Star Search

Join us on our quest to chart the luminous bodies and fading stars in the ever-changing universe of the college game
November 23, 1992

If we were to enter a brief history of college basketball into Captain Kirk's log, it might go something like this: In the beginning, the paleo-coaches, Adolph Rupp at Kentucky, Hank Iba at Oklahoma State and Phog Allen at Kansas, roamed their respective planets and ruled them as they wished. Then came the reign of the interplanetary emperors, who subjugated all other life-forms—NCAA executive director Walter Byers off the court and UCLA coach John Wooden on it. The game entered new dimensions of time and space during the 1980s. NCAA rulesmaster Ed Steitz introduced the shot clock and the three-pointer, and the omnipotent one, Big East founder and NCAA Basketball Committee chairman Dave Gavitt, skillfully disseminated that improved product throughout our universe.

But now Steitz is dead, and Gavitt has moved on to the NBA. And in the aftermath of what an earthling named Ross Perot might call "a giant sucking sound," a lot of jockeying has commenced to fill the power vacuum.

The NCAA Presidents Commission is attempting to lead a Great Reformation of the sport. So far that has meant a later start to the season (this year practice began on Nov. 1 instead of Oct. 15), stricter limits on recruiting (coaches' trips have been cut back, and players must meet stiffer academic standards) and fewer coaches on the benches (staffs have been docked one assistant each). Needless to say, many in the coaching fraternity are not pleased.

The TV networks have also been busy, locking up exclusive deals with conferences. The leagues themselves are discovering a new pecking order; no longer does the Big East seem a threat to send three teams to the Final Four, as it did in 1985, while the Great Midwest Conference, which came into existence only a year ago with six members, suddenly looks like it might be a late-March regular.

In other words, the college basketball universe is changing, as all things inevitably must. To tip off the 1992-93 season, we've attempted to chart those heavens on the pages that follow, and here direct your attention to 20 of the most powerful forces in that firmament.

(As you get out your telescopes, please note that some celestial bodies, in apparent defiance of physical law, appear in several places at once. In our universe that's perfectly possible—if you don't like it, make up your own universe.)

Indiana's Bob Knight, North Carolina's Dean Smith and Georgetown's John Thompson are still the dominant figures in the three strongest leagues, the Big Ten, the ACC and the Big East, respectively. Each can make or break a would-be coach's candidacy with a single phone call, and their opinions count in the debate on any issue pertaining to college athletics. So why do we get the sense that none is as influential as before? Perhaps because all three seem to have lost a step: Knight spent much of this fall's recruiting season on a hunting trip in Montana; Smith still appears at times to be feeling the strain of losing top assistants Roy Williams (to Kansas) and Eddie Fogler (to Vanderbilt) in recent years; and only Thompson's last-minute signing of Othella Harrington in May temporarily eased the criticism that he has been a lollygagger of late on the recruiting trail. Further, each has recently had top players leave after a season or less. In Knight's case, Lawrence Funderburke bolted after six games; in Smith's, Clifford Rozier made it through one year; and in Thompson's, a parade of signees dating back to Michael Graham—Anthony Tucker, John Turner, David Edwards, Charles Harrison—have departed the Hilltop in a hurry.

Some of this is attributable to these coaches' undiminished backbone—none is willing to kowtow to today's overflattered recruit. But Bob Gibbons, the scout whose ratings of high school players are respected by coaches and fans alike, poses another theory to explain those defections: "In every instance it was a case of a round peg and a square hole. The new recruiting rules allow fewer contacts between coaches and recruits, and with fewer contacts neither party is going to know whether someone is a truly good fit."

And, of course, as Gibbons points out, when coaches are limited to fewer contacts, some become more reliant upon middlemen. That creates an opening for undesirables, including all manner of summer coaches and street agents. New York City's Rob Johnson rates particular mention as a power broker because dealings with him landed both Syracuse and Texas A&M on probation in the space of 11 months.

Tom Odjakjian, Jim Haney and Tom Jernstedt are as obscure as Johnson is notorious—yet they're just as powerful. Odjakjian, an ESPN programming executive who has a hand in the scheduling of almost every game you see on the cable network, gets coaches the exposure they need to attract the players they need to win the games they need to get the exposure they need. It's NCAA deputy executive director Jernstedt, not boss Dick Schultz, who shapes the character of each season's tournament as a standing member of the men's basketball committee, which selects and seeds the field. As for Haney, the new executive director of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), he's making it clear that his group will henceforth do much more than throw brunches at the Final Four. He has moved the NABC headquarters to Overland Park, Kans., just down the road from the NCAA offices, so that his organization can lobby more effectively on behalf of coaches, whose jobs are forever in jeopardy because of fickle university administrators.

