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October 18, 1993 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-10-18

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The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, October 18, 1993 - 3


Making his return to the NBA, the 'Czar of the
Telestrator' discusses the game

After a short la offas a television
commentator for NBC and the De-
troit Pistons, Mike Fratello returns to
the NBA this fall coaching for the
Cleveland Cavaliers., While only 46
yearsold, Fratello has beencoaching
for more than two decades at the high
school, college and pro levels.
Fratello'spriorNBA head coach-
ing experience came with the Atlanta
Hawks, with whom he amassed a 324-
250 record between 1983-1990. With
superstar Dominique Wilkins lead-
ing the way, Fratello's teams had
fourstraight50-winseasons, andfin-
ished his career there three wins shy
ofRichie Guerin'sclub recordof327.
The 1986/87season was Fratello's
*finest while at the helm of Atlanta.
The team won the Central Division
for the first time since 1979 with a
club record of 57 wins. Atlanta had
the NBA's top defense, holding teams
to only 102.8 points a game. Fratello
was named the NBA Coach of the
Year by five different organizations:
NBA Haggar, The Sporting News,
NBA/Miller Lite, Basketball Weekly
Band Basketball Digest.
After his departure from the
Hawks, Fratello didn't miss a beat,
stepping into the broadcast booth at
NBC. He spent three years with NBC
doing games with his sidekick, Marv
Albert, who dubbed him the 'Czar of
the Telestrator.'
The urge to coach never left
Fratello, so when the Cleveland Cava-
liets called him, Fratellodecided that
*the time was right to get back into
coaching. Daily writer Tim Smith re-
cently spoke to Fratello on issues
ranging from the Cavaliers to the
retirement of Michael Jordan, as the
coach readies himselffor the begin-
ning of his new career.
;aily: How hard has the transi-
tion from broadcasting back tocoach-
ing been?
Fratello: It's been eased and aided
by my assistants. I have a wonderful
staff which has done a great job of .
bringing me back into the world of
D: What did you enjoy most about
being a broadcaster?
F: One, that I was employed ... I
had acheck coming in to pay my bills.
I had the opportunity to work with the
,. ople I got to work with at NBC.
I had a marvelous, and I use that
word for a very special reason. I had
a marvelous relationship and oppor-
tunity with those people beginning
witg 'Marvelous' Mary Albert, and
Tommy Roy, Andy Rosenberg, Dick
Ibersol and Terry O'Neil.
They were a great group to work
with, and we just had alot of fun, and
I thought we got better and better as
we went on.
D: Even though you were a great

broadcaster and held a promising fu-
ture, did you, like Bill Parcells, feel
that coaching was in your blood and
you had to keep doing it?
F: I had coached for a total of one
year in high school, eight years on the
collegiate level and then 12 years in
the NBA. So that's 21 years of coach-
ing, and it's not like I left coaching
with a bad taste in my mouth, where I
said I never want to do this again.
It was my time to be out of coach-
ing because of circumstances. I was
fortunate enough to have the NBC
thing come up.
A couple of other coaching things
came along, but either I wasn't right
for them, or they weren't right for me,
so I just stayed with NBC.
When this situation came up, I
thought it was a chance. It was the

have ever coached?
F: Well, are we counting the Cavs,
because I haven't really coached this
group, per se.
D: OK, who was the best player
you coached before the Cavs?
F: The best I ever coached was
Dominique Wilkins.
D: What game was the best game
you have witnessed as a coach?
F: It was our seventh-game loss to
the Boston Celtics in the playoffs (the
spring of 1988.)
It was the game when Wilkins had
fifty-something and Bird had forty-
D: What was the best game you
have ever seen by a player?
F: Probably one of Michael
Jordan's games would probably be
the greatest individual performance

