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Football at St. John's
A big hoorah for Austin Murphy's piece about John Gagliardi's coaching philosophy at St. John's of Minnesota (The Gentlest Giants, Aug. 31). As a high school coach for 20 years, I have always believed that fun and spirit are the two primary ingredients in helping young athletes achieve their potential. As a track and field, soccer and wrestling coach who has found success in the win column, I was especially gratified to see a similar approach working on the gridiron. This article should be hung on the walls of every locker room to help coaches make athletics a more rewarding experience for our youth.
Berkshire School
Sheffield, Mass.

The sports-medicine staff for a football team can be viewed with dread by the players. We're the bearers of bad news about injuries. Not so at St. John's, however. Its no-contact football practices leave the team virtually injury free. If an injury occurs, it is usually on Saturday afternoon. (Happily, I know how the Maytag repairman feels.) It is a pleasure to work with Coach Gagliardo, the St. John's football staff and the team.
Orthopedic Sports Center
St. Cloud, Minn.

There are so many things screwed up about college football, why did you launch a frontal assault against BYU (Clean, Sober and Insufferable, Aug. 31), one of the finest programs in the country? There is nothing wrong with being successful athletically, adhering to the principles of your religious beliefs and living a clean, wholesome life.
Concord, Calif.

BYU, the most-hated football team in America? Please. Maybe in the wacky WAC, but in America? I'll bet Ohio State fans are really mad about that. They thought the most-hated team was Michigan. Florida State fans will probably cancel their subscriptions. They thought it was Miami. And everybody who plays Notre Dame is probably in shock. BYU, with a 75-11-1 conference record, has been the predominant team in the WAC for a decade. Who wouldn't want to beat the Cougars? But hate them?

Almost every football power in the past 20 years has fallen victim to its own greed, resulting in recruiting violations. There have been countless scandals. Yet SI would criticize a team for being "clean and sober"? Something is wrong with that.
Provo, Utah

Shorting Larry Bird
I cannot believe that you devoted almost an entire issue to Magic Johnson when he retired and could manage only four pages about Larry Bird's retirement (Walking Tall, Aug. 31), especially since the players' names have been so intertwined throughout the years.
Millstone, W.Va.

The game of football returns every fall. Larry Bird will not return to the NBA ever again. Shame on you for not having Bird on your Aug. 31 cover one last time.
Everett, Mass.

Questionable Taste
I could not believe that your article about Montreal Canadien John Kordic (Aug. 24) was titled Death of a Goon. While it is true that Kordic's role in hockey was that of an enforcer and that he may not have made the best decisions with respect to his career, I feel that the title you chose is offensive to his family and shows little taste.
Cochrane, Alberta

Smurf Turf
I enjoyed your article about the ingredients for a perfect football program (Nothing But the Best, Aug. 31), but I would like to have seen one more category—the best turf in college football. That would go to Division I-AA Boise State, hands down. People who see Lyle Smith Field for the first time usually don't understand why the Broncos play football on blue turf. Ducks and geese are also confused at times, thinking that the field is a lake. But the Broncos aren't confused. When they needed to resurface their field in 1986, they opted for artificial grass in Bronco blue instead of the traditional green. How about including a picture so the rest of America can see what some call Smurf Turf?
Nyssa, Ore.

•Here it is.—ED.



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