St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri on September 29, 1985 · Page 38
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri · Page 38

St. Louis, Missouri
Issue Date:
Sunday, September 29, 1985
Page 38
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3 SEP. 2 9 1985 10D Sports ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH Sun., Sept. 29, 1985 TCU And Tonsillitis Johnson: Life Imitating Art By Michael Littwin 1985, The Sun, Baltimore II im Wacker, who could teach Martin Luther a jJJ thing or two about reform, has thrown the KfJ money changers out of the locker room. That was the easy part The TCU football coach could have let it go at that swept the dirt under his plush office rug. But he wasn't content merely to clean house. In true reformist zeal, he threw the torch to it. When he learned players were taking illegal payments, he turned them in. In fact, Wacker turned in players, boosters, a member of the board of trustees and anyone who knew the lyrics to "Your Cheatin' Heart." Wacker blew a hole as big as all Texas through the Horned Frogs' football program, and what does he get out of it? Probably nothing more than a book deal and a four-minute shot with Bryant Gumbel on the Today Show. Who says we don't need another hero? Let's assume, for argument's sake, that Wacker is a legitimate hero and not simply some football coach protecting his flank by turning in players who were recruited before he came to TCU. Let's assume that what we have here, at long last, is that honest man we've been in search of all these years, someone who thinks a slush fund is for snow removal. . But how honest is honest? What would coach Wacker don't you love that name? have done had he come face to face with Tonsillitis Johnson. You remember Tonsillitis, the greatest running back TCU ever recruited. First time he touched the ball as a Horned Frog don't you love that name? he ran for an 80-yard touchdown. He was once described thusly: "Tonsillitis Johnson was something to behold. . . . He was a once-in-a-lifetime running back from Boakum, Texas, a little town from the central part of the state. He was 6-feet-3, 235, and so fast, he made Herschel Walker and Earl Campbell look like paraplegics. "Fast was only half of it Tonsillitis bad a 34-inch waist, a 52-inch chest, and could bench-press the King Ranch." Oh. Also, when he filled out his scholarship application, under favorite sport. Tonsillitis wrote down the word, "booley." For football. What he wasn't going to get was a Rhodes Scholarship. Now every school in the Southwest Conference was after Tonsillitis, and each one had an oilman lined up who could make your every dream come true. TCU had Big Ed Bookman, of Fort Worth and the River Crest Country Club. Someone once wrote of Big Ed: "Through the years, he had provided (TCU with) new lights for the stadium, artificial turf, a modernized weight room, four or five quarterbacks who excelled at throwing incompletions, a dozen or more ball-carri ers who ran backwards, a bevy of linemen who never learned to block and a vast amount of purple paint for the coaches' offices." Big Ed once said, "I don't want any NCAA probations, but I can live with a few reprimands." It was the wildest recruitment on record, complicated by the appearance of Swami Muktamananda, who was also trying to recruit Tonsillitis to move to New Dehli, live in a ditch and seek life's fulfillment by washing down elephants. To make a long story short, Big Ed bought off the Swami and collected Tonsillitis for a mere half a million bucks, and everybody lived happily ever after. And how did the coach of that day, T.J. Lambert, feel about the NCAA rules. "I ain't worried about them NCAA phonies," said T.J. "They can come down here and sniff around all they want to. We'll strap some perjury on them and send 'em home." If the story sounds a little fantastic, that's because it is. Those of you among the sporting literati probably recognize the hand of Dan Jenkins, writer, philosopher and teller of tales. Tonsillitis, Big Ed and the Swami are all characters in "Life Its Ownself," Jenkins latest offering, now out in paperback. "It was just a fantasy," Jenkins said the other night from his home in New York. "I made the whole thing up." Life, then, imitates art. Jenkins, a TCU alumnus, generally uses TCU in his books and generally pokes some fun at the Horned Frogs. He writes that the TCU campus is placed "in what was considered to be a 'good' area because there were no Mexicans and no trailer camps, your basic tornado targets." He also takes shots at Oklahoma, Texas, SMU and anybody within spitting distance. But, he says, he never dreamed that TCU had its very own Big Eds and Tonsillitis Johnsons, if on a slightly smaller scale. "Cheating is as old as Knute Rockne," Jenkins said. "When something like this happens, somebody, usually a chemistry professor, is suddenly aghast. "The real problem is with the NCAA rules. They bring these poor kids in off the farm to go to school with thousands of kids driving BMWs whose mommas and daddies have given them American Express cards. These kids want them, too." Jenkins knew there was plenty of cheating going around; he just didn't know there was any at TCU. "I used to complain that they wouldn't do it," Jenkins said. Now Jenkins can' be happy. TCU was cheating along with everyone else. They just didn't get a Tonsillitis Johnson in the bargain. Instead, for a football hero, the Horned Frogs got Jim Wacker. It's as strange as life its ownself. V , w " ' W . "V- v ' - .