Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan on January 30, 1980 · Page 55
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Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan · Page 55

Detroit, Michigan
Issue Date:
Wednesday, January 30, 1980
Page 55
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222-0720 ! sportsllna For the latest sports scores and results ' Wednesday, lan, 30, 1CCQ HORSE RACING Slttler is stsaming: Darryl Sittler had another run-in with Maple Leaf management Tuesday the latest skirmish in a season-long war between players and bosses. Details are on Page 3. mm ENTERTAINMENT 8-9 TELEVISION 10 COMICS 11-13 LJ M & DETROIT FREE PRESS 1M3I Spartans pick Muddy Waters By CHARLIE VINCENT Free Press Sports Writer Michigan State University came up with its second straight surprise Tuesday, naming Saginaw Valley's Frank (Muddy) Waters to succeed Darryl Rogers as head football coach of the Spartans. ' Waters, 56, was a four-year letterman at Michigan State from 1946 through 1949 but his name was never one of those mentioned In the wild guessing game that began the moment Rogers was confirmed as Arizona State's new coach. "This appointment is something I've dreamed of for 30 years and thought had passed me by," Waters said Tuesday afternoon. "My goal is to help put Michigan State football back on the road to success, where it belongs. I want to get on the recruiting job right away. If I can get a list of names of prospects, 7 Wl W Gsoigo 1(1 JPuscas : ft f1 Duffy Daugherty Football coach is yet another surmise Name most MSU watchers had in mind wasn't Muddy On a level far lower than national, or even the Big Ten, Frank (Muddy) Waters is a name revered among coaches. In high school ranks and among Michigan's several dozen small colleges, no one stands higher. Still, you are led to wonder why Michigan State University turned late Tuesday to a man so far removed for so long a u uin me Dig scene oi coiiege iooioau to come nome ana iry to revive me ionorn spanans. An awful lot of Spartans are going to be disappointed, that's for sure. They were looking for a bigger name, something flashier, certainly somebody of wider reputation. , Muddy Waters' appointment came as a complete surprise, totally unexpected, because it seemed certain the Spartans were ready to name just what everybody expected specifically, George Perles of the Super Bowl Pittsburgh Steelers. Waters never was given a mention in any of the conjecture over who would replace Darryl Rogers as the MSU coach. You understand why. First, his age alone would seem a handicap. He is 56, which is not all that old when you come right down to it, but the trend everywhere in football in recent years has been to hire much younger men. Then, his experience, though long and noteworthy, has been on fields far removed from major college ball with lesser players in far lighter competition. So why, then, Muddy Waters? fe's got a venerable reputation "Well, I thought he would get the job many years ago," says Jack McEvoy, athletic director at tiny Hillsdale College. This is the school where Waters made his countless friends and his reputation among coaches for many years. "Back in the 1950s when Biggie Munn was stepping down as Michigan State's football coach to become the athletic director, a lot of people were pulling for Muddy Waters to be the new coach. The job went to Duffy Daugherty instead." That gives you some idea about Muddy Waters. That many years ago 25 by actual count people were saying he had the makings of a super football coach, and deserved a shot on the big campus. It never came, net until late Tuesday when Michigan State stunned everyone by reaching far out to make Muddy Waters its coach. "He deserves it," says McEvoy. "Anybody who knows him knows that. He is a class man, a wonderful man well thought of by everyone. He can do them a mighty fine job." Obviously, the reasons behind Waters' appointment go deeper than that. For one, he has countless friends and admirers on all levels of coaching in Michigan. That could be a key. There probably is not a school district in the state that Waters cannot reach into and find a friend or collect a favor. Or a football player. In its ambition to return to dominance of the Big Ten, Michigan State will have to cull the very best prospects that ' exist out of the state's own high schools. That should be one of Waters' real strengths. Obviously, the powers at Michigan State think he can coach some, too. He has been magnificently successful throughout his career beating the likes of Adrian, Alma, Albion and the like while coaching teams at Hillsdale and , Saginaw Valley. Is this the same as coaching in the Big Ten? Hardly, but that's no particularly knock. It might even be easier in the big leagues, as a lot of men coming out of the boonies find. The competition certainly will be tougher, but so will the players he will have available. They play the game basically the same in all leagues, so it figures if Muddy Waters can coach in one, he ought to be able to coach in all. Muddy was a fullback at MSU in the late 1 940s, and actually got his coaching start from another former Spartan coach, the