31 Flavors of Football: Koenning is Folksy, Resembles Schaefer

To help you and me get through the drudgery of August, I will present in this space a daily scoop of MSU football-ness, as inspired by a certain ice cream chain. August has 31 days, so I’ll let you work it out from there. Here is today’s flavor.


MSU offensive coordinator Les Koenning was speaking with reporters the other day about how there are no great plays, because it’s only a great play if it’s executed. Then he said this: “Some people like to drive the cart before they hitch up the horse.”

Koenning says things like that all the time, and it’s often accompanied by a nodding of the head and an easy chuckle. He’s folksy, is the best way to put it, and comes by it honest. Koenning hails from Houston, and he played for the Texas Longhorns many moons ago. That’s where he got his start in coaching in 1981, and he’s since had stops at places like Alabama (twice), Texas A&M, Duke, Houston and the Miami Dolphins. He also coached at MSU from 1986-89.

Koenning, 53, has never been a head coach and seems content with being a coordinator. He’s the second-oldest member of the on-field coaching staff (behind Melvin Smith). There’s a pretty heavy Northern flavor to this coaching staff – not that there’s anything wrong with that – and Koenning is the go-to folksy guy. He’s a pretty good coach, too.

And there’s something else about Koenning.

He kinda looks like Vic Schaefer, MSU’s new women’s basketball coach. Put some glasses on him, and I swear they could be brothers. Maybe it’s just me, though. But every time I think of Schaefer, Koenning’s face pops up. Maybe it’s because Koenning has a brother (also a coach) named Vic.

Schaefer is from Austin, Texas, and graduated from Texas A&M. He’s close to Koenning’s age. I’m just sayin’.

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