Bear Bryant of Alabama expects to become the winningest college football coach in history in four more years. "It may take five," says Bryant, "but I believe we can do it in four." With his victory over Auburn last Saturday, Bryant now has 272 wins, 42 fewer than the record 314 of Amos Alonzo Stagg.
"I've been reluctant to talk about it." Bryant says, "and I swear I haven't been aware of this football record business. Charley Thornton [ Alabama's sports information director] told me the other day that if I keep winning at the present rate, in four years I'll be the winningest coach in football. I talked with my staff about it, my wife and the university president, and if the good Lord's willing, I'm going to try it."
Not the winningest, Bear. For a look at the man who is, turn to page 36.
OUT OF THE FRYING PAN
Officials at ABC and CBS might have some sleepless nights were they to read an internal memorandum sent to Representative Lionel Van Deerlin (D., Calif.), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Communications, which recently held hearings on the networks' involvement in sports. Prepared by Philip Hochberg, special counsel to the subcommittee, and Harry Shooshan, chief counsel, the 72-page memo includes the following points.
" ABC's sportscaster Howard Cosell apparently played a key role in the United States Boxing championships. First of all, Cosell played an apparent role in the business decision to move forward with the telecasts," [which were eventually taken off the air last April after exposure of kickbacks, phony fight records and rigged Ring ratings. Cosell had] "a number of run-ins" with associate producer Alex Wallau, who was the first to question records and ratings in the Don King promotion. After Wallau said that Tom Prater "had no right" to be in the tournament. Cosell called Angelo Dundee on behalf of ABC, and Dundee assured him that Prater was "a good fighter." Dundee handled Prater. "When Wallau was taken off the telecasts in late February, it was made clear to him that it was because of his inability to get along with Cosell, although King had been pressuring ABC to take Wallau off the telecasts also."
Wallau considered his removal a demotion, but ABC gave him a $10,000 bonus, a $4,000 raise and permanent job status. Roone Arledge, ABC's President of News and Sports, denied the money was intended to silence Wallau—as does Wallau himself—but the memo says, "It seems appropriate for the subcommittee to turn over its files on this matter for FCC consideration."
Moreover, ABC's attempt to influence Pitt to play in the 1977 Sugar Bowl, which ABC televised, by giving the Panthers an extra TV date during the regular season, raises "serious anticompetitive questions" and "should be referred to the Justice Department."
"It appears...the public was misled" by CBS' so-called Winner Take All Heavyweight Championship of Tennis, in which each participant was "guaranteed large sums of money, win or lose." Here the conduct of Robert Wussler and Barry Frank. Wussler's successor as head of CBS Sports, is "highly questionable" and "cannot be excused."