late Charley Bachman. Small schools, big achievements When Charley stepped out at MSU to make way for Biggie Munn," says McEvoy, "he moved here to Hillsdale as our coach. A few years later, he took on Muddy Waters as his chief assistant." And when Bachman retired, there was Waters on hand to become the Hillsdale coach. He remained there until seven years ago, when he moved over to newly opened Saginaw Valley. It was at Hillsdale, though, where Waters became known as one of the sharpest small college coaches in the land. During an 11-year period reaching through most of the 1 960s, Hillsdale ( 1 ,000 students) won the MIAA cham- I plonship 10 years and gained national attention. In 1 967, Waters put together a team that went unbeaten. ' It received a bowl game bid, and when the MIAA told him he could not take the team to a postseason game, Waters told the conference to soak its head. He took his team anyway, and Hillsdale was bounced from the MIAA. It took him a few years, but Waters helped formulate the Great Lakes Inter-Collegiate Conference (Wayne State, Ferris State, Hillsdale, Saginaw Valiey, etc.). Last fall, his Saginaw Valley team won the championship. This is a long drop down, quality-wise, from the kind of football he wiil be expected to produce for the Spartans. But he has been a v;.mer, a big one, throughout h; j career. I'll make some calls tonight or tomorrow. "And I need a staff, too. I'll start work on that as soon as I can." Rogers took six of his assistant coaches to Arizona State with him, leaving only Sherman Lewis, who has served under Daugherty and Denny Stolz as well as Rogers, to attempt to prevent the complete collapse of the school's recruiting pro gram. Lewis, himself had hoped to oe considered for the head coaching job. Two members of Waters' Saginaw Valley staff who might be making the move with him are his son, frame (Murky) Waters III, who was an all- Big Ten receiver at MSU in the late 1960s, and James Larkin, who also served as an assistant under the senior Waters at Hillsdale. Waters played fullback at MSU under Charley Bachman and Biggie Munn and was drafted by the Green Bay Packers. But he decided to pass up a pro career in order to coach. Though Michigan state alumni were vocal In their opinion the school should pick one of its own to head up the football program, it was the names of George Perles, Rollie Dotsch and Wayne rontes, three former msu men wno are x now assistants in the National Football League, who were mentioned over and over. Doug Weaver, himself a surprise nominee when he was named MSU's new athletic director last week, was apparently not Influenced by the flood of politicking for those three, though. "Muddy is a proven coach and one of the most respected men In his field in the country," Weaver said, shortly after arriving back on the Michigan State campus from Atlanta, where he concluded his duties as Georgia Tech's athletic director. "He has the character and talent to attract character and talent In coaches and athletes. He is as Michigan State as Spartan Stadium and Beaumont Tower. I feel that Michigan State football has never had a brighter future. "I'm as excited as I was years ago when taking the field against Michigan or Notre Dame." Doug Weaver WEAVER MADE HIS recommendation to Michigan State president Cecil Mackey and vice president of operations Kenneth Thompson, who apporoved of Waters. The terms of his contract remain subject to approval of the schools' board of trustees. Waters has been a high school and college football coach in the state ever since graduating from MSU. His first coaching jobs were at Walled Lake and Albion high schools in the early See WATERS, Page 7D AP Photo Frank (Muddy) Waters: "This appointment is something I've dreamed of for 30 years and thought had passed me by. My goat is to help put Michigan State . football back on the road to success." KIRK CAN'T SWITCH WITHOUT A FIGHT Tigers9 contract is solid By BRIAN BRAGG Free Press Sport Writer It Is virtually certain that Kirk Gibson will play centerfield for the Tigers in 1980, regardless of the overtures being made to him by the St. Louis football Cardinals. . Gibson and his agent, Doug Baldwin of Seattle, remained incommunicado Tuesday, a day after meeting with officials of the National Football League club to talk over a possible switch from baseball to football. But Gibson, who signed with the Tigers for a $200,000 bonus in the summer of 1 978, has never given any indication that he wants to switch sports, and ', even the Cardinals admit that their new conversations with the former Michigan State All-American are a last-ditch effort. "I wanted to talk to him now be cause I don't believe he would have a choice next year," said the Cardinals' director of operations, Joe Sullivan. "Next year he would have been out of football for two seasons, and I don't think he could come back after that." , GIBSON and Baldwin met with Sullivan and Larry Wilson, St. Louis player personnel chief, Monday evening to hear the Cardinals' latest proposals. "Nothing has been decided," said Sullivan, "and we'll be talking again. They have some things to think over." Sullivan said the Cards made no firm