Gaits work here, but must play in Philly

The Inside Stuff

September 08, 1992|By Bill Tanton

The sensational Gait twins, Gary and Paul, will not be playing their indoor lacrosse for the Baltimore Thunder this winter.

Instead, they'll play for Philadelphia -- despite living and working here.

"The league has decided to put Gary and Paul in Philly," says Baltimore general manager Darrell Russell. "The theory is that they can sell more tickets there than they can in Baltimore.

"In Philadelphia, they were drawing 17,000 for their games, but that's fallen off to around 12,000. Plus, Philadelphia's tickets are priced higher than ours -- $14-$16 there and $12-$14 here."

The arrangement, says Russell, is to be announced during tomorrow's Major Indoor Lacrosse League conference call draft. Philadelphia, he says, will get the Gaits, but will not be able to pick any other players in the five-round draft.

The MILL is owned and run by Kansas City promoters Russ Cline and Chris Fritz. They decided it's best for the welfare of the league to have the Gaits filling all those high-priced, empty seats in the Spectrum.

"I'm very unhappy about this," says Russell, who is a judge in Baltimore County District Court. "I thought the league would let both Gaits play here. This is unfair."

Also unhappy are the Gaits, Canadian twins who gained their reputations as all-time All-Americans while leading Syracuse to three straight NCAA championships from 1988 to 1990.

"We were hoping to play in Baltimore," says Gary Gait, who moved here a year ago, works for Baltimore-based equipment manufacturer and distributor STX and played the outdoor season with the Mount Washington Club last spring.

Paul Gait, who recently finished work toward his degree at Syracuse, will be moving here soon and join his twin as an STX employee.

"The way it is now," says Gary, "we not only have to drive two hours to Philadelphia for games, we have to go to New Jersey for practices."

For the past two years, the high-scoring Gaits played for Detroit in the MILL. They led that team to the league championship in 1991, but the Turbos were beaten out this year by Buffalo, which was stocked almost exclusively with Canadians who have played the indoor game all of their lives.

Although it might seem Detroit will fold without the drawing power of the Gaits, who helped sell out the Baltimore Arena in their one appearance here last winter, Gary Gait says the Turbos have new plans.

"Detroit is doing some heavy recruiting in Canada," he said. "They saw what Buffalo accomplished with Canadian players, and there are a lot more of them up there."

Says Thunder boss Russell: "I'm trying to line up some Canadians to play here."

The high school football season opened over the weekend, anperennial power Poly showed it has another strong team by beating McDonogh, 28-8.

Poly's Greg Kyer is one of the most talented players I've seen on the prep scene in recent years. With a natural ease, Kyer runs the ball smartly, catches passes in a crowd and plays defensive back well (he had two interceptions).

McDonogh, however, is a team on the rise under second-year coach Mike Working. The Eagles start sophomores at quarterback (Bobby Sablehaus) and halfback (Dwayne Stukes, son of ex-Colt Charley Stukes). Loyola coach Joe Brune, scouting the game, agreed that McDonogh's future looks bright. He added: "They're going to beat some teams this year."

I see where Patterson High's star QB, Buddy Edmond, hatransferred to Mount St. Joe for his senior season. Shades of yesteryear.

In the '50s, St. Joe star quarterback Frank Tamburello (later a starter at Maryland) transferred to Patterson. Obviously, Edmond was the player to be named. We just didn't know it would take 35 years to name him.

It's clear by now that one of the few truly great football coacheAmerica is Howard Schnellenberger. He has built outstanding teams at two schools, Miami and Louisville, that were nowhere before he arrived.

Schnellenberger, who was hired by the late Joe Thomas to coach the Baltimore Colts two decades ago, went to Miami and won a national championship.

Schnellenberger recruited quarterbacks Jim Kelly, Bernie Kosar and Vinny Testaverde for the Hurricanes. More recently at Louisville, he developed Browning Nagle, now the Jets' No. 1 QB and great hope.

Schnellenberger's Louisville team lost at Ohio State Saturday, 20-19, after disdaining a tie and missing a two-point conversion try that would have brought his team a glorious victory.

It has always seemed a measure of the man that when Bob Irsay went to the sidelines during a game in Philadelphia and told Schnellenberger to change quarterbacks, Howard told the owner what he could do -- and was fired after the game. Years later, coach Mike McCormack, a lovely man, yielded to Irsay's "coaching" from upstairs.

You don't hear much about Mike McCormack today, and Howard Schnellenberger is one of the most respected coaches in the game. If we get another NFL team in Baltimore, Schnellenberger would be the man to coach it.

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