Coach (TV Series 1989–1997) Poster

(1989–1997)

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Under-Rated Classic
Matlock-45 May 1999
Of all of the shows (Comedies) I have seen, Coach is the the most under-rated and one of the best I have seen. You have one hell of a comedic (and dramatic) actor Craig T. Nelson and when you put together him with a cast that includes Jerry Van Dyke you have success. It's a shame I got into this show after its initial run, but thank God for repeats or I would have missed the greatness this show has to offer. A+ ALL THE WAY
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Great series
Op_Prime5 January 2000
A definite classic. Craig T. Nelson and Jerry Van Dyke were the funniest on the series. Today's writers should take a lesson from this and other classic sitcoms. The series finale was the best episode. It's a shame the show has come to an end but at least there are reruns.
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underrated
Wood-1827 April 2000
i think that this is one of the more underrated series of the late 90's. It was tough to compete against such series as "Cheers" "Seinfeld" and "The Cosby Show" I am sure, but if that show were to debut now it would be more of a hit then it was. (Much like "Wings" in that effect)
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8/10
We'd take "COACH" over First Class any day!
redryan6420 December 2007
In our way of life, Television Sitcoms come and go. Some series make such a brief appearance on the television schedule that they are virtually totally forgotten. It would seem that even a seemingly good premise, proper casting and high volume publicity blitzing of promo spots cannot guarantee any degree of success at all. There are certain intangibles, like chemistry and good old luck, which play a big role in the ratings ordeal.

It does seem that a lot of our more successful situation comedies of recent years have had one thing in common. Where the main character so often would be someone who was above it all, we have finally begun to see the lead character's having a foible or two.

Hence we have been treated to an array of less than perfect main characters such as Judd Hirsch's Alex Reiger in "TAXI" (1978-83) or Ted Danson as Sam Malone in "CHEERS" (1982-93). These characters have all of the faults and foibles as any of us, and maybe even a tad more in some areas.

Then why not have a series about the comical trials and tribulations of a guy who just happens to be a Head Coach at a Major (though fictional) University having a big time Varsity Football Program. His life goes on all year long; he doesn't get put on a shelf after the Autumn Football Season. Even if their squad is playing in one of those big time Bowl Games around New Years Day, they still have things to do in February, March, April, etc.

That brings us to "COACH", and none too soon! The series is as much a success due to those in the cast, but they also had some very good comic situations in which to let their characters just do their thing.

The main characters are Head Coach Hayden Fox (Craig T. Nelson), his Fiancée, Christine Armstrong, Asst. Coach, Luther Van Dam (Jerry Van Dyke) and Asst. Coach Dauber Dynzinski (Bill Fagerbake).

Most all of the series' episodes were built around these 4 adult characters and their problems with acceptance, status in the community and their relations with the opposite s-e-x. After all, just because one has been a Varsity Jock and B.M.O.C. doesn't mean that he wouldn't have a problem with acne or with finding the right girl as his mate.

Additionally, the series made good use of semi-regular and recurring characters. There's Hayden's Daughter from previous marriage, Kelly Fox (Clare Casey) and her totally non-athlete Boy Friend, Stuart Rosebrock (Kris Kam), who is a Theatre Major and a Mime. Athletic Director Howard Burleigh (Kenneth Kimmons) and wife Shirley (Georgia Engel) are always around as the "Per-Fect" couple. Howard's biggest foible his being the guy forever seeking proper respect as his position of Athletic Director.

And speaking of seeking recognition and respect, there are some problems wit the University's Band Director, Riley Pringel (Ray Birk). In one of our favourite episodes, Pringel attempts to have Luther's Basset Hound declared as an incurably viscous and dangerous to the community; because of a problem that occurred over mistaking a band leaders baton for hot dog. (Just see it!)

As for Luther, Jerry Van Dyke gets our award for hid "dark horse", "sleeper" of a character, who steals the show. In all of his years in Comedy and having Comic Roles in Films and TV, this is him at his very best.* He plays the 'Old Dumb Guy' to Bill Fagerbake's Dauber, a 'Young' Dumb Guy, but both characters are enjoyable, even lovable.

The setting of the mythical Minnesota State University served the series, its story lines and the cast quite well. There were plenty of "situations" developing that related to the team and its players; members of the "Screaming Eagles".

