BEAR AND BUD
In his article on Coach Paul (Bear) Bryant ("I Do Love the Football," Nov. 23), Frank Deford brings another great coach into the picture, Bud Wilkinson, formerly of the Oklahoma Sooners. Deford wrote, " Wilkinson had 145 victories when he packed it in at Oklahoma in 1963 to run for the Senate. Why, he could be past 315 by now if he had stuck with it. Add it up for yourself."
Yes, he could be past 315 if he had won nine or more games in each of the 18 years since then! Deford insinuates that Bryant would break the record for wins by a college football coach simply because of longevity. He doesn't mention that Bryant has won, and won with surprising consistency, for many years. He hasn't won just because he has been around for a long time. Bryant is where he is today because of his talent and because of his ability to coach and motivate.
EDWARD J. FIDLER
Frank Deford stated that Bud Wilkinson could be past 315 by now if he had stuck with it. If a bullfrog had wings he wouldn't bump his bottom every time he hopped.
J. GLENN JACKSON
? SI disagrees. In the years since Wilkinson left Oklahoma, the Sooners have had a record of 153-46-5. Adding Wilkinson's 145 wins to this figure gives a total of 298, 17 games behind Bryant. Of course, no one can say whether Oklahoma would have averaged the one extra win per season needed to put Wilkinson in contention if he had continued coaching there, but it's certainly possible. The Sooners' record for the first two years after Wilkinson left was 9-11.—ED.
It seems to me that Anthony Cotton's message in the article Don't Blame Me, I Just Want to Have Fun! (Nov. 30) was that professional athletes shouldn't enjoy playing the game. They are getting paid to go through the motions, and they don't have to like it. This line of thinking has been the main reason why NBA basketball hasn't had more success with basketball fans.
Why shouldn't Magic want to continue to enjoy playing basketball? This young man's enthusiasm for the game and his charisma have been a shot in the arm for the NBA.
East Lansing, Mich.
Please remove the name of Magic Johnson from that rapidly diminishing list of professional athletes for whom one can hold some spark of admiration and respect today—especially if he allowed himself to be bought off as Laker owner Jerry Buss's dupe in the Paul Westhead affair.
Alas! Another glowing example of the fact that when the magic is money, the magnificent suddenly becomes merely mortal.
THOMAS R. POWERS
Greenwell Springs, La.
Clearly, both Magic Johnson and Laker owner Jerry Buss are at fault in this latest episode of "Showtime": Johnson for mortgaging his personal and professional happiness by signing the 25-year, $25-million contract, and Buss for letting one player dictate who should and shouldn't coach the team.
JOSEPH DECLAN MORAN
ANOTHER ROLES MODEL
Jill Lieber's article on Puget Sound football player/swimmer Bob Jackson (Roles Model at the Sound, Nov. 23) stated that nobody has done the football-swimming double as well as Jackson since the '40s. I would like to mention another unusual athlete.