It is too bad that Woody's powerful influence over the hundreds of players that he has coached has never been fairly or accurately presented by any sportswriter.
The E. F. MacDonald Company
Yes, Mr. Jenkins, the Buckeyes of Woody Hayes may have "retreated" this season from the dazzling attack of 1969, but never did they look "mediocre," and never did the players or fans lose confidence in the greatness of the coaching. Call it ennui with the schedule and winning or whatever; the passing and option plays were not working as of old, so Woody went back to the game he knows best—the game all coaches know to be the toughest to teach. That is "grinding meat," as you so aptly put it. The late Vince Lombardi exposed the myth that you can't run in the pro game, and built a dynasty in Green Bay. Woody Hayes has built a dynasty at Ohio State with the same tactics. Any coach can put the ball in the air but, as Woody has often said, the team that can move on the ground is the team that wins.
To the initiated fan, the intricacies of coaching ground play from tackle to tackle is a thing to behold, and when you have a master like Woody Hayes at the helm and the success he begets, who can ask for more?
C. E. LINEBAUGH
LEVIAS VS. THE LEVIATHANS
Thank you for the excellent article on the Houston Oilers' Jerry Levias (Too Small to Be Overlooked, Nov. 30), and congratulations to Morton Sharnik for capturing on paper Jerry's unique feelings and emotions as he competes against men much bigger than he. His frank interpretations of his fears and challenges as a professional football player show the true greatness of Jerry Levias.
THE GIRLS' VERSION
I first turned to the 19TH HOLE column of your Nov. 30 issue and read Pat Robertson's letter praising three of your past articles—on the Heidi incident, Booth Lusteg and Alex Hawkins—as the funniest in the history of pro football and asking. "What will SI ever find for an encore?'' Then I read Pick Up Your Purse, Coach, and Let's Go by George Packard. I see you have found your encore.
It was a fine article, showing that girls can play the sport, too. But, Mr. Packard, lady coaches are not shaped like pieces of athletic equipment. They are skilled and pretty women doing their own thing, which is basketball.
Pompton Lakes, N.J.
I am very glad they revised women's and girls' basketball rules. It is much more exciting and enjoyable with five players.
It is my belief that the Sportsman of the Year should be the one who best exemplifies man's ability to excel. He doesn't have to be a winner, as many of the best and most courageous athletes are members of losing teams. My nominee, Jerry West, is not a loser by any stretch of the imagination; however, during his tour in the NBA he has never been on a real winner. Last season he was almost singularly responsible for leading the Los Angeles Lakers to the playoffs and then on to the finals.
FRANK C. VIVIER
I would like to nominate Gordie Howe. He retains the stamina of a 25-year-old in the quickest and probably the most enervating of all team sports, and although he is a member of the 40-plus club, he is no part-time player like Hoyt Wilhelm or George Blanda. Howe is a true team player; Detroit's mediocre records and failure to become a champion have never quelled Gordie's desire to endure long winters in smoky arenas, which he has done for 25 years.
I would like to nominate Roberto Clemente. He inspired the Pittsburgh Pirates toward victory only to be defeated, but he does not complain.