So then why did the Producers decide along about the 1995-96 season, in the series penultimate year on NBC, to change the locale? They went from coaching the fictitious Minnesota State University "Screaming Eagles" to the make believe Orlando Breakers of the National Football League. The routines were modified to fit into a situation that was in the NFL in sunny Florida, rather than North Woodsy Minnesota and the NCAA.

Perhaps the ratings on "COACH" were beginning to slip a little or something like that. Producer then decides to give it a little boost or bump in the Nielsens by a little transformation of setting. But obviously it didn't work.

It seems it never does. We remember similar situations with similar remedies in previous decades in such renowned situation comedy series. "OUR MISS BROOKS" (1952-56), McHALE's NAVY (1962-66) and "LAVERNE AND SHIRLEY" (1976-83) are all top rated sitcoms that followed the very same late series course correction in change of locale. In all cases, including that of "COACH", the change is done for the same reason, to give a renewed interest in its viewers. It's a sink or swim proposition.

In any case, no matter how popular and successful a series might be, it will still run its course, eventually running out of gas and passing on. Just like all of us.

NOTE: * Jerry Van Dyke said in an interview that in his time in show business he had once turned down the lead character of Gilligan in "GILLIGAN'S ISLAND"(1964-67) to accept the lead in "MY MOTHER THE CAR"(1965-66). And prior to "COACH", he seriously considered retirement! Thanks Jerry, we're all glad you didn't buy that rocking chair!
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9/10
I think "Coach" was one of TV's most underrated shows
Rapper2998 February 2007
I feel like their is shows that stand the test of time like a "I love Lucy", "All In the Family". However will "Coach" be remembered 15 even 25 years from now? In my opinion it should have consideration. Its was a well written show (for the most part) but most of all, it was the solid cast that kept the show strong for 8 out of the 10 years airing on ABC. Emmy's went to Craig T. Nelson, for his lead role as "Hayden Fox". also a well deserved Emmy Nod went to Jerry Van Dyke, who's very funny character as "Luther Van Damn. Im disappointed however, that its syndicated only at 5:00 and 6:00am. It was dropped fast from Nick @ Nite's prime time lineup in 2004 ,and i never understood why. Im still Anxiously awaiting the release of the show on DVD soon.
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Dauber Rules!!!
Jdc10216 July 2002
This show is a classic. In my opinion, its not quite as good as Seinfeld or Cheers, but its definately in the same place as the older episodes of Friends (Not anymore, the show is getting ridiculous and not funny..)and Wings. My favorite character is Dauber, the guy is just so dumb yet loveable and so is Luther and Hayden. The whole cast had great chemistry as did some of the supporting characters like Kelly's husband, Stewart. This was a great show and hopefully it will go to Nick-At-Nite, like I hear it will... Thanks..
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started great but went downhill
wappfalls522 June 2001
The writers of Coach really had a no-win situation. The best part about the show was that he was taking a team of nobodies and trying to turn a football program around at a fictitious school that supposedly had a once great football program. Minnesota State was the underdog. They started out taking things slow. They didn't rush into making them champions. In th first season they were happy to just get a few wins. Then they made it to their first Bowl game (where they got killed in a blizzard). Then Hayden beat his mentor and won his first Bowl game. This culminated in the team winning the national championship.

That is where the trouble began and the producers knew it. Where do they go from there? Sure, the team trying to defend their championship was enough to sustain one season. But that was it. The main reason for the shows existence was gone.

So what did the writers do in a last ditch effort? They give Hayden another bunch of underdogs, an expansion NFL team. It just didn't work. Coach (the show) was about Minnesota State. Not Florida. The shows really lost a lot of quality after that move. It was a classic example of a show that should have gone out on top a season or two earlier.
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Great sitcom
Sm545424 April 2002
Coach Hayden Fox(Craig T. Nelson) and his friends Luther Van Dam(Jerry Van Dyke) and Michael 'Dauber' Dybinski(Bill Fagerbakke) try to lead the Screaming Eagles to greatness while keeping his relationship with Christine Armstrong intact.

This is a hilarious show about football and life. I loved the episodes where Luther lost his bird, Luther owns "Turtle World", Dauber loses the playbook, and the episode where Hayden lets Luther get some of the media's attention.

