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THE THREE-SPORT MAN: HAIL AND FAREWELL
Kenny Moore
May 11, 1981
Dan Jones of Lewis and Clark College survives as perhaps the last of a glorious species—collegiate athletes who play football, basketball and baseball—because of his diverse talents and his school's insistence that participation, not specialization, is the essence of sport
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May 11, 1981

The Three-sport Man: Hail And Farewell

Dan Jones of Lewis and Clark College survives as perhaps the last of a glorious species—collegiate athletes who play football, basketball and baseball—because of his diverse talents and his school's insistence that participation, not specialization, is the essence of sport

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Told of Flanagan's words, Jones' eyes widen. "Never thought of me as an athlete," he says. "Wow. I don't think he could pay me a higher compliment."

Dean Sempert, age 55, is Lewis and Clark's basketball coach and an associate professor of health and physical education. His office bookshelf, besides supporting a metric ton or two of basketball and kinesiology texts, contains The New Oxford Book of English Verse and H.G. Wells' The Outline of History. Sempert is a large, bearish man, and high among his instincts is protectiveness. Asked if he has ever had to discipline Jones, he says, "This is off the record. In a February game, he was coming back from an ankle injury, and he was getting tired. He wants to stay in all the time. I pulled him and he made a remark to a teammate. I chewed him out. Later he came to me and said, 'I was wrong. I'm sorry.' That's the worst thing that has ever happened between us."

"Why wouldn't you want that published?" asks his interviewer. "It seems complimentary to both of you."

Sempert thinks about it. "O.K.," he says. "Check with him. It's just that I have such idea) people to coach." His face seems to soften. "My colleagues at other places seem to have so many problems handling athletes. Maybe it's a sign of the times. But not here."

"Any idea why?"

"I can quote a column I read on the basketball gambling scandal at Boston College: 'If athletes are bought into school, they can continue to be bought.' "

Sempert is asked whether he ever experiences any little pangs of hope that Jones might specialize in basketball.

"No," he says quickly. "I'm just glad to have as much of him as I do. I know the problems most coaches have in sharing a talent like that, even in high schools. But doesn't it go back to consistency? If we're hoping to teach students to be unselfish, to understand what's best for individuals, are we not obliged at least to try to be that way as well?"

Terry Baker, now 40, is a successful attorney in Portland. He went to law school nights while playing for the Rams in the mid-'60s. He has never met Jones, but has an almost preternaturally accurate sense of Jones' feelings. "He must be what he is because he enjoys it," Baker said recently, and that got him remembering:

"Tommy Prothro was my football coach at Oregon State. I'd go into his office and say, 'Uh, I've got this class in the afternoons....' And he'd say, 'Fine! When can you be out?' and he'd reorganize the whole practice."

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