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'AN IMPOSSIBLE SITUATION UNLESS YOU GO UNDEFEATED'

Feb. 20, 1984
Feb. 20, 1984

Table of Contents
Feb. 20, 1984

Track & Field
Pro Basketball
Van Breda Kolff
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

'AN IMPOSSIBLE SITUATION UNLESS YOU GO UNDEFEATED'

At least since 1933-34, when Milton Allen played forward at Kansas for Phog, his dad the coach, a young man who decides to play big-time college basketball for his father is almost guaranteed a trying experience. Phog, who retired in 1956 with a .768 winning percentage, seventh-best all-time (Jerry Tarkanian's .814 is third), took a lot of abuse for starting Milton. "Pass the ball to Junior," hostile fans would jeer. Says Al McGuire, who coached his son, Allie, at Marquette from 1970 to '73, "It's an impossible situation unless you go undefeated."

This is an article from the Feb. 20, 1984 issue Original Layout

Still, more than a dozen father-son pairs are now at Division I schools. They include—coaches listed first—Billy and Tommy Tubbs at Oklahoma, Rollie and R.C. Massimino at Villanova, Gene and Murray Bartow at Alabama-Birmingham, Lefty and Chuck Driesell at Maryland, Jim Harrick and Jim Jr. at Pepperdine, Neil and Aaron McCarthy at Weber State, and Nick Macarchuk Jr. and Nick III, a redshirt, at Canisius. The PCAA has a nation-leading four such combos: Besides the Tarkanians, there are Bill and Brian Mulligan at UC Irvine, Rod and Tann Tueller at Utah State, and Dave Buss and Dave Jr., a redshirt, at Long Beach State.

Currently, as well as historically, an outsized number of coaches' sons are undersized, and most of them when they play, which typically isn't very often, perform as point guards. Thus they apparently confirm the age-old notions of sons being "chips off the old block" and guards being "coaches on the floor." Several sons upon completing their playing careers even have joined their dads as assistants. The most notable: Joey Meyer, who'll succeed Ray at DePaul next season.

Some father-coaches have gone to great lengths to protect their sons from undue pressure. Washington State coach Marv Harshman made jokes about his son Dave, who played for him in 1969-70. Marv called Dave "his troubleshooter"—as in "when he shoots, we're in trouble." Former Nevada, Reno coach Jim Padgett once threw a punch at a rival player in defense of his son, Pete (1972-76). But other father-coaches seemed to invite heat from critics. Erstwhile Michigan State coach Gus Ganakas started his 5'5" son Gary for most of three seasons (1970-73). Though Spartan fans lustily booed Gary, a 38.4% career shooter, the Ganakases pooh-poohed suggestions of nepotism. "We're not really that close," said the son. Added Gus, "Let's face it, when I take the little guy out, we don't play as well."

The best known father-son combo: Press and Pete Maravich at LSU (1967-70). Pete, who's still the major college career-scoring leader (3,667 points), once got a rap on the noggin from his father when Pete told Press during a time-out that a last-minute play designed for Pete wouldn't work. It did.

The most prolific clan: the Ibas. Brothers Henry and Clarence coached all manner of sons and nephews. At Oklahoma State, Henry had his son, Moe (1958-60), now coach at Nebraska, and nephew Skip (1963-66); at Tulsa, Clarence handled his son, Gene (1960-63), now coaching Houston Baptist.

The most presidential: Iowa State's Maury John coached his son John John (1972-74).

The tightest twosome: Marquette's McGuires. When George (Sugar) Frazier went to the coach, claiming he deserved to start ahead of Allie, Al told him, "Sugar, I love my son. For you to start, it has to be a clear knockout. A push goes to Allie."

The most unorthodox: Oral Roberts coach Dick Acres and sons 6'11" Mark and 6'9" Jeff, also known as God's Little Acres. Not only are the Acres boys unusually large for coaches' sons, but they also preceded their dad at ORU. Dick's predecessor, Ken Hayes, recruited Jeff and Mark in 1980 and '81, and Dick was hired as an assistant in 1982. When Hayes was fired that December, Dick replaced him.

The toughest to figure: the Driesells, who usually sit at opposite ends of the Maryland bench. Last season, with the Terps down a point in the final seconds at North Carolina, Lefty sent his little-used son into the game cold and also called a play for him. Sure enough, Chuck got open for a layup...until the Tar Heels' Michael Jordan swooped in and snuffed it. Asked to explain his move, Lefty said, "It was the element of surprise."

PHOTOThe McGuires: Blood is thicker than basketball.PHOTOThe Pistol took a mini-whipping from Papa Press.