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Three More Coaches Who Lied About Their History

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By now, you’ve probably heard the story of Yale football coach Tom Williams, who resigned this week for lying on his resume. He claimed to have been a Rhodes scholar candidate, and was even cited as a finalist during several stories about quarterback Patrick Witt’s Rhodes application. However, a New York Times investigation revealed that, while he was interested in the scholarship, he hadn’t even applied. He had also lied about being a member of the San Francisco 49ers on his resume.

Williams is far from the first coach to pad his resume a bit. Here are three more notable coaches who fibbed about anything from their academics to their age.

George O’Leary

George O’Leary’s tenure as head coach of Notre Dame was quite short-lived, lasting just five days. That’s how long it took school officials to discover that he had falsified many parts of his resume, including the fact that he had earned three letters playing football at the University of New Hampshire. In fact, he never even made it on the field (he had to sit out one season with mononucleosis). Worse, he claimed to have a master’s degree from NYU-Stony Brook, a school that doesn’t even exist. He had really attended SUNY-Stony Brook, but did not earn a degree.

When the information came out, O’Leary resigned, calling the lie “a selfish and thoughtless act many years ago.” A media investigation found that he had been listing the false information through several coaching stops, including as an assistant with Syracuse, defensive lines coach of the San Diego Chargers and as head coach of Georgia Tech. He made it through the controversy just fine – with an updated resume, he is currently the head coach at the University of Central Florida.

Marv Levy

When Marv Levy was first hired as head coach of the Buffalo Bills in 1986, he felt that his real age of 61 was too old, so he shaved a few years off and told everyone he was 58. Towards the end of his tenure, Levy switched his birth year back to the original 1925 in his official biography. When he was later hired back as general manager of the Bills in 2006, Levy spoke openly about his decision to come clean about the fib. “Maybe as I matured I came to realize it wasn’t a factor. It’s what you can do that counts,” he said.

Vince Lombardi

In their coverage of the Yale scandal, Deadspin pointed to a passage from a David Maraniss biography of Vince Lombardi that suggests that the legendary coach may have embellished his own history a bit. A New York Daily News profile of Lombardi – at the time an assistant coach for the Giants – discussed his history, starting with his birth in Brooklyn. From there, the article said, he played guard at Fordham, graduated after making Dean’s list for four years in a row, then spent two years at Fordham law school. However, Maraniss wrote that “the article by sportswriter Gene Ward had every fact wrong except where Lombardi was born.”

Nobody knows if Lombardi lied or Ward just got it wrong, but in reality Lombardi had dropped out of law school almost immediately. Nevertheless, it became part of his legend and several later profiles would credit him for law school or even a law degree.

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Pop Culture
The Simpsons's Classic Baseball Episode Gets the Mockumentary Treatment
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Fox Sports, YouTube

Opinions vary widely about the continued existence of The Simpsons, which just began its 29th season. Some believe the show ran out of steam decades ago, while others see no reason why the satirical animated comedy can’t run forever.

Both sides will no doubt have something to say about the episode airing Sunday, October 22, which reframes the premise of the show’s classic “Homer at the Bat” installment from 1992 as a Ken Burns-style mockumentary titled Springfield of Dreams: The Legend of Homer Simpson.

As Mashable reports, “Homer at the Bat” saw Montgomery Burns launch his own baseball team and populate it with real major league players like Wade Boggs, Steve Sax, and Jose Canseco to dominate the competition. In the one-hour special, the players will discuss their (fictional) participation, along with interviews featuring Homer and other members of the animated cast.

It’s not clear how much of the special will break the fourth wall and go into the actual making of the episode, a backstory that involves guest star Ken Griffey Jr. getting increasingly frustrated recording his lines and Canseco’s wife objecting to a scene in which her husband's animated counterpart wakes up in bed with lecherous schoolteacher Edna Krabappel.

Morgan Spurlock (Super-Size Me) directed the special, which is slated to air on Fox at either 3 p.m. EST or 4:30 p.m. EST depending on NFL schedules in local markets. There will also be a new episode of The Simpsons—an annual Halloween-themed "Treehouse of Horror" installment—airing in its regular 8 p.m. time slot.

[h/t Mashable]

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Big Questions
Why Do Baseball Managers Wear Uniforms?
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Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Basketball and hockey coaches wear business suits on the sidelines. Football coaches wear team-branded shirts and jackets and often ill-fitting pleated khakis. Why are baseball managers the only guys who wear the same outfit as their players?

According to John Thorn, the official historian of Major League Baseball since 2011, it goes back to the earliest days of the game. Back then, the person known as the manager was the business manager: the guy who kept the books in order and the road trips on schedule. Meanwhile, the guy we call the manager today, the one who arranges the roster and decides when to pull a pitcher, was known as the captain. In addition to managing the team on the field, he was usually also on the team as a player. For many years, the “manager” wore a player’s uniform simply because he was a player. There were also a few captains who didn’t play for the team and stuck to making decisions in the dugout, and they usually wore suits.

With the passing of time, it became less common for the captain to play, and on most teams they took on strictly managerial roles. Instead of suits proliferating throughout America’s dugouts, though, non-playing captains largely hung on to the tradition of wearing a player's uniform. By the early to mid 20th century, wearing the uniform was the norm for managers, with a few notable exceptions. The Philadelphia Athletics’s Connie Mack and the Brooklyn Dodgers’s Burt Shotton continued to wear suits and ties to games long after it fell out of favor (though Shotton sometimes liked to layer a team jacket on top of his street clothes). Once those two retired, it’s been uniforms as far as the eye can see.

The adherence to the uniform among managers in the second half of the 20th century leads some people to think that MLB mandates it, but a look through the official major league rules [PDF] doesn’t turn up much on a manager’s dress. Rule 1.11(a) (1) says that “All players on a team shall wear uniforms identical in color, trim and style, and all players’ uniforms shall include minimal six-inch numbers on their backs" and rule 2.00 states that a coach is a "team member in uniform appointed by the manager to perform such duties as the manager may designate, such as but not limited to acting as base coach."

While Rule 2.00 gives a rundown of the manager’s role and some rules that apply to them, it doesn’t specify that they’re uniformed. Further down, Rule 3.15 says that "No person shall be allowed on the playing field during a game except players and coaches in uniform, managers, news photographers authorized by the home team, umpires, officers of the law in uniform and watchmen or other employees of the home club." Again, nothing about the managers being uniformed.

All that said, Rule 2.00 defines the bench or dugout as “the seating facilities reserved for players, substitutes and other team members in uniform when they are not actively engaged on the playing field," and makes no exceptions for managers or anyone else. While the managers’ duds are never addressed anywhere else, this definition does seem to necessitate, in a roundabout way, that managers wear a uniform—at least if they want to have access to the dugout. And, really, where else would they sit?

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