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Morning Briefing

Right Now, He Talks a Good Fight

March 14, 1986

Let's see, in the heavyweight division, the WBC champion is Pinklon Thomas. The WBA champion is Tim Witherspoon, and the IBF champion is Michael Spinks. The former WBC and IBF champion is Larry Holmes, who hopes to win back the IBF title from Spinks in a rematch April 19 in Las Vegas.

It's a lot of alphabetic nonsense, and Thomas promises to put an end to it. He'll kick off his campaign March 22 with a tuneup bout against Trevor Berbick at Las Vegas.

"I'll start proving myself by knocking out Berbick by the sixth round," Thomas said.

"Then," he said, borrowing a bit of Ali doggerel, "I'll wither the Spoon, take the jinx out of Spinks and run Larry Holmes home."

Said Col. John Clune, the athletic director at Air Force, introducing three generals at a banquet: "They're my bosses. But they always give me the last word. 'Yes sir.' "

Said Colorado football Coach Bill McCartney, revealing that university President Dr. Gordon Gee has joined his fight against Nebraska: "Dr. Gee said the best thing to come out of Nebraska lately was Interstate 80."

Trivia Time: What is the only school with a perfect record in NCAA tournament play in basketball? (Answer below.)

From Al Burleson of the Huntsville (Ala.) Times: "Pete Rose missed a Cincinnati Reds publicity meeting recently in Louisville when his $90,000 Porsche broke down in Carrollton, Ky. Said Reds owner Marge Schott, who also owns Chevrolet and Buick dealerships: 'If he had an American car, he'd be here.' "

Blackie Sherrod of the Dallas Morning News reveals that Gene Stallings, the new coach of the St. Louis Cardinals, got quite a shock when he reported to the Dallas Cowboys as an assistant coach after having been fired as head coach at Texas A&M, where he had been a strict disciplinarian.

Wrote Sherrod: "It was during a spring mini-camp, and when Stallings entered the locker room, his first sight was the team's most illustrious player, Bob Lilly, sitting in front of his locker, puffing on a big cigar.

"Stallings walked outside and looked at the horizon. 'This indeed is going to be different,' " he said.

When New York Yankee Manager Lou Piniella broke in as a player at Elmira, N.Y., his manager was Earl Weaver. According to Piniella, Weaver told him he'd never make it to the majors because he was too much of a hothead.

What did Piniella say to that?

"I said, ' You're a fine example.' "

Steve Boros, who replaced Dick Williams at San Diego, last managed at Oakland, where he replaced Billy Martin.

"There is one difference that was pointed out to me," Boros told the New York Times. "Billy was liked by the players. His problems were with the front office. Here, for whatever reason, Dick was very unpopular. I don't want to gloat on it, but it's made my job easier."

Said World B. Free after scoring only nine points for the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday night: "I didn't play the last 17 minutes. I'm the No. 1 scorer, and you don't tell me to pass the ball all the time. They're playing mind games with me. I'm going to talk to my agent and find out what to do about it."

Says Glenn Nelson of the Seattle Times: "Free may very well be known as World B. Free Agent this summer."

Trivia Answer: Stanford with a 3-0 record. The only season it qualified for the playoffs was 1941-42, and it went all the way, beating Dartmouth for the title, 53-38.


Utah Jazz Coach Frank Layden, on announcer Hot Rod Hundley: "We could fill the Salt Palace if we just invited the people Hot Rod owes drinks to."

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