You still have a lot of great, young
players in the league - Shaquille
(O'Neal), Alonzo Mourning, and this
new crop thatjustcame in. The league
will move on.
D: How do you think Chris
Webber will do in the NBA?
F: I'm hoping that he can put
some of these early obstacles behind
him. I think he's going to be a terrific
player. I'm sorry to see first the ap-
pendectomy, and then he's got to get
his contract resolved.
I always like to see rookies come
in as early as they can to get full
advantage of all the teaching that goes
on in training camp. I like to see them
have the opportunity tojump out there
quick and not put themselves behind
the eight-ball.
Sometimes you can't control it,
such as the surgery he just had. Once
he gets healthy and recovers from
that, I hope he gets the contract re-
solved, I'd like to see him jump in
there, and I know he's going to be a
terrific player.
D: How has the game changed
since you last coached?
F: Except for a few nuts and bolts,
I think it is basically the same.
D: Whatdoyou think of the Cleve-
land Cavaliers so far?
F: I'm veryhappy. I'm happy with
their work ethic. I think they're great
people. I really enjoy working with
them. They're an intelligent team.
D: How do you like coaching a
team whose major pieces are already
there, instead of having to walk into a
rebuilding situation?
F: Winning's fun. So if you've got
your pieces built in and they help you
win -.
D: Whatcoaching philosophy will
you employ this season?
F: We're going to try and imple-
ment stuff that will take full advan-
tage of what our players' talents are
about. That's the key. We have to
utilize their skills and abilities to the
D: Since you were the 'Czar of the
telestrator,' I assume that you are also
the'Czarof predictions.' Who will be
in the NBA Finals in June?
F: I didn't do that while I was on
TV, and I'm not going to do that now.
I don't figure out who is going to be in
the Finals.
D: How do you see the game
changing in the 1990s and beyond?
F: If the trend continues to go as
it's been, there will be bigger, stron-
ger, faster players coming along who
jump higher and shoot better.

The R.H. Factor
Seles injustice affects
athletes and fans alike
en I was younger and my dad would take me to a baseball game,
my favorite thing to do was get to the stadium early and try to get
one of the players to sign something. Anything. If I didn't have a
program, I found that writing on my arm would do.
I wasn't the only one down in the front row, however, during pre-game
warm-ups. Many of my peers, and in recent times, their entrepreneurial
parents, would stand there and do almost anything to get the attention of a
One time, however, maybe I got a little overzealous. Instead of
following the unwritten rule of flailing my arms in a crazy manner while
leaning over the railing in hopes that a player would come sign my
paraphernalia, I jumped over the railing and onto the field.
Suffice it to say, that was a no-no.
Quickly, I had a security guard usher me back into the stands and
proceed to verbally scare the hell out of me. He threatened to kick me out
of the ballpark along with a myriad of other penalties. Considering I was
only 10,1 think the guy let me off easy with a mere scolding. Anyway, I
was angry that my self-proclaimed act of courage didn't at least get me a
"Nice try!" from the player or a ball or something.
At the time, I wondered why the guard was so angry with me for trying
to get closer to the ballplayer. I was only a kid. It wasn't like I was going to
hurt a player on my favorite team. Besides, who would come to a sporting
event to hurt an athlete?
Unfortunately, my childhood question was surprisingly answered earlier
this year. A man by the name of Guenter Parche, who by his own
admission considered Steffi Graf "otherworldly," took his obsession with
her beyond normal means.
In an attempt to "help" his fellow German regain the top spot in
women's tennis, Parche stabbed her primary nemesis, Monica Seles, in the
right shoulder during a tournament in Hamburg, Germany, on the last day
of April.
Since then, the sport has done its best to try and overcome this tragedy.
Seles has not yet returned to the court, unable to defend her French and
U.S. Open crowns. Meanwhile, Graf cruised through the rest of her
competition, taking the French in addition to another Wimbledon plate.
And, no doubt to Parche's delight, Graf is now the No. 1-ranked woman
in the tennis world.
At least there was some solace in knowing that Parche would not get
away with his actions. He was apprehended immediately, weapon in hand,
and it seemed almost certain that this unemployed lathe operator would get
more than just a scolding from a security guard.
Yet just like the 10-year old boy who got off with a slap on the wrist, so
too did Parche, who received a two-year suspended sentence last week
from German judge Elke Bosse for the stabbing. While a psychiatrist
determined that the 39-year old Parche had a "highly abnormal personality"
he felt that the possibility that he'd do it again was "very small."
It is almost obscene that while Seles' life was thrown into turmoil,
Parche should be free to go on as if nothing ever happened. The irony that
the full intent of his actions has come to fruition is sad.
Yes, Seles and her attorney will appeal the sentence, however, why
should she have to do so in the first place? It is her career that is in
jeopardy. It is she who must develop the courage to return to the game.
The tragedy has of course affected Graf, too. Her ranking is tainted and
she will forever be unjustly associated with another lunatic besides her
Yet on another level it affects all athletes everywhere. Instead of being
friendly with fans, I wouldn't blame athletes for never speaking with them
again. Rowdiness, vulgarity, even the chance of being hit with a beer bottle
or a battery, as some fans have been known to throw - why risk getting
unnecessarily hurt? Why risk your livelihood?
With Parche being set free, athletes everywhere must watch their backs,
quite literally. Who knows when someone might come after them. Who
knows who will be next?
And it's the innocent fans - the 10-year old looking for an autograph
- who will also suffer from this injustice. With players turning away from
those in the stands, they will not get to greet their heros from the railings.
Or even try to meet them on the field.

