Very interesting piece from the North County Times' John Maffei about Don Coryell who passed away this week.
--No one at San Diego State knew that Coryell was leaving for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1973. Can you imagine that happening these days? Maffei says one of the reasons Coryell left was that his players didn't get to pre-register for classes. Wow, if that was a deal breaker, then shame on the registrar or whoever. If I were the AD I believe I'd let the athletes have preferred registration.
Just think of that: A Hall of Fame career might have started because of lack of support from the academic side of campus.
--Maffei was close to Coryell as a player, a student (Coryell taught a class) and a writer for the Daily Aztec. Coryell once told Maffei to merely show up on the final day of his football class and he would get an A. That is disturbing 40 years later even as we grieve over a great coach.
--Coryell coached in the Rose Bowl. Yup, in 1969 San Diego State beat Boston University in the Pasadena Bowl.
--One of Maffei's early duties as SDSU sports information director was reminding the coach of speaking engagements. He would call Coryell's wife the day before. Aliisa would then lay out his clothes, pinning the details of the day to his underwear.
--Coryell believed the only way his Aztecs could get attention was by breaking records. Maffei was instructed to call the press box any time the team or an individual was getting close to a record.
--Coryell's SDSU teams went 55-1-1 at one point and produced seven All-Americans. His assistants included John Madden and Joe Gibbs.
--He is known for bringing "Air Coryell" to the NFL but, Maffei writes, the coach "introduced" the I-formation to John McKay at USC in 1960. Coryell was an assistant then with the Trojans. Out of that formation came Student Body Left and Right that helped McKay win four national championships.
--When Coryell retired to British Columbia, he didn't have a phone -- in the house. There was one, however, nailed to a tree 50 yards away from the house. If it rang beyond seven rings, Coryell would get up and answer. He knew it was a friend.
We'll miss the coach, the tactics and the lisp. I asked on Twitter the other day if there were any modern comparisons to Air Coryell. The current Indianpolis Colts might be it.