Until he left Nike a year ago, rumpled shoe salesman Sonny Vaccaro wielded power through friendships—both with rising high school stars and with such coaches as Thompson, Syracuse's Jim Boeheim, Seton Hall's P.J. Carlesimo and Georgia Tech's Bobby Cremins. Vaccaro has gone out on his own now, but his clout is only slightly diminished as he embarks on a more variegated career—as a marketing consultant, game promoter and director of the new Academic Betterment and Career Development (ABCD) Camp, which attracted enough high school stars in its first season to suggest that Vaccaro will soon be a player-procurement player again.

Being employed at a traditional power gives Kentucky athletic director C.M. Newton a platform; being a former coach gives him credibility; being a panjandrum with USA Basketball—he was just named president but has had a hand in picking U.S. national teams for 12 years—gives him clout; and being a reformer fits him with a halo so he can act without being second-guessed. Hank Nichols has taken over Steitz's role as editor of the rules and sits on a permanent worldwide commission looking into ways to standardize the pro, college and international games. But his most immediate power is as NCAA supervisor of officials, the man who assigns referees for the tournament. The nation's refs spend months whistling for his attention.

If Dick Vitale and Billy Packer were mere TV commentators, they might not merit mention. They count because they're the only analysts who regularly engage the issues. Love him or hate him, Vitale reaches more people more volubly than anyone else in the game, and his access to players is unparalleled. Packer has similar clout with coaches, and he uses it to CBS's advantage in the scheduling of interconference games (although his network's contractual ties to the Big East and Big Ten mean he can't do as much game-making as he used to).

Newcomer Mike Slive is neither the best-connected nor the most-respected collegiate commissioner, but his Great Midwest Conference debuted in splashy fashion last season—Cincinnati went to the Final Four and Memphis State to the final eight—and it could become the Big East of the Flyover if it can lure into its membership Notre Dame or a couple of schools (West Virginia? George Washington? Temple?) from the Atlantic 10. Slive's former law partner in Chicago, Mike Glazier, is influential in a different way. He used to work as the director of the NCAA's enforcement office, and he now conducts in-house probes for schools in trouble with his former employer. Illinois, Missouri, Texas A&M and Syracuse all used Glazier and Slive when they were under investigation by the NCAA, and some schools still pay Glazier large sums to keep them out of hot water. The infractions folks (David Berst, the most powerful vestige of the Byers era, remains the NCAA's chief cop) have tended to show more mercy for Glazier's clients than for saps like Kansas and Maryland, which decided to go it alone.

Among the younger generation of coaches, Mike Krzyzewski, the NABC president, has singular credibility for doing what none of his peers has done: winning back-to-back titles with serious students. Drake's Rudy Washington is the founder of the Black Coaches Association and continues to prod the consciences of administrators who otherwise might not take seriously the issue of minority hiring. USC coach and world-class networker George Raveling has suddenly emerged as a leader in the effort to reform the summer recruiting scene—pretty good for a guy who just two seasons ago looked as if he would be fired. And Tom Penders of Texas has used his position as one of the few shining lights of the Southwest Conference to good advantage. He threatened to leave Texas a few years ago if the conference didn't upgrade its officiating and even interviewed for various coaching vacancies. The stir he created probably still translates into an edge on the floor.

Every one of the aforementioned 20 movers and shakers is a player in the Tim Robbins sense, but none is a player in the more orthodox sense, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why real players don't shine in this galaxy. Forget about not being paid; players are worse off than that. They have no power. Their scholarships can be summarily canceled after any season. Their coaches can light out for another campus at any time, yet they must sit out an entire season if they want to leave. That's why, search as you might, you'll find no undergraduates on these pages.

...Dave Gavitt. The Big East founder is now the Boston Celtics' senior executive V.P., but his fingerprints are still visible all over the universe.

Kansas City attorney Mike Glazier wields big influence—and makes big bucks—as a hired gun who conducts investigations for schools in NCAA trouble.

As reformist AD at Kentucky and USA Basketball's majordomo, C.M. Newton has laurels—not falling apples—on his head.


