I'm just a
regular guy. Coaches make this plain by the way they sign their letters. UNLV's
Jerry Tarkanian is "Coach Tark." Villanova's Rollie Massimino:
"Coach Mass"; TCU's Jim Killings-worth: "Jim K"; Krzyzewski:
"Coach 'K' "; Burmeister: "Coach 'B' "; Valvano: "Coach
Wish you were
here. "Hi Washburns," began a beach-and-palm-tree postcard sent two
summers ago from Nassau, the Bahamas. "My wife and I are finally
celebrating the '83 season—it's great here...Coach 'V.' " And to Chris from
Bermuda: "This place is beautiful. Played golf today with Moses...."
Join us and see
the world. There's nothing like a schedule full of exotic road trips.
Louisville assistant Wade Houston to Washburn: " Japan is a super place to
visit." Clemson assistant Jerry Faulkner to Manning from Alaska: "Will
visit a glacier and take ski lift ride tomorrow."
Getting poked in
the eye builds character. Kentucky invites prospects to respond to
questionnaires to determine if they are "winners." One question:
"Can you play when you have an injury? [Or] are you always complaining—my
ankle wraps are to [sic] tight, I hurt my wrist, someone poked me in the
You'll have your
choice of roller coasters. San Jose State sent Williams a brochure extolling
the pleasures of the Great America amusement park in nearby Santa Clara,
Calif.: "Great America hold thrills and chills aplenty for roller coaster
fanciers. Most diabolical is the DEMON...Shrieks of demonic laughter and
flashing, swirling, multi-colored strobe lights intensify the
We know you're an
art lover. Arizona State writes that its 14,287-seat Activity Center has been
"judged by architectural and athletic experts as the most beautiful and
most fundamental basketball facility in the nation." LSU says its
14,327-seat Assembly Center has been called "the Taj Mahal of basketball
Gee, you're cute.
San Diego State assistant Jessie Evans to Washburn: "You have that West
Coast type of smile."
And now for a
little reverse psychology. From an Oral Roberts University form letter to
Washburn: "Unless your goal is to play on a national championship team, do
not return this questionnaire!" Washburn didn't.
Oral Roberts. Washburn didn't return most of his questionnaires, especially if
they came attached to form letters. "They only show that the coach didn't
want to take the time to write," says Washburn. "It's the handwritten
letters that players look at." Players are even less impressed with coaches
who can't get their names straight or who repeatedly send them the same
letters. Williams received the same form letter from Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim
three times in one year. Xavier ( Ohio) wrote to "Bryan" Manning.
Arizona State wrote to "Danning Manning." Nor do players like letters
that get the facts messed up. Southern Cal congratulated Williams on "an
outstanding junior year" after his sophomore year. Brown University wrote
Washburn that he had been recommended as an outstanding student-athlete when,
in fact, he was anything but.
Yes, there are
commendable letters. Clemson warned players that few of them will make the NBA:
"Use basketball—let it be your facilitator to a better life. Don't be a
piece of meat—battered and torn for four years with nothing to show for
it." Other schools waxed philosophical. Oral Roberts: "God doesn't
grade on the curve. Do your best, and then you will be successful."