WINDUP IN ATLANTA
You gave proper tribute in your NCAA basketball finals story to a man who made believers out of many skeptics (Al, You Went Out in Style, April 4). Talk about style. At one point in the game, North Carolina's Phil Ford drove for a layup and wound up deep in the seats behind the basket. As Marquette brought the ball up, McGuire rose from the bench and told the officials to halt play until Ford could get back on the floor. I have seen a million games, but never do I recall a coach, even in a less important game, exhibiting that type of sportsmanship.
I had expected to find a picture of Al McGuire on the cover, but instead I found one of Butch Lee. Don't take me wrong, I am a diehard Marquette fan and I think Lee is the best guard in the nation, but not to have Al McGuire on the cover is like not having a shark on the cover of Jaws.
How fitting it is that you printed a feature story on Al McGuire way back at the beginning of the basketball season (SI, Nov. 29). No one could have asked for a better ending than for him and his Warriors to become national champions in his last year after having had that goal elude them for 13 seasons.
The way you described North Carolina Coach Dean Smith's blunder in the NCAA championship was extremely benevolent. With his team overcoming a 12-point deficit and on the way to crushing disoriented Marquette, Smith brilliantly called for the four-corner offense—and lost the momentum that could have led to the crown.
If this man is Coach of the Year, college basketball is in deep trouble.
ROBERT J. TAYLOR
Dean Smith, go stand in one of your four corners.
Fort Thomas, Ky.
Without question, Al McGuire deserves accolades. However, some mention should have been made of the expertise exhibited by Dean Smith, who guided his team to the finals despite a key injury (Tommy LaGarde), inexperience (two freshman starters) and less individual talent and size than other teams in the NCAA tournament.
SCOTT A. WAGNER
Granted, Marquette played a fine game and defeated North Carolina, but your statement that North Carolina was outhustled and outplayed by Marquette is pure bull. Take, for example, Carolina's second-half comeback, where Marquette was outscored 14-2. Remember that North Carolina was playing without Tommy LaGarde, and with Phil Ford and Walter Davis at less than 100%. And they still nearly took the tournament.
In the semifinal game between Marquette and UNCC, didn't anybody besides me see offensive interference by Marquette's Jerome Whitehead on the last-second play? In my opinion, the ball bounced off the backboard and hit Whitehead's hand, which was above the rim and practically inside the basket, then went through the basket. Each time I've seen a replay, I've seen the same thing. I guess everybody was too engrossed with the clock.
In that big picture where you show :01, Maxwell is guilty of goaltending because his hand is touching the ball.
BULLISH IN CHICAGO
I am glad to see Norm Van Lier of the Chicago Bulls receive some attention, as he is one of the best defensive guards in the NBA (A Toddling Team on a Rampage, April 4).
QUINTON D. BARRETT
THE BADGER GAME
Thanks for your article on Wisconsin's NCAA hockey champs (Revelry in the Morgue, April 4). It was an excellent job of portraying a true championship team and its fans.
As a Michigan native who has migrated to Texas, I was furious after reading Peter Gammons' story. To say Michigan "needed four cheap goals and a questionable referee's call" was cheap journalism. In the finals Michigan was definitely the underdog against a team that deserved the national championship. For the Wolverines to be down in the final game 3-0 and 5-2, and then to rally to send the game into overtime—that was class. If the word "cheap" is to be used in the story, consider the situation in the semifinals: Wisconsin 3, New Hampshire 3 in overtime and the Badgers' winning goal coming directly from the face-off. No goalie who is worth his weight in wet pads would let in a goal from a face-off shot.
SKIP DU CHARME
Your article depicted the fanatical attitude of some Badger fans—no, of all of them. Win, lose or draw, Wisconsin's hockey team has always led the nation in attendance, even through last year's disappointments. The team is tops, the fans the greatest! Gammons was writing about what went on in Detroit, but he could have written very nearly the same article about any given weekend in Madison.
RICHARD D. LUTZ
West Allis, Wis.
I was disappointed with the small amount of space you afforded the NCAA hockey championships. As usual, the hoop got the cover, plus color photos, plus opening article, while the puck was shoved in the back pages with one black-and-white photo.
La Farge, Wis.
What a pleasure it was to see both major universities from my home state come away with national championships within a two-day period. Here's hoping that Wisconsin and Marquette can repeat this feat next year.
THOMAS H. NORMAN
Your article about Danny Kaye (A Lot of Person, April 4) portrays him as the humanitarian he really is—a man of himself but, most of all, of others. Thanks to Ron Fimrite for the story, and good wishes to the Seattle Mariners in their first year and to Danny Kaye. May you learn and prosper from each other. No one is more deserving.
