No one in Lexington could be happier with the coaching job that Smith did in winning a national title in his first season. The off-court performance of some of his players, however, has hardly been of championship caliber.
Call the Swing Doctors
The next time you hear a kid say, "I'm Tiger Woods," duck! According to a report delivered at the annual meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons in April, in the four months following Woods's 1997 Masters victory, doctors at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, N.Y., were confronted with a spate of "pediatric cranial injuries due to golf club impacts."
Explains Deborah Benzil, the associate director of neurosurgery at the center, "Kids, excited by Tiger, were taking golf clubs out into their yards, swinging away and hitting each other in the head." Benzil and her colleagues dubbed the rash of accidental clubbings—four fractured skulls, all among boys ages six to nine who were watching their friends swing—the Tiger Woods Syndrome. All four underwent surgery and have recovered.
Since delivering their report, the doctors have heard from other neurosurgeons of similar Woods-inspired mishaps. "We obviously don't blame Tiger for this," says Benzil. "But as golf gains in popularity, especially among youngsters, it is important to raise awareness of the safety issues."
Kids, can you say, "Fore!"
An Ugly Coaches' Corner
Much predictable tsk-tsking followed the decision last week of high school All-America Al Harrington to declare for the NBA draft. Peering into coaches' offices at a few universities last week, one couldn't help but think that Harrington made a wise decision.
Take what went on at St. John's, where last season Fran Fraschilla led the Red Storm to its first winning season (22-10) and first NCAA appearance since '93. But not all was what it seemed: On May 13 St. John's announced that it and Fraschilla had ended their relationship because of "fundamental differences over the management of the basketball program." It's possible that what school officials found most intolerable about Fraschilla was his performance off the court. Last Saturday Newsday reported that on two occasions Fraschilla allegedly dropped his pants after practice to taunt his players for their lack of cojones. Fraschilla's agent, Craig Fenech, denied the allegation.
Then, too, Fraschilla had itchy feet, a common malady. Despite the fact that he had two years left on a St. John's contract that was paying him more than $450,000 a year, Fraschilla had, during three weeks in March, engaged in several conversations with Arizona State. (The Sun Devils eventually hired Rob Evans.) St. John's athletic director Ed Manetta denied that the contact was a factor in Fraschilla's dismissal, but the campaign certainly didn't please the folks at St. John's.