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Final Forays

With Mike Krzyzewski's having joined John Wooden, Adolph Rupp
and Bob Knight as the fourth coach to win three national
championships (Three's a Charm, April 9), it's worth noting that
none of Wooden's or Rupp's titles and only one of Knight's came
during the era when a team has had to win four games, instead of
two or three, to reach the Final Four.

Pardon me while I shed a tear for Krzyzewski. Your article said
that he had to build a "secluded, custom-built home nestled on 12
acres just outside the Duke Forest" because of the terrible
pressure of being him. He "slumped in a chair, shaking his head"
following the loss to Maryland. And his wife urged their daughter
to "stop by your dad's office tomorrow and give him a hug." Is
this basketball or the Monday night movie?

The picture of Mike Dunleavy shooting a three-pointer epitomizes
what Shane Battier is all about. While everyone else in the
Metrodome is watching the flight of the ball, Battier is looking
to gain position in case the shot does not go in.
JEFF RUDDER, Danville, Va.

Duke is the New York Yankees of college basketball. Almost
everyone loves to hate the Blue Devils, but they know how to win.
BOB MISHOL, Ludlow, Mass.

Put the Dukies in a uniform that doesn't have DUKE on it and
they don't get to the final game, much less win it. The
officiating was horrendous. I particularly liked Jason
Williams's tackle of Jason Gardner and the fifth foul called on
Maryland's Lonny Baxter.
BEN COLE, Vienna, Va.

Alexander Wolff commented on the failure of some notable
freewheeling offensive units to prevail in the final game. We
fiftysomething guys recall a run-and-gun team that got the job
done, coach George Ireland's 1962-63 Loyola of Chicago team. The
Ramblers came from behind to upset Cincinnati and deny the
Bearcats three straight titles. Like Duke, Loyola of Chicago was
fun to watch.

Full of Oates

I disagree with Kostya Kennedy's claim that Adam Oates is the
second-best passer of all time (Mystery Man, April 9). While
Oates is gifted, he's not in the same league as Mario Lemieux.
The statistics you cite that show Lemieux averages almost one
third of an assist more per game than Oates prove my point. Had
Lemieux been fortunate enough to have linemates such as Brett
Hull or Cam Neely instead of Doug Shedden and Warren Young, he'd
be averaging more assists per game than Wayne Gretzky did.
JEFFREY C. Hoener, Pittsburgh

If I were starting a hockey team today, Oates would be my first
pick. He's similar to Larry Bird and Magic Johnson in his ability
to make ordinary players look good. Furthermore, Hull, Neely and
Peter Bondra had their most productive years with Oates setting
them up, so obviously even outstanding players needed Oates to
help them realize their potential.

Daydream Believers

I eagerly await Rick Reilly's columns each week, but Steve
Rushin's Sweet Dreams column was the best I've read in some time
(AIR AND SPACE, April 9). Thanks for reminding us that sport has
a mystical ability to bestow emotional rewards on some of its
most ardent participants.

Just when I was losing hope in sports, Rushin changes from his
cynical self into a dreamer. Quick as you can say, "Twins win!"
I'm in love with the games again.
LOREN FOXX, Newport Beach, Calif.

Musical Chairs

Your story on the college basketball coaching carousel mentions
Wisconsin's hiring of a coach no one had heard of (SCORECARD,
April 9). This should help: Bo Ryan won four Division III
championships in the 1990s at Wisconsin-Platteville. In 1994-95
Wisconsin-Platteville went undefeated and beat previously
unbeaten Manchester, coached by Steve Alford.
STEVE GEHRMANN, Sun Prairie, Wis.

I found Seth Davis's column about the mess that coaches and
athletic directors in the power conferences have made of college
basketball to be right on target. Team has good season, school
and fans asked to pony up to keep coach, coach pledges undying
love, next day coach leaves town without letting door hit him on
way out. But hey, the game isn't about fans and players who
aren't lottery picks, is it?


There's Only One Wizard

Coach K is undoubtedly a wonderful coach, but please don't put
him in the company of UCLA's John Wooden (above), the greatest
basketball coach of all time, just yet. Three NCAA championships
are not 10!