As fans, I think we all presume that college football coaches have no lives, and spend their off-season’s huddled up in dark film rooms, breaking down tape of future opponents, and ignoring their wives as effortlessly in June as they do in October. At least that’s the vision I have anyway.
And for some (yeah, we’re looking at you Nick Saban), it’s probably true, but for the vast majority of others, well, like the rest of us they like to get away and have a little bit of fun. Sure, not everybody can be Steve Spurrier, shirt off, chugging beers with his bros, but even the best head coaches aren’t football machines, but in fact regular guys, that like to do regular things when the opportunities present themselves.
On Wednesday, Oregon head coach Chip Kelly got one of those opportunities. That’s because on the day before the U.S. Open golf tournament, Kelly got away from Eugene, and hit up The Olympic Club in San Francisco to support Oregon golf coach Casey Martin who is playing in the event. In the process, Kelly got to take in Martin’s practice round, trailing Martin’s group. A group which included some guy named Tiger Woods.
Not a bad way to spend an afternoon in the middle of the week, huh?
For Kelly, it wasn’t his first trip to the U.S. Open, as he told the Eugene Register-Guard that he also attended the 1988 event at Brookline Country Club in Brookline, MA. But it’s safe to say as a 24-year-old who hadn’t even started his coaching career at the time, Kelly probably didn’t get the V.I.P. treatment he did on Wednesday. And V.I.P. treatment it indeed was, as Kelly trailed the group, and even made some small-talk with Tiger:
“I had a blast,” Kelly said. “(Woods) was actually pretty relaxed out there, joking around, talking football a little bit.”
Kelly also added that Tiger asked him about his “track team on the football field”, and how far he can hit golf balls for distance.
Hmm, think Tiger- a Stanford grad- might be upset over last year’s 53-30 Ducks win over the Cardinal in Palo Alto? Or Oregon’s 52-31 victory in Eugene the year before? It’s ok Tiger, you’re not alone. The entire Pac-12, and basically all of college football is trying to slow down Oregon’s trac—err, football team.
Of course the real story of the day wasn’t Kelly, but Martin, the Oregon golf coach who returns to the U.S. Open for the first time since 1998. At the time Martin’s appearance in the event came under heavy scrutiny when he was allowed to use a cart to play his 18 holes because of a rare blood circulation disorder known as Klippel Trenaunay Weber syndrome. Now back, and under significantly less scrutiny, Martin will look to win the first major of his career.
He’s certainly got the support of the Kelly in doing so. Kelly told the Register-Guard in a separate article:
“It’s an amazing story. Somebody needs to do a ’30 For 30′ (for ESPN) or something on this. It’s really cool, and (especially) with the whole dynamic that he was here before (in 1998). And when you watch him on the range, he can hit with these guys.”
If Martin is inspiring enough to motivate Chip Kelly, he’s inspiring enough to motivate me too.
Looks like I’ve got someone to root for this weekend.