March 12, 1979
March 12, 1979

Table of Contents
March 12, 1979

Grand Masters
College Basketball
Track & Field
College Hockey
Pro Basketball
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over


Edited by Jerry Kirshenbaum


This is an article from the March 12, 1979 issue Original Layout

A three-member provincial commission in Montreal has been conducting hearings since last September into the cost of the 1976 Olympics, which was budgeted at $120 million but soared to $1.27 billion. The commission, headed by Superior Court Justice Albert Malouf, was supposed to have finished its work by Dec. 31, but it became bogged down and the inquiry has been extended until next fall.

The Malouf panel has established that Gerard Niding, who used to be Mayor Jean Drapeau's righthand man at City Hall, wound up owning a sumptuous country home built and financed by a contractor to whom he steered Olympic business. However, rumors of other improprieties, including bribery and influence peddling, are proving hard to check out. Records of contributions to Drapeau's Civic Party might have helped, but these are forever unavailable. Testifying before the commission, Drapeau casually disclosed that such records were destroyed—for space reasons, he said—shortly after the Olympics.

The hearings have confirmed that Drapeau, Montreal's mayor during 22 of the past 25 years, tried to run the Olympics as a one-man show. Under his lofty, almost imperial, direction, construction began far too late, creating deadline pressures that put planners at the mercy of onerous labor demands. The Games nearly bankrupted Montreal. Nevertheless, it will take testimony of a far more damaging nature to discredit Drapeau with Montreal voters, who admire him for bringing to their city major league baseball and Expo 67, as well as the Olympics. Last November, at a time when the Malouf inquiry was in full swing, Drapeau received 62% of the popular vote to win reelection to another four-year term.


Rod Carew took a moment during his spring-training debut last week with the California Angels (page 24) to acknowledge a historical debt. "The guy all of today's baseball players should thank is Curt Flood, who got the whole thing started," Carew said in an interview with The New York Times' Dave Anderson. "I wanted to bring Curt to my first press conference with the Angels and thank him publicly, but I couldn't find him."

It happens that Flood is fairly easy to find these days. He is in Oakland, awaiting word on whether Charley Finley intends to retain him as color commentator on A's broadcasts, a job he held last year. But Flood appreciated Carew's gracious words all the same. It was Flood who first challenged baseball's reserve system in the early '70s. He was unsuccessful, but others, emboldened by his action, eventually won the battle, resulting in the lucrative contracts recently signed by Carew and other stars.

"All around the league last season people were expressing appreciation to me in the same vein, and I always answered, 'Hey, that's cool,' " says Flood, who stopped playing in 1971. "And I meant it. I don't resent the big money these free agents are getting today. But I'm astonished by the amounts. If the owners think they can afford salaries in the millions, that's only further proof that we were right in going to court. I know some people think I could be bitter, but I'm not. I'm getting along."


In his book Even Big Guys Cry. Alex Karras writes of having paid a recruiting visit to Florida State as a high school senior. Karras says he was greeted at the Tallahassee airport by a line coach who "must have been 6'9", weighed close to 300 pounds and had great big muscles on his arms."

Karras went to Iowa and to stardom in the NFL. The Florida State coach, Bob Harbison, is still at Tallahassee. He philosophizes, "If you stay around long enough your reputation grows." Harbison is—and was—6'1" and 215 pounds.


There are times when golfers having trouble with their approach shots could almost swear that the green up and moved on them. Well, now there's a green that does move. Called GolFinesse, it's an electrically rigged patch of artificial turf that can be rotated into different positions by the push of a button, thereby providing a seemingly endless choice of "perspectives" for the golfer to practice on. Rotate the green 18 times and you've simulated approaches on what amounts to an entire course. And you can do so in a relatively small area; variety is provided by the moving green, not by acres of terrain.

GolFinesse was invented by Tom Mueller, a Tempe, Ariz. telephone repairman who has worked as a landscape gardener and has acquired a knowledge of hydraulics as a jet mechanic in the Air Force. His contraption consists of a carpet of contoured synthetic turf mounted on a wooden frame and bordered by areas colored to suggest traps. Hidden beneath the frame are wheels and a battery-powered motor. Each remote-controlled rotation confronts the golfer with a new configuration. The fact that the green has three holes, facilitating different pin placements, adds to the possible variations.

Mueller and a backer, insurance man Dick Alt, have produced a prototype of a model they plan to market next fall for $15,000 to $20,000. They consider GolFinesse ideally suited for resorts and motels and for use on rooftops of downtown buildings, where office workers could play "18 holes" on their lunch breaks. Driving ranges are another potential market. "Right now, you go to a range and hit a lot of balls into open space," says Alt. "How can you improve accuracy by aiming at nothing? Put the moving green on a driving range and you have a realistic target to shoot at."


Georgia Tech Coach Pepper Rodgers plans to introduce a pro-style offense next season, and to this end he has brought in two ex-NFL quarterbacks, Steve Spurrier and Norm Van Brocklin, as assistant coaches. The hiring of the 53-year-old Van Brocklin, fired as head coach by the Atlanta Falcons in 1974, was announced last week by Rodgers, who was himself once a pretty fair quarterback at Georgia Tech.

