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Poster: Mr. Television  (see this users gallery)

Coach aired from February 1989 until August 1997 on ABC.

Hayden Fox ( Craig T. Nelson), had both football and women on his mind in this broad comedy.As head coach of Minnesota State University's Screaming Eagles, he had to build up his bungling team with assistance from cheerful, but scatterbrained, Luther ( Jerry Van Dyke), and Dauber ( Bill Fagerbaake), a big, goofy, hulk of a player.

The women in his life always seemed to be a little more intelligent than Hayden. Christine( Shelley Fabares), was Hayden's steady girlfriend, a TV newswoman who wanted a little more attention than he was able to give. Kelly ( Claire Carey), was his 18-year-old daughter by a previous marriage, who now attended Minnesota State.

Everyone's love life went through comic twists and turns. To her dad's dismay, Kelly dated and eventually married theater mime Stuart ( Kriss Kamm), but they eventually broke up. Hayden and Christine broke up, then became engaged. Dauber fell in love with Hayden's rival, girls' basketball coach Judy Watkins (Pam Stone).

By 1990, the Screaming Eagles were on a winning streak and they earned their way to the Pioneer Bowl. Christine was also headed for the big time as she was offered network anchor jobs and her impending departure finally pushed Hayden to propose on the air in the fall of 1992. Three times during the 1992-93 season, they tried to get married. The first time came in Christine's home state of Kentucky, the second in Las Vegas and finally, in a peaceful setting in the woods. The first two were disasters but the third time was the charm.

Kelly left for an ad agency job in New York in 1994 but returned for guest appearances. Luther played the field with a trio of unlikey love interests including rich Mrs. Rizzendough, Lorraine and rowdy Ruthanne. Dauber's long-standing relationship with Judy continued. Howard ( Kennith Kemmins), was the bald college adminstrator with authority over Hayden's budget and Shirley ( Georgia Engel) was his nutty wife.

The 1995 season brought major changes when Hayden got his big break, leaving Minnesota to coach a pro expansion tean, The Orlando Breakers. The Breakers were owned by eccentric millionairess Doris Sherman ( Katherine Helmond). whose ideas for promotion and publicity sometimes colided with Hayden's love of the game. Most of the old gang moved to Florida with him, and new faces were seen representing the Breakers coaching staff. Dauber did leave Coach Judy behind and dated the field, including a girl who played Snow White at the local Grimm World Theme Park. The Breakers got off to a slow start, and Hayden was thhrown into a funk when he was asked to write a book, Learning To Live With Losing. Instead Luther picked up the idea, wrote something called, Just Short Of The Goal, and scored a major success.

In 1996 having exhausted every natural and scientifivc means of conceiving a child, Hayden and Christine adopted an adorable baby named Timothy. The final original episode in May 1997 brought closure and a look into the future for the principal characters. Hayden was offered contracts by several pro teams including $17 Million to stay with The Breakers for 10 more years. After much agonizing, he turned them all down and returned to Minnesota, in order to help Christine build her career. Luther quit and opened his own version of Graceland; Howard was fired, and with Shirley, opened a dinner theater in Florida; and Dauber stayed with The Breakers, winning 2 Super Bowls and eventually becoming a star commentator. And baby Timothy? He, we were told, grew up to be just like Hayden.

A Review from The New York Times

Reviews/Television; Relearning Fatherhood, In 'Coach'

Published: February 28, 1989

Proceeding on the not unreasonable assumption that plot logic is hardly a priority among sitcom fans, ABC is launching its new series ''Coach'' almost brazenly out of sequence. Tonight's ''preview,'' at 9:30, shows a college football coach, Hayden Fox (Craig T. Nelson), desperately trying to become a good father when his daughter, Kelly (Clare Carey), newly enrolled at the college, announces she has a date with an older member of the faculty. It is only in tomorrow night's ''premiere,'' at 9, that the coach first learns Kelly has decided to enroll at the college. That's when we find out that the restless coach ''split up'' with Kelly's mother 16 years ago and hasn't paid much attention to his daughter in the intervening years. What will ''Coach'' have to face first: comprehension or cancellation?

