Lee Corso Bio: Net Worth, Stroke, ESPN & Wife

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Lee Corso is an American sports broadcaster, ESPN analyst, and former coach. He has been an analyst on ESPN’s College GameDay since its inception in 1987. 

If you’re an NFL fan and a fellow ESPN lover, Lee Corso is not an unfamiliar name.

He is quite famous for his comic antics, mascot headgear picks, and catchphrase, “Not so fast, my friend.”

One of the most dedicated broadcasters is still going strong at 87 and is the only original contributor to the show.

Lee Corso, Football Analyst For ESPN
Lee Corso, Football Analyst For ESPN (Source: New York Post)

The former footballer has worked at ESPN for over 36 years and shows no signs of retiring any time soon. However, he missed several weeks of the show due to health issues in October 2022.

ESPN even signed Corso to a multi-year deal in 2017 to remain on College GameDay, stating that they couldn’t imagine the show without him and are lucky enough to call him their own.

Back in his teens as a quarterback, the baseball team Brooklyn Dodgers offered the former jersey number 20 to play for them.

Instead, he decided to go to college and play football instead of at Florida State University.

Let’s take a profound look at the legendary college coach and the host of the Eight-time Emmy award-winning show and his career, life, and family.

Before that, here are some quick facts.

Lee Corso | Quick Facts

Full Name Lee Corso
Birth Date August 7, 1935
Birth Place Lake Mary, Florida
Nick Name Sunshine Scooter
Religion Christian
Nationality American
Ethnicity Mixed
Horoscope Leo
Father’s Name Alessandro Corso
Mother’s Name Irma Corso
Siblings None
Age 87 Years Old
Height Not Available
Weight Not Available
Shoe Size Not Available
Hair Color Black
Eye Color Brown
Body Measurement Not Available
Build Not Available
Married Yes
Girlfriend No
Children Four
Profession Commentator, Coach
Position Sports Analyst
Net Worth $12 million
Affiliation ESPN
Former Head Football Coach
Social media None
Merch Autograph, Football Cards
Last Update February, 2023

Lee Corso | Early Life, Family, & Education

Corso is the son of Alessandro Corso and Irma Corso, Italian immigrants. His father left Italy at the age of 15.

The former head coach’s parents weren’t educated, so they worked small jobs. Alessandro laid terrazzo flooring while Irma worked in school cafeterias.

The former quarterback was born in Maryland, Florida, on August 7, 1935, and graduated high school from Miami Jackson Senior High.

Likewise, after completing high school, Lee attended Florida State University and graduated with a degree in physical education. Later on, he also earned a degree in administration and supervision.

Lee Corso | Playing, Coaching, & Broadcasting Career

Playing Career

The former head coach served as a quarterback for Miami Jackson and subsequently went on to play football for Florida State University.

On top of that, he also played baseball but was always more interested in football. Subsequently, he rejected the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team’s $5,000 reward for joining them.

Lee Corso In College
Lee Corso In College (Source: Pinterest)

The sports analyst was called “Sunshine Scooter” by his team for his incredible speed on the football field.

Furthermore, Lee held the record for the highest interceptions, i.e., 14, for two decades as a defensive player.

Coaching Career

Early Career As An Assistant Coach

The broadcaster started his coaching career as an assistant coach to his former Florida State University coach Tommy Nugent.

Encouraged by his coach, Corso recruited Darryl Hill, a person of color, and convinced him to play for the Maryland Terrapins.

Hill went on to become the first African American player to play in Atlantic Coast Conference. Likewise, he set two records that stand to this day.

Coaching Career In Louisville

Lee went on to coach for the Navy in 1966. Shortly after that, he was offered the head coach job for Louisville in 1969.

The former footballer coached the Louisville Cardinals, where he also coached his ESPN colleague Tom Jackson.

Lee Corso In Louisville
The Former Coach In Louisville (Source: Reddit)

The former Miami Jackson took the Cardinals to their second-ever bowl game in 1970 and eventually left to join Indiana with a winning record. Louisville ranked 18th in the final AP poll.

Coaching Career In Indiana

Indiana hired Corso in the year 1972. The Italian American led the Indiana Hoosiers to win two seasons, 1979 and 1980.

With a record of 7-4, the Hoosiers attended the 1979 Holiday Bowl, where they won against the previously undefeated Brigham Young Cougars.

