Skip to main content
Original Issue


Simply Excellent
They display different leadership styles, but Tyrone Willingham
and Dusty Baker have two things in common: 1) great success and
2)...uh...mmm...wait a minute...

In the history of race in sports, the milestones, like Jackie
Robinson's breaking baseball's color line or Doug Williams's
becoming the first African-American quarterback to win a Super
Bowl, often come clearly marked. But some of the most
significant moments aren't moments at all. They are subtle,
almost imperceptible shifts in attitude that creep up on us when
we're not looking.

It's hard to find a spot on the time line, for instance, to
represent the change in thinking that has allowed two black men,
San Francisco Giants manager Dusty Baker and Notre Dame football
coach Tyrone Willingham, to become arguably the most widely
admired coaches in sports. It hardly matters whether the
undefeated Fighting Irish can complete their surprising run for
the national championship or that the Giants came up six outs
short of winning the World Series. Willingham and Baker have
already established themselves as men with distinctive,
successful leadership styles, and a growing number of teams want
them or someone like them. Baker, whose contract with San
Francisco is set to expire, is certain to become one of the
highest-paid managers in baseball, either by the Giants or by
one of the other clubs that are lining up to bid for his
services. "Dusty's hot enough that even teams who have managers
in place might move them out if they felt they had a shot at
him," says Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. It won't be long
before Notre Dame is fighting off the NFL suitors who come
calling for Willingham.

Baker, with his office full of jazz CDs and his hip, West Coast
style, makes a connection with his players that most managers
cannot, but it is Willingham's management approach that is
shattering stereotypes. If Baker is every player's cool uncle,
the no-nonsense Willingham is their demanding professor. The
first black head coach in any sport in Notre Dame's history, he
is being praised for reintroducing the discipline and attention
to detail that the football program lacked under former coach
Bob Davie, while Stanford, Willingham's previous team, has fans
grumbling about the team's lack of precision under new coach
Buddy Teevens. These are no small developments. When was the
last time a black head coach was credited with running a
tighter, crisper operation than his white colleagues?

But the fact that most of the public isn't even thinking in
those terms is a sign of progress in itself. With every Notre
Dame victory Willingham is talked and written about less as a
pioneer and more as simply an exceptional coach. The fans and
media in Chicago and Seattle who are urging their team to sign
Baker aren't asking anyone to strike a blow for racial equality;
they're just looking for the manager most likely to get them to
a World Series.

As encouraging as Baker's and Willingham's success is, it
shouldn't be taken to mean that the hiring process in sports has
finally become color-blind, not when only four of the 117 head
coaches in Division I-A football are African-American, not when
lawyer Johnnie Cochran has threatened the NFL, which has two
African-American head coaches among its 32 teams, with a lawsuit
over the league's hiring practices. But when a black head coach
like Willingham can be seen as the leading authority figure in
his sport, when a black manager like Baker can sit back and wait
for a bidding war over his services, there is something
fundamentally different about racial attitudes in sports. It's
like the turning of the leaves in autumn--we can't see it
happening, but we know when the colors have changed.
--Phil Taylor

Flying Blind
Though she's almost sightless, Marla Runyan is a U.S. favorite
in Sunday's New York Marathon

Anyone who thinks Faith Hill made a bold crossover, must never
have heard of Marla Runyan. The runner, who is legally blind, is
the first Paralympian ever to compete in the Olympic Games. She
finished eighth in the 1,500 in Sydney in 2000, then went on to
set a U.S. indoor record in the 5,000 and win national outdoor
5,000 titles in 2001 and 2002.

When she runs on a track, Runyan--who suffers from macular
degeneration, a condition of the retina--can dimly perceive the
inside curb and, at times, the lines marking running lanes. But
on Nov. 3, when she makes her marathon debut in New York City,
she won't have those reference points. As she makes her way
through the five boroughs, Runyan, 33, will encounter variations
in running surfaces and elevation and unpredictable and irregular
turns. Why put yourself through that? "If running were just about
winning," says Runyan, "you could stay at a certain level and
always win. But you know that that's not going to be rewarding."

Runyan, whose husband, Matt Lonergan, is also her coach, has
competed in a handful of road races, though never in anything
close to the marathon distance of 26.2 miles. At the USA
National 10K Championship in Boston on Oct. 14, she nearly
collided with a lead motorcycle cop who had abruptly stopped to
speak to a pedestrian. She also meandered off-course at the end
of the race, admitting she "didn't know where the finish was."
Even so, she won.

