The effigies of losing football coaches are being strung up quicker these days than horse thieves on TV westerns. But nowhere did range justice come quicker than at Duquesne University where Phi Kappa Theta fraternity happily "lynched" its coach, David Durr, an English instructor, after the team lost only one game.
"He had it coming. If he wasn't so conservative we would still be undefeated," said one enraged student. "Undefeated?" snorted Coach Durr. "They only played one other game and won that by a forfeit."
November 16, 1959
A high-level authority who may well have played the game with both parties concerned confided recently that Richard Milhous Nixon is a better golfer than Dwight David Eisenhower. Any evidence to the contrary, it was suggested, is just the normal camouflage of a discreet junior executive keeping his links talent hidden from a golfing boss.
Well, last week a SPORTS ILLUSTRATED correspondent followed Dick Nixon around 18 holes, at Los Angeles' posh Hillcrest Country Club, and found the Veep—if golf is any indication—at his discreet and diplomatic best.
On the very first tee Dick snatched his club up too quickly, then flung it down violently toward the ball, which scooted 100 yards down the fairway like a destructed rocket.
Partners Danny Kaye (9 handicap), Danny Thomas (12) and Bernard Weinberg (13), the club president, tried to cheer him up. "You get a Mulligan, a Ginsberg and a Maloney on this tee," said Thomas. Nixon (17 handicap) accepted the offer, hit all three extra shots. The Mulligan soared high in the air, landed behind what might have been second base. The Ginsberg hooked far toward a distant oil well. The Maloney was down the middle, 225 yards, and the nervous Veep felt better.
Almost sprinting down the fairway toward Maloney, Mr. Nixon observed, a trifle less diplomatically perhaps, "I never use a cart. It defeats the whole purpose of the game," and recalled a Washington man of 70 who refuses to use even bridges across gullies because he wants the exercise of walking the slopes. He hit a fine nine-iron to the green and three-putted for what his partners insisted was a five.
Then, using the slightly stilted swing of a man who learned the game late, but a swing showing the concentration which deserted him on the first hole, the Vice-president began to improve.
To be sure, he was digging around in the weeds on the fourth hole when spotted by a housewife digging in the backyard of her home nearby. "Hello," she waved to the visiting statesman.
"How's your garden?" he shouted back.
"It's a mess, how's your golf?" she answered.
"It's a mess, too," said Richard Nixon.
But it wasn't quite that bad. He closed out the front nine with a 51 and finished with a 43, and though the grand total might have left some players gnashing their teeth the Vicepresident was plain proud. "It's a great game," he enthused. "I just don't play enough."
Come to think of it, he'd better not play too much. He just might get good enough to beat the boss.
On the glass door of the city hall in Belleville, Ontario is a proud motto: MAGNUM EST VECTIGAL PARSIMONIA, or, "Great is the reward of thrift." That motto never seemed so meaningful as it did last week, when a Royal commission probing into the city's finances issued a report indicating a possible shortage of $612,000, of which at least $142,000 was brought about by an overgenerous use of funds for the hockey team that was Belleville's pride and joy.
"I doubt," said one lawyer, "if any greater exhibition of municipal mismanagement has occurred...." Belleville's sudden departure from its old parsimonious ways, said another, seemed to have been caused by "a magnificent obsession about hockey." This obsessive sentiment toward hockey was ironically evidenced in the fact that Belleville's city manager and the manager of its hockey team were one and the same: 40-year-old Drury Denyes. When Denyes took over in 1956 the team was financed by a builder named McFarland, who put up $3,000 to help maintain it. In return the team was called the Belleville McFarlands. By the rules governing play in its league, Belleville was allowed to spend $1,500 a week on players' payroll and remain technically amateur. Denyes, a former Royal Canadian Air Force pilot, son of a prominent family, husky and popular, found that he had to bid high to get first-rate players to come to Belleville and play on the team. Then he had to get jobs for them, and sometimes houses for their families. But in the hockey obsession that swept the town, these matters did not seem insoluble: John McClelland was hired from the Cleveland Barons for $500 plus $4,500 a year; Al Dewsbury came from the Hershey (Penn.) Bears for $3,000 plus a $5,000 salary.
True, the hockey team budget couldn't support such payments. But the city budget could—or so it seemed at first. Denyes, the report said, used his position as city manager to transfer hockey accounts to the city's general account and to pay salaries out of the town's general fund. Hard-working and enjoying unlimited confidence, Denyes took care of some salaries each week by carrying them on the public payroll as wages paid school guards and temporary employees. He had players working as electricians and at all sorts of city jobs. The effort paid off in championship hockey, and as the shortage mounted, Denyes carried on in the dreamy conviction that some day one last great triumph would fix everything: if the Belleville team became world champions, for instance, they would draw so many customers that the debt could be quietly repaid before anyone knew it existed.
