“Coach” (1978)


Studio: Crown International Pictures
Starring: Cathy Lee Crosby, Michael Biehn, Keenan Wynn, Channing Clarkson
Directed by: Bud Townsend
Rated: R
Running Time: 100 min.

Synopsis: A woman is hired to coach a boys high school basket ball team to try and make a terrible team into a winner.

Chris Woods


During the 1980’s there were many teen or sex comedies around. Some were mainstream like The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles, which fall in the teen comedy category. Others were more b-movie level like Screwballs and Hardbodies, which these fall in the sex comedy category. Coach is a film that came out in the late 70’s before the teen comedy craze of the 80’s. You could almost say Coach is kind of a blueprint for those films, well kind of. The film is decent and some of the performances from the actors and story are all right, but it lacks the charm and depth that those 80’s comedies had.

Coach is about a high school basketball team who are just terrible. After their coach is fired, the board members of the school hire a coach who they believe will make their team a winner. The only thing is they thought they were hire a man, because the person they hired name was Randy, but it turns out it was a woman who is played by Cathy Lee Crosby of That’s Incredible fame. The school is hesitate about hire a woman to coach a boys basketball team, but turns out she is able to make the team a winner.

I do have many issues with this film, but first I want to mention the things I did enjoy about the film. Most of the story was all right and was entertaining in some spots. The characters were watchable at times and the actors who played them were mostly good. Crosby does a good job and so does the lead actor Michael Biehn (The Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss). Biehn plays one of the teens on the basketball team who falls for his coach and actually starts a sexual relationship with her.

What I had a problem with was the development of the story. When Crosby comes in as the coach the team is too busy checking her out then taking orders from her. They do not respect her because she is a woman and they do not want to take orders from her. Seeing this you would think in the story arch that Crosby would have to get them to respect her and she would win over the team as she leads them to victory. We have seen this in many other stories. A newbie comes in and does not mesh well with a group and then later they all become friends and respect one another and in between high jinks ensue. Not in this film. On her second day she brings in NBA Pro Ball Player, Sidney Wicks to practice with the team and the boys now love their coach. Where is the story arch? There was only one day when they hated her and now on the second day they love her. It was very rushed if you ask me.

With other teen comedies there is a lot more depth to the story and with this film there is not. Actually most of the film is about the relationship between Crosby and Biehn and the basketball team is secondary. Also, the story is rushed with their relationship. You would think this would take some time considering the age difference between the two (with Biehn’s character being a minor) and the fact that she is his high school coach. You would figure he would try to make a move and she would have second thoughts because of her position and then finally giving in, but no. He comes by her beach house one day and the two start hanging out and the next thing you know they are lovers and him being her student never really comes up.

Then there is a part where Biehn catches Crosby kissing a fellow teacher and he gets all pissed off and starts to give her the cold shoulder. When she comforts him about him ignoring her, he tells her what he saw and then she reassures him that she only did that because that teacher knows a basketball talent scout to come and check out Biehn play. So, she would just screw this teacher just to get her teen lover a scholarship. One other thing is why is Crosby qualified to coach a basketball team? In the film she is an Olympic gold medalist, but for track. Yes, she is a great athlete, but in track, not in basketball. After her Olympic win her job before coaching was teaching aerobics to old ladies.

I also have to mention Crown International who put out tons of trash throughout the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, released this film. This film is actually one of its better ones, considering most of Crown’s stuff is unwatchable. Coach for the most part is watchable, well at least once. I do have to say it is a film before its time, but still if it was released in the 80’s with all the other teen/sex comedies it would not stand a chance.