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Former Shawnee Mission West coach surprises Jason Sudeikis during ‘Today’ interview

·2 min read

Ted Lasso (the character) didn’t have great success in his first season as a soccer coach in England. But “Ted Lasso” (the TV show) has been a big winner.

Jason Sudeikis, who grew up in Overland Park, is the show’s creator and star, and he’s been on the interview circuit recently. He talked Tuesday with Stephen Colbert.

On Thursday morning, Sudeikis and co-creator/co-star Brendan Hunt visited the “Today” show, and talked about the success of “Ted Lasso.”

At one point, Sudeikis was asked about the inspiration for this character.

“It’s based on a few people. I mean my father, that’s where the mustache comes from and him being real loquacious,” Sudeikis said. “And then my high school basketball coach, Donnie Campbell, he was just a fella from a small town in Kansas who spoke in those little aphorisms. You know like, ‘Sudeikis you look more nervous than a long-tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs.’”

“Today” host Hoda Kotb tried to set up a surprise by saying, “Wait, you said the guy’s name is Donnie Campbell? Donnie Campbell?”

But Sudeikis instead broke up Kotb and the crew by asking if she had once dated Campbell, the former Shawnee Mission West coach.

She then shared a video Campbell had recorded for Sudeikis.

“Hi Jason, this is Coach Campbell in Kansas City. Just a short reach-out telling you how proud we are of you with your success you’re having with the show ‘Ted Lasso,’” he said. “We need to get you back in Kansas City and then we need to play some one-on-one, because I know you can’t play a lick of defense.”

Sudeikis then revealed Campbell used to call him Su-eikis, because he didn’t play any ‘D’ (defense) while with the Vikings.

Here is the clip:

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This a longer clip and a message Campbell shared on Twitter:

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Later, “Ted Lasso” co-stars Jeremy Swift (Higgins), Hannah Waddingham (Rebecca) and Brett Goldstein (Roy) joined from a remote location, and they all played charades.

You can watch both clips here. Sudeikis and Hunt hinted the show may go longer than three seasons.

Season two of “Ted Lasso” debuts July 23 on Apple TV+.

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