"I turn around and I don't see anybody except this hairy guy in the phone booth, looking like maybe he was living in there. He says, 'Hey, pssst, over here.' I am captured by a vision of bare feet and beads and hair and I say to myself, 'No way. No way I'm going over there.' I don't have anything against long hair. I've known some crew-cut bums. But this guy is too much. I motioned him to meet me halfway. Maybe he just doesn't want to embarrass me.
"He says, 'Coach, I want to help the team. I heard what you said and I was impressed. I want to help the team.' Yeah. Right. Terrific. I said, "What exactly did you have in mind?'
"He says, 'I'm a punter. I punt barefoot. And I placekick. I can help you.' I looked at his hair. No way to get all that in a helmet. 'What about that?' I said, motioning.
"He says, 'Like I averaged 35 yards a kick in prep school. If I show you I can average 40, can I keep my hair?'
"Well, hell. I called for help and here's a guy wants to help me. I am willing to try anything. Especially when I've only got a 40-man varsity and a handful of freshmen and am desperate for bodies. I said, 'If you can average 40 yards a kick, you can have hair all over your body for all I care.'
"I told him to meet me at the office at 12:30 the next afternoon. I figured everybody would be out to lunch then. I didn't expect to see anything exceptional, but I wanted to see him kick barefoot. It would liven up the lunch hour. He comes out and, sure enough, he flubs the first punt. Wobble, wobble, wobble, plunk. Then—pow, whooossssh. He kicks one about 90 yards. All the way to the Ralston Purina sign behind the field.
"Well, I want to tell you something. Hair grows on you. I'm beginning to think Scott Marcus wouldn't look as good if he cut his hair short."
Marcus was indeed more than just a pretty head. He averaged 41.6 yards punting for the freshman team. He also kicked extra points. He resisted playing a position. "The coaches look at my size and say, 'Hey, I have a linebacker position for you. Hey. I've got a guard position.' I tell them, 'Save it, man.' " The curls cascaded out of his helmet. Corso asked only that he keep himself neat around the football office and that he wear shoes to the training table.
Before the season was over, however, Marcus paid Corso another visit. He said the school cheerleaders wanted him to come help them out.
"I'm a gymnast, too," he explained. "I forgot to tell you. Anyway, I was working out in the gym, like limbering up, and somebody said, 'Would you come be a cheerleader?' Cheerleaders do a lot of gymnastic stuff. I said O.K. It's for the varsity football games and the basketball games. Is it all right?"