You have to love a coach as down-home as Iowa's Kirk Ferentz. And what could be more fortuitous than a bunch of football recruits who were scorned by elite programs but are doing things the old-fashioned way, working hard and playing as a team?
Gary (Starsky) Hagan
You call Bob Stoops Iowa's "first choice" as a coaching hire in 1998, but to be clear, he was never actually offered the job—one of the real tragedies in the history of Iowa sports. Bob played for Hayden Fry at Iowa and was on his staff; his brothers Mike and Mark also played for Fry. Their father, Ron, was buried in a Hawkeyes T-shirt. Bob waited for Hayden (his friend and mentor) to retire and was interviewed for the job. Even though Stoops was an alum and one of the hottest coordinators in the country while at Florida, school officials told him that they had to interview another candidate. Stoops walked straight out of the meeting and accepted the Oklahoma job that night.
Tom C. Johnson, San Francisco
Jimmie Johnson's winning a fourth straight NASCAR championship (What's with You, Man? Nov. 9) demonstrates how much of a joke the Chase format is. The only season he won the title when he had the best car all year was 2006. If not for the Chase format, Jeff Gordon would have beaten Johnson by almost 400 points in 2007, when Gordon set a record for top 10 finishes, with 30. Over the last two years Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart were the best drivers, respectively. I will give Johnson one thing: He is the greatest Chase driver of all time. If that means anything.
Joe Kuhner, Rochester, N.Y.
I coach youth football, and we recently completed our season. At the start of it the players were unsure of themselves, looking to be part of something larger, trying to figure out how they'd fit into the team. Still, they were determined to prove they could play in a bigger weight class. While we did not win a game, the players grew on the field and as young men. My thanks to Phil Taylor's Confessions of a Coachaholic (POINT AFTER, Nov. 9) for telling people what coaching youth sports is really all about.