Influential chancellors & presidents...Thomas (Hitman) Hearn, Wake Forest Paul Hardin, North Carolina Robert Maxson, UNLV

...and athletic directors Cedric Dempsey, Arizona Frank Broyles, Arkansas Joe Dean, LSU


You could study NCAA crime and punishment for eons and still not figure out how it works. Maybe these guys could tell us:

David Berst, NCAA enforcer
Steve Morgan, NCAA legislator
David Swank, Oklahoma Law School dean and infractions committee chair


Dick Schultz, NCAA executive director
Tom Jernstedt, NCAA dep. exec. dir.
Dave Cawood, NCAA asst. exec. dir. for communications


Tom Butters, Duke AD (chairman)
Jake Crouthamel, Syracuse AD
Gary Cunningham, Fresno St. AD
Rudy Davalos, Houston AD
Robert Frederick, Kansas AD
Charles S. Harris, Arizona State AD
Terry Holland, Davidson College AD
Ralph McFillen, Metro Conference commissioner
C.M. Newton, Kentucky AD

20,000 players—No rights, no voice, no power.

New National Association of Basketball Coaches honcho Jim Haney


Jim Delaney, Big Ten
Mike Tranghese, Big East
Gene Corrigan, ACC
Roy Kramer, SEC
Mike Slive, Great Midwest Conf.


Rudy Washington, Black Coaches Association executive director
George Raveling, summer camp reformer
Don Yeager, muckraking author
John Chaney, Prop 48 opponent
Cardiss Collins, congresswoman (D., III.)
Dick DeVenzio, players' union organizer
Richard Lapchick, director, Center for the Study of Sport in Society

Deposed USA Basketball executive director Bill Wall


These referees command the most respect:

Dikc Paparo
Tim Higgins
Larry Lembo
John Clougherty
Jim Burr
Don Rutledge
Ed Hightower


Hank Nichols—NCAA head of officials Conference officiating supervisors:

Fred Barakat—ACC, Big South and Colonial
Art Hyland—Big East
Rich Falk—Big Ten
John Guthrie-SEC
Booker Turner—Pac-10

The Clipboard Cosmos


These coaches swear by the three-point shot:

Rick Pitino, Kentucky
Speedy Morris, La Salle
Jeff Mullins, UNC Charlotte
Jim O'Brien, Dayton
Tubby Smith, Tulsa
Don Maestri, Troy (Ala.) State


Stu Jackson, Wisconsin
Ralph Willard, W. Kentucky
Tubby Smith, Tulsa
Bob Brown, Boston U
Jim O'Brien, Dayton
Martin Schoepfer, Connecticut College

Planet Mentorus


Scott Thompson, Wichita St.
Kevin O'Neill, Marquette
Ricky Byrdsong, Detroit


Tom Asbury, Pepperdine
Tony Fuller, San Diego St.
Brad Holland, Cal State—Fullerton


Gene Keady, Purdue
Pat Foster, Houston
Leonard Hamilton, Miami
James Dickey, Texas Tech
Rob Evans, Mississippi
Tom Apke, Appalachian St.
Fred Trenkle, College of Southern Idaho


Pete Gillen, Xavier
Steve Lappas, Villanova
Lou Campanelli, California
John Olive, Loyola Marymount
Paul Cormier, Fairfield
Frank Dobbs, Brown
Tom Brennan, Vermont
Frank Sullivan, Harvard


Coaches who were once stars and are now near the ends of their careers. All are among the winningest active coaches:

Lefty Driesell, James Madison
Eldon Miller, Northern Iowa
Gary Colson, Fresno State
Butch Van Breda Kolff, Hofstra
Gene Bartow, UAB
Bill Foster, Northwestern
Bill Foster, Virginia Tech


Among the best bench coaches:

Rick Majerus, Utah
Pat Kennedy, Florida
State John MacLeod, Notre Dame
Rick Pitino, Kentucky


Mike Krzyzewski, Duke
Dave Bliss, New Mexico
Bob Donewald, Western Michigan
Jim Crews, Evansville
Tom Miller, Army
Don DeVoe, Navy
Tates Locke, Indiana State
Joby Wright, Miami (Ohio)
Royce Waltman, Indianapolis
Kohn Smith, Utah State

Dale Brown, LSU


They haven't just phoned home, they've gone home:

Eddie Sutton, Oklahoma State
Gary Williams, Maryland
Les Robinson, N.C. State
Bob Wenzel, Rutgers
Bruce Parkhill, Penn State
Willis Wilson, Rice
Benny Dees, Wyoming


They think everything else revolves around them—and in some cases they're right:

John Thompson, Georgetown
Bob Knight, Indiana
Rollie Massimino, UNLV
Tom Penders, Texas
Rick Pitino, Kentucky


Roy Williams, Kansas
Eddie Fogler, Vanderbilt
Larry Brown, L.A.
Clippers (on leave from college but sure to be back)


