A world of thanks for John Papanek's article about Lloyd (All-World) Free, "the Prince of Midair," and the resurgent Golden State Warriors ( As the World Turns, So Do the Warriors, Dec. 15). Although their life stories may resemble soap operas, Free and Bernard King have matured to become the guiding lights of the vastly improved Warrior club.
There's no sense crying over a wasted SI cover on Lloyd Free, but I would like to suggest a change in his nickname. After reading your article and watching his ball-hog tactics on TV, I think Lloyd (Gimme the Ball) Free would be more appropriate.
I'm glad that Lloyd Free is being recognized for his athletic ability and, more important, his sensitivity and fine personal characteristics. I rate him among the finest young men I've had the opportunity to associate with during my 24 years at Guilford College.
However, regarding Lloyd's statement that he attended a "nobody school," let me say that Guilford is widely respected for its academic excellence—four Danforth scholars in five years—and its concern for the individual. It's also interesting to note that at one time Guilford was reported to have more athletes in professional baseball than any college in the nation. From the 1920s to the 1940s, Guilford took pride in major league alumni like Ernie Shore, Tom Zachary, Luke Stuart, Stu Martin, Glenn Perry and Rick and George Ferrell.
In recent years Guilford has been represented in the NBA by Bob Kauffman ( Seattle, Chicago, Buffalo and Atlanta), Greg Jackson ( Phoenix), M.L. Carr ( Boston) and Free. Jackson, Carr and Free were members of the 1973 NAIA national championship team. In addition, since 1966 Guilford has had 18 All-Americas—in baseball, basketball, football and golf—three NAIA Hall of Famers and two Coaches of the Year. Quite a record for a "nobody school."
Director of Athletics
VINDICATING THE VIKES
As a devoted Minnesota Viking fan for the past 15 years, I feel that Paul Zimmerman's article on the Vikes was somewhat biased (When the Dust Cleared, It Was Minnesota, Dec. 22-29). In noting that for 14 straight years Minnesota has lost its final game of the season, he failed to state that 10 of those final games were NFL playoffs, including four Super Bowls, a record matched or surpassed by only Pittsburgh (four) and Dallas (five). The Vikings have been in transition since their last Super Bowl loss in 1977, yet they've won three out of the past four NFC Central Division titles. And this year marks their 11th such championship in 13 years. No NFL team can match that record.
If the Vikings win this year's Super Bowl game, both they and the NFC Central will finally be vindicated.
I don't know how you did it, but thanks a lot for the rare picture of Bud Grant smiling. It's a sight for sore eyes.
Please say it isn't so! How could you do this to us? The University of Dayton Flyers went undefeated during the regular season, then staged one of the most dramatic comebacks in college football history in a game against Widener, and finally destroyed Ithaca, the defending NCAA Division III national champion, to win the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl 63-0. What do we get? One sentence in FOR THE RECORD (Dec. 15). Does the dream of an entire community deserve such a small amount of recognition? Hardly.
In your article on Ithaca College football (In This Town, No. 1 Is No. 2, Dec. 1) you state that the most renowned Ithaca alumnus athletically may be pro wrestler Bob (Gorilla Monsoon) Marella. Let's not forget Infielder Grover (Deacon) Jones, who in 1956 batted .409 for Dubuque in the minor leagues and later played for the Chicago White Sox (1962, '63 and '66). Jones is now the hitting coach of the Houston Astros.