Tuesday, February 10, 1981
The Michigan Daily
Soluk and players-communication gap
By LARRY FREED
and DAN NEWMAN
Two years ago, some of the players
on Michigan's women's basketball
team began a movement to oust their
coach, Gloria Soluk: At the conclusion
of last season, the same situation took
place. This ,season is no different. In
fact, one player on this year's team
said, "There is more animosity this
year than even before."
The Wolverines have never had a
winning season under Soluk, who has
compiled a 36-63 record during her four
THE MAJOR problem has been
dissatisfaction with the coaching
philosophy of Soluk, according to
several past and present players.
"There have been a lot of questions
raised about her (Soluk) coaching
philosophy," said one current member.
"But it's not an open communication,
and people don't understand why
they're not playing."
"I am sorry that the players take
their complaints to the press instead of
talking to me," replied Soluk. "I have
always felt that I have maintained a
policy of open communication."
CONFLICTS between Soluk and her
players have led to the departure of 11
for this year if everyone would have
stayed on. We would have been
"SOME OF THE players that left the
team were cut, and the others left for
their own personal reasons," Soluk
Many of the other players from past
teams blame their early departures on
disagreements with Soluk's coaching
"I thought as a coach she was very
unrealistic. She'll make a promise and
do the direct opposite," said another ex-
player. "I don't think she's a good
'I can't figure -out her substitution systemr . . . if I made a
mistake I might as well walk off the court, because I knew she'd
(Soluk) yank me.'
already set in her views."
This feeling of frustration among the
players on the 1978-79 team led to the
first of two movements by the players
to oust Soluk.
"ONE-HUNDRED percent at first
were behind it (the movement to fire
Soluk)," said one ex-player. "But it
didn't work out because a lot didn't care
and some others were worried about
Another player cited other reasons
for aborting the attempt to dismiss
Soluk. "When we took it to a member of
the athletic department we heard you
couldn't do anything because she was
tight with (athletic director Don)
Canham," recalls another ex-player.
"I feel I have a good relationship with
Canham," commented Soluk. "The
... draws criticism
program should get a big boost now
because he has granted us more
scholarships to offer. This should
greatly help our recruiting."
ALTHOUGH THE movements to oust
Soluk have lessened, the players'
frustrations with her coaching style
didn't. Their complaints have remained
consistent, focusing on the same issues:
unkept promises, undefined roles, and
favoring of starters.
"I can't figure out her substitution
system," said one current player.
"This puts a lot of pressure on the subs
and the pressure holds you back."
One player who transferred said, "If
I made a mistake I might as well walk
off the court because I knew she'd
(Soluk) yank me."
"I FEEL THAT I have shown no
favoritism between the starters and the
most of the team's problems," com-
mented one current player.
"Everybody on the team likes her as a
person, but some have disagreements
with her coaching strategy."
"GLORIA HAS tried awfully hard
and expended a lot of energy on the
team," said Ocker. "She has also done
a fine job of recruiting, and operating
her summer basketball camp."
A recurring problem that some
players said added to their frustrations
was unkept promises by Soluk. "She
promised everyone they'd get a chance
to play," added another ex-player.
"She (Soluk) once promised me playing
time after I went to see her, and then I
'I feel that I have shown no favoritism between the starters
and the subs. I have given everybody an equal opportunity.
members of the team over the last four
years. There have been at least three
separate explanations for these in-
"There are more talented high school
players coming up, each year," ex-
plained women's athletic director
Phyllis Ocker. "The departed players
left probably because it was too tough
for them to accept that they were not as
good as the incoming freshmen."
"I feel that in any program when a
new coach comes in, some players will
leave because they are too used to the
old coach's philosophy," said Soluk.-
"IT'S OBVIOUS that something was
wrong somewhere along the line,"
commented one ex-player. "Especially
if you consider all the talent we've
Indeed, Soluk had a strong nucleus in
her 1978-79 team on which to build a
solid squad. That team, which compiled
the best record (13-14) during Soluk's
four years as coach, consisted of no
seniors and only one junior. In addition,
the team included five all-staters and
one transfer student who was an MVP
at her previous school., But by the
following season, only four players
remained on the team, the other seven
having quit or transferred.
"I was really disappointed," said one
player who transferred from that ill-
fated team. "We had the most talent in
the state by far that year. We had the
ability to build a great team, especially
"I THINK THE problems are mainly
due to how the coach runs the team and
the way the players see their roles,"
another player explained. "It's very
frustrating putting in time every day
and not getting much playing time."
It should be noted, however, that a
majority of the fifteen players that
have quit or transferred were mainly
performing in a substitute capacity.
"Every coach hates not playing
everybody, and it breaks my heart to do
so because they all play so hard in prac-
tice," said Soluk.
HOWEVER, another problem that
some players said they had with Soluk
was her habit"of sticking players with
labels that they could not get rid of.
"I quit mainly because of the coach,"
explained one player. "I had labels I
couldn't get rid of like 'no-defense' and
'head-cold' (a term which refers to a
player's inability to think clearly on the
court). When I returned the next year, I
felt more mature, but Coach Soluk was
subs. I have given everbody an equal,
"Women are much harder to coach in,
certain aspects than men. They tend to
be more upset and voice their opinion
more," noted one ex-player. "Also you
have to remember that each player
came from a high school where they
were the stars."
After a disappointing 8-20 season, the
team held some meetings to discuss
some possible changes.