-""VI .. . j r 1 s v V ) X - 1 H 1 1 f 4' ' . AP Columbia football coach Jim Garrett created after they blew a 17-0 lead and lost 49-17 to a controversy when he ripped his players Harvard Saturday. 'Drug-Addicted Losers' Columbia Coach's Remarks Stir Controversy By Malcolm Moran . 1985, New York Times News Service I EW YORK The day after his first loss as the football coach I at Columbia University, Jim Garrett Sunday defended and expanded upon his postgame comments in which he compared the attitude formed by Columbia's recent losing tradition with an addict's submission to a drug habit. An administrator overseeing the athletic department criticized the remarks that followed the emotional 49-17 loss to Harvard on Saturday. The players, meanwhile, continued the process of developing an understanding of the man whose task to end losing at Columbia has become a crusade. After they lost an unexpected 17-0 lead in the defeat, Garrett described his players as "drug-addicted losers" who had been unable to deal successfully with adversity. While he was not speaking literally, Garrett Sunday said he chose that comparison "I guess because all of our societal vices now show weakness of the will as related to drug use." "The weakness of the will here not wanting to go out and stay with a tremendous emotional approach against Harvard meant that our vice was losing," he said when reached at his office. "So, in essence, our drug was losing, and we use adversity to go back to our old standards." The Columbia administration carefully criticized Garrett's remarks, which included a blunt assessment of the punter Peter Murphy. Garrett said that Murphy, a senior who was an honorable mention all-Ivy League punter last year, would no longer do the punting, and suggested that Murphy would not be able to hold a job after graduation if the level of his work matched the level of his punting on Saturday. "I understand his desire to win and his enthusiasm for winning and the great frustration at the outcome of the game," Norman N. Mintz, executive vice president for academic affairs, said of Garrett. "But I cannot condone the castigation of a single player or the general tenor of his comments." Robert Pollack, Dean of Columbia College, said: "I don't consider any of my students to be losers, and I think the metaphor is an unfortunate one. And I look forward to winning the next nine games." Henry Santos, the quarterback, struggled to understand the style of the new coach throughout the preseason camp. For some teammates, Santos said, the process continued when they learned of his remarks. "The reaction was one of: 'Wow. That's an awful strong statement,' " Santos said. "Guys were a little shocked by it. But then they understood that what he was saying was that our losing syndrome .was our drug addiction." "A lot of people told me, 'He's kind of brutal,' " Santos said. "But he's not saying anything that everybody doesn't think. He's speaking from the heart. You have to accept him." But Chase, who described himself as a "very good friend" of Murphy's, said he thought the coach's comments about the punter were "very unfair." Attempts to reach Murphy were unsuccessful; there was no answer at his campus residence. The defeat Saturday was Columbia's 12th in a row, the longest losing streak in school history. In each of the last six seasons the Lions have had no more than one victory; they have had only one winning season in the last 22. Garrett, who had been on the Cleveland Browns' staff the last seven years, recognized that the difference in his approach is a matter of style. "I could have come in quiet as a mouse," he said. "I could have been exactly what everybody would like as an Ivy League coa'ch. But they didn't hire me for that." Garrett said he told the administration: "Look, you know what I have to do. Are you prepared for me to do the job? Are you prepared for me to get these players to make a commitment now? Because even though they're not our players, so to speak we didn't recruit them, or select them they're still here, and this year I must create a winning, individual playing effort attitude. If you don't play well, then I'm not going to start you. That's exactly what happened with Murphy's case." After a day to reflect on the first game and what followed, Garrett was asked if he had it to do again, would he choose a different illustration to describe a losing syndrome. "You know what I was gonna say?" Garrett said. "I don't know why I switched. I was gonna say that you're like an alcoholic in the street. And until you understand that you have to get help by yourself, you can't do it. I don't know why I even switched to the drug thing. That's what I always use. The alcoholic that cures himself is the most courageous person in the world because he gets rid of the