Smoked from Carolina, Valvano gets TV chance

Phil Jackman

November 23, 1990|By Phil Jackman

The TV Repairman: OH-OH, TIME to drag out, dust off and recycle our righteous indignation sentiments as Jim Valvano launches into his career as an analyst on college hoops.

Recall, Coach V departed North Carolina State, his tail feathers all but in flames, when he was hired by ABC to do what he does best: talk. One would think he had been hired to head a religious sect in Guyana.

Valvano was pilloried, if not worse. Tomorrow, V makes his debut, not on ABC but for its stepson, ESPN, and he'll be calling the LSU-Villanova game. He does good, hey, a star is born. Remember, gang, that's show biz.

* Nick Faldo, in typical Brit fashion, takes the Skins Game down to its basics: "Yes, well, the skill is taken away from the game [of golf], and it comes down to good luck and, mostly, timing. But. . ."

And it's that element of the competition playing on ABC Saturday and Sunday afternoons beginning at 3:30 that the so-called "Iceman" of the PGA Tour wouldn't miss for a moment.

"Let's face it," says the Englishman adjudged to be the best golfer in the world at present, "if it was just a 72-hole event week after week, that would be boring. This gives all the people who play skins for $20 or whatever a chance to see what our choking price is."

At the same time, Faldo is aware, "I could shoot a 66 and not win a skin. And that would be embarrassing. It's the guy who sneaks along who's dangerous. He gets in there, drops a long putt and we're all there wondering what happened."

dTC It's certainly worth a watch if you've never indulged.

* Fortunately, the viewing audience is more sophisticated tha some of the rubes who expert the upcoming sports offerings on the tube. Example: Detroit and Denver matching 3-7 records on NBC's Turkey Day clash yesterday.

Similar records screamed that this would be a goodie and highl competitive, but since they aren't involved in the bidding for playoff spots (ugh!), a bummer. It was a fine game, which, after all, is all a person cat-napping in front of the set is concerned about.

* The NFL pre-game shows, in their own best interests and otheir own free will, should deep-six any story that goes beyond two or three airings. The never-ending Lisa Olson and Dexter Manley sagas, for instance.

* CBS analyst Merlin Olsen's Thanksgiving memory: "I have five sisters and three brothers, and there are 44 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. Last year, I called my mom and asked if it was a busy day. She said, 'No, we had some of the family over for dinner.' I asked how many and she said, 'About 35.' "

* FNN Sports took the bother to have ex-UPI sports editor Jack Griffin, in effect, knock the writers' and sportscasters' AP college football poll while extolling the virtue of UPI's coaches' poll. Jack indicated that the coaches are always beyond reproach with their vote. Yeah. Earlier this season, Nebraska athletic director Bob Devaney blistered the Big Eight coaches for not sticking together and boosting their own.

* Bad mistake in New York the other night. In hopes of placating all fans, MSG Network split-screen a Rangers hockey game and a match from the Virginia Slims tennis tournament and both crowds are still yelping.

* Bill Ripken obviously knows more than second base. The No. 1 Oriole wrassling fan will be a guest on Larry Katz's show covering the grunt 'n' groaners today at 5 p.m. on WCBM.

* Speaking of the atomic drop set: As expected, Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior were the ultimate survivors in last night's Survivor Series pay-per-view extravaganza. The WWF cast will move back to the network ring tonight (10 o'clock, Ch. 2).

* NFL Films has won 40 Emmys and now bumbling commissioner Paul Tagliabue wants the league to have more control over the way the outfit does things?

* Why does the media in general, and TV in particular, feel it'necessary to give publicity to some radio disc jockey when he sets up housekeeping atop a stadium scoreboard until the home team wins. Actually, they should be passing the hat to get the guy some help.

* USA Network had a sensational wrap-up piece for its just-concluded 41-week boxing series and featured was Vincent Pettway, landing a honey of a hook on referee Frank Capuccino's face. . . best punch Vince has landed in two years.

* Channel 13 needs a lot of work on its pro football highlightpackage Sunday nights. Crowd shots, end zone hijinks and coaches walking off the field aren't making it. And Chris Ely's constantly apologizing for tape not showing up to illustrate his words is weak, too.

* Memo to Evander Holyfield-George Foreman fight publicists: Five months of Big George talking about how much he likes to eat?

* ESPN is putting the finishing touches on a 45-minute video detailing "The Life and Times of Secretariat," selling for $40 (another gulp).

* Now we know why "Mr. Wonderful," Jim Palmer, didn't call a full-scale press conference to discuss his comeback plans: He was only getting a jump on April Fool's Day. When Jimbo was a kid, was he the lad who cried wolf all the time?

* Pam Shriver, commenting on ABC's coverage of the men's ATP tennis championship from Germany last Sunday, showed aptitude for the work. Of course, we in Baltimore wouldn't know that because Channel 13 decided to go for a "Star Trek" movie.

* Oh, by the way, before ABC Sports hired Valvano as a basketball commentator, ABC News broke the story about the strange goings-on in the Wolfpack program. It's a time-honored verity with the networks: Never let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.

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