BOUQUETS AND BOOS FOR BO
Thank you for Douglas S. Looney's excellent article on Glenn (Bo) Schembechler (Bo, Sept. 14), an insightful look at an incredibly successful yet often misunderstood coach who has been unfairly labeled a "choker." One must admit that Michigan has had some unbelievably bad luck in postseason play, e.g., Bo's heart attack, Charles White's phantom touchdown and John Wangler's injury in the 1979 Gator Bowl.
The most impressive thing about Bo, however, is that he is the proverbial square peg in a round hole. He came to Ann Arbor, a bastion of liberalism in the Midwest, in 1969, at the height of the anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, and installed a program of discipline and regimentation second to none. Win or lose, pass or run, we have a great coach at Michigan.
I hope your fine article about Coach Schembechler will finally inform your readers of what all of Bo's former players know so well: Bo rarely looses the real Big One in college football. He instills his honesty, integrity and intensity in all of the players he coaches so they will continue to be successful long after their days in Ann Arbor are concluded.
Michigan Football Team 1971-73
Thank you, Douglas S. Looney. I always knew that if my son were to develop basketball skills in high school, I would love to have him go on to play at Indiana. Now I know that if his skills should happen to be in football, he could do no better than to go to Ann Arbor.
I have just finished reading your fine article on Michigan Coach Bo Schembechler. I now respect him and like him a little more than I have for the past 12 years. I cheered for him and Michigan in the "tough" game against Notre Dame last week and will probably do so even in those "bigger" games against Northwestern and Illinois. But I do know this: I'm going to hate him and definitely root against him and Michigan on Nov. 21.
Ohio State '83
Poor Bo! Here's a fellow who has put together a team that is "poised to make a serious run for the national championship," but he apparently forgot that you have to walk before you can run. How about those Badgers? On, Wisconsin!
Being picked No. 1 has proved to be a jinx for Michigan; how else can one explain the season-opener loss to lowly Wisconsin?
Would that Bo had 1) read your article, 2) recalled that 1975 Northwestern game and 3) suddenly bolted upright in his hotel room in Madison and said, "Goddam, Wisconsin is good and we aren't ready. I am sitting on an upset."
Anyway, the result at Madison "would have killed an ordinary man."
PAUL G. VIELMETTI
I found Douglas S. Looney's article canonizing Bo Schembechler as the latest dean of college coaches rather disappointing. People like Bo prove what college football has degenerated to: a big business that tolerates men like Bo as long as they fill big stadiums and get big donations from alumni.
Keep your pencil sharp, Mr. Looney, because you may soon be writing another article on Bo when Michigan is embarrassed into firing him for punching out an opposing team's middle guard on national TV like his high-class mentor, Woody Hayes, did.
GEORGE P. LESNIAK
Thank you for the enjoyable article on Bo Schembechler. However, you struck a nerve when you referred to Bo's alma mater as "Miami of Ohio." The Ohio Miami was founded when the other Miami's home state was still a Spanish possession. After all, what would Bo, Woody, Ara, Carm Cozza, Walter Alston et al. say if they heard their school called Miami of Ohio? Maybe Douglas S. Looney should strive for the same kind of perfection as Bo. It's not Miami of Ohio, Doug, it's Miami University. Got it?
Every once in a while there is a pure moment in sport. Nathaniel Crosby winning the U.S. Amateur was such an occasion (Crosby Never Gave Up Hope), Sept. 14). Match play, a Palmer-like charge and a Crosby; such things are found only in dreams. Some say golf is dying. If so, young Crosby has just brought it back to life.
DAVID L. SPRAGUE
My nomination for Sportsman of the Year is Nathaniel Crosby. He has done the most for his sport by running a professional tournament and winning a major, both as an amateur. Congratulations, Nathaniel.
I'd like to comment on Frank Deford's constructive column (TV/RADIO, Sept. 14) regarding the CBS-TV coverage of the U.S. Open tennis tournament. I'm in agreement that the avid fan would like to know what matches are coming up in the tournament. The results are old news by 11:30 p.m., having been reported many times before that. Perhaps more of John Newcombe would be beneficial. He comes across as witty and knowledgeable. Do the networks ever seek out the opinions of the serious sports buff?
I've enjoyed Frank Deford's writing over the years, but I can't understand or agree with this piece at all. After looking forward to CBS' increased (half-hour) week-night coverage this year, I was dismayed to see the boyish face of Brent Musburger come on the tube. I've tolerated him over the years in his NFL and NBA roles as one of those people TV hires to create excitement where there isn't any. However, the Open creates its own excitement and doesn't need a barker.
Deford came close to hitting the mark when he criticized CBS' feature pieces, which were inane, and the lack of action. There seemed to be less tennis in this year's 30-minute program than in the old 15-minute version. But he was way off base in grouping Bryant Gumbel with Musburger and Jim McKay. Gumbel is an accomplished and smooth announcer who sticks to his areas of expertise.
