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"Coach" was one of the most popular television series of the 1990s and had a good long run from 1988 to 1997. It starred Craig T. Nelson as the head football coach at Minnesota State, and the fourth season was one of its best. Here's a look at the 10 best episodes from that season:
"Last of the Red-Hot Luthers"
In this episode, Luther (Jerry Van Dyke) has an affair with Hayden's secretary. This episode highlighted Van Dyke when he was at the peak of his comedic ability. He is so ashamed of his affair with the elderly secretary that he is unable to face her the next day. That creates some great awkwardness at the coach's office.
"The Kick-Off and the Kiss-Off"
Over the course of the series, Coach Fox continually improved the quality of play at Minnesota State. This episode — the season premiere — marked a milestone for the coach when his face was honored on the cover of Sports Illustrated. His Minnesota State team was ranked in the top 20.
"A Real Guy's Guy"
Nowadays, this kind of storyline is pretty common in comedies, but at the time it was fairly rare. Coach Fox wants to fix up his star player with his daughter. It all seems to be going well until his daughter, Kelly, discovers that the player is gay.
The main story line in this episode involves Kelly falling for someone who works in Bangkok. But the real humor comes from Luther, who starts to believe he is shrinking. Again, this is a great example of Van Dyke's comic chops.
"The Old Fish and the Shoes"
This is a great episode that anyone who lost a prized possession can relate to. In this case, Christine sells Hayden's pair of shoes that were autographed by NFL legend Johnny Unitas. It was great to see Hayden's reaction when he discovers the news.
"War of the Dopes"
One of the great unappreciated dynamics on the show was the relationship between Luther and Dauber. This episode captures the two at their best when Dauber moves in to Luther's apartment building. The resulting food fight is classic.
"The Pineapple Bowl"
This was a two-part episode in which Hayden must coach a game against his former mentor. The game happens to be his first bowl game with Minnesota State.
"I Hate Barbara"
Another relatable episode for guys. Hayden makes a huge error when he tells Christine that he doesn't like her friend. As any guy who has made that mistake can tell you, it never goes well. This was a fantastic episode featuring some great back and forth with Hayden and Christine.
"I Think I Can, I Think I Can't"
Luther was known for making bone-headed moves that made everyone else miserable. This episode is one of the best examples. Hayden and Luther are forced to spend a trip together on a tight train after Luther trades in their plane tickets.
"Any Place I Hang Myself Is Home"
Another great episode featuring a poor move by Coach Fox. After reluctantly agreeing to look for a house with Christine, Hayden decides to buy a house. The problem is he doesn't talk to her before buying the house. This is a common story line in sitcoms. "Coach" did a great job of showing the love between the two characters despite the ensuing arguments that happen.
- Jerry Van Dyke
- Pineapple Bowl
- Craig T. Nelson
- NFL legend Johnny Unitas