monster." Dierdorf Blazes New Trail For Jocks- Turned-Broadcasters By Barry Wilner Associated Press BS is making a bold step in its coverage of the National Football League, though not a lot of people know about it. The network of the National Football Conference hired Dan Dierdorf, a former All-Pro tackle with the Cardinals, to do play-by-play this year. Dierdorf, who is teamed with former Dallas and Washington tight end Jean Fugett has gone from an analyst on radio broadcasts to an NFL play-by-play announcer in less than a year, despite having no network television experience in the position. "We originally envisioned him as an analyst but had the crazy notion he could be the first ever to leave the ranks of players and coaches and come in for play-by-play In his first year," said Terry O'Neil, executive producer of NFL broadcasts for CBS. "He's so bright and ambitious and he has a radio background. "More than that it's a chance to do something different with the job. Men with a deeper perspective are the future play-by-play men. That's the kind of perspective a former player can give. We thought that with the right candidate, we could skip over the period of breaking him In as an analyst "But be will be bard to find if you are looking for him." That's because Dierdorf and Fugett won't work many games that will be seen in the bigger markets such as New York, Chicago or Los Angeles. O'Neil gave them the opening week off, then Dierdorf-Fugett did the Vikings-Buccaneers game. Following another off week, they'll work five consecutive weeks Minnesota at Buffalo, Philadelphia at New Orleans, Atlanta at Seattle, New Orleans at Atlanta and Washington at Cleveland. "There Is a lot of pressure on me," said Dierdorf, "because I am trying something that has not been tried before, making that quantum leap from radio color to TV play-by-play in less than a year. And as a former lineman and player, I have to escape the jock syndrome. Any athlete in broadcasting who tells you he is not sensitive to criticism like that is either lying or totally blind to what it going on out there." Other former players have made the jump from the field to the booth without much trouble, but none skipped the learning process as an analyst Then again, few had the on-air radio experience Dierdorf has. He played for 13 years before retiring to a broadcasting career. He has worked as an analyst on Cardinal games as well as those of the National Hockey League Blues and the University of Missouri football team. Dierdorf also hosts a sports talk show on KMOX in St Louis. But play-by-play on a television network is an entirely different situation. "The toughest part is juggling it all," he said. "You have to do both the game and handle the breaks without losing track. You have to concentrate on what you are being told by the director, whether to go to an update with Brent Musburger or a station ID. "We had to go quite often for updates in our first game, every couple of minutes, but we could not lose sight of our own game. It's easy to go to sleep on a play, easy to blank out if you aren't careful." Dierdorf and Fugett attended three preseason games, doing practice broadcasts while Pat Summerall and John Madden handled the real thing. That helped, although it enhanced Dierdorf s anticipation of his debut "I was so prepared and ready that I think I started off very aggressive," he said. "It was like starting a football game and everything builds up. You get so pumped up. Once the gun sounds, you're like a racehorse coming out of the chute. "Only two minutes into the game, the producer came on In my earphone and said, 'Slow down, you have three more hours.' "It was sound advice." Jir . . . -X Dan Dierdorf: from color to play-by-play Mother Shero Attempting To Make Mis Way into NlrJlL By Chris Baker 1985, Los Angeles Times ICTORIA, Canada Ray Shero has some big skates to nil. Shero. 23, is the youngest son of Fred "the Fog" Shero, who spent 15 years in the National Hockey League as a defenseman and later coached the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers. He's longshot trying to earn a contract with the Los Angeles Kings. A 5-8. 185-pound center, he was drafted by the Kings in the 1 1th round In 1982 but chose to remain at St Lawrence University in Canton. N.Y. He graduated last June. Tiger Williams calls me Freddie," Ray Shero said. Fred Shero coached the Philadelphia Flyers to consecutive Stanley Cup championships In 1974-75. His teams were known as the Broad Street Bullies because they intimidated other teams. But Shero to credited with being an innovative coach who brought many changes to hockey. They called Fred The Fog because be was a deep thinker." Pat Quinn, coach of the King, said. "He was so consumed with hockey that be seemed to be in a fog." Quinn worked as an assistant coach under Shero in Philadelphia for a year. "He was responsible for a lot of changes In the game," Quinn said. "He was the first coach to have a system for each area of the ice. He was really leader in the profusion. He was known for his eccentricity as much as his brilliance. "I feel the year that I spent with him was more valuable in developing my