- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
OIL, YACHTS AND FOOTBALL
In the everlasting competition to find winning football coaches, three Texas oilmen, boosters of the University of Houston, last week offered the inducement of the year: two oil wells and a 125-foot air-conditioned yacht. The object of Houston's attention was Bud Wilkinson, a Minnesotan by birth, who has won 40 games in a row for the University of Oklahoma with the substantial help of young fellows recruited from the neighboring state of Texas.
The original bid was for just one little old oil well and "a sea-going yacht" undescribed. "I am glad," Bud Wilkinson said, with the serene dignity of a football coach who has tutored a university's football teams to two successive national championships and seven straight Big Seven championships, "that I don't have to comment on anything as absurd as this."
The Houston enthusiasts, whose improving team won 7, lost 2 and tied one last season, were not put off by icy language. "If oil wells and yachts are absurd," said Francis Blair, Houston oil operator, "then this world needs more absurdities.... I still think Bud's the greatest coach in the world, and we need him at Houston." Thereupon Blair was joined in his recruitment campaign by Houston's F. M. O'Connor, another independent oil operator and refinery owner, who offered to put up a second oil well, and Houston's O. J. McCullough, who tossed in his yacht Queen of Texas , a truly sea-going craft that cost $750,000.
Bud Wilkinson still seemed to cast a cold eye on such generosity. But in Houston, Oilman Blair's phone began to ring with long-distance calls from all parts of the U.S. Other football coaches are deeply interested in oil wells and sea-going yachts.
NUTS TO THE GIANTS
Jackie Robinson's retirement from baseball was a week-long spectacular, filled, like his career, with surprises, dissensions and sharp exchanges. But all through the week ran a thread of doubt: had Jackie really retired? Well, he had said that he had—but the Giants were offering him $50,000 (but no yachts or oil wells) for 1957 if he would just change his mind. And his brand-new employer (possibly thinking that it would be chock full of publicity value to have one of the company's vice-presidents racing around the National League base paths next season) offered to let Jackie begin his job with a sabbatical year so that he could play. Furthermore, Robinson himself admitted that his No to the New York Giants was as yet only semifinal; the final word had not been given.
On Friday night it came: Jackie Robinson would play no more. And this time the news was buttressed by a statement of satisfaction from what most men consider a very high authority indeed. "It's going to be strange at first, living a normal life," said Rachel Robinson, Jackie's wife. "We'll be married 11 years next month and I've never had him home for more than two months at a time." "Rachel," Jackie added, "has been a different person ever since we made the decision. I've never seen her so relaxed."
FRONT AND CENTER
For 14 years a blond woman has occupied a front row seat in Madison Square Garden when the New York Rangers play hockey there. All the regular fans know her, and many of them make a quick check just before the game begins to be sure she is on hand. The two facts generally known about her are that she is blond and that she is always there. Now that some of the Rangers' games are being televised nationally, she is becoming a familiar figure to many more who assume that she is the wife of someone connected with the team.