NFL Dads: The Sequels
Two weeks ago it was David Williams, the Houston Oiler tackle, who grabbed nationwide attention when he skipped a game in New England to witness the birth of his son. In a case of better timing, Chicago Bear tackle John Wojciechowski was at his wife's bedside as she delivered a son just before noon last Saturday, and by 10 p.m. he was in Green Bay for the Bears' 17-3 loss on Sunday. But a more frustrating odyssey was endured by Los Angeles Ram defensive end Fred Stokes.
Stokes was in San Francisco for a game against the 49ers when he got a call from his wife, Regina, early Sunday morning informing him that she was going into labor. Stokes checked out of the team hotel and, after getting permission to leave from coach Chuck Knox, grabbed an early flight to Orange County. Stokes made it to St. Joseph Hospital, but after a few fruitless hours, doctors told him that Regina would not deliver until evening at the earliest.
So Stokes, with his wife's blessing, hired a jet for $3,300 to whisk him back to San Francisco. Alas, he arrived at Candlestick Park only minutes before the Niners completed a 40-17 rout of his Rams. Stokes expected the team to withhold his $33,333 per-game salary, just as the Oilers kept Williams's $111,111. "I chose to leave," said Stokes. "I let the team down. I felt bad. I didn't earn my money."
November 8, 1993
But he undoubtedly wasn't thinking of money late on Sunday evening when his seven-pound, five-ounce son, Landon, arrived safely with Dad in attendance. Then, on Monday afternoon, in a welcome precedent, the Rams announced that they won't dock Stokes.
The chlorine-scented stink surrounding University of Florida women's swimming coach Mitch Ivey will linger. Ivey was fired last Monday, just before ESPN aired a story that charged Ivey, 44, with improper sexual involvement with athletes he had coached at other schools and clubs.
The real question is why Florida hired Ivey in the first place. Donna Lopiano, the former women's athletic director at Texas, where Ivey had applied for a job before going to Florida, told ESPN that she had called Florida's associate athletic director for women's sports, Ann Marie Lawler, before Ivey was hired. In that call Lopiano warned Lawler of Ivey's past, which was well known in swimming circles.
Lawler defended her decision last week, saying, "I spoke with Olympic coaches and athletes plus many others who endorsed Mitch as the appropriate person to lead our swim program."
Others would find his past behavior singularly inappropriate. Consider his involvement with one of his athletes, Noel Moran Quilici, who, at 18, married Ivey, then 30, in 1979. Quilici told ESPN that she "rebuffed his sexual advances" when she was 15 but began a sexual relationship with him at age 17. At the time, she was swimming for Ivey at the Santa Clara Swim Club. Six months after their marriage she discovered his involvement with a 17-year-old swimmer and filed for divorce. As of Monday, Ivey had not responded to the ESPN report beyond criticizing Florida for not standing behind him.
Ivey has coached the Lady Gators to three consecutive SEC team titles and has clearly inspired loyalty—all 16 swimmers on this year's team signed a letter of support after he was fired. But neither success nor loyalty explains why a man with such a sullied reputation was allowed within a mile of Florida's swimming pool.
The View from Europe
In anticipation of crowd-control difficulties at next year's World Cup finals, U.S. law-enforcement authorities recently visited several European countries to study the violence that takes place at soccer matches. The Americans professed no major concerns, a view that amused a Rotterdam police spokesman. "They have no experience with these sorts of situations," said Peter van Zunderd, "because sport in America is for the most part a huge family party."
Ah, but has the Dutchman ever tailgated at Yankee Stadium?
Always a Battler
Marty Liquori, 45, one of America's finest milers ever, recently went public with the fact that he has chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a mild form of the often deadly disease. Ironically, Liquori's condition was diagnosed only a few months after he had become national spokesman for the Leukemia Society of America. He has remained active, and his doctors say his prognosis is good.
There is no question that Liquori will fight the disease. He was the consummate competitor, a guy who wouldn't shake hands with even his closest friend before a race. Yet away from the track, he was approachable, his Jersey-guy persona—street-smart, tough, magnetic—in stark contrast to that of his chief U.S. rival, Jim Ryun, the unapproachable, mysterious god from the Midwest.
Ryun has to be considered the best American miler of all time. Still, says Vince Cartier, a former national high school record holder in the mile and onetime protègè of Liquori's, "if you lined up all the great ones in their prime—Ryun, Ovett, Coe, Bayi, Coghlan—my money would be on Marty. He'd find a way to win."
End of the Line?
It didn't seem like much of a gamble. Pick up an easy $1.5 million by fighting lightly regarded Michael Bentt in Tulsa, record yet another knockout before the home-state fans and move on to an already scheduled $8 million payday against WBC heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis in March. That was the plan for Tommy Morrison last Saturday night, and it worked like a charm—at least until 47 seconds into the fight. That's when Bentt found Morrison's jaw with a right hand and dropped the muscular playboy for the first of three opening-round knockdowns.
The end came at 1:33 of the first round, with Morrison's suspect chin once again in glassy fragments. It was only two years ago that his title hopes had seemingly been shattered by a fifth-round knockout loss to Ray Mercer. Yet with careful matchmaking and aggressive promotion, which many detractors said had more to do with Morrison's pigmentation than with his talent, the latest great white hope had reemerged as a marketable contender. His 12-round win over George Foreman in June earned him not only the WBO title but also the megabucks bout with Lewis, a jackpot that was canceled by Bentt. Before the fight Morrison's handlers carefully checked out Bentt's record: 10-1 in five years. Good boxer, no power, no experience, no chin. They should have checked further: In 1985 Bentt's father hit the New York State Lottery for $2 million. Only an idiot would toss $8 million on the table against someone from a family with luck like that. Especially against one who says, "I can never throw the first punch. But when another man strikes me, I am well within my rights to end his life."
Or at least his career.
Last month Cal Ingraham, college hockey's goal-scoring champion, was preparing for what he hoped would be a grand finale to his career at Maine when he was told that a computer error made by the school registrar's office would force him to sit out the first 14 games of this season. Because Ingraham had mistakenly been coded as a transfer from inside the Maine university system rather than as an external transfer, eight academic credits from the Air Force Academy—from which he transferred in 1990—were improperly accepted on his transcript for the 1990-91 academic year. Ingraham should have been declared ineligible for the first semester of the 1991-92 season, but Maine discovered its error only last month. The NCAA suspended Ingraham for the number of games he played in during the disputed semester.
Ingraham, a 5'4" right wing, says he doesn't blame any of the button pushers, but he is mildly upset about one thing. "Nobody has apologized to me," he says.
This Week's Sign That the Apocalypse Is Upon Us
In response to a request by Andre Agassi, the names of two private streets near the tennis star's four-lot enclave in Las Vegas will be changed to Andre Drive and Agassi Court.
They Said It
•Tom Zenner, sportscaster for KPTM-TV in Omaha, on Cleveland Brown quarterback Bernie Kosar's lack of mobility: "I've had loose change move around in the pocket better than Bernie."