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These days Mark beats up on the opposition. "Space Ghost realized he'd never break the NCAA scoring record," says Miles, "so now he's trying to set one for personal fouls." Mark has been called for 21 in five games this season and has fouled out twice.
Dick, on the other hand, looks like a man at peace with his Maker. He has the angular features of Mr. Spock, the reserve of Mr. Green Jeans and the amiability of Mr. Rogers. His approach to coaching is restrained and underplayed, rather like a modern evangelical preacher. In the heat of a game, however, he often engages in Elmer Gantryish rantings. At other times, his tone is breathy and conversational, like the soothing message of a Dial-A-Prayer.
He hadn't had the opportunity to coach his sons since before they entered high school. Back in California, they played for Carson rival Palos Verdes High. As a senior, Jeff scored 44 points in a quadruple-overtime victory over his dad's team.
"Stop that kid!" Dick barked at his players.
"That kid?" his wife, Sandi, groaned in the stands. "He's your son!"
Sandi looks as if she could be the headmistress at a staid finishing school for girls. But when screeching in behalf of her sons, she sounds as if she could shatter a glass backboard at 50 paces. Sandi was the first Acres taken with Roberts. Sunday mornings in Palos Verdes, she'd go to church with the boys while Dick stayed home and watched TV. But before leaving she'd switch channels to Roberts' show. Dick became addicted. "Sometimes she'd forget," he says, "and I'd turn it on after she'd left."
Sandi and Dick met 30 years ago in an English class at UC Santa Barbara, where Dick was the star center on the basketball team. His father, an auto mechanic, refused to watch him play. "Dad wanted me to be home picking weeds," Dick says. "He didn't think I should be kicking that D-A-M-N ball around."
"Don't say that!" gasps Sandi.
"It's true," says Dick. "That D-A-M-N ball has taken me a lot of places."
Most recently to Tulsa. It was after Carson won the California 4A championship in 1982 that Hayes asked Acres to be his assistant. When Hayes was fired, the team voted to boycott, which put Mark (Jeff was redshirted at the time) in the funny position of having to strike against his old man. But Mark and a few other Titans came back to practice a week later and eventually all but two players returned to the team. At one point they scrimmaged a pickup team including 7-year-old Matthew Acres, the team trainer, the sports information director and a high jumper from the track team.