though tagging along and happy with success, was beginning to run out of breath
and asked McGregor to slow down. The school said it couldn't afford the
barnstorming, ordered him to hold individual traveling expenses to $7 a day and
started a reappraisal of scholarship benefits for McGregor's gangly imports.
Then, only about 500 people showed up for the Hawaii game on the campus and the
school was stuck for much of the $2,500 guarantee. Whit-worth prepared to fire
however, struck first. In a letter of resignation he blamed
"de-emphasis." He turned it in just eight hours before the area's
sportswriters picked him "Coach of the Year."
town in the spring of 1953, to go to work for an airline promoting tourist
trade to Japan. It was during this tour of duty that the ever-restless McGregor
lined up a basketball tour to the Far East. He offered it first to Anderson,
who turned it down with an "I don't know about you, Jim. I can see us
coming back in a rowboat." The University of Oregon went instead and came
home happy, safe and solvent in a four-engined airliner.
popped up in Italy, where he signed on as coach of the Italian National team.
He learned three new languages and soon became known as a leader in European
basketball. In his spare time, he flitted back and forth through the Iron
Curtain, gave clinics and wrote letters back to Spokane from Africa, South
America, Warsaw and Istanbul.
Anderson, his old
antagonist, was on the mailing list and sometimes even wrote back. He had
learned to forgive McGregor's aggressiveness, which is not remarkably
charitable of him when you take into account McGregor's international
epistolary style. One letter from Russia ended with a startling p.s.: "If
you can find someone at Gonzaga who speaks Russian, I can get you a 7-foot-6
full of respect for McGregor, could find no Russians around Gonzaga, but he was
ready with eight French linguists when McGregor wrote about a 7-foot-3
ready assent, the persuasive McGregor went to work on Lefebvre and Coach
Busnel. Lefebvre forthwith decided he would like to go to the U.S. for college.
Busnel, eying the 1960 Olympics, was just as certain the experience would be
good for Lefebvre and the training helpful for France.
Anderson took it
from there and negotiated for the next six months. He lined up a French
professor at Gonzaga as his prime diplomat and stayed awake until 3 a.m. for
long distance calls from Paris. A friend put up $771 for a round-trip plane
ticket, and it was fired off airmail to France. The American embassy gave
Lefebvre a four-year student visa, and finally he was off. Anderson scarcely
slept a wink for the next 36 hours.
He called Thomas
Bradley, a New York trucking executive and a Gonzaga regent, to make contact at
Idlewild. Bradley dispatched an aide, Thomas Griffin, who took Lefebvre away
from possible sales talks by anyone else.
stands 6-feet-6 himself, was popeyed when his French recruit stepped off the
plane at Spokane. He hustled him home and secured him in a basement room.
Registration at Gonzaga, and permanent possession, was still three weeks