offer Monday. "We just talked about things like, 'What does football have to offer to my life if I should decide to go to football Instead of baseball.' " But even if Gibson should suddenly decide to switch, it wouldn't happen without a court battle. When he signed with the Tigers in 1978, he put his name on a contract which according to baseball's management and the players' association committed him to the Tigers for up to six years. Gibson has not signed a new contract for 1980 or beyond, but the original contract is renewable at the Tigers' pleasure. And In that contract is a clause that Is standard throughout professional baseball. The clause reads: "The player and the club agree that the player's participation In certain other sports may impair' or destroy his abilities and skills as ' a baseball player. Accordingly, the player agrees he will not engage in professional boxing or wrestling; and that, except with the written consent of the See GIBSON, Page 2D' Kirk Gibson Waters' colleagues are happy By HAL SCHRAM and MICK McCABE Free Press Sports Writers It was 30 years ago that Jack Finn, the football coach and athletic director at North-wood Institute, first learned of Frank (Muddy) Waters' great desire to be a football coach. "We were teammates at Michigan State for two seasons before I got my leg banged up," Finn said Tuesday after having talked to Waters about his new position as head coach at Michigan State University. "We graduated in the same class in 1950, and all through See COACHES, Page7D n f 1 1 II ) -V jjfo.I'-, M . rtyt 0 - - i , ..-.:: 4,. J( .:-: fmmnim-. V J, ., ' J F 1 I f m-'m - .ft I " " I -f ""! ( V' " V. ' -V, - $ f 4 L f. ; frJlj 4 J L -J "4 "-x -ATS" n iTI -f ' "L .'sLi - n '.L hy. w ;" s f(fJ .. -1 .It ... ir-i fnri ,tL MJIfimtJif - iiiii4. " ' f't4' ""JI Wiety.. ., n.iljr..m,.j.lyi......,..i.Hl i , mi 4k , il il I -it s -4 . "i innmiirrillitT-r -T -i . . f, J.; f -j n nun,, n,..i..i. .rJ f J w-i-J I I "J Y y J f'iX j! W fl 1 JS i r t 1 ' 1 "i " .'. ; "7Z... . .w ' ; ' " ' i : ft nun,, ' 1 jfes" convGisations vjith Spaihy Sparky Anderson is making preparations for his first full season as manager of the Tigers. As he awaits the start of 1980 spring training, the veteran field boss offers viewpoints and observations on a variety of topics in a series of interviews with Free Press baseball writer Brian Bragg. Conversations with Sparky appears each Wednesday. Superstars born? God deserves assist Religion in sports has received a lot of attention in recent years. Baseball Chapel has become a part of our game, and it's a regular function for some players before our games every Sunday. I'm not a religious man, but I've been to chapel service a lot. I always say, we sinners need it more than the good ones. I think chapel service is super, because it gives you 20 to 30 minutes once a week to think about things in your life. I believe in God, and I believe He can give you the inner strength to understand things. But It's a mistake to think God is going to lead you in every way. That would be a misunderstanding, not only for an athlete, but for anyone else. If a person fails and then says, "That's what God intended for me," then he's only kidding himself, If a player says, "Well, we lost, and that's the way God wanted it," he's wrong. I can't believe God cares what happens in a baseball game. He has too many things that are more important people that are sinning, people that are sick and dying and He's not See SPARKY, Page6D ROUTED BY WARRIORS, 11M00 Pistons look pitiful UPI Pioto bv DAN DMiTRUK Bob Lanier works out Tuesday at the Silverdome (story on Page 6D). By CHARLIE VINCENT Free Press Sports Writer "This is embarassing!" It was just a single voice among the 5,212 fans who paid their way into the Pontiac Silverdome Tuesday night to watch the two worst teams in the National Basketball Association. But it came from directly behind the Detroit Piston bench and it summed up the feelings of the mini-crowd. Detroit and Golden State brought the two worst records In the NBA Into the Silverdome between them they had won just 29 of 104 games and when it was all over there was no doubt which was truly the league's worst team, at least on this cold and blustry night. Golden State, which had lost five straight games, 21 of its last 25 and 13 in a row on the road, routed the thoroughly disoriented Pistons, 111-100, sending the most of the smail crowd out into the darkness long before the final buzzer sounded. Detroit, now 14-39 for the year, led briefly In the first period but Golden State scored eight straight points four of them by guard Phil Smith - to take a 26-20 lead. And the Pistons were never again in front. THE WARRIORS led 34-25 after one quarter, 60-50 at halftime and 85-75 after three periods, before ballooning their advantage to as many as 18 points midway through the final quarter. "We were down by 10 at half," Piston coach Richie Adubato noted, "and if we could have handled the ball properly we could have caught up. We just didn't take care of the basketball . . . turnovers have been a problem with us all year." See PISTONS, Page 6D I-

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