TEMPEST IN TEMPE
Thank you for Ron Reid's excellent article on Frank Rush's dismissal at Arizona State (There's the Devil To Pay. Oct. 29). His overview of the events, and his analysis of the dangers of major-college football programs whose administrators have lost their academic perspective, hit the nail squarely on its head.
I seriously doubt that ASU's student body would mourn the withdrawal of support by the Sun Angel Foundation. Those seats "owned" by the fat cats on the 50-yard line would be welcomed by ASU students, the majority of whom must sit in the end zone to watch "their" team.
ROBERT E. MICHAELS
After reading Ron Reid's article, I'm wondering if the job of a college football coach has changed dramatically over the years, or if the situation at Arizona State is an exception to the rule. I hope the latter is the case.
Kush was quoted as saying, "My job is to win football games, put people in the stadium and make money for the university." This sounds like a quote from an NFL coach. What about helping young men develop?
I played for Murray Warmath at the University of Minnesota. While his overall record wasn't as good as Rush's, his reputation for being a tough, hard-nosed coach is well known. Warmath, however, attained his distinction through mental and verbal toughness—the only physical abuse came when we scrimmaged each other. He treated his players honestly and fairly, and while he would get on all of us at practice or in meetings, in public or around the media he would support every player and take criticism on his own shoulders. Furthermore, on many occasions he went far out of his way to help players with off-the-field problems. I don't know of anyone who played for Warmath who didn't fear him, yet all respected him (this includes the likes of Carl Eller, Bobby Lee Bell. Gale Gillingham, Charles Sanders, Bob Stein and John Williams).
I'm hopeful that the majority of coaches in college football are of the Warmath type. Otherwise, it might be advisable to follow Bill Bradley's tentative suggestion and give college athletes full-time salaries.
Not everyone in the Phoenix area is as dumb as your story on the Frank Kush firing implies. Unfortunately, it's true that main people refuse to acknowledge the facts no matter how much evidence piles up against Kush. However, perhaps the biggest obstacle to rational judgment has been that most people, not knowing the figures involved in the controversy, have had to rely on boosterish local media for their impressions. For the past 20 years. Kush has been portrayed not simply as a successful football coach, but also as a deified pop superstar, a straight-shooting John Wayne-type man of action. The seamy side of Kush and the ASU athletic department never received much scrutiny. That he would try to orchestrate a lie-and-cover-up scheme was inconceivable. With that in mind, the reaction to Rush's dismissal by most—but not all—residents really isn't surprising.
Several years ago the NCAA selected Frank Kush to talk to a Detroit media group during an NCAA-ABC college football promotional tour. Frank was selected because he was an outstanding coach. I have known him for more than 20 years and can attest to this fact.
I resent SPORTS ILLLSTRATED'S unfairly attacking Kush after his 21½ years at Arizona State. Did it take this long for you to find out he wasn't perfect, or do you just like to join lynch mobs?
I think it's time we readers gave Stan Isaacs a standing ovation for his TV/RADIO columns. His most recent, on Howard Cosell's coverage of the World Series (Oct. 29), was superb. Fans deserve better than to listen to Cosell excoriate the players. Keep them coming. Stan.
Stan Isaacs was right in characterizing Howard (the Mouth) Cosell as an opportunistic politician always quick to lead a Sunday parade. But we cannot agree with his endorsement of Howard as an asset to Monday Night Football. Don Ohlmeyer is correct in saying Cosell's value is that he forces the "focus." but we watch the game to focus on football, not on Howard. That is the heart of the problem: Cosell forces the attention of the football fan away from the game. Monday Night Football is successful because of its choice schedule and because it is the only game in town. Pair up Frank Gifford with a competent color commentator, e.g., John Brodie, and he will be equally successful. The very fact that there is controversy over Cosell is proof that he detracts from the game.
BRUCE L. ADAMS
Let's get off Howard Cosell's back. Perhaps he does ramble on to the point where you feel like turning him off, but there is no question he has great insight into baseball, as well as football and boxing. Cosell is always getting rapped, but he is easily the most dominant force in his field. Maybe someday he will get the praise and acclaim that is so long overdue.
I solved the difficult problem of listening to the coverage of the World Series on ABC-TV by turning down the volume on the television set and tuning in Vin Scully and Sparky Anderson on radio. Their broadcast was superb—exact, interesting and a clinic on baseball, especially Sparky's insights.
EARL M, WRIGHT
World Series announcer Sparky Anderson has succeeded the late Dizzy ("Slud into Third") Dean as murderer of the English language.
BILL RODGERS' NUMBER
Thanks for the great article on the New York Marathon (Rush Hour in the Big Apple. Oct. 29). However, I'm curious about one thing. If Bill Rodgers was wearing No. 2, who wore No. 1?
•Numbers were assigned according to the runners' best times ever in a marathon, and No. I went to Ian Thompson of England, whose 2:09.12 was 15 seconds better than Rodgers' best.—ED.
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, New York, 10020.