How can you recognize the masterful job done by Tubby Smith and never once mention that he should be the hands-down favorite for coach of the year (Tubby's Terrors, March 10)? A team that was saddled with turmoil, departures, malcontents and a few vocal racist fans has become the most feared in the nation. A coach who has spent most of his time in Lexington on the defensive should be recognized for teaching his players the skills they need to succeed.
CHARLES CORNETT, Hilliard, Fla.
I was appalled by the comments of former Kentucky athletic director C.M. Newton insinuating that the criticism aimed at Coach Smith has been racially motivated. Wildcats basketball fans care about one thing: winning. Kentucky is, for better or worse, a tough place to coach and play basketball, due to the great tradition of the program. Just win a lot of games, and today's Kentucky fans will see only two colors: blue and white.
MARK ISON, Nashville
Requiem for All Weights
This boxing fan was happy to see SI address the demise of the sport (Fight-Game Inferno, March 10). Boxing needs one sanctioning body, like other pro sports. Right now it is run by a bunch of money-hungry promoters, athletic commissions and sanctioning bodies. There is no accountability because nobody is in charge.
MATTHEW URBAN, North Brunswick, N.J.
Red Line Fever
The NHL doesn't need to get rid of the red line (The Red Line Debate, March 10). It needs to get rid of that ridiculous two-line pass rule.
In baseball is there anything more exciting than a long throw from the outfield to nail a guy at the plate? There is nothing more thrilling in football than a long pass to a streaking wide receiver. In basketball it doesn't get any better than a long pass for a slam dunk to someone who's gotten behind the defense. Only in the NHL is the long pass illegal, and the league ought to do something about that.
JOHN FREDERICKSON, Clayton, Calif.
With all the controversy recently over an athlete turning her back on the flag during the national anthem, I choose to think of a man with cerebral palsy making us hold him so he can stand during the anthem (THE LIFE OF REILLY, March 10). It took Butchie to get Middlebury hoops into SI, and those of us who played on the team wouldn't want it any other way. Thanks, Butchie, we owe you one.
MIKE WAGGETT, Saugus, Mass.
I want to thank Alexander Wolff for Ghosts of Mississippi (March 10). The story of our 1962-63 basketball team made this Mississippi State alumnus proud that my university was part of something so special. The NCAA tournament game against Loyola of Chicago didn't bring about racial harmony in the nation, the South or even Mississippi, but it did provide the world with a glimpse of a time to come.
ART SMITH, Southaven, Miss.
Ghosts of Mississippi brought back memories of my playing days at Loyola in the late 1940s and early '50s, and a historic event that occurred during the '49-50 season. Hank Iba, the renowned coach of Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State), had the courage to invite Loyola and our two black players, Ben Bluitt and Art White, to come to Stillwater, Okla., and become the first NCAA team with black players to cross the Mason-Dixon line to play. What gives me great pride is my school's pioneering leadership in featuring black college basketball players.
DON HANRAHAN, Rowayton, Conn.
My father, Sam, was the son of observant Jews from Staten Island, N.Y. In 1936, during the throes of the Depression, he was recruited to play basketball at Mississippi State. Since the day he passed away, in '85, I've worn his MSU ring, Class of '39. I never asked him much about what it was like to be broke, Jewish and from New York City while attending college in Starkville during the late '30s. I wish I had.
PHIL MUSHNICK, Old Bridge, N.J.
Profiles in Courage
As a former Tuskegee Airman who experienced segregation during military training in World War II, while reading Ghosts of Mississippi I was reminded of another courageous white American who stood up for the rights of blacks. Col. Noel Parrish, the base commander of the Tuskegee (Ala.) Army Air Field, insisted that we receive our training with dignity and respect and would not tolerate biased treatment of us by our white instructors. He provided the climate in which we became the first black Army Air Force pilots, which we did with distinction—we never lost a bomber we were escorting over Europe to enemy fighters, a record achieved by no other fighter group. Men like Noel Parrish and president Dean W. Colvard of Mississippi State helped make America what it is today in terms of race relations and opportunity. Your story brought tears to my eyes and pride to my heart.
ROSCOE C. BROWN JR., New York City