I watch this every weekday morning on TBS. I wished this show came out on DVD. A must watch for anybody who likes to laugh or likes football.
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Funny most of the time
jacksonc9 July 1999
This show was particularly good when the show was based in Minnesota. When it went to Florida, it went downhill.
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By far In my eyes's the best sitcom ever.
bherdtner30 November 2006
I'm a long time I love Lucy lover, Coach by far exceeds any and every show I've ever watched.

No matter how many times I watch each and every episode I crack up. I don't watch sports, I don't even like sports of any kind, but I love this show. Every character is special and adds to the show.

It's only on at 6:00 am on USA, I stay up to watch it. I never found Cheers or Seinfield entertaining or funny. Outside of Home Improvement and Everybody Loves Raymond they have not come out with a good show even worth turning on. I do like The District,and watch also faithfully. I wish it was on more often. I loved it in the one episode of the district the characters Luther and Dauber played apart of it. I enjoyed seeing then all together again, It's to bad they could not find a spot for Christine.
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A very good journeyman show
randy-15923 February 2001
I think that the word 'classic' gets tossed around far too frequently. The world simply is not so full of classics as we would like to believe. In the realm of TV sitcoms, there have probably been only a dozen or two truly classic series in the history of the medium. 'Coach' is definitely not among those hallowed numbers. It is, however, a good journeyman effort. While never hitting the heights of delirious inventiveness and wit of a classic sitcom, it also remained consistently good throughout its run, a feat that most classic sitcoms could never manage. It is a good, strong peasant of a show, not a blueblood or purebred show. I think that the contribution of Bill Fagerbakke should not be overlooked. In a series that usually spotlighted Craig Nelson and Jerry Van Dyke, Mr. Fagerbakke played a wonderful 'third banana' in Dauber. He was often the moral center of the show, grounding the other characters and still providing more than enough comedic moments. Fagerbakke gave a sensitivity and sweetness to the big dumb guy that made the character somehow more special than those of the two stars. A good show overall.
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It doesn't get any better than this!
Lho332337010 August 2001
My dad loves sports so he has got to like this TV series. It is about a college football coach who is always bothered. Every guest star is what made the show so funny. This show should have stayed on longer. Even the ending made it funny.
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Coach: The game plan!
JackBauer1128 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
When I first started watching Coach back in 1994-95 the show looks so promising to watch and I said I'd like to give it a shot. Well, it turns out that Coach became one of my favorite shows on TV. The first 7 seasons of Coach was set in the good old days of Minnesota and the good old Minnesota Screaming Beagles football team. The whole time they shot Coach in Minnesota, at least we saw for the first 4 seasons of Coach, we saw Hayden's daughter Kelly Fox (Played by "Point Pleasant's" Clare Carey), her boyfriend Stuart and also we saw Judy on the show. When Kelly came back in 1994, she smooched with Dauber (don't really know why), but at least it showed a lot of interest for the show. The big change was in the 1995-96 season when after 7 seasons at University of Minnesota, Hayden gets a job offer to head coach of the Orlando Breakers. In the last 2 seasons of the show, Hayden took the reigns as head Coach of the Orlando Breakers and moved out of the cabin that we saw for the 7 seasons of Coach, when they were at Orlando, the new head owner of the Breakers, Doris Sherman (Katherine Helmond) was cast and the Burleigh's Howard and Shirley were also bounded for Orlando. But for the last 2 seasons ABC slotted Coach on Saturday Nights, which is really great since I can watch it but because during the 1995-96 season ABC had one bug popular show called Drew Carey and that was why Coach dwindled after 200 episodes and 9 seasons. But the big ending to Coach was the 3 part finale "Leaving Orlando" In which the Foxes, the Burleighs, Dauber and Luther decided to retire back in Minnesota. Coach was a great show all throughout so my rating of Coach is

