PRAISE FOR LO SCHIAVO
Some criticism has been leveled at Rev. John Lo Schiavo, president of the University of San Francisco, for his Draconian decision to drop varsity basketball at USF (page 62). Too severe, some said. Too harsh. Look at USF's glorious basketball past. Couldn't something be worked out?
But Father Lo Schiavo decided that the reputation and integrity of the university were at stake, and there has been outspoken support for his action. Dean Smith, coach of North Carolina's NCAA basketball champions, said, "He was right. The integrity of the university is far more important." Joe Paterno, Penn State football coach, said, "I very much admire Father Lo Schiavo. I think if you can't control the people who refuse to understand that a school has a primary function to be an academic institution with integrity, then athletics are not worth it, no matter how important they are." Bobby Knight, Indiana's volatile basketball coach, said, "I was shocked that a university president would be willing to do that. It was a courageous move. The move he made was the only way many athletes and coaches will understand that control rests with the president. We need more like him."
AS OTHERS SEE US
Pacific Islands Monthly is a lively little journal that covers doings in the islands of the Pacific, from Tahiti to Fiji to New Caledonia to the Solomons. Sometimes the rest of the world seems a bit odd to the folks in those remote parts. For example, Great Britain. A century ago Britain regularly sent missionaries to the islands to convert the heathen. Now, according to the May 1982 issue of the Monthly, an ex-captain of Western Samoa's rugby team, the Reverend Faitala Talapusi of the United Reformed Church, has gone to the English Midlands to bring Christianity to the population there. "Basically, Britain is an irreligious country," says Talapusi, and the Monthly points out that while 80% of the people in Western Samoa actively practice Christianity, 80% of those in England never set foot in a church.
Nor does America get off unscathed. The same issue notes that two students from Samoana High School in American Samoa have won football scholarships to U.S. colleges. Moamoa Vaeao will attend the University of Hawaii and Taleni Wright will go to Arizona State, trying to emulate the football careers of such Samoan stars as Mosiula Tatupu and Wilson Faumuina. "American 'gridiron,' " comments the Monthly, "like baseball, appears to be one of the main reasons why universities exist in the United States. Ability to play the game seems as much an asset as brains when competing for a place in the university."
Harvey's Wallbangers, otherwise known as the Milwaukee Brewers (SI, July 12), are a breed apart. Not only are the Wallbangers the hardest-hitting lineup in baseball, but they also have the oddest collection of biographical data in the game. Manager Harvey Kuenn, for example, has survived stomach surgery, a heart-bypass operation and the amputation of his right leg below the knee. First Base Coach Ron Hansen is one of only eight men in major league history to pull off an unassisted triple play, which he achieved in 1968 when he was toiling at shortstop for the Washington Senators. Hansen's opposite number, Third Base Coach Harry Warner, played professional ball for 17 consecutive seasons, all of them in the minor leagues—without so much as a sniff of the bigs. And the full given name of Pitching Coach Cal McLish is, as all trivia buffs know, Calvin Coolidge Julius Caesar Tuskahoma McLish.
And it isn't just the teaching faculty, so to speak. Pitcher Pete Vuckovich was a blue baby at birth and nearly strangled on his umbilical cord. When he was 1½, peritonitis set in after his appendix burst. At 2½, he had a tumor removed from his temple in an eight-hour operation. At 20, going 105 mph, he drove off an interstate highway in the rain, and though he wasn't injured, his car rolled over six times as it tumbled down a 60-foot embankment. At 21, he narrowly escaped electrocuting himself when he just missed backing into a 15,000-watt generator. Vuckovich says, "Now you know why I don't get excited when somebody rips a line drive off my head. I live life to the fullest."