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Ethan Trex
11 Famous Roommates From the World of Sports
by Ethan Trex - December 10, 2009 - 10:13 AM

Most of us remember our college roommates as partners in crime who ate all our Easy Mac. Some famous athletes may remember their roommates as “that four-time Super Bowl winner who slept on the bottom bunk,” though. Here’s a look at 11 famous roommate pairings from the world of sports:

1. Tony Dungy and Flip Saunders

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The Super Bowl-winning football coach and the man currently at the helm of the NBA’s Washington Wizards roomed together at the University of Minnesota during the mid-1970s. Dungy played quarterback for the Gophers’ football team while Saunders took the court for a stacked hoops squad that also featured Kevin McHale and Mychal Thompson. Dungy even played on the basketball team as a freshman and later reminisced, “I didn’t necessarily see a coach in him right away, but you saw a guy that loved the game right away.”

2. Jim Nantz and Fred Couples

The ubiquitous sportscaster and the future Masters champion lived together while at the University of Houston when both Nantz and Couples played for the Cougars’ golf team in the late 1970s. Their third roommate was no slouch, either; fellow golfer Blaine McCallister racked up five wins of his own on the PGA Tour.

3. Paul Tagliabue and Lamar Alexander

The former NFL commissioner shared a place with the Tennessee senator and former Republican presidential hopeful while the two were at New York University Law School during the early 1960s. When Tagliabue became the NFL’s commish in 1990, Sports Illustrated asked Alexander if the two roommates ever did anything crazy. The politician’s response: “Well, we were recruited by the same West Coast law firm…we turned in our airline tickets and rented a red convertible and drove to L.A. instead. We were a good deal more square than Jack Kerouac. We visited relatives on the way.”

4. Lee Corso and Burt Reynolds

You might not know it, but former head coach and current ESPN college football analyst/hat enthusiast Lee Corso was quite a football player at Florida State. In the mid-1950s, he picked off 14 passes for the Seminoles to become the school’s all-time interceptions leader. He also lived with fellow football player and future actor Burt Reynolds.

5. Ed Reed and Reggie Wayne

All-Pro Baltimore Ravens safety Reed and All-Pro Indianapolis Colts receiver Reggie Wayne roomed together throughout their college days at the University of Miami. The two eventually won a national championship together in 2001, and both went on to dominate in the NFL. Wayne recently told WFAN’s Mike Francesa that he and Reed have concluded they are the greatest football roommate combo of all time.

6. Marcus Allen and Ronnie Lott

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Sorry, Ed and Reggie, but this pair trumps your gridiron exploits. Hall of Famers Allen and Lott roomed together at USC during the 1970s before running back Allen and defensive back Lott went on to win five Super Bowl rings between them. The two remained close after college; when Allen made it into the Hall of Fame he thanked Lott by saying, “He’s a warrior and ultimately he’s my best friend… He is the one player that has more influence over me than anybody I’ve ever met.”

7. Troy Polamalu and Carson Palmer/Matt Cassel

The Cincinnati Bengals’ QB and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ long-maned safety lived together while both were starring for the Trojans. Polamalu also roomed with Kansas City Chiefs QB Matt Cassel, who was Palmer’s backup at USC. Cassel later told reporters that the safety was “a very clean roommate.”

8. Steve Mariucci and Tom Izzo

Former NFL head coach Mariucci and Michigan State basketball coach Izzo grew up together in small-town Iron Mountain, Michigan, in the state’s Upper Peninsula. The two close friends co-captained their local high school football team—Izzo played tailback and linebacker—before heading to Northern Michigan University, where they roomed together. The two even made a bet over which one would coach at Notre Dame first, a wager that’s still up for grabs.

9. Jack Del Rio and Sean Salisbury

Before Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio enjoyed a long and productive NFL career, he was an All-American linebacker at the University of Southern California during the mid-1980s. In addition to grabbing the MVP of the 1985 Rose Bowl, Del Rio also roomed with the Trojans’ QB, future NFL journeyman and ESPN analyst Sean Salisbury.

10. Mike Shanahan and Mike Heimerdinger

Former Denver Broncos coach Shanahan and current Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Heimerdinger roomed together at Eastern Illinois University during the early 1970s. When Shanahan took over the Denver Broncos in 1995, he needed a wide receivers coach, so he called up his old roomie and former teammate to fill the spot.

11. Joe Montana and Charlie Weis

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Recently canned Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis and unstoppable QB Joe Montana roomed together while they were at Notre Dame during the 1970s. Weis has frequently claimed that he liked to play pranks on Montana during their school days, but he’s never really explained what sort of mischief the pranks entailed.

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