Here again, then, we have another television series about a single parent and child. Created by Barry Kemp, ''Coach'' gives us a 44-year-old dad who is reluctantly starting all over again and wondering if he can handle this ''being-a-parent stuff.'' The daughter, meanwhile, resents his being overly protective and pauses regularly to say things like: ''I'm fully grown now. The only way I'm going to get hurt is if you don't trust me.'' Zzzzzz.

Most of the laughs, evidently, are supposed to be generated by the assorted jocks. Hayden is a nice guy, willing to say what he thinks people want to hear, but he is a bit slow on the uptake. There are lots of slow takes and blank looks. But Hayden is a whiz kid compared with his old friend and coaching assistant, Luther (Jerry Van Dyke), who has developed inarticulateness into an art form. And at the bottom of the dum-dum ladder there's the football player Dauber Dybinski (Bill Fagerbakke), who still clings to the hope of graduating one of these years.

Mark Ganzel, one of the producers, wrote tonight's preview; Michael Zinberg directed. Tomorrow's premiere was written and directed by Mr. Kemp, who is also executive producer of the series. ''Coach'' is painlessly affable. Mr. Nelson, departing from his customary serious roles, reveals a nice sense of comic timing. The only thing missing is a smidgin of originality.

An Article from USA TODAY
Published on December 18, 1990

Mariage finally finds its way into the 'Coach 'lineup

By Jefferson Graham

HOLLYWOOD-Reluctant romantic Hayden Fox asks his estranged girlfriend Christine to marry him tonight on Coach at 9:30 EST/PST.

But why did the coach ( Craig T. Nelson) and Christine ( Shelley Fabares) split in the first place?

" It was our way of explaining why these two very different people were together," Coach co-executive producer Sheldon Bull says. " It gave us a way to show what the two of them saw in each other."

Hayden is an " impulsive, emotional, headstrong, exciting sort of guy," Bull says. TV newscaster Christine is a beautiful, conservative woman from the right part of town. For both of them, opposites attract.

Over the past few weeks , " we've been able to explain why she's in her 40's and has never married," Bull says. " She always dated rather dull straight arrows before, and they just didn't turn her on." Life with Hayden, she said in one episode, was a "roller coaster, " and she loved it.

" Christine is the type of woman Hayden's never been out with before," Bull says. " He's intimidated by her, intimidated by her lifestyle and feels out of place in her world, but he's attracted to that too."

They broke up six weeks ago when Hayden refused to commit to marriage. He's never got over the failure of his first marriage years ago, and the hex his ex put on him when she said his obsession with career killed their marriage.

Hayden has since learned that he can't live without Christine. He also realizes that he wasn't solely responsible for the breakup of his marriage, and gets the nerve to propose to Christine.

But don't look for wedding bells to ring in the May sweeps. " We're not going to rush into anything," Bull says. " The engagement may last a year."

The breakup story is one part of the producers' master plan for the season-the worst year of Hayden's life.

So what's next? A broken leg? Death in the family? Getting fired from his position at Minnesota State?

Try none of the above.

" Things will start to look up for him in the spring," Bull says. " I think we've beaten up on this guy enough this year."

Here is Jerry Van Dyke's Obituary from the Chicago Tribune

Jerry Van Dyke, 'Coach' star and brother of Dick, dies at 86

Associated Press

Jerry Van Dyke, the younger brother of Dick Van Dyke who struggled for decades to achieve his own stardom before clicking as the dim-witted sidekick in television's "Coach," died Friday in Arkansas, according to his manager. He was 86.

John Castonia said Van Dyke died at his ranch in Hot Spring County. His wife, Shirley Ann Jones, was by his side. No cause was immediately known.

Van Dyke had an affable, goofy appeal, but he spent much of his career toiling in failed sitcoms and in the shadow of his older brother, even playing the star's brother in "The Dick Van Dyke Show."

Until "Coach" came along in 1989, Van Dyke was best known to critics as the guy who had starred in one of television's more improbable sitcoms, 1965's "My Mother the Car." Its premise: A small-town lawyer talks to his deceased mother (voiced by actress Ann Sothern), who speaks from the radio of an antique automobile.