Andy Stoglin, Jackson State
Scott Edgar, Murray State
Rob Spivery, Montevallo
Ron Cottrell, Houston Baptist


Rod Baker, UC Irvine
John Carroll, Duquesne
Frank Sullivan, Harvard


...and now out. Coaches who nave gotten a second chance:

Tales Locke, Indiana State
Ned Fowler, Stephen F. Austin
Kermit Davis, Chipola J.C. (asst.)
Tom Abatemarco, Colo. (asst.)
Norm Ellenberger, Ind. (asst.)
Eddie Sutton, Oklahoma State


Dwane Casey
(Unfortunately, no college will touch this former assistant, who was embroiled in the Kentucky recruiting scandal.)


Culturally mismatched to their current address:

Rick Barnes, Providence
Danny Nee, Nebraska
Pete Gillen, Xavier
Rick Pitino, Kentucky
Harry Larrabee, Alaska-Anchorage
Rick Majerus, Utah


Coaches in imminent risk of falling out of orbit:

Paul Evans, Pittsburgh
Cliff Ellis, Clemson
Joe Harrington, Colorado
Steve Newton, S. Carolina
Lynn Nance, Washington


Roy Williams, Kansas
Randy Ayers, Ohio St.
Lon Kruger, Florida
John Calipari, UMass
Bob Huggins, Cincinnati
Perry Clark, Tulane
Mike Jarvis, George Washington


Coaches who are teachers at heart:

Pete Carril, Princeton
Jim O'Brien, Dayton
Jud Heathcote, Michigan State
Dick Tarrant, Richmond
Carroll Williams, Santa Clara
George Blaney, Holy Cross
John Chaney, Temple
Eddie Sutton, Oklahoma State
Pete Gillen, Xavier

Don Haskins, UTEP

Mike Krzyzewski (the Force is with him)


Lute Olson, Arizona
Denny Crum, Louisville
Billy Tubbs, Oklahoma
John Thompson, Georgetown
Joey Meyer, DePaul
Rollie Massimino, UNLV
Dean Smith, North Carolina

Media Showers


These top TV producers determine how you see the action:

Dave Miller, ESPN
Rick Gentile, CBS
Peter Rolfe, Raycom

Dick Vitale

Kentucky businessman Jim Host controls key NCAA radio and publishing contracts.


John Feinstein
Charlie Pierce

Their back-and-forth sniping in Basketball Times is reminiscent of the Aykroyd-Curtin point-counterpoint sendups on Saturday Night live—and just as entertaining.


Of all the talking, heads on TV, these have the most influence:

In studio

John Saunders, ESPN
Chris Fowler, ESPN
Mike Francesa, CBS
Roy Firestone, ESPN

At courtside

Bill Raftery, CBS
Quinn Buckner, CBS
Lesley Visser, CBS


These guys make games:

Promoters & impresarios

Sonny Vaccaro

Russ Potts, Sports Productions, Inc.
Larry Albus, DelWilbur & Assoc.

TV packagers

Bray Cary & Pete Derzis, Creative Sports
Ed Hull & Jimmy Rayburn, Jefferson Pilot
Rick Ray & Chuck Steedman, Raycom

TV networks

Loren Matthews & Tom Odjakjian, ESPN
Neal Pilson, Len DeLuca, CBS

Gary Johnson. He's the NCAA numbers cruncher who keeps the power ratings used by the selection committee.


Best quotes in the business:

Rick Majerus, Utah
Johnny Orr, Iowa State
Billy Tubbs, Oklahoma
Sonny Smith, Virginia Commonwealth
P.J. Carlesimo, Seton Hall
Benny Dees, Wyoming
Abe Lemons (emeritus)


The most influential members of the print media:

Dick (Hoops) Weiss, Philadelphia Daily News
Bob Hammel, Bloomington (Ind.) Herald
Frank Burlison, Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram
Larry Donald, Basketball Times
Jim O'Connell, Associated Press
Steve Wieberg, USA Today
Chris Wallace, Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook
Dave Krider, USA Today high school writer
Bob Ryan, The Boston Globe
Malcolm Moran, The New York Times

Billy Packer

Galaxy of the Body Snatchers


One way or another—and in some cases we don't want to know how—they beam high school players up to the colleges:

Jay Parker (Houston)
Alex Gilliam (Dallas)
Mel Cunningham (Ky.)
Bob Wade (Baltimore)
Doc Royal (Detroit)
Vic Adams (Detroit)
Rob Johnson (N.Y.C.)
Pat Barrett (L.A.)
Bill Chupil (Ohio)
Wayne Simone (N. Eng.)
Boo Williams (Virginia)