coaching philosophy than anything else." Shero left the Flyers In 1978 to become head coach and general manager of the New York Rangers, where he lasted three seasons. He now works as a color commentator on telecasts of the New Jersey Devils' games and his nickname has changed. Because of his gravel-voiced delivery, he now Is known as The Frog. "Ray doesn't remind me that much of his dad." said King defenseman Rick Lapolnte, who played for Shero's father in Philadelphia. "His dad always looked like he was in a fog all the time." Because of his father's job. however. Ray Shero got to do things that most kids only dream about While other kids who idolized hockey players hung around the rink, begging for autographs and broken sticks, Ray got to skate with the Flyers and go oo trips with the Rangers. He considered it normal for a teen-age kid to tag along with NHL stars. In fact he said, he took it for granted. He was 4 years old when he started skating, and I when be began playing hockey. His father was a hockey nomad who said that he moved his family 20 times In bis quest for the perfect hockey coaching job. "I went to practices with my father but he never draggme," Ray said. "I was 12-13 when the Flyers won the (Stanley) cups. I remember taking the day off from school and riding in the parade after we won the cup the first time. There were 2 million people downtown (along the parade route). We were riding In convertibles and half of the players couldn't make it through the crowd. "Bobby Clarke was my favorite player on the Flyers. I liked the way he played all out He gave our family a beautiful Samoyed dog for Christmas one year." But being the coach's son also presented problems for Shero. "InPbilly there was a lot of pressure on me because they'd say, 'You're Shero's kid. You're supposed to be really Shero's real name is Rejean. His father said he named him after former Montreal Canadien star Rejean Houle. Fred Shero still remembers the first time he skated with Ray. The first time I put him on the ice was when I was coaching in Omaha in 1964. when he was just 2," the elder Shero said from his home In Hartsdale, N.Y. "I bought him a brand new pair of skates and we went out to the rink. I skated the length of the Ice and he wouldn't skate with me. He stood there crying. "I turned my back on him. He skated to the other end and he hit me with a stick because I wouldn't help him. That was the first time be realized he could skate. "He was a better baseball player than a hockey, player. He played shortstop oo the same tttle League team as Orel Hershlser when we lived in Cherry Hills (NJ.). They also played on the hockey team together. But I think Orel made the right choice when he went into baseball." (Hershiser said be doesn't remember Ray Shero.) But Fred Shero said be didn't push his son Into hockey. In fact be said that he hasn't seen Ray play more than six times in the last three years. "And I donl particularly like watching him play," he added. "I didn't think a parent should coach his son in any sport It's most embarrassing to some kids to have their parents around all the time. He has a right to live his own life. You can't live through him. "I was a boxer before I became a hockey player and I still remember the night when I fought for the Canadian title and my father came to watch me." Fred Shero said his son is a better player than he was. "He has so much confidence in himself." Fred said. "I was so shy when I was a kid that I was afraid to speak. But Rejean has my wife's personality. He's much more outgoing than I am. "He reminds me of Bobby Clarke, and I think Bobby Clarke was the best hockey player in his day. I think Rejean got It from following Bobby around. He forecbecks like Bobby Clarke, and he's very Intelligent oo the faceoff. 1 lot of the kids Rejean played with ar(ln the big leagues now and he's better than they are. He can play in the National League (NHL). I know he's got the ability. I just hope be doesn't give up easily. "He has more experience than any Canadian hockey player coming up today. (Ray was born in St Paul, Minn.) Everywhere he's been, he's played with my teams and trained with them The first time I met a pro hockey player was when I turned pro. But he's been around them all his life." Even so, Ray Shero may have a hard time making the Kings because the team has a surplus of quality centers. Shero. called a good defensive center by coaches, is battling for a spot on a team laden with such high-scoring centers as Marcel Dionne and Bernie Nicholls. Shero said he'd probably settle for going to the Kings' minor-league team in New Haven. Conn. Shero survived the first cut at training camp because be impressed the coaches with his hard work. "He's a very good player defensively." Quinn said. "He might be a chip off the old block." But what will happen If Shero doesnl cut it In hockey? Will he go into coaching? "A lot of people have asked me that" he said. "But I dool think I'd want to get Into coaching. I want something that lasts longer. "1 have a friend who Is working oo Wall Street and he said that would have a job or me."

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