"AFTER LAST season ended, the
team members had a few formal
meetings among themselves," com-
mented one member of last year's
squad. "We stopped just short of taking
The problem was going to be taken to
the board, but people started to back
out for selfish reasons, perhaps fearing
that their scholarships would be
revoked, according to another team
"I feel Gloria is not responsible for
didn't play. When I told her I was tran-,
sferring, she told me to stay'and that I'd
get more playing time. But I told her I
had heard it all before."
One returning player said that Soluk
has made an honest effort this year to
change some of her ways. On the other
hand, though, turmoil has continued to
surround this year's team.
"THERE'S A difference between
what others considered their role and
what the coach saw it as being," com-
mented one current player. "Some feel
they're being slighted."
"This could have been our best team,
but we've had problems with injuries
and we have lost several games by one
or two point margins," explained Soluk.
"That alone could have turned the year
and program around."
So as Soluk enters her one-hundredth
game tonight at Grand Valley, nor-
mally a cause for celebration, an air of
controversy surrounds the milestone
SPOR TS OF THE DAIL Y:
From the Associated Press
Sportscaster Frank Gifford called it
"the scandal that rocked boxing."
Howard Cosell termed it the "alleged
scandal in boxing."
Gifford was more accurate.
Boxing certainly has been rocked by
the charges that Harold Smith, chair-
man of Muhammad Ali Professional
Sports and two other officers of MAPS,
were involved in a $21.3 million Wells
Fargo Bank and the collapse of MAPS.
But is this a boxing scandal?
Now boxing certainly is no stranger
to scandal. In fact, the FBI currently is
investigating the sport, with the in-
vestigation seemingly centered on
ocked by Smith, MAPS 'scandal'
promoter Don King. And there is a
major scandal brewing over the
rankings made by the World Boxing
Council and World Boxing Association,
rankings that have long been suspect.
The MAPS case certainly under-
scored a major boxing shor-
tcoming-control of the people in the
sport by state and local commissions. It
appears no questions were asked when
Smith appeared on the scene throwing
money around like it was confetti.
MAPS was the source for the $8.1
million in purses for the big Feb. 23
card at Madison Square Garden, which
fell apart. But MAPS did not have a
license to, promote in New York
although Tiffany promotions,' which
was to co-promote, did.
Last week while the Garden show was
disintegrating, a reporter called Jim-
my Jacobs, manager of welterweight
Wilfredo Benitez who would have got-
ten $1 million to fight WBC champ
Tommy Hearns, and asked if it wasn't
the worst boxing scandat ever.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)-Mima
Jausovec of Yugoslavia, seeded sixth in
the tournament, opened play yesterday
in the $150,000 Avon Championships of
California with a 6-1, 6-3 first-round vic-
tory over Susan Mascarin.
In one of last night's matches, top-
seeded Martina Navratilova was
scheduled to play Claudia Kohde of
Jausovec quickly eliminated
Masearin, a 16-year-old from Grosse
Point Shores, Mich.
Jausovec could be facing Leslie Allen
in the second round of the tennis event
at the Oakland Coliseum Arena. Allen,
the New Yorker who won her first
women's pro tour title in Detroit on
Sunday, is scheduled to play her first-
round match here today against Candy
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We will visit your campus on: FEBRUARY 19, 1981
MARCH 18, 1981
By JOHN FITZPATRICK
A number of Michigan tracksters
went up to Lansing last Saturday for the
annual Spartan Relays, registering
some solid performances in at
Wolverine John Nielsen continued his
domination of the shotput competitions
he has entered this season, as he
chalked up an easy win with a heave of
57'41", a mark close to his personal
best. Men's coach Jack Harvey in-
dicated that Nielsen has been training
through the last few meets, doing
weight work and throwing every day,
as the freshman has attempted to per-
fect the "discus-spin" technique he
employs. Taking second in the shot was
Nielsen's teammate, Phil Wells, who
threw a respectable 55'2%". Dave
Eriksson of Michigan finished sixth
with a throw of 50'2%"1.
Other winners for the Maize and Blue
included Dave Lewis, who won the
three mile in 13:53.5, a time which,
though 20 seconds slower than Lewis's
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best, was described by Harvey as a
good time, as there was a noticeable
lack of competition to push Lewis to a
faster one. Vincent Bean won the long
jump with a leap of 23'8", and fellow
Wolverine Derek Harper finished
second with a jump of 23'3/2". The high
jump was won by freshman Dave Lugin
with a-leap of 7'3/4"r
Placing in other events, were
Wolverines Gerard Donakowski
(second place, 9:01.9) and Bill Weiden-
bach (fourth, 9:04) in the two mile,
Mark Poelman (fourth, 2:18.8) in the
1000 yd., Dan Beck (fifth, 4:17) in the
mile, Marshall Parks (fifth, 7.50) in the
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60 yd. high hurdles, and Butch Woolfolk
(fourth, 6.44) in the 60 yd. dash.
Michigan sent a 4 x 400 relay team to
compete in the Knights of Columbus
meet in Cleveland on the same night,
and the foursome of Shelby Johnson,
Mike Shea, Craig Camp and Ken Gar-
dner emerged victorious with a time of
Harvey described this meet as being
"not as competitive as it used to be,"a
but it served as a prelude of sorts to the
Michigan-MSU dual meet to be held
today at Lansing, a meet Harvey
described as being a potential
"They're strong where we're strong,
and it looks like there'll only be about
five or six points between them and
us," said Harvey.
The Michigan squad 'is currently
hoping to peak for the Central
Collegiate Conference Championship
meet to be held at the Track and Tennis
Building on February 20 and 21, and,
more importantly, the Big Ten meet at
Columbus on March 6 and 7, where the
Wolverines' main opposition for the
crown is expected to come from a
strong Illinois team.
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