Watch: Coach who inspired Ted Lasso shouts out Jason Sudeikis on the Today show

Jason Sudeikis surprised by his high school coach Donnie Campbell/Screenshot

Jason Sudeikis heard some encouraging words from the real-life “Ted Lasso.”

During an interview with “Today” host Hoda Kotb, Sudeikis’ high school coach Donnie Campbell appeared in a prerecorded message. Campbell, a former basketball coach for Shawnee Mission West, helped inspire the title character of Sudeikis’ hit Apple TV+ show Ted Lasso.

When asked about Ted Lasso’s creation, Sudeikis cited his father’s and Campbell’s influence. “It was a fellow from a small town in Kansas who spoke in those little aphorisms, like, ‘Sudeikis, you look more nervous than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs,” he said.

Kotb repeated Campbell’s name to set up the surprise, which prompted Sudeikis to ask her if she’s dated him. When the laughter died down, she shared the message.

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

Sudeikis laughed in surprise and elaborated on the playful jab. “He’d call me Jason Su-eikis because he said I had no ‘D,'” he said about his defensive failures.

He linked Campbell’s values of working with others and his definition of success to the key characteristics of Ted Lasso.

You can watch the full interview below. The second episode of Ted Lasso‘s second season drops July 30.

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