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That dude from 'Coach' still waiting for Likins to call him


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PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BYArizona Daily Wildcat
Craig T. Nelson has an unusually large head for his body, but he still wants to speak at graduation. His big head produced big laughs on "Coach." Well, at least on the laugh track.
By J. Sug
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, April 1, 2004
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UA alumnus Craig T. Nelson, who starred in the hit TV show "Coach," said yesterday that he is disappointed President Peter Likins hasn't called him lately.

"I don't know why Pete hasn't picked up the phone," Nelson said. "I know he needs a commencement speaker. I'm your guy."

While Likins has tapped former UA basketball star Steve Kerr to speak at commencement in George W. Bush's place, Nelson is still optimistic he will receive some recognition at his former alma mater.

"That guy César Chávez has a building named after him. What the hell? As far as I know, he never went to Arizona, nor did he ever entertain audiences with the hilarious antics of a college football coach and his bumbling team," he said.

Some students said that they were lukewarm about Nelson's bid for graduation speaker.

"I guess as far as old white guys who use their middle initial for no reason go, Craig T. Nelson's just as good as George W. Bush," said undeclared senior Adam Dunst.

"Oh wait," Dunst said. "One guy's the president of the United States, and the other guy is just the dude from 'Coach.' I guess that makes a difference."

Nelson still remains hopeful that his speaking services will be used at the university some day.

"I'd start my speech out by saying, 'Boy, Tucson's hotter than a prison cell in Cambodia,'" said Nelson, making an obscure and pointless reference to his role in the 1984 film "The Killing Fields."

Nelson also says he could pepper his speech with "zany" stories about his college years.

"There was that time we stuffed 20 guys into a phone booth," he said. "Or that time we took ASU's mascot's costume and threw it in the fountain by Old Main. That was rich."

Nelson's acting career holds its own against other distinguished UA alumni such as that dude from "Talk Soup," Greg Kinnear, that dude from the Larry Sanders show, Gary Shandling and that dude who gave away troop positions, Geraldo Rivera. Their prestige, though lost on university officials, is not lost on some students.

"When I got my acceptance letters from Stanford and the U of A, my parents begged me to go to Stanford," said chemistry junior Michael Alden. "But I said, 'No way, I'm going to the school that dude from 'Coach' went to.'"

Nelson says it's stories like these that should convince Likins he should speak at graduation. In the meantime, Nelson says he will continue to entertain and delight audiences in syndicated "Coach" reruns.

Asked to comment on Nelson, President Likins said, "Who? Oh, that show sucked once they moved to Florida."

"You know, even if he doesn't ask me, I'm loving life. I'm not working too steadily, but I'm loving life. It's just nice to relax and look at all I've accomplished. I'm loving life."

"Want to toss around the old pigskin, for old times' sake? How about it?" Nelson asked, adding, "I'm so sad."



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