SI Vault
 
Letters
Edited by Gay Flood
February 15, 1988
FISTICUFFSIf Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson (College Basketball, Jan. 18) honestly believes he has "never seen a basketball fight where anyone got hurt," he should consult Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (broken hand from punching Kent Benson in October 1977) or Rudy Tomjanovich (severe skull and facial injuries from being struck by Kermit Washington that same season) before he recruits another player for the Hoyas or begins selecting members of the 1988 U.S. Olympic basketball team.DON SAAK Burbank, Calif.
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February 15, 1988

Letters

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Here is another side of Bobby Knight: While en route to New Orleans for a conference last April 1, my wife and I stopped at a service station just outside Mobile, Ala., to ask for directions. A trucker lost his brakes, flew across the highway and blindsided us, severely injuring my wife and totally destroying my car. I was uninjured, but never in my life had I felt so alone and helpless. A stranger's comforting hand on my shoulder and reassuring words kept me as calm as possible. I looked at him and said, "You look like Bobby Knight." He said, "I am, but we won't talk about that right now."

Knight, who was fresh from the NCAA championship in New Orleans and en route to Atlanta to receive the Tipoff Club's Naismith Coach of the Year Award, proceeded to take charge of the accident scene.

Perhaps somebody else would have done the same thing, but somebody else did not. Knight did, and he did it without any of the headlines or acclaim he had received just two nights earlier when his Hoosiers won the NCAA tournament.

I'm told that after my wife and I left the scene by ambulance, Knight stayed with our automobile to protect our personal belongings until the wreckers arrived.

My wife, Marlene, who is still recovering, says Knight can throw all the chairs and bang all the telephones he wants to—with her blessing. We are both extremely grateful.
FRED L. NICHOLS
Dean of Students
Wilfred Laurier University
Waterloo, Ont.

DON'T SPIKE THEIR STORY
I noticed that there was no mention in SI of the 1987 NCAA women's volleyball champions. The Hawaii Rainbow Wahines not only dominated the women's collegiate game from the start of the season but also captured the hearts of the people of Hawaii.

So how about a championship picture?
REY TABILIN
Pearl City, Hawaii

?Here's a shot (left) of the Wahines' captain, Tita Ahuna, celebrating her team's win over Stanford in the NCAA final on Dec. 19. The Wahines won 15-10, 15-10, 9-15, 15-1 to earn their fourth national title in nine years.—ED.

PLAYERS AND COACHES
I read with some amusement Ron Mix's article, So Little Gain for the Pain (Oct. 19), and the subsequent letters criticizing him for his comments about Vince Lombardi and Bear Bryant. Without getting into the debate as to whether either coach brutalized his players, I would like to point out that reverence for football coaches isn't as traditional as most of Mix's critics seem to believe.

In his 1954 autobiography, This Was Football, W.W. (Pudge) Heffelfinger, who witnessed more than 60 of football's early years, beginning when he was an All-America guard at Yale in 1889, '90 and '91, wrote: "Kee-ripes, how different modern football is from the old days when the coach wouldn't dare make a decision without first consulting the team captain. Your head coach today has become an absolute dictator.... If I had my way, coaches would be isolated in the press box, once a game began."
ALLEN BARRA
New York City

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