March 31, 2003
March 31, 2003

Table of Contents
March 31, 2003

Baseball Preview 2003


Bluegrass Basketball

This is an article from the March 31, 2003 issue

How can you recognize the masterful job done by Tubby Smith and
never once mention that he should be the hands-down favorite for
coach of the year (Tubby's Terrors, March 10)? A team that was
saddled with turmoil, departures, malcontents and a few vocal
racist fans has become the most feared in the nation. A coach who
has spent most of his time in Lexington on the defensive should
be recognized for teaching his players the skills they need to
Charles Cornett, Hilliard, Fla.

I was appalled by the comments of former Kentucky athletic
director C.M. Newton insinuating that the criticism aimed at
Coach Smith has been racially motivated. Wildcats basketball fans
care about one thing: winning. Kentucky is, for better or worse,
a tough place to coach and play basketball, due to the great
tradition of the program. Just win a lot of games, and today's
Kentucky fans will see only two colors: blue and white.
Mark Ison, Nashville

Requiem for All Weights

This boxing fan was happy to see SI address the demise of the
sport (Fight-Game Inferno, March 10). Boxing needs one
sanctioning body, like other pro sports. Right now it is run by a
bunch of money-hungry promoters, athletic commissions and
sanctioning bodies. There is no accountability because nobody is
in charge.
Matthew Urban, North Brunswick, N.J.

Red Line Fever

The NHL doesn't need to get rid of the red line (The Red Line
Debate, March 10). It needs to get rid of that ridiculous
two-line pass rule.
Frank Samora Taos, N.Mex.

In baseball is there anything more exciting than a long throw
from the outfield to nail a guy at the plate? There is nothing
more thrilling in football than a long pass to a streaking wide
receiver. In basketball it doesn't get any better than a long
pass for a slam dunk to someone who's gotten behind the defense.
Only in the NHL is the long pass illegal, and the league ought to
do something about that.
John Frederickson, Clayton, Calif.


With all the controversy recently over an athlete turning her
back on the flag during the national anthem, I choose to think of
a man with cerebral palsy making us hold him so he can stand
during the anthem (THE LIFE OF REILLY, March 10). It took Butchie
to get Middlebury hoops into SI, and those of us who played on
the team wouldn't want it any other way. Thanks, Butchie, we owe
you one.
Mike Waggett, Saugus, Mass.

Mississippi Turning

I want to thank Alexander Wolff for Ghosts of Mississippi (March
10). The story of our 1962--63 basketball team made this
Mississippi State alumnus proud that my university was part of
something so special. The NCAA tournament game against Loyola of
Chicago didn't bring about racial harmony in the nation, the
South or even Mississippi, but it did provide the world with a
glimpse of a time to come.
Art Smith, Southaven, Miss.

Ghosts of Mississippi brought back memories of my playing days at
Loyola in the late 1940s and early '50s, and a historic event
that occurred during the '49--50 season. Hank Iba, the renowned
coach of Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State), had the courage to
invite Loyola and our two black players, Ben Bluitt and Art
White, to come to Stillwater, Okla., and become the first NCAA
team with black players to cross the Mason-Dixon line to play.
What gives me great pride is my school's pioneering leadership in
featuring black college basketball players.
Don Hanrahan, Rowayton, Conn.

My father, Sam, was the son of observant Jews from Staten Island,
N.Y. In 1936, during the throes of the Depression, he was
recruited to play basketball at Mississippi State. Since the day
he passed away, in '85, I've worn his MSU ring, Class of '39. I
never asked him much about what it was like to be broke, Jewish
and from New York City while attending college in Starkville
during the late '30s. I wish I had.
Phil Mushnick, Old Bridge, N.J.

Profiles in Courage

As a former Tuskegee Airman who experienced segregation during
military training in World War II, while reading Ghosts of
Mississippi I was reminded of another courageous white American
who stood up for the rights of blacks. Col. Noel Parrish, the
base commander of the Tuskegee (Ala.) Army Air Field, insisted
that we receive our training with dignity and respect and would
not tolerate biased treatment of us by our white instructors. He
provided the climate in which we became the first black Army Air
Force pilots, which we did with distinction--we never lost a
bomber we were escorting over Europe to enemy fighters, a record
achieved by no other fighter group. Men like Noel Parrish and
president Dean W. Colvard of Mississippi State helped make
America what it is today in terms of race relations and
opportunity. Your story brought tears to my eyes and pride to my
Roscoe C. Brown Jr., New York City


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