The year was 1966. I was heading into my second college football season as a sportswriter. I was 23 years old. I covered Yale and the Ivy League for the New Haven Journal-Courier, a newspaper that no longer exists.
"I want you to write a story," my editor said. "I want you to write that the coach, Carmen Cozza, is going to be fired if Yale doesn't win this year."
"He's only been on the job for a year," I said. "How could he be fired so soon?"
"He's gone," my boss said. "I have sources."
I said this was a heck of a story, and I should talk to these sources right away. My boss said I could not do that. His sources were confidential. I should just start typing. I said that his sources weren't my sources and that I should talk to someone who would tell me the story, if I was going to have my name on it, and.... My boss told me to start typing. I started typing.
The story appeared under a big headline. Cozza was very mad. He confronted me after the first practice of the year. His wife, he said, was upset. His entire family was upset. Everyone at Yale was upset. How could I write this story? Who were these sources?
"I can't reveal my sources," I mumbled. Which certainly was true.
This Saturday, after a scrimmage with Plymouth (N.H.) State, Cozza is expected to announce that he will retire at the end of the 1996 season. He has been the coach at Yale since 1965. His record is 177-111-5. His teams have won 10 Ivy League titles. He has been a gentleman, a teacher, a leader, all the things a college coach is supposed to be. His love for the game, for his players, for his school has been obvious.
I guess those sources were wrong.
Yo! Where Should I Stand?