BY GEOFF HOBSON
It's Bruce Coslet's one last breather. One last fling. One last day at the beach before the long nights in the grinder as the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals.
So naturally that means golf for the 53-year-old, who isn't exactly a duffer. And the third annual Bruce Coslet's Executives for Charity going on Friday at the Heritage Club in Mason, Ohio, isn't exactly a golf tournament. Naturally, Coslet, the attention-to-detail guy, stages what amounts to a five-hour golf school taught by three "Top 100,'' golf instructors in the morning before playing a tournament in the afternoon.
"We ask our players to give back to the community, so the head coach should give back, too," Coslet says. "But I wanted something different. Something for the serious golfer."
How serious? Jim McLean, Coslet's golfing guru and 1994 PGA of America Teacher of the Year, and two of his assistants at the Doral Learning Center, give golfers individual analysis of their swings as well as a video complete with their coaching points.
It costs $5,000 per executive, but it's the kind of day guys start preparing for weeks in advance. A guy like former Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason doesn't want to look bad on tape. So it's not unusual for Esiason to call Coslet a month in advance to let him now how he's honing his game.
If anyone wants to look sharp Friday for a number of reasons, it's Esiason. He had the best days of his career when Coslet was his offensive coordinator (in Cincinnati from 1986-89) and his head coach (with the Jets in 1993 and Bengals in 1997). Plus, an old rival from his Jet and Bengal days, new Saints quarterback Jeff Blake, will also be playing.
Not to mention some proceeds go to the Gunnar H. Esiason Cystic Fibrosis and Lung Center at Cincinnati's Children's Hospital. Esiason's son Gunnar was diagnosed with CF when he was with Coslet in New York,and Coslet has given $80,000 to the wing from his tournaments. He'll also send a check to the Tiger Woods Foundation.
And to prove that Coslet can dish it out with anyone, last year he wrote a $30,000 check to the Imus Ranch, a charity run by radio talk show icon Don Imus. They hooked up in New York because Coslet was brave enough to go on the air with him frequently.
"I knew that it was all in fun. I took it in the right vein," Coslet said. "He insulted me and I insulted him."
The insults will no doubt be flying Friday, but Coslet is quite serious about the morning instructional period with McLean, Mike Lopuszynski and Glen Farnsworth. He warns them in his pre-tourney letter, "This IS a golf school and competition geared for the executive willing to contribute and make a difference in children's lives.''
"I won't be playing because I'm hosting,'' says Coslet with a gleam in his eye. "So I'll be able to float around and see everything.''
* DILLON OFFER CUT:* Pro Bowl running back Corey Dilllon has until midnight tonight to accept the Bengals'one-year tender of $1.371 million, but the club has no indication that he will. So they will follow through and cut the offer to $553,000, but Bengals President Mike Brown said he's open to jacking up a one-year offer if contract talks improve. Yet Marvin Demoff, Dillon's agent, said earlier this week that the slashing of the offer makes no difference in a relationship he thinks is damaged for good. Brown said the Bengals cut the offer because if Dillon makes good on his threat to sit out the first 10 games, they don't want to be forced to pay him the premium for the last six games when players are often ineffective after such long holdouts.