Coach TV Poster Image




College football comedy scores. OK for tweens.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Strong, caring relationships; Coach has a strong sense of right and wrong and will admit when he's made a mistake (albeit reluctantly). A little bit of gender stereotyping, but usually the men bear the brunt of the humor in that case.


References to sport injuries and football roughness.


Rare, subtle innuendo. Unmarried adults in romantic relationships live together.


Mild: "making an ass of himself," etc.


Frequent mentions of college football programs and sponsorships by fictitious companies.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this sitcom takes a look behind the scenes of a fictional competitive college football program. The head coach has an old-fashioned view of sports and competition. He's divorced, and he and his girlfriend live together. Neither of the two assistant coaches are very socially or intellectually astute, and these deficiencies are often mined for laughs. Not much football is shown, but wins and losses are discussed, along with football injuries, academic performance, recruiting, campus politics, and dealing with a difficult athletic director.

Parents say

Not yet rated
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What's the story?

IN COACH, Craig T. Nelson stars as Hayden Fox, head coach of a fictional division I-A college football team -- the Minnesota State University Screaming Eagles. Loosely modeled after University of Iowa coach Hayden Frye, Coach Fox is an old-school, no-nonsense man's man. He's aided by (and plays straight man to) his two assistant coaches/loyal sidekicks -- cheerful but vacuous Luther Van Dam (Jerry Van Dyke) and perpetual dim-witted student Dauber Dybinski (Bill Fagerbakke). There are several smart, strong women vying for Hayden's attention: his television reporter fiancé Christine Armstrong (Shelley Fabares) and his college-aged daughter Kelly (Clare Carey), to whom Hayden plays a doting and protective father. The talented ensemble cast is also enriched by Pam Stone, who plays Hayden's chief rival, women's basketball coach Judy Watkins; Kriss Kamm as Kelly's boyfriend, Stuart Rosebrock; and Kenneth Kimmins as annoying college athletic director Howard Burleigh.

Is it any good?


Coach epitomizes many of the reasons people end up watching their favorite shows for seasons on end. It has a comforting rhythm: Each episode begins with a tight comedic scene that showcases good writing and strong acting before segueing into a catchy, energetic theme song that virtually compels you to tap along in rhythm. A problem is introduced, and resolution is almost always found within the allotted 30 minutes.

The show's funny, and its sometimes touching storylines benefit from strong writing, talented acting, and great on-screen chemistry. Most of the dilemmas Hayden faces are family-friendly fare; the show shouldn't raise too many eyebrows for parents of tweens and older kids.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what it might be like to be a professional coach. What does the pressure of winning mean for both a coach's career and a school's reputation? Coach Fox is serious about sports and a kind man. How do his views about football and competition temper his relationships with the strong women in his life? How can team sports and the concept of sportsmanship provide perspective in the face of challenges and difficulties and help people make good decisions?

TV details

Premiere date:February 28, 1989
Cast:Craig T. Nelson, Jerry Van Dyke, Shelley Fabares
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD

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Teen, 13 years old Written bySafemancam001 March 7, 2011

Funny show, good for tweens and up.

I used to watched this show more often, but it's really funny. I like when Luther said "I've had a jelly-donut and a cup of coffe every day since 3rd grade, and I'm not going to stop today."
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Kid, 10 years old June 24, 2009

Family Show

I've only seen, like, one episode of this show, but it's appropriate and funny. Enjoyable for the whole family.
Teen, 15 years old Written byMichael Fraraccio March 2, 2014


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