10/10! Great Coach game plan that goes in and out! Coach rules and is still one of my favorite shows on TV! The show now airs on the USA network and if you can't get up early to watch it, well, just Tivo it!
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Classic
thepegsdave22 September 2005
i am one of the biggest coach fans. I love the show. watch it every day. This was a show that didn't need swearing and nudity to make it funny. its a show that anyone can watch. Craig t nelson and jerry van Dyke, no one could beat em they were they best pairing in comedy. the show ran for 9 seasons and i didn't see the show until it was in reruns but when the season finale was on i could help shed a tear when Craig t nelson said good "good byes are never easy" but jerry van Dyke was funny at the end when he refused to believe the show was over. I have the out most respect for everyone on this show and i wish it could come back on TV just for 10 final episodes just to see how they are all doing now. the show will come on DVD soon i hope.
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One of the classics
godmudders18 January 2003
In my opinion, Coach was one of the all time classics. I waited for it every week and now watch it every night on Nick Classics. Hayden was the perfect character and Craig played him perfectly. The supporting cast had the whole scene down pat. I don't analyze the story line, but I do wish that they had kept it on the air. There was so much they could have done in Florida with an expansion team and Hayden and Christine being parents. Can you imagine Hayden having had a teenage son, the trials he'd have gone through? Or watching Kelly become a mother and Hayden and Christine grandparents? There was so much they could have followed up with. I really miss seeing new episodes, but I'm glad to have it in any form, even reruns. I'd love to see a Coach reunion. If they did it with the Brady Bunch, why not with a really good show. I'll be watching it until they take it off the air again, but just in case, I'm taping every episode, I mean, why take a chance? Ya know?
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Coach is the funniest and most enjoyable TV-series there is.
Florian-726 April 1999
Let me begin by saying that "Coach" is my all-time favorite Sitcom. Wait a minute. Sitcom? This TV-series is actually more than that; it clearly stands out from a vast pool of mediocre comedy-series'. The acting is superb, especially Coach Hayden Fox (Craig T. Nelson; "Poltergeist" et al), who gives a new meaning to the word "obnoxious", and Luther (Jerry Van Dyke; Dick Van Dyke's brother), who is the most lovable fool on earth, make up a sensational combo.

I'd argue that despite its underlying football theme, "Coach" is a show enjoyable for the whole family; the characters are wonderfully scripted and acted so that it's easy to identify with and embrace them. Sit back, relax and join Coach Fox & Co. on their journey.

If you're a cable subscriber, consider yourself lucky and try to catch the repetitions on TVW, for example. Believe me, it's one of the best in TV-comedy history! And it makes addictive.
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One of a kind
jerryjr31 December 1998
This is the only series of its kind. I believe that they targetted the older crowd. I may be 17 but I wouldn't miss it.
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10/10
jerry van dyke
dbrockskk14 December 2018
Dang! in addition to being overweight jerry van dyke is really short! I mean he is really SHORT. I wonder if Dick Van Dyke is equally short?
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9/10
An absolute ABC classic!
Catherine_Grace_Zeh16 July 2006
"COACH," in my opinion, is an absolute ABC classic! I haven't seen every episode, but I still enjoyed it. There are many episodes that I enjoyed. One of them was where Hayden (Craig T. Nelson) and Christine (Shelley Fabares) faced wedding mishaps. If you want to know why, you'll have to have seen it for yourself. Before I wrap this up, I'd like to say that everyone always gave a good performance, the production design was spectacular, the costumes were well-designed, and the writing was always very strong. In conclusion, even though it can be seen in syndication now, I strongly recommend you catch it just in case it goes off the air for good.
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A Classic Consistent Laugh Maker Of a Sitcom
mgioe23 January 2003
To all you who criticize Coach for one reason or another , you fail to remember the main purpose of a comedy.It is to make us laugh and Coach did that better than most all sitcoms, past and present.I watched every episode of Coach for all 9 seasons.It was the only sitcom that I ever looked forward to watching week after week for those 9 seasons.When Coach went off the air in 1997 , it was like losing a family member. No comedy has ever made me laugh as hard and as long as Coach did.The only show that comes close today is Everybody loves Raymond. Otherwise the comedies today STINK!!! I hope to God that someday they release all 9 seasons of Coach on to DVD so I can continue to laugh whenever I want. In the meantime I will just have to be satisfied with watching the reruns on Nick at Nite. It's my nightly one hour laugh fest.
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Excellent overall series
paulbrec10 September 2002
I was very upset when "Coach" ended. I always enjoyed it when it was in production, and I still enjoy the late-night repeats. The comedy was good, not too stupid. I always enjoyed the bickering between Coach and the women's coach (Judy). The acting was excellent, and each episode had a strong, easy to follow story. I am sorry to see it gone.
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8/10
Coachable
galahad58-121 July 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Coach was one of my favorite shows during the 90's. Craig T. Nelson was fantastic as Hayden Fox and the show had a great sense of humor. Now that was for the first six seasons where Coach knew how to continue to grow as a show. They had known that Stuart had worn out his welcome and replaced him, they knew that Kelly and her whiney child act had grown old and replaced her, and they knew that the focus was better when the show concentrated on the three coaches. Season 7, though, was the start of the decline of the show. Luther's character went from a bumbling Three Stooges type of caricature to a mean spirited, spoiled, self-centered character who was no longer funny or endearing. By season 8 the Luther was so spiteful and mean that I actually hated his character and that continued until the end of the show.