All of which points up the frequency with which football's so-called field generals become sideline generals. Theirs is just one of 22 positions, but ex-quarterbacks disproportionately fill four of the 28 NFL head coaching jobs—Green Bay's Bart Starr, Baltimore's Ted Marchibroda, Oakland's Tom Flores and Cincinnati's Homer Rice. In the case of big-name quarterbacks, if they're interested, there's usually a head coaching position waiting for them somewhere. Among the most notable, besides Starr and Van Brocklin, have been Sammy Baugh, Frankie Albert, Bob Waterfield and Otto Graham.

But great quarterbacks don't necessarily make great coaches; witness the fact that among the glamorous names listed above, only Albert boasts a career coaching record over .500. Darrell Royal and Joe Paterno were quarterbacks, but Stagg, Rockne, Lombardi, Blaik, Bryant, Leahy and Halas weren't. In hiring Spurrier and Van Brocklin, Pepper Rodgers says, "Having been a quarterback is beneficial in coaching other quarterbacks." That's really about all you can say.


Nobody in Philadelphia will be surprised if Darryl Dawkins goes up for a dunk some day and never comes down. Meanwhile, from the looks of his column in the Philadelphia Journal, the 76er center could put Kurt Vonnegut Jr. out of work.

Much of Dawkins' column, entitled "The Dunkateer Talks Back," is devoted to praising Julius Erving and 76er opponents, and answering fans' questions. But what the author really likes to talk about is his home planet, Lovetron.

"Lovetron is over one million light-years from earth," the 6'11", 250-pound Dawkins writes. "And we live on love there. We ride on magic carpets that run on Funk Oil." And Lovetron has its own suburb, he says, called Pleasurephonic, "a planet used specifically for cooling out. It's cool, it's calm and nobody does anything at all. Every woman on Pleasure-phonic is a brick house."

A reader asks, "Who is the funkiest person on Lovetron?" Answers Dawkins, "I am the funkiest person on Lovetron. Hey, it's my planet."


The Kentucky Derby lasts about two minutes, and the second Clay-Liston fight didn't take that long, but those are regular marathons compared to what took place last week in Nampa, Idaho. There, pep bands, cheerleaders and a crowd of 1,000 turned out for a replay of a protested high school basketball game that lasted exactly one second.

The replay occurred because of a timekeeper's error on a jump ball with just one second remaining in overtime of a district tournament game in which Middleton led Boise's Bishop Kelly 57-55. The tap went to Bishop Kelly's John Brunelle, who heaved up a desperation shot that went in. Had the clock been started properly when the ball was tapped, the basket would have occurred after the buzzer. But the timekeeper mistakenly thought the clock was supposed to be started only when somebody—in this case, Brunelle—gained possession. As a result, the shot beat the buzzer, tying the score 57-57. A second overtime was played, and Bishop Kelly won 63-60.

The next day tournament officials upheld a Middleton protest and ordered the game replayed from the point of the jump ball. And so the teams arrived at the gym, put on uniforms and warmed up. Bands played, cheerleaders and students from the two schools yelled and a radio station aired a pregame—or rather, pre-re-play—show. Then came the jump ball. Brunelle again came up with the ball and actually got off a shot, but this time it was no good. The game was over, Middleton winning 57-55.

Bishop Kelly's players wore black armbands for the one-second replay. As they vainly and very unhappily pointed out, the timekeeper in the disputed game had been following the same misguided procedure on jump balls all along, and once or twice it had also worked to Middleton's advantage.


Slippery Rock is a small Pennsylvania college with a funny name. At least it's funny to public-address announcers at big football schools who are fond of slipping the Slippery Rock score in there among the Notre Dame, Alabama and Texas scores. Now one of those big schools, Michigan, is carrying the joke further—270 miles, to be exact. That's the distance Slippery Rock and Shippensburg State, another Pennsylvania school, will travel next Sept. 29 to play in Michigan's 101,701-seat stadium.

The game is the brainchild of Michigan's hustling athletic director, Don Canham. Michigan's own team has been filling the stadium with such ease in recent years that last year Canham scrapped "Band Day," as one home game had traditionally been designated. Why let, say, 15,000 high school bandsmen get in free, Canham reasoned, when those seats could be sold? But some people missed the spectacle of all those massed bandsmen. Enter Slippery Rock and Shippensburg, whose game will highlight a new Band Day with, ah, yes, a separate admission. On that day, Sept. 29, Michigan will be playing California at Berkeley. Canham figures the extravaganza will draw as many as 30,000 bandsmen, their friends and relatives and Michigan students—a turnout of at least 60,000 all told. Tickets for non-bandsmen will be $4 and $5.

Bob Raymond, Slippery Rock's athletic director, calls the game "great exposure" for his school, which will be the host team. Regrettably, the Michigan-Cal game will be played too late in the day for its score to be announced before the big throng in Ann Arbor.



•John Tate, unbeaten heavyweight boxer: "Any fighter who tries to psych me out is wasting his time, because I know what's in his mind. I don't fear anybody but God. Another boxer might knock you down, but God can do something permanent to you."