Finding new awards for Basketball Coach John Wooden is down to the nitty-gritty, or is it nitty-witty? A Purdue graduate, Wooden has been selected as UCLA's Alumnus of the Year. How's that? Well, he became eligible when he was made an honorary alumnus in 1969. Don't worry, Purdue. Campbell College of North Carolina, where Wooden has coached in summer clinics since 1966, is conferring a degree on Wooden, as Doctor of Humanities. It's honorary, of course. So far.
When Wilbur Snypp retires as Ohio State University sports information director on July 1, he will break up the best name game in the Big Ten. Snypp's assistant in the publicity office is Stephan Snapp. And can you possibly be ready for this one? The new editor of Outdoor Life is Chet Fish.
Interior linemen seldom win acclaim for their running and passing but Jon Kolb, offensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers, certainly did. Kolb was 100 yards away from the century-old farmhouse he lives in when he saw plumes of smoke rising from the second-floor nursery where his son and niece were taking an afternoon nap. Sprinting to the house, Kolb succeeded after three attempts in fighting his way through the choking smoke to the nursery. Then he leaped through the shattering glass of a window onto a porch roof, from which he passed 18-month-old Eric and Cindy down to neighbors before the house burned to the ground.
But Larry, they made the pants too wrong! Still, it was the best American League Umpire Larry McCoy could muster when his uniform failed to materialize in time for a Brewers-Athletics game in Milwaukee. The jacket, cap, spiked shoes and shin guards are courtesy of the Brewers, the soigné pants belong to a County Stadium usher, and McCoy created the baseball bag himself—out of a beerseller's apron.
Doug Rader is a third baseman for the Houston Astros. Dave Rader is a catcher for the San Francisco Giants. They are not related. Except, that is, in other people's minds. Almost everybody outside Houston and San Francisco assumes they are one and the same. "Even the Louisville bat people send me his bats," Dave Rader says. "I wonder if he gets my bats. There's no hits in them if he does get them." Doug Rader is equally sure Dave wouldn't want his bats. "They've all got Dutch elm disease," he says.
When he came up to the Minnesota Twins in 1962, Tony Oliva recalls in his autobiography, Tony O!, he wanted to be "the black Al Kaline." The left-handed slugger now has more than his wish. He not only wears No. 6, the same as his hero, but he is pictured on the cover of his book batting right-handed, a la Kaline. A spokesman for the publisher, Hawthorn Books, Inc.—which ordered 10,000 first-print copies—says that the picture was reversed "for design purposes." "The only thing I can tell you," says Oliva's collaborator. Bob Fowler, "is don't judge the book by its cover."
Colin and Rosie Swale are that British couple who are sailing around the world, taking along their two toddlers, James and Eve. Colin and the kids are thriving on it, Rose only thinks she is. Since setting sail from Gibraltar in December 1971, she has 1) fallen overboard into a section of the Caribbean inhabited by sharks, whales and sea anemones; 2) had to make an emergency flight 2,700 miles from Tahiti to Hawaii for a small operation; 3) knocked herself out falling down dockside steps; 4) broken a finger on a jib pole and 5) suffered a mid-ocean miscarriage that necessitated a seven-day dash to the nearest hospital in Recife, Brazil. "This was the first time I've been really ill," Rose said. "The trip has been worth it. Nobody is quite the same after such an experience."
What does a sportswriter do with an Elvis Presley cape? Well, he sits around and waits for offers. Bruce Spinks of the Honolulu Advertiser is finding that the offers get better all the time. The latest was for $2,500. Spinks' new popularity was triggered when he attended a concert in Honolulu and caught the cape Presley threw into the crowd. "Ever since then I keep getting calls from girls I never met," he says.
Now here's a coach for the books. Johnny Orsino, seven years a catcher in the major leagues, is in his fourth season as head baseball coach at Fairleigh Dickinson University—and also in his senior year as a Fairleigh Dickinson undergraduate. Orsino, a 34-year-old business major with a 3.2 grade average, is joined in one of his classes by three of his players. They study with Orsino in his apartment and the university library, an arrangement that could lead to all sorts of complications but one that hasn't fazed the coach in the least. He plans to go on for a master's degree, providing, of course, those grades don't slide.
Manager Bobby Winkles has added yoga relaxation exercises to the California Angels' training routine. "I figured, 'Why not?' " Winkles says. "So far it's been great, and the guys like the teachers, too." The first college baseball coach recruited to manage in the majors, and a considerable innovator, Winkles has taken up yoga too "Look at me, I'm in my 40s and most guys that age can't even bend over," he says, putting both hands flat on the ground without bending his knees.