Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan on January 3, 1979 · Page 7
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Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan · Page 7

Detroit, Michigan
Issue Date:
Wednesday, January 3, 1979
Page 7
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2D DETROIT FREE PRESSWEDNESDAY. JAN. 3, 1979 SpOltS PSSP8 byJackSaylor Ex-Wing can't help his smile at Red Wings' loss ', Well, the Red Wings finished up a lost weekend , . .or Is It just finished, period? And who did them in but the Pittsburgh Penguins, coached by little ol' Johnny Wilson. "That's not too bad when you consider they were both 'four-point' games in our division," said John, grinning like the cat with a belly full of canary. ; "When I played with Detroit it was most gratifying naturally, we had the winning clubs. There was a lot of pride and dignity and, no doubt, it still exists. But when you're on the other side of the fence, It's even more gratifying to come back and beat the club that you played for and coached." Wilson played for the Red Wings for seven seasons ... the days of Howe, Lindsay Abel, Kelly, etc. But there was also the ever-present Wilson, skating, digging, killing penalties, making a pest of himself, popping in the occasional goal and helping sip champagne from the Stanley Cup four times. Ever-present? The Kincardine (Ont.) native earned the nickname "Iron Man" for nlavins In 580 consecu tive NHL games with the Wings and three other teams. ' Wilson was brought in to replace Doug Barkley as the Detroit coach during the 1971-72 season, then coached another complete season before being dumped by the frenzied Red Wings' front-office situation (spell that Ned Harkness) that existed at the time. J "I was a victim of circumstances or a victim of something, I don't know," the 49-year-old Wilson chuckled. ' Mostobservers felt he got a bum deal and the record shows that the Wings' 37-29-12 record in Wilson's lone full season remains Detroit's best over the last eight seasons. J t it I ' . y ' ; Johnny Wilson "I'd have to say the way it transpired it was a bad deal," Wilson agreed. "I came in there with the season partially under way and we kinda' rallied. The team wasn't going anywhere they had only won a couple and we were down at one stage by 14 or 15 points. "We made it most interesting and got down to the final week. In fact, if we had not had the accumulation of injuries, we would have made the playoffs in both of those years. "We lost out in the final weekend (1972-73). . .we had 86 points, but in those days there were only two divisions and we were in the tough division. In the other one, Chicago finished first. They weren't even close to us, they had 78, maybe 80 points." Still, Wilson was derrlcked (in favor of Ted Garvin). Johnny moved to Atlanta, a couple of WHA stops, then a year with the Colorado Rockies before hitting Pittsburgh last season. One of the WHA jobs was with the late-unlamented Michigan Stags. "I always liked Detroit and that was the main reason I took that job. I would say that stop was unrewarding," he laughed. Life in the Steel City is much better. "We've played extremely well," Wilson said. "Baz (GM Baz Bastien) made some good deals last summer and we got some pretty good stable hockey players. They're working extremely well as a team." Wilson sold his home in Northville, but admitted he might well return to the Detroit area "when the coaching profession has passed me by." : Right now, his Penguins have passed the Wings by, but Wilson sees a future for his "alma mater." "They have a lot of kids there It's gonna' take some time. You have to have patience," he suggested. "Things look very glamorous one week and very gloomy the next it's a game-to-game basis and then reverts. , "Patience is a virtue. You can't be making deals just because you lose a couple games in a row. The big thing is: don't panic." Like they did when a coach named John Wilson was here . . . right, John? BARRY SWIT2ER proved 19 years too late that his Arkansas coach may have been playing him out of position lo, those many years ago. The present Oklahoma coach was a linebacker and center in his playing days with the Porkers. But he made a leaping catch of an out-of-bounds pass in the first half of Monday's Orange Bowl game. "Wonder if they'd have penalized me if I had spiked the ball?" Switzer said. Never at a loss for a quip, the Sooners' coach added: "It'll be in our highlight film." DON SHELL Is a Christian athlete, but he'll give fellow-Christian Earl Campbell another rap to the ribs if the occasion arises next Sunday (of all days). It was Shell, the Pittsburgh Steelers' safetyman, who jolted the Houston running back's ribs in their first meeting Dec. 3. "It was just an ordinary hit, but he was up in the air, very vulnerable," said Shell, who went immediately to the sidelines and prayed that Campbell was not seriously hurt. "I'm a