Politics & Government

Former football coach didn’t meet with Trump. He just told everyone he did.

By Brian Murphy

bmurphy@mcclatchy.com

Former football player and coach Barry Switzer speaks to members of the media in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016.
Former football player and coach Barry Switzer speaks to members of the media in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016. AP

When former Dallas Cowboys coach Barry Swizter showed up at Trump Tower earlier this month, he told reporters about his meeting wtih President-elect Donald Trump and how he wanted to be the “secretary of offense.”

Turns out Switzer just wanted a cup of coffee.

Yes, meeting with a former college and NFL coach — even one who enjoyed as much success as Switzer — seemed a bit strange for a President-elect, but Trump has taken meetings with rapper Kanye West and former NFL stars Jim Brown and Ray Lewis and campaigned with former Indiana basketball coach Bob Knight.

So when another famous sports figure said he was meeting with Trump, it drew the customary news stories. The Associated Press published a story that was picked up by news outlets all over the country. The Houston Chronicle reported that Switzer wanted a role in Trump’s Cabinet, even while pointing out that “secretary of offense” is, you know, not an actual position.

“Donald plans to run the ball. And I know a lot about rushing the football. So that’s why I’m here,” said Switzer, who oversaw prolific rushing attacks as head coach at Oklahoma and earned him a spot in the college football hall of fame.

Turns out, though, Switzer was just another tourist in New York and there was no meeting with Trump, according to Politico. Swizter had been shopping with wife and daughter when he walked into the Trump Tower lobby.

“All the media people said, ‘Coach, what are you doing here,’” Switzer told Politico. “I told them I was here to see the president like everyone else.”

Switzer said he bought a coffee and then went back downstairs.

“I told the reporters I had a great visit, and that we were going to make the wishbone great again," he told Politico. "I told them I was going to be secretary of offense and that Trump knew how to run the ball down the field.”

“Then I went back to my hotel and laughed my ass off,” he said, still laughing as he recalled the story to Politico. “It went everywhere. Everyone believed it. I had all these calls, but I was just jerking people around.”

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