Runyan says "running the tangents"--the shortest route around the
marathon's myriad turns--"is the biggest concern." She will, at
least, have a little help: Race officials have arranged for a
bicyclist to ride close behind her. The bicyclist will shout out
split times to Runyan (there are clocks at every mile on the
course) and advise her about turns, but is not allowed to give
coaching tips such as the position of other runners. "We're just
trying to replace the visible cues with audible clues," says
marathon director Allan Steinfeld. "There's no advantage. I can't
see anyone having a problem with it." Milena Glusac, Runyan's
chief U.S. rival, agrees. "If I were in Marla's situation, I'd
want the same thing," says Glusac. "I don't have any objections."

With or without a bicyclist, Runyan isn't focusing on the
possible problems. "The times I am running," she says, "are the
times when I feel the most independent." --Jake Alexander


2,109.55 Distance in miles for the 2003 Tour de France, the
seventh shortest course in the race's 99-year history.

7 Intentional walks, to Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams in
World Series play, a record set over 26 games in five seasons.

7 Intentional walks to Barry Bonds in the 2002 World Series.

255 Regular-season games, an NHL record, in which Devils
defenseman Ken Daneyko had gone goalless before he scored against
Buffalo last Friday.

$10,000 Paid by Celtics forward Vin Baker to teammate Kedrick
Brown to surrender number 42 so Baker can wear it.

9 Recreational golfers who outdrove the PGA Tour's John Daly in
the Pinnacle Distance Challenge in Mesquite, Nev., winning
$100,000 apiece.

5 Goalies that the Blues used in their first six games because of

$50,000 Amount Grant Hill and Christian Laettner each gave to
Jersey City's St. Anthony High; its hoops team is coached by Bob
Hurley, whose son Bobby played with Hill and Laettner at Duke.

1-31 Record of Baylor coach Kevin Steele against Big 12 opponents
after losing 44-10 last week to Kansas State.


Letters to the editor? Please. These days, when fans want to dis
a college football coach, they buy a domain name. Internet sites
calling for coaches' heads are spawning faster than you can say is the place to deride Syracuse's Paul
Pasqualoni. The perceived shortcomings of Tennessee's Phil Fulmer
can be discussed on, and Michigan State fans
have The gold standard, however, is, a site named for the Florida coach that offers
merchandise and message boards and has received nearly 300,000
hits since it went up 24 hours after Zook was hired last January.
"I tell my family, 'Don't read it. Don't worry about it,'" says
Zook, "but it's there."

No fans have more Web wrath than Texas'. Inspired by the Zook
site and incensed at Longhorns offensive coordinator Greg Davis,
Nate Carty, a portfolio manager and 1997 Texas grad, bought the day after Texas' 35-24 loss to Oklahoma on
Oct. 12. The harsher was started the same day
by J.R. Ghaddar, a Texas fan from Austin. "We want our team to be
better," says Ghaddar of the seventh-ranked, 7-1 Longhorns. "I
was going to go with gregdavisplaycallingsucks. But it's too


That Raptors center Hakeem Olajuwon, a 12-time NBA All-Star,
will announce his retirement before the Rockets-Golden State
game in Houston on Nov. 9, effective immediately. The
Nigerian-born 7-footer played 17 of his 18 seasons in Houston
and led the Rockets to championships in 1994 and '95. Named one
of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players, Olajuwon finishes as the
league's blocks leader (3,830) and the Rockets' leader in points
(26,511), rebounds (13,382) and steals (2,088). He also took the
University of Houston to the NCAA title game in 1983 and '84.

By the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, an
investigation into the legality of the six winning tickets at
last Saturday's Breeders' Cup Pick 6 wager. All six tickets were
purchased by phone by a 29-year-old Maryland resident through an
off-track betting service in Catskill, N.Y., the Daily Racing
Form reported. The investigation will focus on whether the
bettor submitted the tickets after four of the six races on the
Arlington Park Pick 6 card had been completed. Each winning
ticket is worth $428,392.

Robbed and Suspended
All in one day, Nets point guard Chris Childs. At 1:30 a.m. on
Oct. 22 Childs was held up at gunpoint by three men outside a
Manhattan restaurant owned by Sean (P. Diddy) Combs; police say
the alleged thieves made off with $30,000 in cash and jewelry,
including a diamond-encrusted watch worth $20,000. Hours later
Nets president Rod Thorn suspended Childs indefinitely for not
being in playing shape. The guard, who signed a two-year, $3.6
million deal with the Nets on Aug. 1, is about 25 pounds over
last year's playing weight of 205.

By Uzbekistan, the game of billiards and the nation's billiards
federation. According to government spokesman Dilshod Nazirov,
billiard halls, which have greatly multiplied since the
country's 1991 independence from the Soviet Union, are hangouts
for drug users and heavy drinkers. "When you go to a billiard
club, there is thick cigarette smoke, the smell of alcohol--is
this a sport?" he said.