Other bombs included 1967's "Accidental Family," in which he was a nightclub comedian, 1970's "The Headmaster," in which he was a gym teacher and 1963's "Picture This," a game show that lasted only three months. He also joined "The Judy Garland Show" in 1963, to provide comic relief, but was fired at the end of the season.

"The show's writers wrote awful, awful, awful stuff," he recalled in a 1994 interview with The Associated Press, "and I was forced to do it. For instance, I had to come out and say to Judy Garland, 'What's a nice little old lady like you doing on television?'" He added: "And that was just the first week!"

In "Coach," he finally made it, playing assistant coach Luther Van Dam, comic foil to Craig T. Nelson's coach Hayden Fox. The two headed up a hapless Minnesota college football team, its follies aired from 1989 to 1997, and Van Dyke was nominated four times for an Emmy.

"I never knew what success was like, or having a hit series, or even doing something GOOD," Van Dyke told the AP. "Finally I got a job that I enjoy doing, that's not hard to do — and I get paid a lot of money."

Nelson, his co-star on the show, paid homage to his former onscreen partner Saturday: "I am incredibly sad to hear of Jerry's passing. He was such a brilliant comedian and we had a great time working together on 'Coach.' It is just devastating news."

Dawn Wells, an actress who starred with Van Dyke on an episode of "Fantasy Island," called him in a statement "one of Hollywood's funniest, kindest and personable comedians. He was a joy to work with. He will be missed."

Over the years, Van Dyke made guest appearances on numerous programs, among them "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," whose star had played his sister-in-law on "The Dick Van Dyke Show."

He also appeared on "The Andy Griffith Show," ''Perry Mason" and in such films as "The Courtship of Eddie's Father," ''Palm Springs Weekend," ''Angel in My Pocket" and "McLintock!"

His decision to take the "Car" role was one of two disastrous career moves in the mid-1960s. He also passed on a chance to play the title role on "Gilligan's Island" and to replace the departing Don Knotts as the deputy on "The Andy Griffith Show."

"My Mother the Car" lasted one season. (A New York Times critic cracked, "last night's premiere made a strong case for not fastening your seat belts.") But "Gilligan's Island" turned its star, Bob Denver, into a television icon and is still airing endlessly in reruns. Van Dyke said in 1990 that his brother told him "My Mother the Car" sounded good. (At the time, a show about a talking horse — "Mister Ed" — and other fantasy sitcoms were doing well.)

"I never asked him for advice after that," Jerry Van Dyke said.

He also rued the loss of a role in 1982 when he was up for a supporting gig in a series to star Bob Newhart, which would run for eight celebrated seasons. But Tom Poston got his role as George the handyman on "Newhart." In recent years, Van Dyke made recurring appearances on "The Middle" (where he and brother Dick starred in an episode) and "Yes, Dear."

Patricia Heaton, who played Van Dyke's daughter on "The Middle," tweeted her respects: "Jerry, you were hilarious and terrifically talented — what an honor to be able to watch up close as you and your brother create your special magic."

He was born in Danville, Illinois, in 1931, six years after his brother. He said he knew from childhood that he wanted to be a comedian, and grew up listening to the radio shows of Bob Hope, Red Skelton and others. By age 8 he had earned a reputation as class clown.

He had his first brush with acting in a guest role on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" as Rob Petrie's banjo-playing brother. "I came away thinking, 'TV is a piece of cake; I want more of this,'" he told the AP.

Van Dyke entered Eastern Illinois University, but his education was interrupted by service in the Air Force during the Korean War. He spent much of that time entertaining colleagues at military shows with jokes and banjo playing.

When he got out of the service, he took that act on the road, with little success. Eventually he followed his brother to Hollywood.

He is survived by his wife, two children from his previous marriage to Carol Johnson — Jerri and Ronald — and his brother.

To read some articles on Coach go to and and and

To watch some clips of Coach go to

For Tim's TV Showcase go to

To go to the Coach Blog go to

To go to a Elvis Women: Shelley Fabares go to

To go to a Page devoted to Jerry Van Dyke go to

For some Coach-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to
Date: Sun March 26, 2017 � Filesize: 91.5kb � Dimensions: 736 x 743 �
Keywords: The Cast of Coach (Links Updated 7/25/18)


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