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Lee Corso on his favorite QB - Babe Laufenberg

Lee-Corso-at-Indiana-197x300In an effort to make him feel younger, it is with great delight to recount the following: I was a kid growing up in Indiana when CBS 11 and Dallas Cowboys color analyst Babe Laufenberg was the quarterback for the Indiana Hoosiers. I was no older than 2.

Babe's head coach was current ESPN college football color analyst, Lee Corso.

"Damn right I remember him. He was one of the best recruits I ever had," Corso told me in a phone interview on Monday morning.

Corso is coming to downtown Fort Worth's Sundance Square this week for the first ESPN Game Day for the Cowboys Classic between No. 1 Florida State and Oklahoma State.

Laufenberg is not from Indiana, and began his college career at Stanford. The problem was Stanford had this other quarterback.

"Babe left Stanford because they had John Elway," Corso said. "Some of my coaches had seen film on him, so I went out to California to recruit him. It was between us and Wisconsin where Babe was going to play. Back then, the Pac 10 would not allow a player to transfer to another Pac 10 team. I sold him on the idea that he could come to Indiana and we could build something."

Babe1In Babe's first season at Indiana in 1981, he threw for more than 1,700 yards with eight touchdowns and 11 interceptions. IU was 3-8 that season. Another QB on that IU team was future NFL head coach, Cam Cameron.

In 1982, IU finished 5-6 and Babe passed for just under 2,500 yards with 11 TDs.

"He was 2-0 against Purdue, and that is really something. He is a great guy, and great human being," Corso said.

He is right; in the Old Oaken Bucket game beteen in-state rivals Indiana and Purdue, Babe was 2-0. And he is a great guy, who once had utterly fantastic hair; it's a 'do that Babe needs to bring back.

Babe's 1982 season was Corso's last at Indiana, and ended his 10-year tenure. He was 41-68-2 with two winning records. IU remains one of the single hardest high-level coaching jobs in the country.

Corso went on to coach Northern Illinois for one season before he coached the Orlando franchise of the USFL for one season. 

"How did I know it was time to retire from coaching? It was easy. They quit asking me," Corso, 79, said. "That was the message I got. Then I got into television and I thought, 'I better make it work from here.'"

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Deadspin ranked The Babe as the third worst player in the history of the NFL. I feel badly for him. If he had only played a few more years, he might have been at the top of that list.

Carter Lupton Walsh VI

I vividly watching Babe Laufenberg blow the Cowboys chance at the playoffs in 1990. I was sitting in my bedroom, on the brink of tears after watching that.

I also remember the great Lee Corso standing up to Dallas/Fort Worth media bully Dan McDowell. Truth, justice and the American Way are not just words for the greatness that is Lee Corso.


Corso was the worst IU coach we've ever had. Aweful. He wasn't even colorful back then. Just full of a lot of hot air and BS. I'm glad broadcasting worked out for him.


As an IU grad I am compelled to remind you that coaching at Indiana is NOT college football's worst job. IU has been playing football for 126 seasons. 125 of those have been rebuilding years.

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