Dean Smith epitomizes what we long for in athletics and in
society: goodness, integrity and humility.
JOEL T. SCHAEFER, WICHITA, KANS.
Maybe there is hope for the U.S. and its sports (Curtains?, Dec.
22). The Minnesota voters have refused to be blackmailed into
building a new stadium for the Twins, who already have a
facility that is only 15 years old. We have no business building
stadiums for billionaire owners so that they can construct
luxury boxes at our expense and charge corporate and wealthy
fans to watch millionaire players. To add insult to injury, many
of those luxury boxes are written off as a business expense,
which means less money collected in taxes.
JAMES A. STEWART, Dover, Del.
Someone has to say "enough already" to the owners who continue
to beg for millions of dollars in tax money for new stadiums.
The only way to stop the bleeding is to say no. Public subsidies
should be reserved for the needy, not the greedy.
KEVIN G. ROBERTSON, Beachwood, Ohio
It's nice to know there is still a place where schools and parks
outweigh pro sports.
ALLISON HUNTER, Denver
The sad fact is that fans will still queue up at stadiums paid
for with their tax dollars to be marginally entertained by
people they make rich.
D.J. HOFFMAN, Toledo
The combined record for teams in the 1997 regular season the
week after they played the Packers was 1-13, the sole winners
having been the Vikings, who beat the Eagles the week of Sept.
28, following their loss to Green Bay at Lambeau Field on Sept.
21 (INSIDE THE NFL, Dec. 29-Jan. 5). Were these defeats the
result of a scheduling quirk, or was the effort spent in
attempting to beat the world champs too much to recover from in
MICK KIRVEN, Trumbull, Conn.
Alexander Wolff's Boswellian biography-by-witnesses and Dean
Smith's philosophical eloquence have introduced your millions of
readers to one of America's authentic sports legends (Fanfare
for an Uncommon Man, Dec. 22). Coach Smith achieved greatness by
being a humble servant. He taught generations of young men to
cherish the Periclean ideal that equally respects academics and
athletics. He also taught them to believe that intolerance of
racial differences has no place in the stadium of life. Very few
professors incorporate that ethic in their pedagogy.
Walter Spearman Professor of Journalism
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, N.C.
There can be few quarrels with picking Dean Smith as your
Sportsman of the Year. But, in your SCORECARD item on Nebraska
football coach Tom Osborne's retirement, you mention that
Osborne "never got the credit he deserved." By failing to name
him as co-sportsman, you have continued to withhold credit from
one of the most intelligent, decent and storied coaches of all
BRENT HINKLE, Tulsa
I never understood the adulation of Dean Smith. The man nearly
ruined college basketball with his offensive four-corner
"offense." No matter how he and his minions try to dress it up,
a stall is a stall.
MIKE KOSCHIK, Lambertville, Mich.
You end your article on Paul Kariya's signing of a two-year, $14
million contract with the Mighty Ducks by saying "hockey seems a
little brighter" (Goal Oriented, Dec. 22). On the contrary, my
view of the future of the NHL is bleak. The NHL has nowhere near
the TV revenues of the three other big sports. Its main source
of income is the seats we fans sit in. The Kariya signing means
the beginning of salaries spinning out of control. Disney should
have held out, and because it didn't, we'll all pay.
ANTHONY SHAMOUN, Farmington Hills, Mich.
COLOR PHOTO: DAMIAN STROHMEYER [Ross Verba in game]
Though Peter King chose the Steelers' Tom Donahoe as executive
of the year (Inside the NFL, Dec. 29-Jan. 5), that honor belongs
to the Packers' Ron Wolf. Since 1992 Wolf has found talent in
the later rounds of the draft. When faced with cap restrictions,
his decision to keep Gilbert Brown and not to re-sign Desmond
Howard proved to be the right move. Ross Verba (below, right),
the fifth offensive lineman picked in last year's draft,
performed better and better each week.
MATT PLOETZ, Madison, Wis.
I was disappointed that King voted for Carnell Lake of the
Steelers for his MVP. This award should go to the player who
stood out above everyone else and who has the best chance to
take his team to the championship. My MVP is Packers quarterback
BERNARD QUINLAN, Baraboo, Wis.