Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Maybe sooner than later

Tubby Raymond
Tubby Raymond

Thought of this story last night. No reason to share. Just made me laugh …

Back in the mid-1990s I was sports editor of The Review, the student newspaper at the University of Delaware. The plum assignment that accompanied the gig was covering the Blue Hens football team, an elite Division I-AA program.

The Hens were coached by Tubby Raymond, a legendary coach who could be quite ornery and, at times, mischievous. I was a small fish in a small pond, and I liked using my weekly column to poke and prod the football team. It was the typical stuff from a young kid with a pen and an ego. I’d rip Tubby for this, criticize him for that.

Anyhow, one day a note arrives at the newspaper office. It’s for me, in an envelope. I tear the paper open, and it’s a letter via the coach.

Hey Jeff,

Maybe sooner than later.

— Tubby Raymond

That was it. I had no idea what he was talking about, but—in all my big-headed awfulness—presumed it to be a threat. Was the coach trying to intimidate me? Well, that wouldn’t work! I was sports editor of The Review! I would not be intimidated! Not by the quarterback! Not by the free safety! Not by Tubby Raymond! Hell no!

That Saturday, following his weekly press conference, Tubby pulled me aside.

“Funny, right?” he said with a chuckle.

Um …

Turns out, a few weeks earlier, I’d written a column that included the sentence, “Sooner or later Tubby Raymond is going to kill me.”