The administrators themselves are on perilous ground, caught in a crossfire between conservative trustees and alumni on the one hand and radical students and faculty on the other. Administrators like to cite Stanford President Kenneth S. Pitzer's mea culpa: "I know I'm an evil. The only question is whether I am a necessary evil," and they add what a young female radical had to say about Pitzer: "We don't want to shut him up because we can make mincemeat out of him. He laughs at the wrong places. He's insecure."
Coaches are quitting at a record rate, but administrators are getting out even faster. More than 70 college presidencies are now open. In the seven years that Pete Newell was athletic director at the University of California ( Berkeley), he served under five different chancellors. San Francisco State has had eight presidents in 10 years but now has one dear to a coach's heart in Dr. S. I. Hayakawa, the semanticist. "Keep smiling," Hayakawa told the cops after a recent riot, "even while you're dragging the son of a bitch away."
Finally, there is an element of the faculty that has always been hostile to athletics, doesn't accept the coach's preeminence and resents his empathy with kids and the attention he gets from the community (not to mention his high salary). However, in the past, except for isolated cases, this hostility merely simmered. It is now bubbling over.
The smart coach long ago learned to live with or ignore this particular threat. "Jealousy is bad," says USC's John McKay. "But we have to understand the faculty's feelings. Some of these men have split the atom, and all we ever split was the T." Bear Bryant insists that his salary not exceed that of department heads. He can make money in other ways (his TV program, endorsements, etc.), so why offend? McKay and Bryant don't have trouble with their faculties.
Lots of less-successful coaches do. Many of them consider faculty opposition the most insidious threat of all—and McKay agrees—because a hostile faculty faction can exert considerable influence from within and because for the first time its scorn has become fashionable. Professors openly join in when the coach is under attack, exercising what Max Ways of FORTUNE calls their "assumption of moral superiority."
To the coaches it often seems as though the faculty is simply in cahoots with the students in their disdain for traditional verities. California Football Coach Ray Willsey tells of a confrontation he had with a three-man faculty committee investigating charges made by black athletes against the athletic program. "It was frightening," he says. "Their questions showed they knew nothing about what we were trying to do, why we said things the way we did. The faculty should not judge coaches any more than coaches should judge faculties. They don't understand the relationship at all. They give a boy an F and they're done with him. A coach can't do that, he lives with his mistakes. A coach is like a father to a kid, sometimes more than a father. He has a 24-hour responsibility. Some professors can't understand it."
Another Western coach says, "The faculty has taken over. The administration has abdicated. Who do you think stirs these kids up? Outside influence? Partly. But where do they get their support? From the faculty. I'm talking about the active, vocal faculty. Hell, 70% don't even attend the faculty senate meetings. So the active minority has taken the power away from the real educators. They've always been there, waiting to get their chance. Some of them are political theorists who want to be political powers. The professor empathizes with the student rebels to establish himself as a good guy.
"You can't quote me on this because they might get after me, too, and I don't need that at my age. I'm protecting myself. They haven't been on me here, and I'm quiet, but you can bet on this: the faculty wants to take over. Two or three percent can overturn the boat while 97% sit there and don't know it's happening until they're in the water."
Football Coach Bob Devaney of Nebraska isn't afraid to be quoted. "Faculty people telling athletic people how to do their job is like a carpenter telling a barber how to cut hair," he says.
In the privacy of their offices, over breakfast in strange towns, wherever two or three coaches get together, they talk about The Problem. It is, says Jack Gardner of Utah, "on the minds and lips of everyone," and some see it more clearly than others.