Philadelphia Daily News from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 10, 1961 · Page 53
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Philadelphia Daily News from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania · Page 53

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Tuesday, January 10, 1961
Page 53
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" ! tarry 'munity, athletic and otherwise, is losing a man of radiant class. The other is that we are keeping an organization, the Eagles, of uncommon commonness. ' There Is a saying that class tells. It does. Which is why the Eagles won a championship. Van Brocklin would have meant a championship in at least half a dozen other NFL cities this season. The corollary of the above is that commonness also tells. The Eagles management, which has done nothing in a decade to distinguish itself besides hiring Van Brocklin, showed that too last week. In reneging on their promise to elevate Van Brocklin to head coach, the politicians who betrayed him also betrayed themselves. They are small men.' They are insufferable dwarfs consumed by the politician's instinct for surrounding himself with smaller men. That is why they could not take on a Van Brocklin as anything but a player. He is too much man for them. He is a strong leader and they have the hack politician's fear of strength. Skids Under Greasy That is why they preferred a Hugh Devore and even a Buck Shaw to a Greasy Neale. When neophytes Jim Clark and Frank McNamee took over the Eagles in the name of the "Century Club" a decade ago, they immediately began to harass Neale who knew more about football and coaching than they could imagine in .their wildest Ar-na-ma TTa loafed rra vpar iindpr them. Tn his nrevious six seasons he had guided the Eagles to three second place finishes and three firsts. . The significance of this attitude was dramatized last Thursday in a meeting between the Eagles and THE Eagle. The antago-. nists were McNamee and Van Brocklin. General manager Vince McNally and vice-president Joe Donoghue were spectators. Clark could not bring himself to attend the sordid affair; it was he who had put the Eagles stamp on Bert Bell's coaching promise to Van Brocklin. Firstly, McNamee made no real effort to coax the Dutchman out of retirement. He never mentioned money. Tn sav. "are vnu interested in cominsr back as a player or player-coach?" is VAN BROCKLIN one thing. To say, "we will give you $65,000 to be player-coach," is quite another. So the Eagles failed in their prime obligation to their fans. They did not even seriously try to bring back the player most responsible for the team's success. And they demonstrated their pathetic weakness when they did get around to the subject perhaps out of embarrassment, or to placate their collective conscience ot the coach. Strings Are for Puppets Would he, McNamee asked, want to bring in his own assistants? Of course he would. What kind of a coach wouldn't? How can you tell if a coach can coach if he must work with players and assistants not of his own choosing? They didn't attach any strings to Vince Lombardi when he went to Green Bay. Strings are for puppets. After the title game I asked a member of the Eagles cabinet to name Shaw's probable successor. "Van Brocklin," he said. "The players expect it. After what he's done for them, I think they'd kill themselves for him." What happens to the assistants? "What happens to all assistants," he said. "They go, unless he wants to keep them." Last week I ventured the opinion that Nick Skorich is better qualified to coach the Eagles without Van Brocklin as quarterback than Van Brocklin is.. Now I wonder about it. Skorich could no doubt do a thorough, workmanlike job. That is laudable. But is he more than a technician? Can he handle and inspire men? At least we know that Van Brocklin has the quality of greatness in him. It-now occurs to me that what the Eagles need most without the genius of Van Brocklin at QB is the promise of genius of Van Brocklin as coach. Predictably, the Eagles were 'unwilling to invest in such a future. I'll not weep when the future turns on them. Merchant Uncommon Commonness Aside from the moral issue, there are two overriding sadnesses in l'af-f aire Van Brocklin. , One is that the Philadelphia com- if - 1 i THE IfgJljQl IN iP'ORTS. SUITED TO BE A COACH, boss, Walt Alston, how he looks, in Dodger uniform. Unlf ax New Face in Dodger Crowd Leo Durocher LOS ANGELES (UPI). Leo Durocher, who first Joined the Dodgers 23 years ago, was back with the same club today as a coach a job" he asked for after charging major league owners had blacklisted him. Donning the