I know nearly every school in the tournament was on the March Madness preview cover, but I have to think the most appreciative readers were the Wofford students and grads who saw their team (represented by Brad Loesing) make the tournament for the first time.
Charles Christopher Cook, Durham, N.C.
I enjoyed reading Tim Layden's article (High Stakes, March 22), which brought back great memories of tournaments past. Who could forget Chris Webber, Keith Smart, Danny Manning, Carmelo Anthony, George Mason's great run, Jim Valvano and Don Haskins? The story also alerted me to players who would create new memories during this year's tournament.
Shad Adams, Fairview, Tenn.
The Perfect Team
After reading Kelli Anderson's story on the UConn women's team (Making a Run at Perfection, March 22), I thought about coach Geno Auriemma's statement that he's "as baffled as anyone" when it comes to explaining why his team is undefeated. What, has he run out of quotes? The Huskies have two player of the year candidates and by far the strongest seven players in the country. I am as baffled as anyone about why Auriemma would say he is so baffled.
Carl Sheppard, Mystic, Conn.
Loving U of U
Thank you for the wonderful story about Utah's 1943--44 basketball team (The First Cinderella, March 22). At the time, I was a 17-year-old freshman at the U of U and an avid fan of Ike Armstrong's football teams. I hadn't paid much attention to the basketball team until its incredible surge to the top. In addition to the parades there was a film of the Utes' victory over Dartmouth that ran continuously in Kingsbury Hall. After serving 27 months in the Navy, I returned to Salt Lake City for my sophomore year and had to take physical education for one quarter. Imagine my surprise when basketball coach Vadal Peterson showed up as the instructor. In those days, being the coach of a national championship team didn't excuse him from grunt work. My, how times have changed.
Ralph Greenburg, Phoenix
When I was growing up in Ogden, my father, a proud Utah graduate and rabid Utes fan, would tell me the story of how they were in two tournaments during the same season and of the remarkable players on that team during a stressful and complicated time in our history. The Utes' success after college was just as outstanding as their success on the court. During high school I had the pleasure of having forward Vern Gardner teach me math for two years. He was a gentle giant of a man, with a quick wit and a commanding classroom presence. I, too, became a Utah graduate and fan. Their story was both nostalgic and a reminder of why college sports can be so much more than a game.
Anna Lea Kantor
The Right Call
Austin Murphy was way off base in describing Oregon coach Chip Kelly's season-long suspension of quarterback Jeremiah Masoli—who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of second-degree burglary on March 12—as "draconian punishment" (INSIDE COLLEGE FOOTBALL, March 22). Rather than being exceedingly harsh or severe, the punishment was enlightened, given the too-frequent tendency of coaches and managers to look the other way when good players get into bad trouble. Kudos to Coach Kelly.
Steven Wallace, Glendale, Utah
When athletes such as Mark McGwire hire professional apologists like former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer (SCORECARD, March 22) what they are teaching our children is that you no longer have to atone or feel remorse when you commit a wrong—you only need to come up with a well-crafted apology.
It makes for an interesting and disturbing career path when Ari Fleischer's expertise at communicating the policies of the U.S. is preparation for advising steroid abusers and philanderers.
The next time I find myself whining that I'm too tired to go for a two-mile jog after work, I'm going to think about Anthony Robles hopping around at wrestling practice on one leg while holding a 20-pound bag of sand (POINT AFTER, March 22). Robles exemplifies what truly great athletes are all about.
Rick Bueti, Chappaqua, N.Y.
Thank you, Phil Taylor, for the wonderful article. Proving that your mind can be your greatest asset or your worst enemy, Anthony Robles has shown the world what can be done when someone gives 100%.
College Point, N.Y.
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BILL FRAKES (COVER)