Twenty years. For 20 years, there have been end-of-show skits, costumes, characters as ESPN’s beloved College GameDay Coach has delighted fans and viewers at home, who tune in each week to see what Coach Lee Corso has up his sleeve (or under his mascot head).
Coach Corso’s first pick was Oct. 5, 1996, before the Ohio State-Penn State game in Columbus, Ohio, when he put on OSU’s “Brutus Buckeye” mascot head (see video embedded below) to show his pick to win the game.
Since that fall day in 1996, Coach Corso has made 281 headgear picks, sporting an all-time mark of 186-95. Through the years, there has been weaponry, live animals, historical figures and body armor; there have been head-butts to fellow analyst Kirk Herbstreit, dancing with mascots and sloppy dog kisses. These past 20 years have left lasting memories in each of the 75 cities GameDay has visited, and Coach Corso continues to thrill fans each Saturday morning during the college football season.
– Lee Corso
“On that day in Columbus 20 years ago, I could not have imagined that my end-of-show pick would have become a weekly staple on GameDay,” said Coach Corso. “I take pride each week in planning and prepping, and finding new ways to put that mascot head on.”
Tune in to this Saturday’s College GameDay (9 a.m.-noon, ESPN) for a walk down memory lane. College football’s longest-running and most celebrated pregame show returns to the campus of No. 8 Texas A&M for an SEC battle against No. 9 Tennessee.
In the gallery above, Front Row selected some of the top moments to reflect on from over the years. Vote for your favorite in the poll above; in the comments section below, let us know some of your other favorite Corso mascot moments.