Herbstreit says he’s known for some time now
BRISTOL, CT–Sobbing quietly, and a bit unsteady on his feet, ESPN College Gameday co-host and college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit walks out of the weekly production meeting with the sad realization that it has come time to euthanize his long-time co-host Lee Corso.
“I guess I’ve known for a while,” stammers Herbstreit, “I think we all have. Especially Desmond Howard. Desmond has been begging me to put Lee down for the past several seasons.”
Sitting in front of his locker inside ESPN headquarters, Herbstreit struggles to compose himself as he loads the Remington 12-gauge shotgun with which he will humanely end the long-time media favorite’s life.
“It’s really heartbreaking,” he sighs, “You look into (Corso’s) eyes, and you know he is in pain, even though he might have that dumb smile on his face.”
Fans of College Gameday have long enjoyed the antics of the increasingly demented Corso, His colleagues Herbstreit and Howard, as well as Chris Fowler, regularly engage in good-natured ribbing of the 97 year-old Corso, who insists they refer to him as “Coach,” although there is no record of him ever having been on a coaching staff, or being involved in sports in any capacity other than as a mascot for the Florida State University Seminoles.
Corso created the “Chief Osceola” character in 1921, when he attended the university as a research subject in the psychology department. He won a Critics Choice award in 1974 when he brought the character to the silver screen for a cameo in the film, Blazing Saddles.
Corso has continued to delight audiences with his charming portrayal of the character
“That’s one of the things that makes this so hard,” Herbstreit said, “People, especially Native Americans, love Chief Osceola. They love him so much that we’ve all been able to ignore some of the other things that go along with his increasingly insane and incoherent ramblings. But it has become clear that it would be cruel and inhumane to allow him to continue.”
Sniffling softly, Herbstreit wipes his tear-stained cheeks with his sleeve and stands. He walks out of the employee locker room, and whistles loudly.
“Lee, here Lee! Come on boy!”
Instinctively, an excited Corso slowly trots out the back door to the complex as Herbstreit holds it open. There is an eagerness in Corso’s eyes, but the fire is gone. He seems to want to run and play, but his tired legs only carry him a few yards before he sits heavily on the ground. There is a pained expression on Herbstreit’s face as he closes the door behind him. The other ESPN employees have gathered around, some crying, a heavy sadness enveloping all. There is a loud CRACK! and everyone knows Corso’s suffering is over.
“It had to be done,” Howard says, as he returns to his office to check his email.