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Donahue Surfaces to Bask in Glory

November 09, 1985

I thought Terry Donahue was going to be allowed to hide out forever, so it came as a pleasant surprise to see him featured in your Monday center spread. If it were left up to Terry, I'm sure he would choose the coaching shade and happily leave the spotlight to such natural media creatures as John Robinson and those others who genuinely thrive on public attention.

Tracy Dodds might have hit upon the essence of the man when she talked about his "negative approach." At first glance, you're likely to take him for just another sandbagger, a coach of the old school, looking to turn down the pressure, keep expectations good rather than great.

Donahue makes you believe that every opponent is capable of beating his team. When he wins a big one, he looks grateful, joyous, even a bit amazed. And it's probably not an act. He might even really believe that his change in offensive philosophy in 1982 was only for the sake of being entertaining. But, then, as Dodds says, he's not stupid, and he is reasonable. Those New Year's Day victories were not the result of pounding the ball at the opposition, which is the way he played it before '82. So there probably is a touch of the dissembler about him. Call him Hamlet on the sidelines.

CHARLES CHICCOA

Los Angeles

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