But Brickner also reports that depending on how you look at such things, Moses may no longer be the only "seven-day wonder." That appellation might now also apply to Italian sprinter Pietro Mennea, who announced last week that he was hanging up his spikes at age 28. Mennea's world record in the 200 meters of 19.72 was set on a Wednesday—in Mexico City on Sept. 12, 1979—and he also has turned in the fastest clockings ever on a Sunday and Monday (both 19.96), and on a Friday (20.05), and is tied with Clancy Edwards on Saturday (20.03). Though Donald Quarrie has the fastest time on a Tuesday (19.86) and John Carlos on Thursday (19.92), those performances (like Mennea's world record and his mark for a Monday) benefited from having occurred at altitude—that is, 3,281 or more feet above sea level. But the fastest times for those days at sea level, 20.01 and 20.20, respectively, were achieved by Mennea. In other words, Mennea has or shares either the altitude or sea-level record for every day of the week.
We'd like to bid Godspeed to the retiring Mennea, even though the salutation seems, in his case, superfluous.
THE GREEN (AS IN MONEY) DEMONS
SI's Bruce Anderson reports from Chicago on the basketball mania gripping top-ranked DePaul University on the eve of the NCAA tournament:
The fortunes of Ray Meyer's Blue Demons sank so low in the 1970s that the Vincentian Fathers who run DePaul considered dropping to Division II or III as a way of pruning what one administrator called "a bad limb on a tree." Through much of the decade, DePaul was lucky to sell 400 season tickets in 5,308-seat Alumni Hall, and the athletic department lost as much as $250,000 a year. But that was before Mark Aguirre & Co. arrived to awaken memories of the glory days of Center George Mikan in the '40s. Last fall the ageless Meyer moved his Blue Demons into the 17,000-seat Horizon Center in suburban Rosemont, and the school sold 14,106 season tickets, a figure that exceeds DePaul's enrollment. DePaul's games are televised on Chicago station WGN, and the Blue Demons made four appearances this season on national TV. Meyer's son, Joey, has a column in the Chicago Tribune, one of the few assistant coaches in the country with that kind of media exposure.
The city of the Bears, Cubs and other perennial disappointments was obviously starved for a winner. DePaul fans have been buying lamps, ice scrapers and other merchandise bearing a stylized drawing of the team mascot, Billy Blue Demon. A new booster club boasts 950 members and has already raised $90,000. The athletic department hopes to show a $250,000 profit for '80-81—not counting the loot that would be generated by an appearance in the NCAA's final four. Last December Vince Battaglia, the school's comptroller, was named director of men's basketball and made accountable directly to DePaul's president, the Very Reverend John R. Cortelyou. Bypassed in the new arrangement, the Reverend Robert Gielow, the athletic director, resigned. School officials explained that somebody with greater business experience was needed to run the now lucrative basketball program.
The move to the Horizon Center has left some fans grumbling about potholes in the parking lot and poor seats. But the Blue Demon basketball team has gained recognition for DePaul, an urban commuter school that used to be confused with DePauw, a Methodist college in Greencastle, Ind., and Cortelyou says the attention generated by the Blue Demons has helped swell the number of applications for admission. He quickly adds that enrollment, which has increased from 10,915 in 1975 to 13,356 last fall and represents a $5 million annual increase in the university's revenues, would have grown in any event. Still, the situation is doubtless different from that at a major state school, Indiana University, where Coach Bobby Knight, participating in a recent panel discussion, asked how many members of the audience of 250, most of them students, had decided to attend IU because of its vaunted basketball program. Two hands were raised. One suspects that in a similar gathering of DePaul students, the number of hands in the air would be greater.
THE DOW-JONES CLASSIC
In a high school wrestling tournament in Greenville, N.C., New Bern High's Albra Stocks met Plymouth High's Robert Bonds in the consolation semifinals. Investors looking for possible economic portents, please take note. Bonds pinned Stocks in 1:18 of the second period.
A wire-service story the other day said that bird watchers were descending on the wildlife refuge on Merritt Island, Fla. in hopes of espying a blacktailed godwit that a visitor reported seeing on a mud flat on Feb. 15. The blacktailed godwit had been seen fewer than a dozen times in North America, never south of North Carolina, and it had to stray 3,500 miles from its northern European habitat to reach Florida's east coast.