BEAR AND BUD
In his article on Coach Paul (Bear) Bryant ("I Do Love the Football," Nov. 23), Frank Deford brings another great coach into the picture, Bud Wilkinson, formerly of the Oklahoma Sooners. Deford wrote, "Wilkinson had 145 victories when he packed it in at Oklahoma in 1963 to run for the Senate. Why, he could be past 315 by now if he had stuck with it. Add it up for yourself."
Yes, he could be past 315 if he had won nine or more games in each of the 18 years since then! Deford insinuates that Bryant would break the record for wins by a college football coach simply because of longevity. He doesn't mention that Bryant has won, and won with surprising consistency, for many years. He hasn't won just because he has been around for a long time. Bryant is where he is today because of his talent and because of his ability to coach and motivate.
EDWARD J. FIDLER
Frank Deford stated that Bud Wilkinson could be past 315 by now if he had stuck with it. If a bullfrog had wings he wouldn't bump his bottom every time he hopped.
J. GLENN JACKSON
•SI disagrees. In the years since Wilkinson left Oklahoma, the Sooners have had a record of 153-46-5. Adding Wilkinson's 145 wins to this figure gives a total of 298, 17 games behind Bryant. Of course, no one can say whether Oklahoma would have averaged the one extra win per season needed to put Wilkinson in contention if he had continued coaching there, but it's certainly possible. The Sooners' record for the first two years after Wilkinson left was 9-11.—ED.
December 14, 1981
It seems to me that Anthony Cotton's message in the article Don't Blame Me, I Just Want to Have Fun! (Nov. 30) was that professional athletes shouldn't enjoy playing the game. They are getting paid to go through the motions, and they don't have to like it. This line of thinking has been the main reason why NBA basketball hasn't had more success with basketball fans.
Why shouldn't Magic want to continue to enjoy playing basketball? This young man's enthusiasm for the game and his charisma have been a shot in the arm for the NBA.
East Lansing, Mich.
Please remove the name of Magic Johnson from that rapidly diminishing list of professional athletes for whom one can hold some spark of admiration and respect today—especially if he allowed himself to be bought off as Laker owner Jerry Buss's dupe in the Paul Westhead affair.
Alas! Another glowing example of the fact that when the magic is money, the magnificent suddenly becomes merely mortal.
THOMAS R. POWERS
Greenwell Springs, La.
Clearly, both Magic Johnson and Laker owner Jerry Buss are at fault in this latest episode of "Showtime": Johnson for mortgaging his personal and professional happiness by signing the 25-year, $25-million contract, and Buss for letting one player dictate who should and shouldn't coach the team.
JOSEPH DECLAN MORAN
ANOTHER ROLES MODEL
Jill Lieber's article on Puget Sound football player/swimmer Bob Jackson (Roles Model at the Sound, Nov. 23) stated that nobody has done the football-swimming double as well as Jackson since the '40s. I would like to mention another unusual athlete.
My brother, Doug Martin, was a starting wide receiver on Vanderbilt's 1974 Peach Bowl team, having been selected to the All-SEC rookie team as a sophomore. He was also a member of Vandy's 400-yard freestyle relay team, which qualified for the 1972, 1973 and 1974 NCAA championships, and a school record holder in the freestyle sprints. He also was twice selected an academic All-America in football (once on the first team, once on the second) and was a 1975 recipient of the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete Award.
So, while the statement about Jackson may be true, I think there can be no argument that nobody has done the scholar/football player/swimmer triple as well as Doug Martin in a long, long time.
What do Georgetown, South Florida, Western Kentucky and Holy Cross have in common besides having been picked by you (Nov. 30) as four of the top 48 college basketball teams in the nation? Answer: All were defeated last year by the University of Connecticut, which for some inconceivable reason was left out of your top 48. During each of the last three seasons the Huskies have won 20 or more games. Now they have an even more experienced team.
JAMES F. J'ANTHONY
In your Best of the Rest section you didn't include the University of Mississippi, the 1980 SEC tournament champion. We beat Dominique Wilkins, your so-called "Top Dog of Dunk," and the rest of the Georgia team 68-62 in the final.
Ocean Springs, Miss.
After continually being snubbed by your "experts," I fully expected not to find Marquette ranked in your Top 20. But then when I didn't see them listed among the remaining 28, I nearly double-dribbled!
KEVIN J. GOLDEN
How can you ignore a team like Syracuse which has been in postseason play for 11 consecutive years?
THAT MAN McMAHON
Jim McMahon of Brigham Young deserves every word of praise he received in McMahon with a Golden Arm (Nov. 30).
Not only is he the best passing quarterback around, but he has also accomplished this despite having had his right eye punctured as a child, for which he now must wear special tinted lenses.
Ray Kennedy's fine piece on Joe Retton and his great basketball record (Why Is This Man Laughing? Because He Just Read His Obituary, Nov. 30) at Fairmont (W. Va.) State College elicits fond memories of my three years as sports publicity director there.
Joe was then a sore-armed, once-promising pitcher turned second baseman on the college baseball team. His arm was so bad that he occasionally had to underhand the ball to first base, but he more than made up for that defensive deficiency by hitting about everything opposing pitchers had to offer.
I'm delighted to see a long-time friend finally get the recognition he deserves.
EMLYN K. THOMAS
Royal Oak, Mich.
It isn't easy to pick a Sportsman of the Year for 1981, particularly when lawyers, owners and bad behavior seem to have made more news than the athletes or their achievements. But there is one shining candidate for this honor: Wayne Gretzky, No. 99 of the Edmonton Oilers.
When I receive my year-end issue of SI, I hope to see a tennis ball, a racket and a curly-haired brat on the cover as Sportsman of the Year. Yes, John McEnroe. There wasn't anyone better at any sport in 1981.
Alberto Salazar's world-record of 2:08:13 and Allison Roe's world record of 2:25:29 in the 1981 New York City Marathon give those runners my nominations for Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year.
The Sugar Ray Leonard-Thomas Hearns fight should prove once and for all that Leonard is, pound for pound, the greatest fighter who ever lived. For his truly amazing year—junior middleweight title and undisputed welterweight title—Leonard gets my vote for Sportsman of the Year.
Alexis Arguello. His victory speech following the Ray (Boom Boom) Mancini fight (Lowering the Boom Boom, Oct. 12) was the most sincere and moving I've ever heard.
I can give you 2,342 reasons why Marcus Allen should be Sportsman of the Year.
Paul William Bryant.
Skier Phil Mahre is the only American male ever to win the World Cup title. If he's not Sportsman of the Year....
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