Coaches too quick to duck the blame for on-court fights

Phil Jackman

January 13, 1993|By Phil Jackman

Reading Time, Two Minutes:

Seriously, what does the MEAC stand for, Men Engaged in Athletic Combat?

Did you ever notice when a brawl ends a basketball game, a coach (i.e., Morgan State's Michael Holmes) jumps up and says the officials lost control of the game, shunning all responsibility?

Yes, Morgan State has a wrestling team, but no boxing squad (officially).

* Now that Camden Yards is all but smokeless, Guv, why not make Maryland the first non-smoking state? Or at least restrict lighting up to the (bleep-bleep) Eastern Shore?

* Along with win streaks of five and eight games, the 49ers enter the NFC title game against the Cowboys on Sunday with just an upset loss to Phoenix besmirching their 15-2 season. The other loss was to Buffalo, 34-31, when the Bills were riding high. The Cowboys (14-3) lost only to the Eagles and Redskins, understandable, and Rams, not.

* The Christmas card from Jose Sulaiman, president of the World Boxing Council, was posted in Mexico City on Dec. 18 and arrived in Baltimore on Jan. 12. Which suggests the United States shouldn't be hurt by the Fair Trade Agreement for quite a while.

* The British Broadcasting Co. still is hammering away at the fact the United States is playing host to the World Cup next year, one of its sportscasters comparing America's soccer tradition with that of pygmies in the Olympic high jump. An even better analogy would have been to compare soccer here with the success of British heavyweights over the years.

* While the New York Rangers were waiting around for their gear to show up so they could go out and lose to the Washington Capitals a while back, players began telling stories about weird happenings in the NHL. Defenseman Kevin Lowe recalled Edmonton going into Pittsburgh to play when there was a huge hole in the ice right in front of one of the benches: "They put a pylon up and we played and it got knocked over several times during the game."

* The NFL had nine new coaches this season, the five who were getting their first chance in the big time running up a record of 47-33 while the quartet of retreads went 22-42. No doubt the message will be lost on team owners, though.

* Here's a gem from a new book entitled "Nash & Zullo's Believe It or Else!! Basketball Edition." It seems George Yardley, the first man to score 2,000 points in an NBA season, was traded by the Detroit Pistons in 1957-58 because of baldness. Team owner Fred Zollner was reportedly acting on the advice of a woman who pointed out that "baldies don't make good matinee idols."

Good thing she never saw Y. A. Tittle, Harmon Killebrew, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan and Marvin Hagler.

* Washingtonians should have sensed it was going to be a crumb-bum year for Mark Rypien when the Redskins quarterback staggered in with a second-round 90 as a wild-card entry into the Kemper Open golf tourney. He was holding out at the time and some suggested the links might prove an alternate career for him. What, as a caddy?

* Far and away the best hoops analysis on television is provided on ESPN by Jim Valvano. As Massachusetts was falling behind Cincinnati, the former N.C. State coach experted, "The reason UMass isn't shooting well is its pants are too long. Look at 'em, you could cuff 'em."

* Word is that no fewer than eight 49ers have signed up for Verne Gagne's "American Sumo," a 16-city tour in which 64 NFLers will grapple for $1.1 million in prize money leading up to the finals in early April.

* While Dean Smith (752) figures to move up into the No. 2 spot (767) on the all-time college coaching wins list behind Adolph Rupp (875) by March, Lefty Driesell (608) could move within a couple of the top 10 (627), but going right with him are guys piling up victories faster, Don Haskins (615), Norm Stewart (602), Bobby Knight (602) and Lou Henson (599).

* Hopefully, some of those globe-trotting high school basketball teams will have second thoughts about their far-flung adventures in the future considering what happened to Simon Gratz over the holidays. The No. 1-rated schoolboy team from Philadelphia, playing in the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C., was nearly booed out of town by a crowd that wanted to be entertained, not be bored by a stall game.

* The Philadelphia Inquirer gave 34 newspaper columns over to Sunday's Eagles-Cowboys playoff game the next day. Which begs the question: What if Philly had won?

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