Page 24-Friday, May 5, 1978-The Michigan Daily
THE SPORTING VIEWS
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Sick to the stomach...
... Vitale or fans?
By GARY KICINSKI
Dick Vitale won't have to kick Johnny Orr around anymore.
As you probably know by now, and as many have known for a long time,
the Detroit Pistons have hired Vitale, the former University of Detroit
Basketball coach and athletic director, as their new coach.
All of which can't help but help make Orr feel better, as Vitale, whose
relentless push for an annual Michigan-U-D match led to a purported feud
between the two coaches, can now turn his thoughts to more important
things-like selecting the proper music for his Disco Dick dance he has
promised to do at centerstage of the Pontiac Silverdome.
Yes, the circus-like atmosphere that prevailed at Vitale's crowning
press conference was only an indication of things to come from the "re-
If you've ever read a press release you know how dry they often are. But
bear with me a moment while I read you portions of the Pistons latest press
'Call him Mr. Excitement...
Call him the Electric Company ...
Call him Richie from New Jersey...
Call him a Miracle Worker ..
But today, call him COACH.
For the eagle has landed, Columbus has sighted land, the Kitty Hawk
flies and Lindberg has crossed the Atlantic-Dick Vitale has realized a
lifetime dream. He has been named head coach of a National Basketball
Association team-the Detroit Pistons.'
It seems that the Pistons, in their anxiety to attract more fans (the
organization has operated in the red for the last two years) haye gone a bit
overboard on this promotional stuff.
Sure Vitale is energetic. Sure he has gimmicks to bring the people into
the arena. But where is the emphasis on building a winning team?
Just about all of this promo stuff has been centered on Vitale bringing an
exciting team to the area. It's almost as if winning has taken a back seat to
the good old American buck.
Hut why not? Virtually the same type of promotion worked for the Red
Wings, who promoted a fast, exciting aggressive team. Lo and behold the
team turned into a winner and the box office turned into a gold mine.
But the thing that irks more than one fan about the whole Piston deal is
the way Vitale supposedly resigned from the Titan coaching job because of
health reasons and then five months later turns around and takes the
Orto put it another way, U-D got screwed.
Vitale steadfastly refuses to admit culpability. He said he quit because
of internal bleeding which he thought to be an ulcer but which turned out to
be only a broken blood vessel.
"The key point is that never, and I repeat never, did I say that I would
not coach again. I'm a coach, I have always wanted to coach and this move
to the pros is a normal progression for a person who wants to reach the
ultimate in basketball," Vitale said.
No one can quibble with Vitale's desire to fulfill his childhood dream.
But in the process, Vitale has done a great disservice to the athletic program
he worked so hard to build up.
Two-faced and overzealous
Had Vitale simply resigned and taken the Piston job, there probably
wouldn't be as much an uproar as the way he handled it. But by quitting
coaching because he couldn't handle physically handle it and then taking a
pro job months later made Vitale sounda bit two-faced.
Vitale could have kept his U-D coaching job until he found out just how
bad his stomach disorder was. But instead his overzealousness for the
vacant Piston job may have lead him, consciously o unconsciously, to make
'There you have it. A .super successful basketball coach whose middle
name is enthusiasm-a miracle worker-devoted family man-...'
A miracle worker. Maybe the Pistons have found the right man after all.
It would take some kind of miracle to form a decent group of players capable
of playing with each other with the current talent. So don't be surprised if
Vitale goes out and drafts a couple of his men, Titans' Terry Tyler and John
Long, or dishes out the bucks for some free agents.
Don't be surprised either if the Piston's master plan does indeed work.
The Pistons need fans, and Vitale will certainly fill at least that void.
Palmer comes back
Golf legend Arnold Palmer grimaces as he just misses a birdie putt that could have
tied him for the lead with Jim Dent in the first round of the $200,000 Byron Nelson
Golf Classic in Dallas. Palmer shot a four-under-par 66, that left him in second
place, one stroke behind Dent. Masters' champion Gary Player struggled in with a
five-over-par 75 that placed him in jeopardy of missing the second round cut.
MIDDLETON STARS AGAIN:
BOSTON (AP) - Rick Middleton, the
first-game hero in overtime, scored two
goals, including the tie-breaker with
less than six minutes remaining, and
spoiled Philadelphia's amazing
comeback last night in lifting the
Boston Bruins to a 7-5 victory and a 2-0
lead over the Flyers in their National
Hockey League semi-final playoffs.
Middleton, whose overtime goal gave
Boston a 3-2 victory in the series opener
Tuesday, came through once again for
the Bruins after the Flyers had rallied
from a 5-1 deficit, finally pulling into a
5-5 tie on Bobby Clarke's goal at 1:41 of
the third period.
THE BRUINS regained the lead for
good just 59 seconds after Clarke and
Boston's Don Markcotte were penalized
for interference at 13:25.
The Bruins went on the attack and
kept the Flyers in the Philadelphia
zone. Defenseman Mike Milbury
passed to Brad Park, who spotted Mid-
dleton all alone at the corner of the goal
and fed him a perfect pass. Middleton
flipped the puck over Philadelphia
goalie Bernie Parent at 14:24.
Bill Barber, Rick McLeish and Bob
Dailey scored for the Flyers to pull
Philadelphia to within 5-4 after the
second- period. then Clarke tied the
score, setting the stage for Middleton's
The best-of-seven series moves to
Philadelphia for the third and fourth
games sunday and Tuesday.
NEW YORK (AP) - Walter Davis of
the Phoenix Suns and Marques Johnson
of the Milwaukee Bucks head the
National Basketball Association All-
Davis and Johnson were unanimous
choices on the team selected by the
league's coaches and announced
Also picked were Bernard King of the
New Jersey Nets, Jack Sikma of the
Seattle Supersonics and Norm Nixon of
the Los Angeles Lakers.
Otis Birdsong of Kansas City, James
Edwards of Indiana, Ray Williams-of
New York, Tree Rollins of Atlanta and
Anthony Roberts of Denver were
named to the second team.
Baseball I~ ~
New York A, Atlanta 2 American League
LosAngeles4,chicago BostonS, Minnesotal
San Francisco at St. Louis, ppd., rain Texas at Baltimore, ppd., rain -
Boson 7,Philadelphia 5