Jack Olsen's story on Bill van Breda Kolff was most interesting (Hedonist Prophet of the Spartan Game, Sept. 23). However, Olsen writes: " Van Breda Kolff became the first Ivy coach in history to take over a professional team." May I point out that there were three who preceded Bill? Elmer Ripley, basketball coach at Yale from 1929 to 1935 and at Columbia from 1944 to 1945, coached in the Eastern League and for several pro clubs down through the years.
Hall-of-Famer Kenneth Loeffler coached at Yale from 1936 to 1942, then coached the St. Louis Bombers ( NBA) from 1946 to 1948 and the Providence Steamrollers ( NBA) the following season.
Robert (Red) Rolfe, basketball coach at Yale from 1943 to 1946, coached the Toronto Huskies ( NBA) in 1947.
Conversely, and just to add to the record, Hall-of-Famer Doggie Julian left the Boston Celtics to coach at Dartmouth, and Bob Morris left the Providence Steamrollers to coach at Brown. Former NBA players like Jack McCloskey, Howie Dallmar and Bob Harrison also subsequently joined Ivy League colleges as coaches.
WILLIAM G. MOKRAY
Editor and Publisher
O.K., you've told us about McLain the swinger (Dizzy Dream for Jet-Set Denny, July 29) and McLain the show biz whiz (A Rare 30 for Show-Biz Denny, Sept. 23). Now tell us how Denny threw one right down the middle to Mantle so Mickey could blast it and move up in the alltime home-run race. That's another McLain, and you ought to tell it all. He didn't have to do it, you know.
LINES OF BATTLE
At the naval academy the bible of the sports world is Sports Illustrated. But I'm sure I speak for the entire brigade when I say that I was shocked and dismayed that a fine magazine such as yours would even suggest, as you did at the end of your preview of the U.S. Military Academy's football season (Sept. 9), that no one cares about the outcome of our traditional game. I'm sure you'll have to argue this point with the more than 7,000 midshipmen and cadets, not to mention the thousands of football fans who attend the game and millions more who watch it on television. But most concerned are our fighting men in the armed forces, now and in days gone by, whom the combatants on the gridiron represent as they, too, do battle.
In a day and age when traditions seem to pass by the wayside, especially on our college campuses, due respect should be given to this nationally famous rivalry that has existed since 1890, when the fighting Midshipmen trounced the Cadets 24-0.
Midshipman Fourth Class
The SCORECARD section of your September 9 issue contained a very amusing anecdote concerning a golf ball landing in a helicopter. Because of it, I recalled a somewhat similar, though near-tragic, incident that happened in the South Pacific during late 1944 or early 1945.
The First Marine Division was "staging" on the island of Pavuvu in the Russell Islands, a part of the Solomon Islands. Their landing strip was a coral roadway next to a baseball field. As the pilot of a Piper Cub (used for artillery fire spotting and short island hops) came in for a landing—with an open cockpit, naturally in that weather—he was struck in the face by what would have been a home-run ball. His nose and cheekbone were fractured and he was temporarily stunned. But in falling backward he unconsciously pulled back on the stick, and when he recovered consciousness a few-seconds later, the Piper Cub was climbing. Rather than attempt another landing on the roadway, the pilot made a rather shaky but safe landing on the fighter strip on Banika, another of the Russell Islands, about eight or 10 air miles from Pavuvu, where he was cared for at U.S. Fleet Hospital 110 (formerly called Mob 10).
I was the chaplain at Mob 10 and I can vouch for the story, although I never did find out if that marine back on Pavuvu got credit for an eight-mile home run.
THE REV. JOSEPH J. LAMB
Pastor, Church of St. Leo the Great