Dean Smith epitomizes what we long for in athletics and in society: goodness, integrity and humility.
JOEL T. SCHAEFER, WICHITA, KANS.
Maybe there is hope for the U.S. and its sports (Curtains?, Dec. 22). The Minnesota voters have refused to be blackmailed into building a new stadium for the Twins, who already have a facility that is only 15 years old. We have no business building stadiums for billionaire owners so that they can construct luxury boxes at our expense and charge corporate and wealthy fans to watch millionaire players. To add insult to injury, many of those luxury boxes are written off as a business expense, which means less money collected in taxes.
JAMES A. STEWART, Dover, Del.
Someone has to say "enough already" to the owners who continue to beg for millions of dollars in tax money for new stadiums. The only way to stop the bleeding is to say no. Public subsidies should be reserved for the needy, not the greedy.
KEVIN G. ROBERTSON, Beachwood, Ohio
It's nice to know there is still a place where schools and parks outweigh pro sports.
ALLISON HUNTER, Denver
The sad fact is that fans will still queue up at stadiums paid for with their tax dollars to be marginally entertained by people they make rich.
D.J. HOFFMAN, Toledo
The combined record for teams in the 1997 regular season the week after they played the Packers was 1-13, the sole winners having been the Vikings, who beat the Eagles the week of Sept. 28, following their loss to Green Bay at Lambeau Field on Sept. 21 (INSIDE THE NFL, Dec. 29-Jan. 5). Were these defeats the result of a scheduling quirk, or was the effort spent in attempting to beat the world champs too much to recover from in one week?
MICK KIRVEN, Trumbull, Conn.
Alexander Wolff's Boswellian biography-by-witnesses and Dean Smith's philosophical eloquence have introduced your millions of readers to one of America's authentic sports legends (Fanfare for an Uncommon Man, Dec. 22). Coach Smith achieved greatness by being a humble servant. He taught generations of young men to cherish the Periclean ideal that equally respects academics and athletics. He also taught them to believe that intolerance of racial differences has no place in the stadium of life. Very few professors incorporate that ethic in their pedagogy.
Walter Spearman Professor of Journalism
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, N.C.
There can be few quarrels with picking Dean Smith as your Sportsman of the Year. But, in your SCORECARD item on Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne's retirement, you mention that Osborne "never got the credit he deserved." By failing to name him as co-sportsman, you have continued to withhold credit from one of the most intelligent, decent and storied coaches of all time.
BRIM HINKLE, Tulsa
I never understood the adulation of Dean Smith. The man nearly ruined college basketball with his offensive four-corner "offense." No matter how he and his minions try to dress it up, a stall is a stall.
MIKH KOSCIIIK. Lambertville, Mich.
You end your article on Paul Kariya's signing of a two-year, $14 million contract with the Mighty Ducks by saying "hockey seems a little brighter" (Goal Oriented. Dec. 22). On the contrary, my view of the future Of the NHL is bleak. The NHL has nowhere near the TV revenues of the three other big sports. Its main source of income is the seats we fans sit in. The Kariya signing means the beginning of salaries spinning out of control. Disney should have held out, and because it didn't, we'll all pay.
ANTHONY SHAMOUN, Farmington Hills, Mich.