Lee Corso Coaching In Indiana
“Sunshine Scooter” As Head Coach In Indiana (Source: Pinterest)

Indiana’s triumph earned them a 16th spot in the United Press International (UPI) poll. Since 1967, this was their first Top-20 rank.

Indiana scored a touchdown in the first quarter of the 1976 season against Ohio, which was the first time the Hoosiers led Buckeyes in a game in 25 years.

Corso even called a timeout to take a team picture with the scoreboard showing 7-6 in the background.

His entire record in over ten years in Indiana was 41-68-2. Overall, the former Miami Jackson player had an outstanding career with Indiana.

Coaching Career In Northern Illinois And USFL

From then on, he went on to coach the Illinois Huskies at Northern Illinois University and became the 16th head coach of the college.

However, he coached the Huskies for a single season and could not give them a remarkable season as Louisville and Indiana.

Shortly after, he started coaching professionally for the first time in the United States Football League (USFL) with the Orlando Renegades in 1985.

However, in 1986 the league was postponed and eventually canceled.

All in all, Lee compiled a coaching record of 5 wins and 13 losses in his coaching career with the Orlando Renegades.

Achievements And Awards

In 2010, the father of four was honored with National College Football Awards Association’s Contributions to College Football Award for his tremendous contribution to college football.

He accomplished two Missouri Valley conferences (MVCs) in the years 1970 and 1972.

In 2001, Corso was selected as the 17th most influential person in college football by Sporting News magazine.

Also, in 2004, the magazine ranked him and fellow GameDay personalities Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit as 2003’s “Most Powerful Media Personalities in Sports.”

He received the highest alumni honor, the Florida State Alumni Association’s Gold Medal, in 2006. Besides he has also received four varsity letters in football and baseball at Florida State.

Corso was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Kentucky Athletic and the state of Florida Sports in St. Petersburg. 

Broadcasting Career & Others

ESPN hired the former head coach to serve as a sports analyst in their weekly College GameDay program in 1987.

As of today, he has worked as a host in the show since its initiation. The show gathered a lot of appreciation and love from fans all around the world.

Lee is very well-known for his comic antics with his co-hosts Desmond Howard, Rece Davis, and Kirk Herbstreit.

In like manner, he is equally famous for his catchphrase with a pencil in his hand saying, “Not so fast, my friend,” usually aimed towards his co-host Kirk’s predictions.

Lee Corso With A Mascot Headgear
The Broadcaster With Washington Huskies Mascot (Source: The Seattle Times)

If you know the sportscaster well, there is no way you don’t know about the mascot headgear prediction.

From August until January, Corso weekly wears the mascot headgear of the team he predicts is going to win.

He made an annual appearance with Kirk Herbstreit and Brad Nessler in EA sport’s NCAA football titles. Because of his headgear prediction’s increasing demand and popularity, he started the 2006 edition with it.

Lee Corso | Net Worth, Salary & Charity

Net Worth And Salary

Lee is one of the oldest and most successful sports analysts in the sports world. Notably, he has served ESPN for over 30 years and continues to do so.

Despite not having an exact estimation of his salary, the average ESPN analyst earns about $54,000.

Lee Corso’s net worth is around $12 million as of 2023.

Lee Corso With Katy Perry
The Sportscaster With Singer Katy Perry (Source: People.com)

On top of that, he also works as Director of Business Development for Dixon Ticonderoga in the offseason.

The company manufactures art and writing supplies, including the No. 2 pencil he holds in College GameDay almost all the time.

Charity

The sports analyst works for a charity that raises money to fight pediatric cancer in children called Coaches Curing Kid’s Cancer. Lee is the honorary chairman of the charity.

Lee Corso | Wife, Kids, & Grandkids

Corso and his wife, Betsy Corso, have been husband and wife for over six decades now.

Sadly, there is not much information out there, but reportedly the two were either high school or college sweethearts.

The duo married in 1957, and 66 years later, they are still together.

Lee Corso With His Wife
Former Head Coach With His Wife Betsy (Source: SuperbHub)

The pair have four kids and ten grandchildren altogether. However, the broadcaster has kept his children’s and wife’s life out of the spotlight and is private about his family.

Stroke, Health, And Life

On May 16, 2009, at 73, Corso suffered a stroke at his Florida home. The former coach had to be kept in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for three days.

Even after that, he stayed in the hospital for a week before discharge. As a result of the stroke, he was partially paralyzed on the right side, which led to prolonged rehabilitation.

