Last fall Willy Schaeffler resumed direction of the Denver University ski team, after two years' service as U.S. Olympic ski director. He found a neglected collection of individuals awaiting him. But Schaeffler, who considers losing a hanging offense, quickly bludgeoned his skiers into shape. To the surprise of everyone but Willy, they ran off a string of western victories and climaxed the season by brilliantly winning the recent NCAA championships at Middlebury, Vt. The triumph, however, brought Willy few pats on the back.
"He has a fine team, only they don't speak English," said one eastern rival, referring to the five Norwegians who registered at Denver with the help of the Oslo ski federation.
"He wrote the rules," grumped another official, "and when he doesn't like something, he says it's a misprint."
All this sounded like the old Apfelstrudel to German-born Schaeffler, who doesn't lie awake nights worrying about friendship.
"Yes, I antagonize people, and I know it," he said. "But we came to Middlebury for exactly one thing—to win. I'm not a member of the chamber of commerce for the state of Colorado."
With the social amenities out of the way, Willy went right back to recruiting. Standing at the top of the slalom course with several other coaches, including Colorado's Bob Beattie and Middlebury Coach Bobo Sheehan, Willy's appraising eye spotted a small boy skiing down. The boy stopped. He was Bobo's 11-year-old son Butch.
"Butch," said Sheehan, "this is Willy Schaeffler." Willy shook the boy's hand. "You're a racer, yes?" he said, "and a pretty good one, too. I've been hearing about you."
Beattie, a second behind fast-thinking Schaeffler, broke in. "Oh no you don't, Willy," he said. "This one's going to Colorado."
Bobo Sheehan just smiled.