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John Walters
February 28, 2000
We need a TO, babeee! from TV's incessant fawning over college basketball coaches
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February 28, 2000

Sideline Suck-up

We need a TO, babeee! from TV's incessant fawning over college basketball coaches

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In a game televised last Sunday by ABC, the No. 15 Temple Chaneys defeated the top-ranked Cincinnati Hugginses 77-69. Immediately after the upset, play-by-play man Brent Musburger turned to his broadcast partner, Dick Vitale, and—mindful of the upcoming NCAA tournament—said, "I've got to tell you something, my friend, we cannot look past John Chaney."

Yes, and his players aren't half bad, either. All last weekend ABC treated coaches as if they were institutions, as opposed to mere employees of them. On Saturday, Musburger and Vitale, working Duke-North Carolina State, eulogized Georgia Tech's about-to-retire Bobby Cremins as if he'd died in a ramblin' wreck, not coached one.

On Sunday, ABC violated the country's screens with something called Coach Comparison. The game telecast was shrunk to half-size to show dual shots of the dueling coaches standing on the sideline looking dyspeptic. This feature should be renamed Who Wants an Angioplasty.

Here's the deal: Dickie V., I'll listen every time you tell me that Chaney belongs in the Hall of Fame if you also tell me how preposterous it was for St John's coach Mike Jarvis to compare the NCAA's suspension of guard Erick Barkley to rape. I'll listen when you say, as you did on Sunday, "[ Oklahoma State coach] Eddie Sutton is just one of those guys who knows how to win," provided that even once you tell me about one of those guys who just doesn't know how to win.