It was fitting that you chose to devote a sidebar to the "behind-the-scenes coach" in your article on the surprising New York Rangers ( N.Y. vs. N.Y.: It's All-Out Warfare, May 14). Even though the players are to be commended, plaudits must also go to Fred Shero and Mike Nykoluk.
West Babylon, N.Y.
It's great to see Mike Nykoluk get the attention he so richly deserves. I had the pleasure of working with him a few years ago while serving as a counselor at a summer hockey camp in Philadelphia. I watched as Nykoluk worked his magic on players from seven to 17. How many pro coaches (or managers) can be considered "easygoing and approachable"? And how many have the talent to coach and communicate? Nykoluk is indeed one of those rare gems.
Fort Collins, Colo.
As an avid Philadelphia Flyers fan, I have witnessed firsthand the coaching genius of the Shero-Nykoluk tandem. Their unparalleled complementary abilities consistently produce disciplined, spirited and determined team play. I was disheartened to see them depart from the Flyers' organization, but the immediate success of the Rangers serves as proof of their coaching magic.
ONE FOR ALL
It doesn't matter what kind of year Ron Guidry has for the Yankees (The Yankees Now Spell Relief G-U-I-D-R-Y, May 14). As far as I'm concerned, he is already the Sportsman of the Year for being the first athlete of the '70s to bring the word "we," instead of "me," back into professional sports.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Three cheers for the greatest pitcher of all!
Sparky Lyle finally has been avenged! Instead of Guidry, Sparky could have been in the bullpen. Why didn't George Steinbrenner keep Lyle? Dumb move, New York!
Spring Lake Heights, N.J.
NO SMALL SUCCESS
Thank you for the article on the Minnesota Twins' Roy Smalley (A Shortstop Who's Long on Smarts, May 14). He isn't flashy. He isn't a superstar. He isn't outspoken. And he doesn't complain about his salary. He just goes out, day after day, and plays good baseball'—something Minnesota hasn't seen since Harmon Killebrew.
Being a high school baseball coach who strongly advocates weight training, I was recently delighted to read a newspaper article about Roy Smalley's success with such a program. At the time, I thought: wouldn't it be great if SPORTS ILLUSTRATED ran an article on Smalley (because of his great start) and made mention of how beneficial lifting weights can be. A few days later I received my SI, and what do you know? There it was—all I could ask for. Beautiful!
Your article on John McEnroe was terrific (Junior Jolts His Elders, May 14). Borg and Connors are good, but McEnroe is No. 1.
New Britain, Conn.
I read Curry Kirkpatrick's article on John McEnroe with interest, but I am a little tired of hearing fans declare Borg or Connors or McEnroe to be the best in the game based solely upon what has occurred in their most recent meeting.