Here's a cool story about Don Coryell that my Dad emailed out to his friends and I thought I'd share here.
Most of you know what a big sports fan I am, with season tickets to just about everything under the sun. I just heard about the passing of Don Coryell earlier today (our great football coach going back to the 60s and 70s at San Diego State, then later with the SD Chargers team), and yes, its got me thinking back about a lot of things. Some friends and I were at a SDSU Aztecs basketball game back in January and the coach was at the game, looking a bit frail, in a wheel chair, and the word was he was in town visiting his family and in need of some special medical care. Everybody was coming up to him to say hello and chat and he was alert and gracious. I just enjoyed watching that and just seeing him again for what I hoped wasn't the last time.
About a dozen years ago I had come up to him in a similar way just to chat about those good ole days. It was after a Chargers game and he was attending for a reunion and was honored on the field. We just happened to be in the area of the parking lot where he was exiting the stadium as we waited for the traffic to clear. I approached him and introduced myself and shook his hand. He said he enjoyed these reunions and the way the Chargers have embraced their history and show appreciation to all the players and coaches of the past.
Then I told him about the time we had met, many years before. It was 1965 and as usual I was at Aztec Bowl for the home game against Fresno State. It was one of the games with heavy fog that had crept up from the valley and filled the bowl. It was so thick that you could not see the field from row 1! But the game continued to be played. Slowly but surely, we all came out of the stands and were allowed down onto the field, all along the sidelines, where we could barely see some players out there. Being 12 years old, and somewhat of a skinny little kid, I was able to squeeze in right at mid-field and was able to stand right next to the coach so I could watch him operate up close and personal. It was quite fun and I got extremely excited when the coach turned to me and said "Hey kid, go down to the clock and find out how much time is left in the half, will you help me out?". I was down and back in about 15 seconds and told him loud and clear, "2 and half minutes coach". He said "Thanks kid" and went about calling the next play. Wow, can you imagine how pumped up I was?
Anyway, coach said honestly he didn't remember me, but of course he did remember that game as quite a crazy one. So I just thanked him for bringing us so much excitement over the years with his unique and innovative style of play. I remember that he would always come up with a new wrinkle too, always being a step ahead of his counterparts. He had a lot to do with instilling a love of sports within me. So now I thank him (again) from the bottom of my heart. He's one of the biggest reasons that I had a great environment to grow up in, especially with regards to sports entertainment. We've had it pretty good here in our little, yet ever-growing town.
We were lucky to have you coach... "sweet dreams".