So rather than a "giant step up," CBS's coverage was, in my view and that of my tennis-playing buddies, more a step in the direction of the wasteland that is most of TV.
ROBERT S. ROWLEY
Michael Baughman's article about a Dr. Jekyll tennis player discovering Mr. Hyde in an amateur tournament (SIDELINE, Sept. 14) struck a familiar chord. While the John McEnroes are unfortunately alive and well and surfacing on every tennis court from southern Oregon to Flushing Meadow, isn't it refreshing—and instructive—to see Fred Stolle and John Newcombe still having fun at the U.S. Open? Laughing their way through the doubles, they came within a few points of dumping McEnroe and Peter Fleming. Where are the Aussies when tennis needs them?
J. WILLIAM RODMAN
I know what you're thinking. First Wimbledon and then a third consecutive U.S. Open for John McEnroe. But please, not Sportsman of the Year.
MICHAEL K. FLANAGAN
Apparently the aura of the richest thoroughbred horse race in history blurred the memory of your Clive Gammon (It's the Shoe by a Nose, Sept. 7). Temperence Hill, scratched from the Arlington Million, robbed no one of the Triple Crown by winning the Belmont Stakes in 1980. It was Coastal who upset Spectacular Bid in his attempt to wrap up the Triple Crown. And that, we might add, was in 1979.
We were very surprised this one got by you.
Little Rock, Ark.
•So were we.—ED.
As a Tennessee fan, I congratulate John Papanek for pointing out (Still Flying High, Sept. 14) what so many people here in Big Orange Country need to be reminded of: 1) that Johnny Majors has come up at least one year short of his schedule for building a winner at Tennessee and 2) that Bill Battle merely gave Tennessee five consecutive bowl teams.
Who knows? Majors may wind up going into business with his predecessor.
Following the 44-0 drubbing by Georgia, Tennessee fans are displaying a new bumper sticker: WON'T YOU COME HOME BILL BATTLE? WE MADE A MAJOR MISTAKE.
CLAUDE L. OGLE JR.
Dan Jenkins' article When the Frogs Were Princes (Aug. 31) was a delightful trip down memory lane. As a student at the University of Texas in the mid-'30s, I well remember those marvelous TCU football teams that consistently dominated my beloved Longhorns. The gridiron heroics of Cy Leland, Sammy Baugh, Davey O'Brien, Johnnie Vaught and Ki Aldrich still linger in my memory. However, in my book, the greatest Horned Frog of them all was a rugged end named Raymond (Rags) Matthews.
On Dec. 26, 1927, in the annual East-West Shrine Game in San Francisco, Matthews, playing end for the West, was instrumental in defeating a highly favored East team coached by Andy Kerr. I listened to the game on radio and still recall Matthews making fantastic tackles all over the field and electrifying the spectators at Kezar Stadium. The radio announcer, Ted Husing, bubbled with superlatives, and, at halftime, various commentators remarked that Matthews' defensive performance was the most spectacular they'd ever seen. During the second half Matthews was even more brilliant on defense.
That Herculean performance was before Jenkins' time, but I'll bet his dad took a few swigs of his favorite "cough syrup" to Rags Matthews on that day 54 years ago.
G.S. MCCASLAND JR.
Monterey Park, Calif.
My reading of your article on Santana (Lady with a Past, July 20) brought back some fond memories and provoked some critical objections, the latter concerning your description of the treatment that splendid yacht received at the hands of Charlie and Marty Peet.
In 1969, in Acapulco, Santana and my own yacht Senta, a 53-foot cutter designed by Philip Rhodes and built by the Oakland yard of W.F. Stone and Son, were alongside one another at the Acapulco Yacht Club. Babe Lamerdin was taking Santana back to San Francisco from the Bermuda race, and meeting him was a memorable pleasure. Babe clearly appreciated woodworking perfection and had the competence to create and maintain it. However, Santana had been sailed to the East Coast, raced to Bermuda, and then brought all the way back to the West Coast, and she looked as all wooden yachts do after thousands of continuous sea miles. Her varnish and paintwork were haggard, there were rigging and equipment problems, and it was evident that rest and recuperation were required. However, the boat was easily capable of proceeding home to San Francisco despite these defects. Santana was also successfully brought home by the Peets despite the ravages of more than two years at sea.
During recent years, the Peets have operated two different yachts in the charter business in the Caribbean, and my frequent visits aboard their Cordonazo revealed a meticulous and sustained maintenance, one incompatible with the implication that they may have been partly responsible for the engine room "pit" cluttered with empty oil cans and grease reported by Lamerdin when he went aboard Santana in 1974. At the time of Babe's visit, the Peets hadn't owned Santana for more than a year.
If the Peets didn't treat Santana "like a treasure," they did demonstrate what was and is more important: that Santana was a well-designed and properly built yacht capable of sailing around the world. I suspect that her designer and builder would be more pleased about and more proud of the circumnavigation than of the dubious distinctions of lavish lunches aboard, possession by movie stars or the spit and polish and sartorial elegance of a Newport opening day.
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