The dream came only partly to reality. Last spring the McFarlands played 27 games in Europe, took in $200,000 (easily enough to have paid all the various debts and expenses the hockey team and its manager had piled up) and did in fact win the world amateur championship at Prague. The team came back to Belleville serenaded by brass bands, with Denyes hailed as a conquering hero. But the hero's heart was heavy. For the European tour was taken out of his hands and run by the International Ice Hockey Association, which allowed the McFarlands only a thrifty $1,000 per game expense money, or a total of $27,000. When a preliminary audit called Denyes to account he was already a beaten man. "Show it the way it is," he said forlornly.
The report of the judicial inquiry indicates that "the way it is" was far worse than anyone had imagined. A man already disgraced in athletics, Denyes now faces the possibility of prosecution. Players are being sued for unreported income taxes. The town is being sued because neighboring suburbs were annexed and these say they want no part of a $142,000 hockey binge. The town's debt has soared, and the Belleville McFarlands have plummeted to the bottom of the hockey league.
Magnum est vectigal parsimonia, or, as any ignoramus knows, Probitas optima via per vitam est.
England's Philip John Noel-Baker, whose lifetime quest for Peace with a capital P last week won him the Nobel Prize, once followed another capital P with less success.
An outstanding athlete who was later to captain two British Olympic track teams, Noel-Baker was running for Pennsylvania's Haverford College in a 1907 U.S. intercollegiate track meet.
The outstanding opponent in the 43-man field was a Penn runner, and Noel-Baker's coach told him to follow "that man with the big P on his back" to the final turn, then sprint to victory.
An obedient athlete, the future Nobel man singled out a man with a P and latched on tight. He remembers now that he felt somewhat uneasy when the rest of the field pulled rapidly away, but it didn't, at the time, occur to him that capital P's are likely to be fairly common when Pennsylvania athletes are present. It wasn't until the race was almost over that Noel-Baker saw far ahead the back of the man who won the race. There was a big letter on it: also a P.
The Solid Gold Golf Club
For one thousand four hundred and seventy-five dollars, Tiffany's (a New York jewelry store that always spells out its four-figure prices) advertised for sale in The Wall Street Journal last week a 14-karat-gold golf putter. Tiffany's assured interested buyers that it guaranteed the putter's accuracy on the golf course and even suggested (with an archness seldom encountered in such expensive surroundings) that it could be melted down in a financial crisis. A few days later the firm modified its pitch. The putter, it turned out, was useful only as a trophy or souvenir.
Why the shift? Because the U.S. Treasury, whose concern with buying and selling gold exceeds even that of Tiffany's and its customers', had spotted the ad and reminded the Fifth Avenue jewelers that the manufacture of gold putters for putting or melting was against the rules. "It does not appear to be a customary use of gold," was the nice way the Treasury man said it.
To Tiffany's relief, the one gold putter it had sold was commissioned by Parker & Co., insurance brokers, as a reward to R. Leslie Cizek. A partner at Parker's, Mr. Cizek has served meritoriously for 30 years and shoots golf in the high 90s. Tiffany's patterned the club after a Spalding cash-in putter used by Mr. Cizek which retails for less than $20. Insuranceman Cizek reports the putter is well balanced, if somewhat heavier than his Spalding, and came in a satin-lined box. It is just the thing, he says, for putting across the living room rug. A law-abiding man, he has no intention of flouting the gold policy by using his trophy on the green.
But the gold in Mr. Cizek's putter is worth only three hundred dollars. Which means that the creative genius of Tiffany's as a nonoperative sporting goods maker spells out to a cost of a cool one thousand one hundred and seventy-five dollars.
Angling for Books
The quietest of all sports, perhaps, is book collecting, a pastime closely linked in spirit and philosophy to the gentle art of angling, which likewise combines the contemplative approach, patience, skill and an ineffable satisfaction in the rare catch. The other day angling and bibliophily came together in a confluence of their separate streams at Sotheby's auction rooms in London, where booklovers eyed 265 works of angling literature from the collection of the late J. C. Lynn as if the tomes were so many rainbows idling in a peaceful pool.
Lynn's was one of the last such great collections in the world. It contained a first edition of Izaak Walton's The Compleat Angler, another of The Secrets of Angling, Colonel Robert Nevables' 300-year-old The Experienc'd Angler and a musty tome whose title page, reproduced here, reveals it to be:
The prize catch in the Sotheby pond was a second edition of Dame Juliana Berners' Book of St. Albans (SI, May 13, 1957 et seq.), which includes the 15th-century classic treatise on Fysshynge with an Angle.
Disposing first of numerous small fry, Sotheby's auctioneer, Anthony Hobson, finally asked for a bid on the Berners. The first cast of $1,400 curled out over the ears of onlookers and landed with a pleasing plop in the consciousness of Mr. Hobson. "Going to be a tough catch" was the word at the big bid. Up came another lure from a different corner of the room, flipped by a chap who offered successive hundred-pound raises with a quick jerk of a yellow pencil. Tense seconds passed and the bidding mounted. At $8,140 the yellow pencil stopped flicking, admitted defeat. Safely netted by a London bookstore manager was the Berners.
