvin Gaye sing alongs, the team won state, and united a community. If Coach Boone can do all of that, who says he can’t make Kentucky football a real contender in the SEC? It may not be Gettysburg, but I hear Perryville Battlefield is the perfect setting for early morning inspirational jogs.
(Also, just Denzel Washington would also be acceptable.)
1) Coach Taylor, “Friday Night Lights”
Come on, could it be anyone else? Say it with me now: “CLEAR EYES, FULL HEARTS, CAN’T LOSE!” Coach Taylor is the ideal head coach: competitive, inspiring, innovative, humble, and damn good looking in a ball cap. He’s the King Midas of fictional football coaches: everything he touches turns to gold (seriously, in what other world does Landry make that field goal?). If Coach Taylor coached at Kentucky, not only would he transform the Cats from SEC cellar dwellers to champs in as little as one season, but Tami Taylor would be by his side, maybe taking over Eli Capilouto’s position as university president. And she’s pretty much the most perfect woman ever. (I would also encourage Tim Riggins to reprise his assistant coaching role.)
Who did I miss?