Memphis, TN – Emmy Award-winning college football analyst Lee Corso is the recipient of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl’s most prestigious recognition, the Distinguished Citizen Award. Corso was the guest of honor at the kickoff event of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl Golf Classic at the Hilton Memphis Hotel where the award was presented. The event benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“Lee Corso joins a long list of great Americans who have distinguished themselves in their chosen field,” said Steve Ehrhart, Executive Director of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. “We are very proud to include Lee among the luminaries who have been honored by the AutoZone Liberty Bowl during our long and rich history.”
“Lee has been a trailblazer and pioneer throughout his career,” said Ray Pohlman, 2012 President of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. “From his playing days at Florida State, to coaching stints in both college and professional football, and then as one of the originators of ESPN’s “College GameDay” program, Lee has been at the forefront of college football.”
As the 7th oldest bowl game in America, the AutoZone Liberty Bowl was founded on the principles of freedom, patriotism and liberty. One of the Bowl’s time-honored traditions is the annual presentation of the Distinguished Citizen Award. The award has been presented to a cross section of prominent Americans from a wide range of professions, including military commanders, governors and congressmen, as well as leaders in business, medicine, education, entertainment and sports. Previous honorees include among others U.S. Army Brigadier General Ken Tovo; FedEx Chairman, President and CEO Fred Smith; AutoZone founder Pitt Hyde; Nobel Prize recipient Dr. Peter Doherty; and entertainers Danny Thomas and Elvis Presley.
Corso joins others from the football coaching profession who have received the award, including Paul “Bear” Bryant, Eddie Robinson, John McKay, Johnny Majors, Dr. Tom Osborne, Frank Leahy, Tony Dungy, Bobby Bowden and last year’s honoree, Lou Holtz.
Corso’s 28-year coaching career included 17 seasons as a head coach. He was head coach at Louisville from 1969 – 72 and led the Cardinals to two conference championships and their first bowl game ever. He then moved on to Indiana for 10 seasons as head coach of the Hoosiers, leading IU to its first bowl win in 75 years. Corso coached Northern Illinois in 1984 before taking over as head coach of the USFL’s Orlando Renegades in 1985 for one season.
In 1987 Corso joined ESPN where he has become known over the past 25 years as one of college football’s most knowledgeable, opinionated and entertaining analysts. Corso’s cautionary phrase “Not so fast my friend” has become a part of the national vernacular. His weekly donning of a university’s mascot head as he makes his weekly pre-game prediction on “College GameDay”, marks the start of college football each Saturday during the fall for millions of fans across America. Corso is a 3-time Emmy Award-winner as co-host of “College GameDay”.
Sporting News has selected Corso as one of the most influential people in college football and one of the “Most Powerful Media Personalities in Sports”. Corso is a member of the Florida State Hall of Fame, the Louisville Hall of Fame, and the State of Florida Sports Hall of Fame.
In 2006, he received the FSU Alumni Association’s Gold Medal, the highest alumni honor.
Earlier this year Corso received the Bobby Bowden Award for lifetime achievement. He recently received an honorary doctorate from Florida State and was inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame.
The 54th AutoZone Liberty Bowl will be played December 31st at 2:30 pm Central Time. For ticket information call the AutoZone Liberty Bowl at (901) 795-7700 or visit AutoZoneLibertyBowl.org.