I'm glad to see SI finally cared enough about college basketball to write an article showing the human side of one of the sport's greatest coaches—Bobby Knight (The Rabbit Hunter, Jan. 26). He has probably brought more joy to the people of Indiana, especially the students of Indiana University, than anyone else. If only we all could be as good at our jobs as Bobby is at his.
SI has redeemed itself in the eyes of Indiana University and Bobby Knight fans. Excellent, objective journalism by Frank Deford.
MARK V. KAMINSKI
Indiana University '77
Frank Deford produced a consummate article on Coach Knight. As a junior high school coach, I only hope I can remain as dedicated to my principles and goals as Bobby has to his. His deep concern for the purity of the college athletic and academic experience is something that I hope will become the standard of the future. When those who squeeze all they can from the college game have moved on to more lucrative endeavors, Bobby Knight will still be selling principles and hard work in exchange for a fishing rod and a chance to hunt some rabbits.
STEPHEN D. WOLKOFF
The article on Bobby Knight was a disgrace and a cheap shot. I suggest Frank Deford stick to sports writing and leave the psychoanalyzing to the psychiatrists.
JAMES P. MOONEY JR.
February 9, 1981
The article was one of the best I've ever read. People can say what they will about Bobby Knight as a person, coach or diplomat, but in the final analysis he must be looked upon as an extremely positive force. The predication of his entire educational philosophy on honesty and integrity is a pleasant change from the scandals of present-day college athletics. Isn't it something of an enigma that such a philosophy should be the source of such vehement criticism?
SAM K. SHRIVER
By spotlighting an immature, self-serving coach, you have unfortunately given a great deal of credibility to a style of coaching that will be emulated by others seeking to match Bobby Knight's record. But at what price? Will we see the next generation of young athletes who undergo such "coaching" transfer what they've experienced in sports to their everyday activities? Imagine a world full of people seeking to succeed through intimidation, belittlement and verbal abuse.
It has become my habit to silently cheer whenever Indiana loses a basketball game. At the same time, I hope that the IU players rise above their shoddy role model.
JERALD T. WRUBEL
I was on the plebe (freshman) basketball team at West Point during 1970-71, Bobby Knight's last season there. During what is known as "Beast Barracks," the most difficult time of plebe year, Coach Knight's home was always open to us. On many a Sunday afternoon half of the plebe team would be in the Knights' basement talking, watching television and eating treats prepared by Nancy Knight. The Knights knew what we were going through and did what they could to provide us with a home away from home.
"Too many people humor Knight instead of responding to him, and that may be the single real deprivation of his life."
Superbly put! I know. I once was humored (feared) like Knight. My joy in living began only when people reached through my defensive posture and confronted me honestly, bluntly, warmly. I'd been killing rabbits with TNT. When I was able to stop that, I was able to respond to what was there, not what I feared was there.
I owe my thanks to the honesty of a true friend. Bobby Knight should have more friends. Frank Deford is one.
Jefferson City, Mo.
Too bad you had to waste your Jan. 26 cover on Bobby Knight. He is an obnoxious, overbearing bore—the Woody Hayes of college basketball, with zero class.
Fort Wayne, Ind.
What a lovely fellow! Personally, I prefer your faceless Indiana jersey cover of a year ago (Dec. 3, 1979).
South Weymouth, Mass.
You quote Bobby Knight's wife as saying, "We're growing up with the game." I suggest that in the future you devote space to the many worthwhile competitors who have already grown up.
I was very pleased to see the article in your college basketball section about a female star, the University of Kansas' Lynette Woodard (Far Above the Crowd, Jan. 26). Woodard will make a fine addition to the Women's Basketball League. However, I believe you have slighted a current star in that league. Pearl Moore of the St. Louis Streak.
I had the pleasure of seeing Pearl perform for Francis Marion College of Florence, S.C., and I watched her become "the leading all-time collegiate basketball scorer, male or female," according to SCORECARD (Feb. 11, 1980), with a total of 4,061 points.
Now Woodard is being honored as "the top scorer in the history of women's college basketball," with 3,206 points. I don't want to take anything away from Woodard, but please allow me the satisfaction of saying that I saw Pearl (The Earl) Moore—the girl who scored more points than Travis Grant (Kentucky State), who holds the men's record with a career total of 4,045.
PAUL D. CHARTIER
Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
•Woodard's claim to the scoring title is restricted to the AIAW's Division I, which is as far as the fledgling AIAW's records go. Francis Marion, where Moore scored 3,884 of her 4,061 points, is in Division II. Moore's first 177 points came in eight games at Anderson (S.C.) Junior College.—ED.
Once again Paul Zimmerman was correct (It's Not for Goodness' Sake, Jan. 26). The Raiders showed their vicious defense but were equally impressive on offense. Not only did they beat the Eagles in Super Bowl XV, but they also beat the so-called SI cover jinx (Jan. 19) to rightfully earn their halos.
In reference to your article on Super Bowl ticket scalping by William Nack and Robert Sullivan (Football's Little Bighorn? Jan. 26), we agree that the classic Economics I equation, "The price of a commodity will rise to its proper level," is accurate, but it is accurate only to a point when applied to an athletic extravaganza. As veteran spectators of nine NBA championships, six Stanley Cups, five World Series, three Super Bowls, three Rose Bowls, two world heavyweight title fights and the Olympics, we have found that at the moment of the playing of the national anthem, just before each event, the market collapses and the buyer can then purchase tickets at a fraction of their face value. We think Adam Smith would be proud of us.
PAUL AND MICHAEL FLANAGAN
ANALYSTS AND ACTORS
I take exception to Bob Ottum's statement that Merlin Olsen "is now TV's best football color man" (Tackling a New Career, Jan. 19). What about quality veteran broadcasters like Tom Brookshier and Hank Stram? As for newcomers, I believe John Madden compares favorably with anyone, including Olsen.
Ottum is correct in assessing Olsen as a great All-Pro and an "emerging character actor," but let's leave value judgments like "best color man" to the viewers.
West Chester, Pa.
Bob Ottum's fine article on Merlin Olsen left me with mixed emotions. I'm pleased to learn that Merlin's future in acting is a bright one. However, I'm an addict of TV football, and the prospect of losing Olsen as a color analyst gives me withdrawal pains.
Merlin and his partner, Dick Enberg, are surely the finest team on any of the networks. As the play-by-play announcer, Enberg is unhesitating, accurate and well informed, while Olsen provides a perfect blend of statistics, team strategy and personal insight. He is humorous without being oafish and instructive without being overbearing.
Good actors are a dime a dozen, but if you could somehow put a dollar value on the competency of a sports analyst of the caliber of Olsen, then I doubt that even George Steinbrenner could afford the price.
Bob Ottum slung some mud on Clint Eastwood. To say that Clint "just flat cannot squint properly" is like saying that Merlin Olsen didn't know how to put the crunch on an opposing quarterback.
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