Christian young man and he's a Christian young man and you don't like to see anybody hurt." Now the twain meet again in the AFC title game. "I got to know Earl as a Christian brother and I'm thankful for the chance to play against him again," Shell said. "I'm also looking forward to playing with him in the Pro Bowl." BILLY SULLIVAN filed suit In U.S. District Court in Boston Tuesday in an attempt to prevent his New England Patriots' coach, Chuck Fairbanks, from leaving the team to take the coaching job at the University of Colorado. Named by the Patriots' owner were the university, its regents and president, athletic director Eddie Crowder and two businessmen-fans, Jack Vickers and Robert Six, charged with luring Fairbanks away and disrupting the New England playoff preparation. Sullivan seeks injunctions and damages. DIGGER PHELPS won't take his Notre Dame basketball team to Kentucky for any more holiday tournaments unless the Wildcats commit themselves to visit South Bend ... so there, too! Digger has lost five straight to Kentucky in the bluegrass country. The Irish lost, 81-76, in "neutral site" Louisville Saturday, costing Notre Dame its perfect record and probable No. 1 ranking. Phelps would like home-and-home agreements between Lexington and South Bend and asked Wildcats' coach Joe B. Hall about it. "He told me he didn't know, so I guess things are up in the air," Phelps reported. side bets Three times since 1903, all games of a single World Series bave been played in the same ball park. Can you name the years, the teams and the parks? In 1921 and 1922 when the New York Giants and the New York Yankees both won pennants, the Series was played at the Polo Grounds, home park for both teams. The same situation existed In 1944 when the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Browns both won pennants and the Series was played at Sportsman's Park. , - HJS. Hamalainen, Southgate Today's Question: Since the advent of professional baseall in 1876, there have been six professional leagues. Name the six leagues and their years of existence. , .. . Ellas Milonas, St. Clair Shores The Detroit Free Press wiH pay 15 H year question and answers are published. Send to Side Bets, Sports Department, Detroit Free Press, 321 W. Lafayette, Detroit, Mich. 48231. Include your name, address, telephone number and source of your information. Telephone caHs wii not be accepted. Sad farewell for U-M9s potent backfield for the record BOXING: Heavyweight boxer Duans Boblck and his manager were named Tuesday in lawsuits alleging the pair were evading a contract signed in October to fight Bob Hazelton of Wichita this month. Larry I Klenda, president of the Wichita Boxing Association, told reporters he was seeking $50,000 in actual damages and $250,000 punitive , damages from the two defendants. FOOTBALL: Bobby Williams, Ferris State College's all-time leading pass receiver, has been named the recipient of a $1,500 scholarship for post-graduate study from the National Collegiate Athletic Associa- t tion. . .Southern Cat has been selected by The Atlanta Journal to receive that newspaper's first award honoring the top football team in the nation, picked by its own specially devised formula. . i GOLF: Rene Powell, a 32-year-old American golfer, was named Tues- day as golf professional at the exclusive Silvermere Club at Cobham, England, and became the first black woman ever to hold such a position in Britain. FOOTBALL: Randy Gradlshar, whose knack for the big play and sixth sense for the ball provides the zest in Denver's potent "Orange v. Crush" defense, has been selected as United Press International's American Football Conference defensive player of the year for 1978, i. i HOCKEY: Canada defeated the United States. 6-3, for fifth place In the World Junior hockey championships at Karlstad, Sweden. The '-- Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia will meet for the title Wednesday. . . . Mllos Kovak scored a disputed goal with one second remain' ing In regulation time Monday night as the Czechoslovakia All-Stars '; played the Winnipeg Jets of the World Hockey Association to a 3-3 tie in Winnipeg . . . h'arcel Dlonne, the former Detroit Red Wings star, scored two goals on power plays Monday to lead the Los '- Angeles Kings to a 5-3 NHL victory over the Colorada Rockies, v Dionne raised his goal total to 28, tops in the league this season. - SKIING: Josef Samek of Czechoslovakia soared 101 meters Tuesday to Z win the wind-shortened second event of the annual Four-Hill ski Jumping tournament at Garmlsch-Partenkirchen, West Germany, TENNIS: American Betsy Nagelsen 22, Is favored to win the Australian Open women's singles title which opens Wednesday at Melbourne t. . . . Martina navratllova, champion of the Washington stop on the . ' pro tour three of the last four years, will oppose Lea Antonopolls in , the first round of the $125,000 tourney opening Wednesday . . . Australian John Marks