Devoted football fans who have given more than $2.5 million to the National Football Foundation for a collegiate football Hall of Fame have grown increasingly restless over the years because of the continuing absence of a Hall of Fame building, despite elaborate plans to build same in New Brunswick, N.J., site of the first intercollegiate football game between Rutgers and Princeton in 1869. Repeated complaints finally reached the ears of New York Attorney General Louis J. Lefkowitz, who had his investigators look into the situation.
Last week the attorney general's office announced it had obtained a signed agreement from the foundation, and everything seems to be O.K. now, fans. There was no hanky-panky, just inertia. Reacting to Coach Lefkowitz' locker-room speech, the Hall of Fame people raced out of the huddle, snapped a few audibles at the line of scrimmage and revealed not only that they have managed to obtain rights to a shovel but, that before the next football season rolls around it is entirely possible ground will be broken. Way to move that ball, gang.
LABOR OF HERCULES
A favorite spectator sport this winter in the upper Middle West is watching the University of Minnesota fumble its way toward the selection of a new football coach to replace the departed Murray Warmath. First, Paul Giel, the Minnesota football hero of the 1950s who later pitched for the New York baseball Giants, was appointed athletic director. Then, almost before he was named to the post, Giel withdrew, objecting to University President Malcolm Moos' decision to name a committee to help the athletic director pick the new coach. Dick Siebert, Minnesota's longtime baseball coach, referred to this fiasco as another Bay of Pigs. Giel finally agreed to reconsider when Moos assured him that as athletic director he would have the most say whenever the committee got together and pondered the problem.
Whether this proves true or not, Giel has a fascinating cross-section of people on the selection committee to help him come up with the right coach. There are Siebert, a baseball man; Max Schultze, a biochemistry professor; Eloise Jaeger, who is chairman of the School of Physical Education; Stan Kegler, a vice-president of the university; Bruce Telander, president of the M Letterman club, who earned his letter for managing the hockey team; and Ernie Cook, an undergraduate who played on the 1971 team. Have fun, Paul.
Hiring football coaches is precarious business, even without a committee. Take poor old Rice University, the esteemed intellectual center that hired Bill Peterson away from Florida State a year ago in a determined effort to climb back to the top rung of intercollegiate football. Now Peterson has terminated his Rice contract, which had four years to go, in order to become coach of the Houston Oilers. He explained the move by describing his new professional contract as "close to a lifetime deal."
Rice people feel it will have to go that long to beat the deal Peterson had with them. They say the coach's salary was $35,000. They add that the university and alumni combined to ante up an extra $10,000 to compensate Peterson for outside income he gave up when he left Florida. He had a TV show in Houston that reportedly paid him an additional $4,500. Because a coach needs a place to entertain football people, as well as a room to go over game films, a carpeted, paneled projection room was built at Peterson's house for an estimated $8,500 (although the coach says $2,500 is a more valid figure).
"He got a car and free gasoline," an unhappy Rice alumnus said last week. "He was able to buy all of his clothes wholesale. A friend of mine helped him obtain a loan to buy blue-chip stocks with." The alumnus says Peterson was also invited to invest in a real-estate venture in which other football people were involved. "It was already making money," the Rice man said, "but Pete was let in for the same amount the others had put up originally. When he sells out, there's no way he can't make money.