Synopsis by Bruce Eder
Those who only know Pat O'Brien from his later, slightly more avuncular roles may be surprised to see him pumping out almost as much energy as his friend (and sometime co-star) James Cagney, in the lead and title role of College Coach. As James Gore, the head football coach for Calvert College, he leads his team to victory at any cost, including fair-play, decent (if not good) sportsmanship, and honesty -- he's even got his hooks into the financial end of a stadium deal. But all isn't well with those around Gore -- his best and most honorable player, Sargeant (Dick Powell, really wants to get an education while playing college ball, and finally backs out when he sees the hypocrisy around him; and his other top player, Weaver (Lyle Talbott), is a self-centered headline hound with an IQ in low double-digits who is a detriment to the team whenever he isn't scoring touchdowns. And his work seems to be unraveling when his tactics bring about a tragedy on the playing field. But it's when he discovers that his own wife (Ann Dvorak) is feeling so neglected that she's been pushed toward infidelity -- with Weaver -- that he realizes he's gone too far. With Calvert College about to lose much of what it stands for academically over the collapse of its football team, help comes from unexpected places, including a wife who still loves him and the one player Gore had who is smart enough to see the bigger picture.
coaching [sports], football-player, football-team, marital-problems