On top of that, he couldn’t speak for a month, and his cognitive functions, such as thinking, reasoning, problem-solving, learning, etc., were severely affected and slowed.

Nevertheless, the stroke couldn’t keep him from doing his beloved job, and he hosted the 2009 season of College GameDay.

Eventually, his speech recovered with therapy and rehabilitation; however, there are a few noticeable differences.

Since then, he rehearses all the scripts and appearances on the show to deliver appropriately.

In October 2022, Lee missed GameDay’s college football show after noticing some health issues.

He did not appear for several weeks, and on November 19, 2022, he joined the team and received a warm welcome from the fans.

The talented analyst seems to be doing relatively better while working at ESPN. He seems to be having fun more than ever.

Nature And Legacy

Corso is a very dedicated and grateful person who is hardworking and persistent on TV as much as he was in coaching.

The former athlete’s dire love and respect for the game proves why he’s still among us and working.

Despite some setbacks in his career and health, he still loves the game dearly enough to fight against all the odds and be a part of the sports world.

The former head coach didn’t even let his stroke be a reason to stop doing what he does. Moreover, he is very popular among fans, media, and co-workers.

Famous Quotes

  • Coaching’s not a job; it’s a privilege.
  • In life, passion is the secret to success.
  • The bigger, stronger, faster, and meaner my players are, the better I coach.
  • The true test of a person’s character is how they treat the people in life that they don’t need.
  • If you lose, you better at least be entertaining while you do it, or people will turn you off.

Lee Corso | Retirement Issue

The man is already in his mid-late 80s and still absolutely energetic on the screen.

He has the potential, charm, and magic to pull it off. However, a lot of people desperately want to see Corso retire.

It might be because of concern towards the old man’s health or hunger to see a new face lightening the show.

Everyone was well aware of the Covid-19 pandemic, and ESPN made a wise decision. They chose to keep Corso at home because of his age and possible health threats.

He joined the team after the pandemic was over and is continuously doing his job as a football analyst.

Lee Corso | On Spotlight

Corso was spotted saying, “Ah F**k it,” in an episode of College GameDay. The audience loved Corso’s free attitude and lack of hesitation.

However, ESPN did not take it well. Corso was made to apologize for the blunder. He said,

“Earlier today on College GameDay, I used an expletive I shouldn’t have. I apologize and promise it won’t happen again”.

Lee Corso | Popularity

Lee is a popular coach and an analyst who is loved by millions. His Google search hiked after he was reported to miss the college football show after noticing some health issues.

Lee's Popularity Graph
Lee’s Popularity Graph (Source: Google Trends)

The above image gives brief information about the popularity of Lee Corso based on the Google searches in the United States over a year.

Lee Corso | FAQs

Has Lee Corso had a stroke?

The former athlete suffered a stroke more than 13 years ago on May 16, 2009, severely affecting his speaking abilities and cognitive function.

How accurate is Lee Corso?

Lee Corso is very accurate in predicting games by now. He has done over 300 mascot headgear picks, and almost 200 of them have proven correct.

Is Lee Corso still on GameDay?

Yes, Lee Corso is still on College GameDay as of 2023. However, he missed several weeks in November 2022 after some health issues.

What is Lee Corso’s deal with the pencil?

Lee Corso is in the habit of holding a Number 2 Dixon-Ticonderoga pencil. He is often spotted with it while he educates reporters.

Who didn’t let Lee Corso wear the headgear?

Auburn school didn’t allow Lee Corso to put on the sports headgear. During one of the interviews, Lee Corso mentioned it, saying, 

“Auburn is the only school in America that will not let me put on the headgear. They have some kind of rule that you have got to be a special kind of human being to wear this guy’s headgear.”

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Comments

  1. I coached with Lee at NAVY AND WAS HIS FIRST HIRE AT LOUISVILLE and i can say he is the real deal and truly a GREAT friend even though I haven’t seen or talked to him in over 40 years, but I cherish our relationship. Lee is a great family man and Betsy is a great partner. JH

  2. Lived in Louisville as a teenager was able to watch the games on channel 41 played at fairgrounds stadium. Had Tom Jackson make great defensive plays and a little 5’4” running back scatter bug all over the field. The team had Crawford gym and small practice field behind speed scientific school. God bless you Mr Corso and thank you for your wonderful personality and many great memories.
    Fondly
    Guy Texter

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