Babson Park, Mass.
With all the talk of owners selling and buying teams, it is really refreshing to see Danny Kaye in baseball.
Not only has Danny Kaye played the Walter Mitty role to perfection on the screen, but he is also indulging in a Mittyesque dream by becoming one of the owners of the Mariners. One has to envy this Walter Mitty fantasy come true.
Mount Vernon, N.Y.
IN THE SWIM
Joe Bottom, John Naber and Dave Fairbank deserve the coverage you gave them in your April 4 story on the NCAA swimming championships (Bottom Was on Top in Very Fast Company). However, they were but three of the 10 individual swimmers to break NCAA records. You noted that Bottom was the first to swim the 50-yard freestyle under 20 seconds. This may be true, but this accomplishment was lessened considerably when Auburn's Gary Schatz also went under 20 seconds on the same day.
The most impressive swim of the meet was Alabama freshman Casey Converse's 1,650-yard freestyle. He became the first to break the 15-minute barrier in the event, with a 14:57.3. Now that's an accomplishment!
And how could you not have mentioned California freshman Graham Smith's victories in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke? Or Stanford Olympian Mike Bruner's 200-yard butterfly? Or Auburn freshman Scott Spann's 200-yard individual medley?
While Southern California walked away with the title, you failed to note the teams battling for second place. Well, Alabama finished second, Tennessee third, Indiana fourth, and Auburn fifth. With three Southeastern Conference teams finishing in the top five, the SEC could be replacing the Pac Eight as the premier swimming conference in the nation.
Sports Editor, Crimson White
University of Alabama
In your article on Seattle Slew (Bound For Glory and a Wreath of Roses, April 4) you say that he is better than Secretariat was at the same time because Secretariat had already lost one race, and Slew is undefeated. You didn't mention that the race Secretariat lost was his first ever and that he was bumped badly coming out of the starting gate. He finished strongly and, had he not been bumped, would probably have won the race. So Seattle Slew is probably not any better than Secretariat.
Thoroughbred owners never ought to be allowed to name their own horses.
Secretariat really brings to mind a dignified business office and not one of the greatest runners of all time. Now we have a potential Derby winner who will remind us of a swamp.
My wife and I enjoyed the article and pictures on the International Cross-Country Championship held in D√ºsseldorf (Creating a Flemish Masterpiece, April 4). We recently moved back to the U.S. after living in D√ºsseldorf for four wonderful years and we are still homesick for our friends there.
One suggestion: the American men's team need not have been intimidated by the famed K√∂nigsallee. They could have gone where the real D√ºsseldorfers and thousands of tourists from all parts of the continent go every year—to the Altstadt (Old Town), a five-minute walk from the KO. There you can get a glass of beer for as little as 40¢, and the atmosphere is hearty and real. By the way, and most important, that dark German beer described in Kenny Moore's first paragraph is called Alt and is the best beer in the world. Germans come from far and wide to drink it. It is brewed only in D√ºsseldorf. My mouth waters just thinking about it.
KENNETH A. LEVY
When Danny Kaye's show-biz types play Roy Clark's Tulsa Drillers (SCORECARD, April 4) they will need an umpire.
I nominate Art Passarella, the retired American League ump who has been working off and on in show business for the last 20 years.
Art, who admits to being a ham as an umpire, has been Karl Maiden's stand-in on The Streets of San Francisco and occasionally shows up wearing the blue uniform of a San Francisco police sergeant on the series.
North Hollywood, Calif.
Those who assert that a 30-second clock in basketball would make a "run and gun" ball game (19TH HOLE, April 4) don't have the data to back them up. Teams nowadays usually shoot within 10 to 15 seconds—even without a clock. Theoretically, if each team shot at the 30th second and made 40% of its shots, 64 points—from 32 field goals—would be scored between the two teams, far below average.
It would be interesting if a league would keep statistics as to how many times a year its teams took more than 30 seconds to shoot, except in obvious stalling situations. When a team does take 30 seconds, it usually is because of good defense, which should be rewarded.
The recent NCAA final, in which North Carolina—having tried the stall without success—had to foul to try and stay in the game, was strategy dictated by the rules, but it sure wasn't basketball.
There should be little controversy over who deserves the 1977 Sportsman of the Year award. The accolade belongs to the person who has the talent to dominate all sports. I therefore nominate George Washington, the ubiquitous face on the omnipotent dollar bill.
WILLIAM G. CALLAHAN
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