After months of failing health, Al Lerner, 69, a self-made
billionaire who brought football back to Cleveland. On Sept. 8,
1998, three years after Art Modell moved the Browns to Baltimore
and named them the Ravens, Lerner, a banking and real estate
kingpin, outbid five others and was awarded the Browns expansion
franchise for $530 million. It was the most ever paid for a
sports franchise at the time. "He was a remarkable man," said
coach Butch Davis. "He had a love affair with this team since
early childhood."

By the American Bowling Congress, two 300 games by the
father-and-son tandem of Pat and Joey Dineen, ages 49 and 21,
respectively, who bowled perfectly on April 25 at Indian River
Lanes in Virginia Beach. The Dineens are the third father-son
tandem to bowl 300 in the same league game.

Paul Wellstone 1944-2002
DIED When his plane crashed near Eveleth, Minn., Senator Paul
Wellstone (D., Minn.). Wellstone, 58, wrestled for two years at
North Carolina, going 21-0-1 and winning the 1964 ACC title. He
also went 60-0 in high school and last year was inducted into the
National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Says UNC coach Bill Lam, "His
regret was not finding out what he could have done on a national
level. He told me, 'In my heart I feel I could have gone with
anybody.' After meeting him, I would not have wanted to go
against him."

Julie Rides Again

Returned To an active career, Hall of Fame jockey Julie Krone,
39. The most successful female rider of all time (3,545 wins and
more than $81 million in purses) retired in 1999 after numerous
injuries (including a bruised heart and a broken back) sapped
her will to climb aboard thousand-pound thoroughbreds. Upon
ending her 18-year career, the 4'10 1/2", 100-pound Krone moved
from New Jersey to Carlsbad, Calif., married Daily Racing Form
columnist Jay Hovdey, worked as a commentator for the TVG racing
network and took up surfing. The next step was supposed to be
children: "I was getting healthier and happier all the time,"
she says. But plans for a family haven't panned out yet, and a
stint as an exercise rider at Del Mar for trainer Richard
Mandella in August stirred her competitive juices. Says Krone,
"When the urge came back this year, I started thinking, Wow!"

That enthusiasm may be tested when she swings back into the
saddle at a California track--either Santa Anita or Hollywood
Park--later this month. Krone, who won the 1993 Belmont aboard
Colonial Affair, has stayed in shape, but trainers still tend to
dispense mounts to young men who haven't suffered from a
well-publicized case of burnout. The Southern California circuit
is particularly tough to crack because fields there tend to be
small and the jockey colony includes such stars as Laffit Pincay
Jr., Gary Stevens and Pat Valenzuela. "She's a good rider, no
doubt about it," says trainer Bobby Frankel of Krone. "At her
age, though, what she's trying to do is pretty tough."

History shows, however, that tough is what Krone does best. As
her newly hired agent scours the backstretch for riding
assignments, she refuses to get discouraged by the odds. "It's
so exciting," she says, "to start over." --Mark Beech


SATURDAY 11/2 > HBO 10 PM > Marco Antonio Barrera vs. Johnny
Billed as La Batalla de los Guerreros (The Battle of the
Warriors), this 12-round featherweight bout between former world
champion Barrera (55-3, 39 KOs) and current IBF champ Tapia
(52-2-2, 28 KOs) should indeed be a war.

SATURDAY 11/2 > ESPN 7:45 PM > Florida vs. No. 5 Georgia at
This annual matchup is known as the World's Largest Outdoor
Cocktail Party, and it's usually the Gators who do the
celebrating: Florida has won 11 of the last 12 meetings.

SUNDAY 11/3 > ABC 2 PM > The Tour Championship, Final Round
The top 30 money winners on the PGA Tour fight it out at
Atlanta's East Lake Golf Club. Last year's champ, Mike Weir,
ranks 77th on the money list and won't be around to defend his

SUNDAY 11/3 > FOX 4 PM > 49ers at Raiders
With Raider Nation hyped for this Bay Bridge battle, San
Francisco's Terrell Owens better keep his Sharpie in his sock.

SUNDAY 11/3 > ESPN2 7 PM > Stars at Red Wings
The Red Wings thrash most teams that come into Joe Louis
Arena--they've gone 30-8-6 there since the start of last
season--but they can't stop the Stars. Dallas is 6-2-0 in its
last eight trips to Detroit.

TUESDAY 11/5 > ESPN Classic 9 Pm

Muhammad Ali vs. Chuck Wepner; Ali vs. Jerry Quarry II
After watching Wepner (right, with Ali) last until the 15th round
against the Greatest in 1975, a young fight fan named Sylvester
Stallone was inspired to write a certain movie; Ali's '72 bout
against Quarry went just seven. Remember who wins?