outlasted Arthur Ashe Tuesday to move Into the finals of of $200,000 Australian Open finals, 6-4, 6-2, 2-6, 1 -6, .'9-7. jJ today's calendar DETROIT PISTONS at GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS, 10:30 1 p.m., radio WJR-AM (760): The Pistons take on the Warriors in the third game of a long five-game road trip. . This will be the second game In a row for the Pistons, who ; were in San Diego Tuesday night while Golden State had the ", night off after beating Seattle Monday. After a fast start, the Warriors have run into problems, dropping near the bottom I of the Pacific Division. Still, the Warriors have one of the j most talented backcourt combinations in Phil Smith and John Lucas. i sports on television 7:30 p.m. Q WEDNESDAY Pro Hockey: Atlanta at Toronto. Simple truth is. I U-M beat itself U-M, from Page 1D why Huckleby and Davis managed to lead U-M on the ground with just 28 yards apiece. THE MICHIGAN DEFENSE was better than Southern Cal's, doing every thing that Schembechler could, have asked. It held USC to 1 57 yards and 1 4 first downs; it held White to 99 yards on 32 carries; it stopped Paul McDonald, the Pac-10's leading passer, who managed just 23 yards on four completions in nine attempts, and a minus 55 yards on eight tries by ground; the defense did everything but play offense. ' "Our offense was like pulling teeth," said USC coach John Robinson. "We never got our rhythm. The primary thing was Michigan's defense. They were simply sensational. It was the best job of coaching by an opposing team on our offense that I've seen since I've been at USC." "I think our defense was sensational," said Schembechler. "We played the best football team in the country, and we played them nose-to-nose throughout the game. We did a job on them. "We didn't do a good job on offense. We didn't block them. I'm disappointed we didn't block, block, block. And they didn't block us well, either. Both teams ended up getting sacked constantly." And so, Leach, who led U-M to a 38-4-2 regular season record over the last f o$r years, has to finish his career with four bowl losses. And Schembechler, who has an overall record of 96-15-3, is still in search of a victory in the final game of the year. By TOM HENDERSON . Free Press Sports Writer PASADENA Michigan's 17-10 loss to USC Monday was an ignominious way for Rick Leach, Harlan Huckleby and Russell Davis to finish their Big Ten careers. After all, Leach threw two key interceptions, rushed for just 22 yards and was only 10 of 21 passing; Huck bowed out with just 28 yards, fumbled once and dropped a touchdown pass that would have tied the score in the second quarter before Bo Schembechler removed him from the game; and Davis managed just 28 yards, too, though that led U-M's anemic offense in the Rose Bowl. BUT THE FACT REMAINS: Michigan may not see their likes again. The three came in as freshmen, played varsity ball for four years and left with a slew of team, conference and Big Ten records. Skeptics will say that they had four years to run up their totals, that they couldn't wjn a bowl game. But nothing takes away from their figures. Leach was the big man in the stats and records department. He accounted for 82 touchdowns, the best in the history of the college game; his 6,460 yards total offense is a Big Ten record; he holds team records for pass attempts (537), passes completed (250) and passing yardage (4,284); he hold the Big Ten record for TD passes (48). It goes on and on. Huckleby had his share of success. Though he was out of the lineup with injuries much of the last two years, he gained 2,650 yards for fourth place on the all-time team list, ahead of Ron Johnson, Ed Shuttlesworth and Tom Harmon. And his career average of 5.2 yards is third best in U-M history. Davis, the all-Big Ten fullback this year with 683 yards, Is right behind Huck and in fifth place on the rushing list with 2,553 yards, despite spending much of this season blocking. He had 1,092 yards as a junior. LEACH WAS SPEAKING for himself after the Rose Bowl loss, but he could have been speaking for the other two when he said: ' "I'm disappointed, but we've been here three years and in four bowls. I had a close friend in the locker room who said, 'Man, you must really be down. "I'm not down. I've worked with underprivileged kids in Ann Arbor. I've worked with cancer patients and seen them dying. So football takes on less meaning. I'm disappointed, but it's not the end of the world. "A lot of good things hve happened to me and Rick Leach will keep plugging away. I'm accustomed to winning a lot in life, and naturally I wanted to win this one, especially for my teammates. I wanted a victory in the Rose Bowl, but it didn't happen. We'll keep our heads up, we've had a lot of good times at Michigan." So have the people who have watched them for four years. It was a special era. Leach may have lost four bowls, but his record In the regular season was 