Coaches get fired for all sorts of reasons, but John MacLeod of the Dallas Mavericks may have been the first to get canned largely because of substance abuse by his team's best player. Mavs forward Roy Tarpley, who first admitted to cocaine and alcohol dependency two years ago, missed 49 games last season after flunking a drug test, reportedly for cocaine. When Dallas failed to make the playoffs, MacLeod—not Tarpley, who, astoundingly enough, was rewarded with a lucrative contract extension during the off-season—was blamed.
Last month Tarpley was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated and resisting arrest. He was suspended indefinitely under the NBA's drug aftercare program, thereby clouding the Mavs' outlook for this year. How did the Dallas management respond? It dismissed MacLeod, the eighth-winningest coach in league history. Lots of luck to MacLeod's interim successor, Richie Adubato. Both he and Mavs management should keep in mind MacLeod's parting words: "I can't control Roy Tarpley."
WARE IT IS
Houston quarterback Andre Ware edged out Indiana running back Anthony Thompson for the Heisman Trophy last week, even though 286 of the 743 voters left him off their ballots. Inasmuch as each ballot has room for three names, one has to ask: How could any voter not rank Ware—who set more than a dozen NCAA records this year, including single-season marks for completions (365) and passing yardage (4,699)—at least in the top three? Clearly, many voters refused to list him because Houston is on probation, which seems silly. Ware had nothing to do with the Cougars' probation and has suffered enough through his team's banishment from television and bowl appearances.
Although there were other deserving candidates, Ware was a laudable choice as the 55th Heisman recipient. As a fourth-year junior, he's eligible to turn pro. But he has been saying that he'll stay at Houston to play one more college season and get his business degree—and maybe a second Heisman.
A SHOWER OF SHOTS
For a golfer, out-of-bounds shots are frustrating, but for people who live near a course, they can be downright dangerous. In South Florida, where new courses are opening every month—many of them nestled in residential developments—course-side dwellers are being driven to extraordinary measures to guard themselves and their property against a rain of dimpled missiles. They're planting trees and hedges, stringing up high chicken-wire barriers and installing bulletproof windows. At the Golfside condominiums in Margate, one resident, Carmen Piccirilli, a retired motor vehicle inspector, was nearly hit three times while swimming in the community pool, which abuts the Carolina Club golf course. He now straps on a hard hat before doing his daily laps. "It's a fact of life. If you live near a golf course, you have to expect it," says Piccirilli of the bombardment.
Floridians fed up with such fusillades might consider the tactics adopted by Linda Rodvold, a housewife who lives near the Fisher Park golf course in Yakima, Wash. She has petitioned the county prosecutor to close down the city-owned par-three facility because it is a hazard to her family. She has collected 1,087 golf balls on her property in the last five years and says that balls have caused 22 dents and shattered three windshields in family vehicles and broken seven windows in their house. She and her husband, Skip, keep a map of their property on the wall and mark the spot of each incoming ball.
Two months ago the Rodvolds were awarded $6,250 in a civil suit against the golf course for property damage and "disruption of their quietude of domicile." They plan to continue their battle until the course is shut down.