right spot at the right time for me..
D: Do you think thatbeing abroad-
caster will make you a better coach
since you were able to closely ob-
serve the game?
F: I hope so. I hope I had the
chance to pick up and absorb, and that
I will utilize the stuff I watched other
people do.
D: At what point in your life did
you know that you wanted to be a
F: I knew I wanted to be a coach
back in elementary school. Back then
I knew I wanted to be a physical
education teacher and a coach some-
day. I didn't know what level I'd do
- hopefully high school, maybe.
D: What coach or coaches have
had the biggest influence on your
F: The people that have had the
biggest influences on me were my
high school coaches. A guy named
Tom Delatore, Jim Kay, and without
a doubt, Hubie Brown.
D: Who was the best player you

I've seen. I've seen a number of the
them, so I don't know which one.
He's had a bunch.
D: What was your initial reaction
when you heard about Michael
Jordan's retirement?
F: I was sad. I don't like losing our
greatest player, and somebody who
has done so much for basketball and
the NBA, and that's what Michael
Jordan was.
I was sorry to see him step down,
but as he said, he didn't close the door
completely, so don't be surprised if
he's back.
D: How does Jordan's retirement
affect your outlook of the Central
F: I don't want to deal with that.
We've got to show up. We've got to
win our games. Him retiring doesn't
affect us at all.
D: How do you think his retire-
ment will affect the NBA?
F: We'll have to wait and see.
Anything I say now would just be
pure speculation.


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learn and lin'e

october 18 - 24, 1993
supported by the City of Ann Arbor &
The University of Michigan


YPSILANTI 2252 ELLSWORTH 9 572-7870 Mem.e.

NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt display
Michigan Room, Michigan League
*Opening event will be Oct. 20, 6pm
Portraits of the Quilt (photography exhibit)
Michigan League Buffet
Red Cross African Proverbs poster display
Leonardo's, North Campus Commons
The Individual's Response to AIDS: Materials-
from the Labadie Collection of radical social protest
Hatcher Graduate Library, Special Collections, 7th Floor
"AIDS Friendship Tree", Tree Planting Ceremony
UM Hospital Courtyard (between Mott & main hospital)
"QUILT, A Musical Celebration"
Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre
"QUILT, A Musical Celebration"
Final Dress Rehearsal Benefit Performance
(benefitting local AIDS service organizations)
Talk to Us (anxieties concerning HIV testing)

Oct. 21-24
Sep. 28-Oct.24
Su-F 11:30-7:30pm,
Sa 4:30-7:3Opm
Oct. 1-31,
Oct. 18-24
Oct. 22, 1pm
Oct. 21-23, 8pm, Oct. 24, 2pm
$14 & $10; students $6w/ID
Oct. 20, 7pm
$10 minimum donation
Oct. 26 Bursley Hall, (N. Campus)


So You Want to Rule the World?
Before you do, you might want to get some experience.
Get it with:
Michigan Student Assembly
Fall '93 Elections
Elections will be held Nov. 16 & 17
for MSA representatives i:
YN _ _1_L A


Living with AIDS
East Conference Room, Rackham Hall
Democracy Under Siege:
The Dismantling of Civil Rights
Suzanne Pharr, speaker
HIV/AIDS Education Session
Bursley Hall, North Campus

Oct. 21, 7:30pm
Oct. 24, 7pm
Rackham Auditorium
Oct. 26
- immediately following
"Talk to Us" performance

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