Lost Lettermen’s ‘Before They Were Coaches’

Coaching grid

Jim Weber, proprietor of Lost Lettermen, the site that allows you to rediscover your favorite college stars, has just completed his latest and perhaps greatest project.

It's a six-part series titled "Before They Were Coaches." Jim went back and researched the background of every current coach of a Bowl Championship Series team. As you can see, he found some priceless photos along the way.

Did you know that Nick Saban grew up pumping gas at his father's station? Saban, a 5-foot-9 defensive back, wanted to play at West Virginia, but was deemed too small. Instead, he went to Kent State and played for Don James, who went on to coach 18 seasons at Washington, where he is still known as the  "Dawgfather."

Mark Mangino never played college football. The 5-foot-9, 230-pound defensive tackle graduated from high school in 1974, then spent a year as a janitor. He eventually became an assistant for Jim Tressel at Youngstown State and drove ambulances on the side for extra cash.

Jim Leavitt was a Big 8 batting champion with a .386 average at Missouri.

Tom O'Brien served nine years in the Marines. He was an air traffic controller in California and Japan.

Brian Kelly dreamed of a career in politics.

Bill Lynch played football and basketball at Butler. He once "held" Larry Bird to 47 points.

You can access all of links in the series by clicking here. Otherwise, here are links to each of the conferences: Southeastern, Big Ten, Big East, Big 12, Atlantic Coast and Pacific 10.

Two other links to mention. In August, Jim tracked down the whereabouts of all the living Heisman winners and what became of the winners who are deceased. Go to that link by clicking here.

In September, Jim was a guest on one of our podcasts and told the story of how he came up with the idea for his terrific site. Click here to access that link.

Kyle Bunch

Partnerships for R/GA Ventures. Raised in California, adopted by Texas. Opinions expressed here are mine and they are fantastic.

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