38-4-2. Let the writers who were mocking Leach after the Rose Bowl savor those figures: 38-4-2. He was a winner. So was Huckleby and Davis. They shall be missed. J Jix Y'T ' A $r M AP Photo USC tailback Charles White (left) clowns for photographers as he shares most valuable player honors with U-M quarterback Rick Leach after Monday's Rose Bowl. ; Sooners light tip 'disco show 9 By EDWIN POPE Knlght-Ridder Newspapers MIAMI Between Billy Sims' running and Thomas Lott's quarterbacking and a bunch of other folks disco-dancing and lighting up the sky, Monday's 45th annual Orange Bowl Classic gave America a lot to look at. Oklahoma's storming Sooners finally found the groove and bowled through it and Nebraska, 31-24, on New Year's Night. The game wasn't that close. It was more a matter of what coach Barry Switzer called his "very happy" Sooners getting their legs together for a 31-10 runaway at the start of the fourth quarter and then the Cornhuskers fighting back to stay close. Until Oklahoma greased its ground lightning for 292 yards to Nebraska's 217, disco had to carry the evening. Surely Oklahoma's passing never did. The Sooners simply disdained the air, with only 47 yards passing. You can do that when your rushing is strong enough to create the nation's No. 2 total offense while averaging only 61 yards a game passing. , BUT THE SOONERS funning down there on the grass were no better than a dead heat with the halftime disco delight. The dancingest, dazziingest combination of electronic and Terpsichorean cu-tups in college football history almost made the football game incidental at that. My, times do change. In 1933, Miami's 7-0 turnback of Manhattan College was considered exciting for the first Palm Festival, progenitor of the Orange Bowl Classic to begin two years later. Suspense was added when workers accidentally covered the air holes on transparent material packaging the Festival queen for pregame delivery. She was close enough to suffocating to become football's first purple queen. Fifteen hundred people saw that '33 game. A few thousand more heard it on local radio. Monday night's crowd of 66,365 was disappointing. But some 70 million both listened to and heard the Classic on television and radio. That is roughly one of every three Americans. And that is sort of staggering. SO WERE Sims and Lott. Sims, Oklahoma's Heisman Trophy-winning wonder boy as a mere junior, came to run, and run he did, 25 times for 134 yards. He scored touchdowns of two and 11 yards. His footwork had Studio 54 eating its heart out. He also ran over enough of Nebraska to pave a road back in Lincoln. If that wasn't the equal of Johnny Rodgers' running for four touchdowns and passing for another in Nebraska's 40-6 bombing of Notre Dame in 1973, it was plenty for this night. Sims may have had the best blocking of any Orange Bowler ever from Greg Roberts, a six-foot three-inch, 238-pound right guard you'll be hearing from in the next pro draft. Surely Sims had the best quarterbacking support of any recent Orange classic. Arkansas practically turned Thomas Lott into a pillar of salt in last year's 31-6 upset of the Sooners. It was the Cornhuskers' bad luck that Lott got even against them, faking, handing off, passing only three times and scoring twice on runs of three and two yards. Oklahoma led only 14-7 at half. If the ragged half had been a Broadway play, it would have lasted . . . well, as long as the first half. BUT THEN THERE was the disco show. That toe-tapping, eye-popping, shoulder-swinging, flashlight-waving celebration put Broadway in short pants and the television audience in stitches. Records are not kept on halftime shows. However, this one will show in TV ratings. It will bring NBC-TV back panting for future Classics when hopefully the Orange Bowl can get luckier and nail higher-ranked opponents than the fourth-ranked Sooners and sixth-ranked Cornhuskers. Orange Bowl Oklahoma 31, Nebraska 24 First downs Rushes-vards Passing yards Return yards Passes Punls Fumhles-lost Penalties-yards INDIVIDUAL Oklahoma Nebraska 17 27 53-292 54-217 47 220 66 2 2- 3-0 18-31-2 3-39 J-36 1-1 0-0 6-50 8-96 LEADERS RUSHING Oklahoma. Sims 25-134, Loll 14-74, Kino 11-65. Nebraska. Barns 19-99, Hipp 18-66, Sorley 7-24. PASSING Oklahoma, Loll 2-3-8-47 Nebraska, Sorley 18-31-2-220. RECEIVING-Oklahoma. Rhodes 1-38, Kimball 11-9. Nebraska, Brown 5-43, Smith 3-62, Wilier 3-49. Oklahoma 7 1 17 d-31 Nebraska 7 0 3 14-24 Neb Smith 21 pass from Sorley (Todd kick) Okla Sims 2 run (von Schamenn kick) Okla Lotl 3 run (von Schamann kick) Okla Sims 1 1 run (von Schamann kick) Okla FG von Schamann 26 Neb FB Todd 31 Okla Lotl 2 run (von Schamman kick) Neb Berns 11 run (Todd kick) Neb Miller 2 pass from Sorley (Vodd kick) v A 66,365 Conquering Spartans No. 1 cagers in the land MSU, from Page 1D "It sure does sound eood," said a beaming Johnson. "It's kind of hard explaining what it means to me. I haven't really felt it yet, but maybe that's because it's vacation. "It means a lot to the prograntand a lot to us as far as we can say we're No. 1. 