The demise of John Mackovic, who was forced out as football coach in November after Texas went 4-7, can be traced to influential alumni. That's nothing new. "Nobody ever knows who's calling the shots," says former basketball coach Abe Lemons, whom Dodds fired in 1982. "A lot of people hide in the background and just cut you down. Dodds is just a pawn."
Dodds certainly wasn't the only one who screwed up in the Penders case. Penders's top assistant, Eddie Oran, released Axtell's grades to an Austin radio station. That action was as harebrained as it was legally questionable, and Axtell's family threatened to sue the university. Further, the grades that Oran faxed weren't even the correct ones. Axtell was later reinstated by Dodds, though he transferred to Kansas on Monday. Penders claims to have had no advance knowledge of the faxing, but that incident was the key factor in his being forced out.
Dodds was beaming at Monday's announcement that former Clemson coach Rick Barnes will replace Penders. Four months earlier, Dodds stole Mack Brown away from North Carolina to replace Mackovic. Nobody said the man can't hire. The question is whether he can lead a department and stand behind his coaches once he has them.
Siring the Winner
Ninety minutes after his wife gave birth to their second child at Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill., last week, jockey Chris Emigh was back in the irons at nearby Sportsman's Park. He finished out of the money on Cushion but delivered a late surge to win the ninth race. His victorious mount's name? Family Plan.
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