This is not the first time eyebrows have been raised over the eccentricities of the LSU athletic program, specifically the recruiting practices of Dale Brown. On April 23, 1984 high school All-America John Williams of Crenshaw High in Los Angeles announced he would attend LSU. Only Williams didn't make the announcement. Neither did Williams's mother, Mable Marie Mathews. Instead, Mrs. Mathews handed a written statement to a huge man wearing dark sunglasses and a white Panama hat who said his name was Stan Ross but whose name was really Stan Rothe. Brown says he met the 48-year-old Rothe at a Wayne Newton performance in Las Vegas, where he found Rothe to be an "entrepreneur kind of guy" whose businesses included the selling of turquoise and of walrus penises. "They're decorations," says Brown. "Jeez, haven't you ever seen Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous?"
During a visit to Los Angeles, Brown took Rothe to dinner and enlisted his help in recruiting Williams, whose mother Rothe had met at Hollywood Park Race Track.
Williams says he went to L.A. area horse tracks "three or four" times with Rothe during his senior year in high school.
In the predawn hours of April 12, 1984 Rothe says he received a long-distance call from Brown asking him to arrange a rendezvous with Williams and his mother. Rothe reserved a room at the Ramada Inn at Los Angeles International Airport, then drove to Williams's house and delivered Williams and his mother to the hotel. Rothe says he paid cash for the room, then drove to the airport, where he picked up Brown and LSU assistant coach Ron Abernathy, and drove them back to the hotel. Some time after that, Williams signed an LSU letter of intent.
What Brown didn't know at the time, he says, was this: Stanley Vincent Rothe, alias Steve Best, alias Stan Vukovich, alias Steve Boston, alias Jack Ross, alias Stan Ross, has been described by law enforcement sources as a gambler and a fence for stolen property. In 1962 Rothe was convicted in Orange County, Calif. of receiving about $20,000 in stolen property. He was denied a probationary sentence because, among other reasons, a U.S. Secret Service agent said Rothe had perjured himself during a federal court trial the year before in which he was acquitted of charges that he possessed stolen mail. The probation report concluded that "It is our feeling that he is capable of almost anything, including malicious physical violence and absconding if he has an opportunity...."
Rothe was sent to the California Institution for Men in Chino in late 1962. He was paroled after almost two years but recommitted to prison in 1968 for numerous parole violations. On June 5, 1970, he was paroled again.
Last spring Rothe said he operates a football gambling-tip service, called Sports Advisory System, charging customers $750 a year each. He says he gambles on horse races and football games. He says he has never been a bookmaker and never bets on basketball. "Too unpredictable," Rothe says.
As Rothe's rap sheet was being read to Brown last week, the LSU coach began moaning, "Ohhhh no...ohhhh, my God...noooooo.... Such a fine man...ohhhh...he was a really good guy...don't, noooo...so what if he wore a ponytail? ...ohhhh no."
John Williams was asked if he is still friends with Rothe. "Stan? Sure," he said. "Last summer we went to Hollywood Park a couple of times. We hung out together.... Went to the beach a couple of times."
Williams joined Rothe at Hollywood Park last summer.