same number., : ; ... , 2 he wore as both a tilaver i and manager, Durocher Joined with Los Angeles Dodgers manager Walt Shaw, Dutch, Bednarik in Helms Hall LOS ANGELES (UPI) Buck Shaw, who bids farewell Sunday to a 39-year coaching: career, and eight players were named today to the Helms major league football Hall of Fame. Two players from Shaw's Eagles, quarterback Norm Van Brocklin and linebacker Chuck Bednarik, were among those honored in the 1960 Hall of Fame selections made by Los Angeles sports writers. Shaw is retiring after directing the East squad Sunday in the Pro Bowl game at the Coliseum. Van Brocklin says it will be his last game as a player. Other players named to the Hall of Fame in addition to Van Brocklin and Bednarik were: Y. A. Tittle, veteran quarterback of the San Francisco Forty Niners; Emlen Tunnell, defensive back of the Green Bay Packers; George McAfee," ex-Chicago Bears halfback; Roy "Link" Lyman, an end in the mid-1920s with the Canton Bulldogs; Bill Dudley, halfback for nine years with the Steelers, Lions and Redskins; and Jim Benton, end with the Cleveland Rams, Bears and Los Angeles Rams.4 ' Leo Durocher shows his A1wn m omciauy announ cing at a press conference yesterday that he was back with the club. It marked his return to baseball six years after leaving the then New York Giants as manager. Durocher said he went to Los Angeles general manager E. J. "Buzzie'.' Bavasi and asked for the coaching job. Tne appointment marked the first time Durocher has become a coach. He went from player to manager before. "After all, I'd been out of work for 15 months," he pointed out. "I wanted to get back to work, especially in baseball." BUT DUROCHER said his coaching Job would not prevent him from doing the five-minute radio show to which he was signed several weeks ago. "We have Leo on our side and we're certainly glad to have him with us," Alson said in making the announcement that Durocher was joining the Dodgers. "Leo can help us in lots of ways. We have a young club and it needs a Jot of instruction. Leo can help us by working with the players, coaching at third base and bringing his baseball knowledge. Durocher made it- clear that he had no thoughts of any managerial job with any club in joining the Dodgers as a coach. And he said he had no idea what his salary would be and didn't even have a contract. Bavasi confirmed neither Alston nor Durocher had gone through the formality of signing., contracts for the 1961 season. North Carolina, Loyola Placed On Probation . PITTSBURGH (UPI). The NCAA today placed North Carolina and Loyola of New Orleans on probation for one year and barred their basketball teams from competing in the National Collegiate basket ball Championships .and any other invitational basketball events. . The NCAA also placed Arizona on probation for one year but did not Impose any sanctions. Walter Byers, executive director of the NCAA, said Arizona escaped penalty because the school made its own investigation on recruiting irregularities and reported voluntarily to the NCAA. The university president also has declared his intention not to renew the appointments of two assist- 'i ant football coaches involved in the irregularities. i THE COACHES named were end coach Van Howe and line coach Ron Mar-cinaik, whose contracts ex-, pire this June. The sanctions against North Carolina and Loyola bar them from such tournaments as the National Invitational Tournament and the holiday festival. The Tar Heels had been under investigation since 1957 when it was alleged they had illegally recruited basketball players from St. John's. Frank McGuire, who coached at St. John's before taking over the Tar Heels in 1952, denied wrongdoing. "We're Innocent of doing anything out of the way," he said. "That's why we're here to prove it. The governing body lifted a two year suspension against Southern Cal and a one year penalty against Tulsa. A few hours later Oklahoma's "indefinite" probation was ended. Sherman New Giants' Boss? New York Allie Sherman, who played for the Eagles during the Greasy Neale era, was expected to succeed Jim Lee Howell today as head coach of the New York Giants of the NFL. Howell resigned at the end of last season. Sherman, who has been an offense coach with the Giants off and on since 1949, played with the Eagles from 1943 through 1947. - lie was an offense aide with the Giants for four years, moved to the Canadian League but returned to the Giants, replacing Vince Lombardi, in 1959. Neale often said Sherman had 'one of the sharpest football minds in the business.' Allie is 37 years old. - ' o CO 3 - 3 o o

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