You don't want these high school coaches mad at you:

Sonny Cox, Chicago King
Bob Hambric, Chicago Simeon
Bob Hurley, Jersey City St. Anthony's
Clarence Turner, Camden (N.J.) High
Shakey Rodriguez, Miami Senior High
Morgan Wootten, DeMatha Catholic, Hyattsville, Md.
Steve Smith, Oak Hill Academy, Mouth of Wilson, Va.
Pete Pompey, Baltimore Dunbar
Max Good, Maine Central Institute


With their opinions or influence or both, they power players to the NBA:

Marty Blake, NBA scout
David Falk, agent
Bob Woolf, agent
Arn Tellem, agent
Richard Howell, agent
Bill Pollak, agent
Leonard Armato, agent

Richie (the Fixer) Perry

The Parallel Universe of the Women


Coaches always within the gravitational field of a national title:

Debbie Ryan, Virginia
Chris Weller, Maryland
Leon Barmore, Louisiana Tech
Jody Conradt, Texas
Paul Sanderford, W. Kentucky
Andy Landers, Georgia
Joe Ciampi, Auburn


Coaches rising:

Tara VanDervee Stanford
Jim Foster, Vanderbilt
Trish Roberts, Michigan
Joe McKeown, George Washington
Geno Auriemma, Connecticut
Joan Bonvicini, Arizona
Gary Blair, S.F. Austin


Disappointing missions to Olympics and Pan Am Games reduced their power:

Teresa Grentz, Rutgers
Vivian Stringer, Iowa


Mel Greenberg, Philadelphia Inquirer
Debbie Becker, USA Today
Mimi Griffin CBS, ESPN


Judy Holland, UCLA women's AD, NCAA Women's Basketball Committee chair
Betty Jaynes, Women's Basketball Coaches Association exec. Dir.
Pat Summitt, coach, Tennessee
Christine Grant, Iowa women's AD
Donna Lopiano, Women's Sports Foundation exec. dir.
Jim Marchiony, NCAA executive
Tricia Bork, NCAA executive


The best hunters of high school talent:

Tom Izzo, Michigan State
Herb Sendek, Kentucky
Rich (Dr. Detroit) Daly, Missouri
Mike Brown, Seton Hall
Jessie Evans, Arizona
Billy Hahn and Art Perry, Maryland
Larry Gay, Louisville
Bernie Fine and Wayne Morgan, Syracuse
Phil Ford, North Carolina
Kevin Stallings, Kansas
Eddie Oran, Texas
Todd Bozeman, California
Ken (Eggman) Williamson and David Zimroth, Florida State


Summer league and tournament directors:

Rod Seaford, National AAU
Issy Washington, L.A. Slam'n Jam
John Farrell, Las Vegas Invit.
Sonny Hill, Philadelphia
Boo Williams, Hampton, Va.
Rick Ball, Juco Jamborees

Summer Camp Directors:

Rich Sheubrooks, Nike
Sonny Vaccaro, ABCD
Howie Garfinkel, Five-Star
Bill Cronauer, B/C All-Stars
Dave Krider, Cincinnati All-American Camp
Joe Butler, Metro Index
Dave Bones, Cage Scope
Dana Pump, Double Pump


The most energetic head coaches on the recruiting trail:

John MacLeod, Notre Dame
Bob Huggins, Cincinnati
Perry Clark, Tulane
Leonard Hamilton, Miami
Bill Frieder, Arizona State
Jim Calhoun, Connecticut
Stu Jackson, Wisconsin
Bobby Cremins, Georgia Tech


Wears many helmets (game-maker; camp director; high school all-star-game impresario; pro players' marketing rep; brother of bookie; confidante of top coaches; confidante of the top high school stars those coaches want):

Sonny Vaccaro


Scouts are becoming so powerful that programs subscribe to every service for fear that they'll be bad-mouthed if they don't. The most prominent appraisers of high school talent:

Bob Gibbons
Tom Konchalski (East)
Van Coleman
Clark Francis
Dave Krider
Rick Ball (jucos)
Dave Kaplan (Chicago)
David Pump (California)


They coach the top blue-chip-laden amateur teams:

Sandy Pyonin, N.J. Roadrunners
Lou d'Almeida, N.Y. Gauchos
Ernie Lorch, Riverside Hawks
Leo Papile, Boston BABC
Paul (Doc) Nicelli, Madison Square Boys Club (N.Y.)