Coach hits turnaround, reverses jacket, streak

Bowling Green's Dakich wears smile despite tight fit on sport coat

Sports Plus

March 04, 2001|By Andy Knobel | Andy Knobel,SUN STAFF

Men's basketball coach Dan Dakich just wanted to turn Bowling Green's luck inside out.

Instead, he started a new fashion trend.

After his team had lost four straight games, including an 81-57 rout by Kent University, Dakich stunned everyone when he arrived on the floor for a home game against Western Michigan on Jan. 31 with his buttoned-up sport coat on backward. The Falcons won, 77-61, so he dressed the same way during a 67-63 overtime win at Miami University on Feb. 3. The streak eventually reached six games.

"We were driving back from the Kent game and I told our sports information guy and my assistants that if we were going to get our brains beat out, we might as well have fun," Dakich said. "We've even practiced with our uniforms backward."

Center Len Matela and guard Keith McLeod got into the act by wearing their T-shirts backward in post-game interviews.

Dakich had hoped to keep his jacket turned around for an entire game but found out it can be dangerous.

"He sat down before the Western Michigan game and almost choked himself," Bowling Green sports information director J. D. Campbell said.

There's another downside to the new look.

"You don't feel like the most intelligent guy wearing your sport coat on backward," Dakich said.

Marshall coach Greg White wouldn't mind looking that silly.

"Maybe I should change my coat - turn it around backward," White said after an 82-69 loss to the Falcons. "Maybe I'll turn my tie around backward."

Fashioning victories

There's plenty of precedence in sports for superstitions involving clothing.

During the 1940s, Brooklyn Dodgers manager Leo Durocher once went three weeks in the same shoes, gray slacks, blue coat and blue knitted tie.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre won't play with new cleats.

And Michael Jordan always wore his blue North Carolina shorts under his Chicago Bulls uniform for good luck.

Her personal Amen's corner

Evelyn Tucci, 82, of Pompano Beach, Fla., usually shoots in the low 100s and has a 32 handicap, but she wanted to change her fortunes a little, so she did it on the lucky 13th of February.

Specifically, she wanted an ace.

"I prayed that before I died I'd get a hole in one," she said.

So, on that day, she made two in one round.

"It was amazing," said David Deuschle, assistant golf pro at Crystal Lake Country Club in Pompano Beach, where Tucci was playing in a women's member/guest tournament.

How amazing?

According to an article in the March 2000 Golf Digest, the odds of one person making two holes in one during one round are 67 million to 1.

Give or take a prayer.

Counting down: 13 ...

Thirteen was lucky for New York Mets pitcher Roger Craig, too.

In 1962, he changed his uniform number to 13 to end an 18-game losing streak. It worked ... but he did lose 22 more games in 1963 wearing 13.

Thirteen also might have figured in the most famous home run in baseball history, Bobby Thomson's shot that won the 1951 National League pennant.

The pitcher who gave up that blow, Brooklyn's Ralph Branca, wore No. 13 and posed for photographers with a black cat on April 13 that year.

... 12

Philadelphia Flyers center Simon Gagne isn't superstitious about 13.

Twelve is another matter.

Gagne wears No. 12 on his sweater and tightens the laces on his skates with 12 minutes remaining in every period.

He's not crossing his fingers

Former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway used to be superstitious, but no longer.

Why not?

"I started getting superstitious about being superstitious," he said.

Former baseball player Rusty Staub might feel the same way, but he's not telling.

"Superstitious people don't discuss their superstitions," he said.

Going, going, gone

Slugger Babe Ruth once said he had only one superstition:

"I make sure to touch all the bases when I hit a home run."

He needs a lucky penny

Every time a coin is flipped, the chances on heads or tails are 50-50.

Don't tell that to recently elected Pro Football Hall of Famer Jackie Slater.

"I called heads every time," he said, recalling pre-game flips. "That was my policy, and every time, it came up tails. ... I think I lost 17 straight coin flips."

Compiled from wire reports and Web sites.

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