- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
He picked La Salle, right at home in Philadelphia, and sometime during the next four years shot up to 6 feet 7� inches, kept on scoring points, became a three-time All-America and led the Explorers to the NIT and NCAA championships.
Tom Gola graduated from college but didn't even have to leave home to become one of the rookie stars of the National Basketball Association. The Philadelphia Warriors, not unaware of the tremendous gate appeal of this local hero, were also missing no bets in an attempt to escape from the NBA cellar—and Tom Gola looked like a good bet. He was. Listed as only 6 feet 7 for simplicity's sake, the magnificent rookie scored 732 points, rebounded, defended and set up plays like an old pro, and the Warriors, attracting three times as many spectators as the year before, won both the league championship and the postseason playoffs. And then the best team in all basketball, fortified for the years ahead with a cast of able veterans and a 23-year-old whiz kid, sat back to gloat over prospects of a lengthy command of the professional game.
But last week the United States Army, which usually has only poor basketball teams because it has to fashion its athletic squads—as well as its combat divisions—from American males less than 6 feet 6 inches in height, made two important discoveries: 1) all the tape measures in Philadelphia had, for a period of at least six years, been badly out of adjustment, and 2) Tom Gola was only 6 feet 5� inches tall—and 1A in the draft.
When it was suggested (SI, Dec. 26) that schools and colleges consider playing their soccer schedules in the springtime instead of bucking the competition of football and the World Series in the fall, opinion among the coaches and officials polled was about evenly divided. But now one coach, Jock Stewart of UCLA, who liked the idea from the start, has put it to the test and is enthusiastic about it.
Coach Stewart scheduled a home game with the University of Arizona. Against the competition of a track meet on the UCLA campus, the soccer game ( Arizona won 5-3) drew 500 spectators, which is five times what a soccer game usually drew on the same field last fall.
Perhaps that's just the beginning.
Now Coach Stewart has received permission from Athletic Director Wilbur Johns to hold full-scale soccer practice during the month of May. Said Stewart to an SI correspondent:
"You fellows gave me the idea and it's a good one."