--A Galloping Success
--Ming Fever
--Buck's True Wit

--Even with veteran anchor Tom Hammond back in Lexington, Ky.,
recovering from heart surgery, NBC's Breeders' Cup coverage last
Saturday didn't falter. Handicappers Mike Battaglia and Bob
Neumeier combined sharp analysis (they each hit five of eight
races) with humor (Neumeier picked 8-year-old Kona Gold in the
Sprint because "I'm getting a little gray up in the temples as
well"), and commentator Charlsie Cantey ably handled Hammond's
role of describing the horses during the post parade. Cantey also
provided an apt reflection on the 3-year-old colt Landseer, who
was euthanized after stumbling and breaking his right leg in the
Mile. (The incident demonstrated, she said, "what the great
columnist Red Smith once called the 'harrowing uncertainty of the

--With NBA games reaching nearly 300 million households in China
this season and a Chinese-language section on enabling
fans to vote for NBA All-Stars for the first time, don't be
surprised if the Rockets' Yao Ming is a starting center at the
2003 All-Star Game.

--Even as Parkinson's disease and a variety of other illnesses
kept him from the ballpark in 2002, Hall of Fame announcer Jack
Buck--whose son Joe finished calling his fifth World Series for
Fox on Sunday--still found a way to do play-by-play. "My mom
told me that he would do a fake play-by-play at night for all
the different medicines that he had to take," Joe told SI. "The
medicines for his Parkinson's and diabetes would be the
different players in the game. He'd be like, 'The 2-2 pitch to
Mirapex. Ground ball left side. Mirapex on at first. Now here
comes Anaprox.' It was hilarious the way he approached all his
ailments." --R.D.


Veterans Days

Central Time
The retirements of Patrick Ewing (on Sept. 17) and Hakeem
Olajuwon (the Raptor is expected to announce his on Nov. 9) led
Shaquille O'Neal to call himself the LCL, or Last Center Left.
Some might dispute his claim. Which current starting center has
played the most career minutes at the position?

a. Shawn Bradley c. Dikembe Mutombo
b. Vlade Divac d. David Robinson

Special Delivery
Jazz forward Karl Malone is nearing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's NBA
scoring record (38,387 points). Malone has 34,707 points, all
for the Jazz, and he has led Utah in scoring each year since
1986-87, his second season. Who led Utah in the Mailman's rookie

This Week's Matchup
Pair the NBA veteran with the Hall of Famer he was once
teammates with.

1. Howard Eisley a. Magic Johnson
2. George Lynch b. Moses Malone
3. Olden Polynice c. Kevin McHale
4. Brian Shaw d. Isiah Thomas

Call to Order
Put these vets in order of the number of teams they've played on.

a. Chauncey Billups, Pistons
b. Jeff McInnis, Trail Blazers
c. Ron Mercer, Pacers
d. Aaron Williams, Nets


CENTRAL TIME: d. With 32,595 minutes played, David Robinson is
the NBA's most experienced starting center. Horace Grant, a power
forward for most of his career but now starting as an undersized
center for the Magic, has played 37,430 career minutes.

SPECIAL DELIVERY: During Malone's rookie season of 1985-86,
Adrian Dantley led the Jazz with 29.8 points per game. Malone
averaged 14.9.

THIS WEEK'S MATCHUP: 1. b; 2. a; 3. d; 4. c
CALL TO ORDER: Williams (seven: Jazz, Bucks, Nuggets, Grizzlies,
Sonics, Wizards, Nets); Billups (six: Celtics, Raptors, Nuggets,
Magic, T-Wolves, Pistons); Mercer (five: Celtics, Nuggets, Magic,
Bulls, Pacers); McInnis (four: Nuggets, Wizards, Clippers,

COLOR PHOTO: BOB ROSATO (WILLINGHAM) FACES OF CHANGE Willingham (above) has taken the Irish to an 8-0 start; Baker was a few outs from winning the Series.

COLOR PHOTO: JOHN IACONO (BAKER) [See caption above]

COLOR PHOTO: MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS (RUNYAN) TUNE UP Runyan placed second in a Philadelphia half marathon in September.

COLOR PHOTO: OCSN (PASQUALONI) DOT GONE? Pasqualoni and Zook (far right) have combined to go 7-9 in 2002.




COLOR PHOTO: PETER READ MILLER (KRONE PORTRAIT) GIDDY-UP Krone has won 277 stakes, including the '93 Belmont aboard Colonial Affair (inset).



"Though almost sightless, Marla Runyan is a U.S. favorite in the
New York Marathon."--Flying Blind, page 19