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Whether Tyson will follow Smith's advice to seek out Mr. Futch remains to be seen. But Smith's thought-provoking article should send this message to young people everywhere: You can learn a lot about life and yourselves from someone like Mr. Futch.
A couple of years ago I attended the Virgil Hill-Wayne Caplette light heavyweight fight in Williston, N.Dak. There was an autograph session afterward, and as I was waiting my turn, I noticed Hill's trainer, Mr. Futch, sitting back by himself, away from the crowd. After I got through the line, I walked over to him and asked if he would sign my book. He took it and slowly signed it. He was very calm and didn't say a word, despite all the excitement in the room. I want to thank you for telling me the story behind that quiet man. I am a senior in high school, and I see Mr. Futch as a man to respect.
Jerral Jones closed the deal on the Cowboys, hired Jimmy Johnson, painted a Cowboy logo on his Learjet and fired an angel of a coach in less than 24 hours. Will Dallas use the no-huddle offense during games, too? Timeout, Jones. Give Landry the respect he deserves.
Because I've been through a few firings myself, on both sides of the table, I can guarantee that delaying such an action in an attempt to soften the blow would have been the worst approach.
First, getting fired would not have been any easier for Tom Landry a month from now. In fact, it would have been worse because he would have been preparing for a new season with a false sense of security. Second, there would have been the distinct possibility of leaks, which might have led to speculation, suspicion, distrust and outright lies. Finally, in putting off the inevitable, the boss, in this case Jerral Jones, wouldn't have been honest with himself or with Landry, new coach Jimmy Johnson, the assistant coaches, the players, the fans or the press.
Once Jones had determined that a coaching change was to be made, it was incumbent upon him to carry out that change as quickly as possible. It was the kindest thing to do, as well as the right thing to do.
I was pleased that you ran a photograph of my painting of Arkansas's 1964 national champion football team, on which Jimmy Johnson and Jerral Jones played. However, I was disappointed that I did not receive credit for creating this mural.