Season 8 was a big mistake and the end of the show - even though it went another year - this was the beginning of the end. The entire NFL run made a mockery of the show that everyone had known and loved - it was so bad that ratings went down and it caused a beloved show to be cancelled. Nothing was good about seasons 8 and 9 - it made a fool out of Coach Fox, it continued the nastiness of Luther Van Damme and introduced the two worse characters in the entire 9 year run: Doris and Martine. Even getting rid of the ridiculous houseman Martine was too late to save the show. While Katherine Helmond was great in SOAP (and a bit in Who's the Boss), she was dreadful and annoying in Coach.

A 10 for seasons 1-6, an 8 for season 7, a 3 for seasons 8 and 9.
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Played us for suckers
dannnthemannn10 October 2001
Parts of Coach were okay, especially the relationship building between the romantic leads. And while I'll pass on the dumber-than-humanly-possible assistant coaches, they were only minor annoyances.

But the way this show treated football is outrageous. Hey - I'm not one of those zealots who thinks NCAA sports are God's own work. But the writers blew every opportunity to misrepresent anything resembling a college team. And clearly not out of ignorance - the plots that relied heavily on football completely distorted aspects of the game so as to be ridiculously unbelievable. A few times for the sake of plot development would have been okay, but just about every time out they set up one unbelievable situation after another.

The worst part about this is that the main characters strutted around every episode as if they breathed and ate the game. I realize there are intricacies of any sport or job that need to get glossed over for the sake of the larger audience. But the fact remains that Nelson's "Coach" character was interchangeable with any other macho-idealized profession. He could have been a sky-diving instructor, and the show would've followed roughly the same path.

The real NCAA has so many unpredictable nuances (scandals, grade fixing, gambling, kickbacks, overblown media coverage - not to mention the real excitement of the actual season) that you'd think a group of competent writers could draw enough realistic raw material for a show. But instead they copped out and removed any halfway-realistic aspect in order to make their plots work. The most egregious example comes in the show's climax - the coach's Screaming Eagles win the national championship bowl. In order to make the coach look like a genius, the writers concoct a plot where he intentionally leaves his star quarterback out of the entire game, only so he can bring him in during the last series to surprise the other team and win the game. It's not even questionable judgment - it completely distorts both the basic point of the game and the real intricate strategizing that goes into games such as these.
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10/10
You don't have to be a football hero to love this beautiful show
drystyx19 March 2007
COACH, the TV series about a Minnesota State University head football coach and the way he tries to use everyone around him, is a classic, and you don't have to be a football fan to enjoy the show. Most of the comedy stems from the lead man's villainous ways, and how they backfire at him. Yes, the coach is the bad guy, and that's what makes this so funny. He surrounds himself with dopey, old school, red neck assistants, but wait! These assistants know more about computers than he does. They are more understanding and tolerant of homosexuals, emotional actors, and successful women than he is. They are less red neck than he is. Get the picture? He keeps coming up with a semblance of being a respectable, informed leader, when all the time, he is the biggest bigot on the campus. And he always gets his come uppance. The supporting cast make this show, and Nelson is excellent as the "J R Ewing" of the group. Not enough can be said about the genius of Van Dyke and the others. The coach is always forced into situations he hates, such as having to get a dog to please a wealthy widow so he can get her to donate money to his program. All along, she knows he is an ogre, and she plays him for the sucker. And who saves the day for him? His dopey assistant, who really cares for the dog, who really has some dignity and integrity in him. Does "Coach" learn anything about "Integrity"? Yes, each episode. He learns that you keep have to try faking it better. Almost every show is a classic. I'm partial to the ones where he feuds with the tall woman's basketball coach, and where he tries unsuccessfully, to manipulate wealthy widows while assistant Van Dam (Van Dyke) will just be himself and outdo the coach each time.
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