The Coach cast had a way of making us laugh, cry, and even reflect on our own experiences. Running for nearly a decade, this beloved show not only entertained audiences with its humor but also showcased a stellar cast.
Coach premiered on ABC in 1989 and ran until 1997. Created by Barry Kemp, the show followed the life of Hayden Fox, portrayed by Craig T. Nelson, who was the head coach of a fictional college football team (Minnesota State University’s Screaming Eagles). At its core, Coach focused on the personal and professional life of a seasoned coach. The show not only depicted the challenges and triumphs of coaching but also delved into Fox’s relationships with his family, friends, and colleagues. The combination of sports, family dynamics, and comedy made Coach a hit with viewers.
Throughout its run, Coach received numerous Primetime Emmy Award nominations, with Craig T. Nelson winning the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in 1992.
Here we look at the Coach cast to see what they are doing now.
Coach cast: Craig T. Nelson as Hayden Fox
Craig T. Nelson was born in 1944 and established himself as a radio performer and comedian before becoming an actor. Before join the Coach cast, Nelson had bit parts in several TV series including Private Benjamin, Charlie’s Angels and WKRP in Cincinnati.
Ironically, Nelson almost didn’t play the role of Haden Fox. Creator Barry Kemp wrote the part of Fox for another actor, Dabney Coleman. However, Coleman wasn’t available. There was fierce competition for the role, but Nelson ultimately won out. His comedic timing and ability to convey both toughness and vulnerability made him a hit with audiences.
Post Coach cast, Nelson continued his successful career with roles in films such as The Incredibles (as the voice of Mr. Incredible) and TV shows like Parenthood and movies such as The Family Stone.
Did you know? Nelson was offered the role of Jay Pritchett for the pilot of Modern Family, but turned it down.
Jerry Van Dyke as Luther Van Dam
Jerry Van Dyke, born in 1931, is the younger brother of famed actor Dick Van Dyke. Jerry Van Dyke got his start in TV in 1962 in a two-part episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show, playing his real-life brother’s television brother. He had bit parts in other shows including Perry Mason and Andy Griffith Show.
However, his big break came playing Luther Van Dam, the lovable and quirky assistant coach. He was nominated for four Emmy awards for that role. Van Dyke’s comedic antics and chemistry with Nelson made the show a hit.
After the Coach, Van Dyke appeared in several sitcoms including My Name Is Earl and Raising Hope.
He passed away in 2018 at the age of 86.
Did you know? Series creator Kemp wanted Jerry Van Dyke for the role of Luther Van Dam, but ABC didn’t want him because they didn’t think he was funny enough (especially when compared to his famous brother). The network finally relented and Van Dyke became a fan favorite of the show.
Shelley Fabares as Christine Armstrong in the Coach cast
Born in 1944 in Santa Monica, California, Shelley Fabares became a teen-idol when she was cast as the daughter Mary Stone on The Donna Reed Show. Fabares also starred in several movies, including three with Elvis Presley: Girl Happy (1965), Spinout (1966) and Clambake (1967). She also had a reoccurring role on the hit sitcom One Day at a Time.
Fabares big break was when she got the part of Christine Armstrong, girlfriend to Craig Nelson’s character Hayden Fox. Her chemistry with Nelson made her a fan favorite and she was nominated for two Emmy awards.
Since Coach, she has done mostly voice work, including the voice of Martha Kent on Superman: The Animated Series.
Did you know? Coach is credited for giving a successful long-waited series comeback to Fabares. For two decades, she has been trying to land in a long-running, successful sitcom.
Bill Fagerbakke as Dauber Dybinski in the Coach cast
Born in 1957 in California, Bill Fagerbakke had bit parts in several TV shows including Perfect Strangers, before becoming a regular on the series Gargoyles (1994-1997).
Getting the role Dauber Dybinski, the lovable yet somewhat naive assistant coach, was a turning point for Fagerbakke.
After the show, he expanded his career through voice acting and appeared in several shows including the TV series Jumanji. His next big break came in the form of the voice of Patrick Star in the animated series SpongeBob SquarePants. His voice appeared in over 250 episodes.
Did you know? Fagerbakke guest starred in Young Sheldon several times.
Clare Carey as Kelly Fox
Born in 1967, Clare Carey had small parts in shows like Mr. Belvedere and Dragnet before being cast as Kelly Fox, the daughter Hayden Fox, on Coach.
After the series, she was a regular on the television shows So Little Time (2001-2002), Point Pleasant (2005-2006), Jericho (2006-2008) and Crash (2008-2009). She also appeared in films including Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles, Smokin’ Aces and Savannah Sunrise.
Most recently, she’s made guest appearance in CSI, NCIS and Aquarius.
Did you know? Carey was born in Africa, in the country of Rhodesia (what is now Zimbabwe).
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