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Watch the real-life coach who inspired 'Ted Lasso' surprise Jason Sudeikis

The Emmy-nominated star was greeted with a blast from the past.
/ Source: TODAY

Ted Lasso has heard from the man who made him happen.

The coach who inspired the title character on the hit AppleTV+ series “Ted Lasso” shouted a message of support for star Jason Sudeikis when Sudeikis, who plays the title character, and co-star Brendan Hunt appeared on TODAY Thursday.

Sudeikis told Hoda Kotb that the character is based, in part, on his high school basketball coach, Donnie Campbell, who often addressed players in a way similar to Lasso.

“It was a fella from a small town in Kansas who spoke in those aphorisms, like, ‘Sudeikis, you look more nervous than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs,’” the actor explained.

Hoda then introduced a taped message from Campbell himself.

“Hi, Jason, this is Coach Campbell in Kansas City,” he said. “It’s 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 ‘cause I know you can’t play a lick of defense.”

Sudeikis echoed the coach’s evaluation of his play.

“He would call me Jason Sueikis because he said I had no ‘D,’” Sudeikis said, alluding to his inability to play defense. “He’s clever that way.”

Sudeikis said the coach should be stunned at how the show, which has won raves for its uplifting message, has taken off.

“No one’s got to be more shocked, honestly, than Coach Campbell. And I don’t blame him,” he said. “I did not do a lick of homework. I didn’t play a lick of defense. I was a good listener, but I didn’t listen in the moment. I just stored it all up and now using it, typing it out and then just memorizing and saying it to folks.”

“Ted Lasso” has received 20 Emmy nominations, the most for any comedy in its first season, including outstanding comedy series, outstanding lead actor in comedy series for Sudeikis and outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series for Hunt.

You can see how much more of an impact Sudeikis' coach had on the show when "Ted Lasso" returns for a second season Friday.