1 guess it's just braggin' rights." To most basketball fans, one of the biggest surprises in tne top 20 is Illinois, ranked No. 3 with a 12-0 record. Heathcote, however, is not surprised. "I've seen them play, and Illinois is a pretty good team," said a convinced Heathcote. "Mark Smith is playing out of his gourd and Neil Bresnahan is playing well, but the big difference is Drek Holcomb (a 6-foot-11 junior transfer from Indiana). He doesn't score a lot but he passes well for a big man and he's like a f lyswatter in the middle. So that gives then a pretty solid defense and I still say you win with defense, not offense." After a pair of losses, Duke (6-2) dropped from No. 1 all the way to the No. 7 spot. Notre Dame ( 6-1), which lost to Kentucky, is No. 2 while UCLA (7-2) is No. 5. DESPITE HAVING a 4-1 record entering the tournament, Heathcote was not especially pleased with his team's play before it headed for Portland. Three victories later, Heathcote said his team is ready to open the Big Ten season. "What we did was start playing good basketball," he said. "I was pleased with our lesser-lights, so to speak Terry Donnelly and Ron Charles. We're kind of a big two, middle one and little two. I never like to describe teams like that because you have to have five good players in order to win. And now we ve got Mike Brkovich coming oft tne oencn playing well and we're pretty solid all the way around. We out-rebounded all our opponents solidly and that's a good sign. I think the team, in all respects, has improved." Johnson was voted the tournament s most valuable player, but he was more pleased with the rest of the team's performance. "I thought I played good," the sophomore guard said. "My shot was good and my defense, too. But the whole team was good. If I had to pick an MVP it would be Terry Donnelly. He was super." Southern Cal tops final UPI grid poll POLL, from Page 1D Michigan State by five points, 329-324 to win the UPI championship. The Fighting Irish captured that title on the basis of 20 first place votes to 10 for the Spartans. Oklahoma, a 31-24 Orange Bowl winner over Big Eight Conference rival Nebraska, received the other five first place votes and 467 points for third place. Penn State not only had a 19-game winning streak halted by Alabama, but slipped to fourth place with 424 points. Four weeks ago when the regular season ended the teams ranked 1 through 4 were Penn State, Alabama, USC and Oklahoma. The names remained the same, only the positions changed when the bowl action was completed. "WE'RE VERY pleased, obviously," said Robinson when he learned that the UPI board of coaches had picked USC as the national champion for the fifth time. The Trojans previously won in 1962, 1967, 1972 and 1974. "I'm sure it was a difficult decision. . . there are two or three or four teams in the nation that achieved a great deal. It's a particularly rewarding thing for our team. We had obviously one of the most difficult schedules ever undertaken at USC and when one of these things happen there are so many players and so many people involved that it's just a great thing for all of them." Michigan was picked fifth in the final rankings with 330 points, a sixth place tie was created between Notre Dame and Clemson as each drew 285 points, Nebraska was voted into the No. 8 position on 223 points, Texas was made No. 9 with 200 points and Arkansas was a shade back in 10th place with 199 points. Houston was picked No. 1 1 by the coaches as the Cougars headed the second 1 0 with 1 45 points, followed by UCLA (106), Purdue (97), Missouri (92), Georgia (61), Stanford (59), Navy (23), Texas A&M (21) and a 19th place tie at 16 points between North Carolina State and Arizona State. FOR ROBINSON, his cup truly runneth over. "We accomplished a great many things this season. We beat the Sugar Bowl champion (Alabama), the Cotton Bowl champion (Notre Dame), the Big Ten co-champions, Michigan and Michigan State, and the Bluebonnet champion, Stanford. We also beat UCLA which tied in the Fiesta Bowl. "These were all significant accomplishments for our team. We've very proud of our team. And we're certainly . very proud to be voted No. 1 by the coaches of America." When asked about a disputed touchdown in the Rose Bowl game Robinson said: "Obviously it had no effect on the ratings. Everyone is aware that controversial calls are made. I know it was a disppointment from Michigan's standpoint." Robinson said he felt the key factor in USC's 12-1 season was the perhaps overlooked talent of his players in preseason assessments. "I have to feel the key factor was the quality of our players," he said. "Our team i started without any illusions." 5 P. I ! L.4ro.,e ijfrJ iawa anjfl K Wi m jwn niii .ii Am f eaumlii iffo lAnwIhti hi - -

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