Whom did he represent? Well, a rare book dealer is as likely to tell you that as a Scot gillie is' to lead you to his favorite trout stream. But the word is that New York's famous collector Carl Otto von Kienbusch is smiling contentedly in his library these days, big winner in a quiet sport.
Football & the Faculty
When Robert Maynard Hutchins, tart-tongued boy wonder of 30, was leaving Yale Law School to become president of the University of Chicago he cast a baleful eye toward the Yale Bowl and prophesied, with an overtone that included all of intercollegiate football: "That will be an archeological ruin in 25 years."
Yale's Bowl and intercollegiate football in general both managed to survive the succeeding 30 years, but Hutchins did bring a measure of truth to his prophecy at Chicago, which in 1939 dropped out of the Big Ten Conference and gave up all intercollegiate football.
In succeeding years the ranks of those who subscribed to the dyspeptic Hutchins view swelled visibly. As the desire for winning teams and the player-recruiting frenzy in the Big Ten mounted, it posed a patent threat to academic integrity in an educational complex whose students (207,000) number more than those of all the universities in Great Britain.
"It began to look," Assistant Big Ten Commissioner Bill Reed told SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Correspondent Nick Thimmesch last week, "as though our football would be strictly professional by 1971. We had reached a critical point between athletics and education."
The result, in 1956, was a thoroughgoing faculty examination of the whole problem, a study which led to the enactment of a series of rules so strict as to cause an occasional raised eyebrow in even the de-emphasized Ivy League.
The old play-for-pay scholarship ride, with make-work tasks that were never performed by athletes, was replaced by a regulation permitting the granting of scholarships to athletes only if their families could show need, and then only if the boy was in the upper two-thirds of his high school class. Recruiting tactics were strictly circumscribed, and special athlete curriculums were limited.
Many Big Ten coaches howled in pain. "What we're looking for under this code is a penniless genius with muscles," moaned Northwestern's Ara Parseghian. "If this keeps up," warned Michigan State's Duffy Daugherty, "the caliber of Big Ten football will drop badly." "Socialistic, communistic, foolish and unrealistic," said Iowa's Forest Evashevski.
But the net result was a notable rise in the academic standings of Big Ten athletes (where only 75% of conference lettermen had once graduated, the figure rose closer to 90%), a commendable easing of faculty-football tension and no discernible lessening of enthusiasm among the three million fans who still flock to Big Ten games each year. Even Evashevski has at last admitted a preference for smarter athletes. "After all," is the way he puts it, "they're running up and down the field with my paycheck in their hands. They'd better be bright."
Today control by faculty has largely replaced control by the low I.Q., high-income alumnus in Big Ten football. The control varies from tight at Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin to slight at Indiana, Northwestern and Iowa (schools which are still in phases of football excitement the others have already passed through), but control it is. As a consequence, the professors are no longer screaming for abolition. On a recent tour of the Big Ten to sound out faculty feeling Correspondent Thimmesch found a measure of downright enthusiasm. "Big Ten schools are growing up," Ohio State's Alfred Garrett told him.
"Football has run each and every one of the Big Ten schools at one time or another," said Minnesota's Dean Athelstan Spilhaus. "Now we have a more sensible attitude toward it."
Of course, and inevitably, there are still and will always be conflicts. This was made plain at anti-footballer Hutchins' own ex-Big Tenner Chicago the other day as a tense crowd of 30 watched the team of U of C scrubs take on an equally informal outfit from Wilson Junior College. The kickoff in this diffident return of intercollegiate football to the once-forbidden territory was delayed a full 10 minutes because Chicago's end was tied up in a physics exam.
Dial M for Memory
On Oct. 30, 1921, little Centre College in Danville, Ky. beat mighty Harvard 6-0, and hardly a Danvillian is now alive who has forgotten that famous day and year. Lest future generations in Danville forget the game that was just about the biggest football upset of the half century, the town's telephone company has announced that all numbers in its new dial system will be preceded by a nostalgic exchange: CEntre 6.
In a Trap
It doesn't take a pro to see
What causes this golfer to press;
He's using an iron, you'll agree,
That is used to press a dress.
They Said It
Jim Brown, Cleveland Brown fullback, answering a photographer's post-game plea for a smile: "That's the best I can do. I got hit in the mouth."
Mickey Mantle, New York Yankee outfielder, on losing pennants: "There's one good thing about it. Nobody wants you for banquets."
Big Daddy Lipscomb, Baltimore Colt tackle, on why he helps ball carriers to their feet after slamming them down: "I don't want people or kids to think Big Daddy is a cruel man."