safely asleep in a special 7-foot 8-inch bed downstairs, Anderson went to work.
He called Babe Brown, the athletic director at the College of Idaho in
Caldwell, and lined up another game for December 2 to open the season at home
Then he pulled
five scheduled games out of the 1,500-seat Gonzaga gymnasium and booked them
into the Spokane Coliseum, which accommodates 7,500 for basketball.
Chores done, he
gazed fondly back on Lefebvre, who came with embroidered pajamas and wash
towels, a modest but well-tailored wardrobe and nine words of English. He also
arrived with a pair of size 17 basketball shoes that were too small.
There was more
civic interest in Gonzaga basketball in the next few weeks of September than
all of last season, when the team won 11 of 27 games, drew skimpy crowds and
hardly raised a murmur among the students.
Chronicle greeted Lefebvre's arrival warmly in a lead editorial, whistled at
his tremendous size with a "Golly, Quel Homme!" A clothier wanted to
outfit him, and Playfair track begged Lefebvre to crown the winning horse of a
feature race. In the last season, Anderson sold fewer than 300 season tickets.
He is now banking on at least 1,000 at $7.50 each.
As both coach and
promoter, Anderson ensconced big Lefebvre in a room in a campus dormitory with
Norman Gillette, the new 5-foot-8 athletic news director whose credentials
include B's in high school French.
Then he helped
Lefebvre line up his freshman course: English I (with a tutor); the French
theater since 1930 (with a French-speaking teacher); the history of French
literature, and Racine's tragedies (with the same teacher); and four hours of
physical education (with Coach Anderson).
bought himself a Larousse French-English dictionary, four bottles of shaving
lotion, a camera and a notebook to take down play patterns from Anderson's
He gets $10 a
week on a campus job (one of his tasks is installing high-hanging library
shelves), in addition to the standard Gonzaga scholarship of board, room and
tuition. He came without cost and no under-the-table payments. In return, even
before firing a shot at a Gonzaga foe, he has given the school one of its most
intriguing athletic heroes without an inch of goon on an outsized frame. When
he has a better grasp of English, Lefebvre intends to switch to a business
course. He will study the export-import trade, which he hopes eventually to
Almost lost in
the Gonzaga glee over its recruiting coup is the fact that Lefebvre plays
pretty good basketball. He can move, shoots well and is learning to lift his
280 pounds off the floor for rebounds. After six weeks of practice, Anderson
feels Lefebvre's rough edges are beginning to smooth over.