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Image 5 of The Cats' Pause, December 9, 1989

Part of The Cats' Pause

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(Continued from page 2) Hagan. The latter, some say, is debatable. But it was no secret Howard wanted control of his own program, much like he had at Miami and how he has operated his program at Louisville, at least until recently. Given the problems during the Curci era, Kentucky was reluctant to turn over the program entirely to Howard, so he returned to Florida before going to Louisville a few years later. When Howard went to Louisville, circumstances were different. First of all, he was without a job. He had left Miami and signed a lucrative deal with a Florida businessman who was supposed to get a pro franchise, but the deal fell through and Howard took the UL job as the best available. What's important to remember now is that despite his differences of opinion with Hagan and/or other UK officials, Howard never lost his love for UK. Where others give lip service, Howard's action spoke loudly. Over the past few years Howard has: ?Urged Louisville fans to unite behind the Cards and show their strong support, but when not playing they should root and support UK. He made those comments although such compliments of UK is not appreciated in some UL quarters. ?When Jerry Clabiorne came under some intense heat from UK diehards the past two seasons, Howard was one of the first to come to Claiborne's defense and without any coaxing from anyone. ?On at least three different weekends when Louisville wasn't playing, Howard and his wife attended UK games in Lexington. ?Prior to the current season, Howard was behind a goodwill billboard in Louisville wishing Claiborne and Kentucky well in 1989. The billboard said, from the "Louisville Cardinals." The question is obvious, was Howard's goodwill a genunine message of developing more harmony between the two schools or was it a means of placing himself in contention for the job should Clabiorne leave? Or was it a combination? Only Howard can truthfully answer those questions, but there is no doubt Howard has a loyal and deeply-rooted love for his alma mater. There are some who say Howard's major ambition was/is to someday coach Alabama because of his association with Bear Bryant and because he would have an excellent chance at a national championship. There are some who say the desire is just as great to be at Kentucky because he played for the Bear here although he may never be able to win another national title. When the news originally broke of Claiborne's retirement, Howard was in Japan with his Louisville Cards, preparing to take on Syracuse. His only remark concerning the vacancy was, "Haven't you heard, I just signed a new five-year contract." To diehard UL fans, that was a complete denial of any interest. You be the judge on that. Howard was supposed to sign a new contract before the season, but the negota-tions dragged on and on and were only finalized a few weeks ago. Some say the new pact is as lucrative as the initial deal, but the university has exercised more control over the football program, a move Howard does not appreciate. When Schnellenberger came to Louisville he made more than a few waves because he brought more than just assistant coaches with him. He brought a support staff which he considered to be vital in building UL into a national power. That did not sit well with some in the city. One, however, cannot deny that Howard has made some significant inroads where others have failed. It could be that he has worn out his welcome, especially across campus where basketball had enjoyed total monopoly until his arrival. The fact that Howard has always had kind words for UK has also upset some of the Big Red Rooters. If he should decide to return home, he'll be more than welcomed, it says here. And guess who would be one of his biggest fans? None other than Jerry Claiborne. ? ? ? Push button No. 3. Pitino ball. Fasten the seat belts and hold on. King's Island has nothing on the "Little Yankee" when it comes to daring excitement. Pitino and his crew gave Bobby Knight and the Hoosiers the scare of their life and almost the embarrassment of the year when UK came within a bucket at the Big Four Classic. After a so-so victory over Ohio University, not many folks gave the Wildcats any chance of even staying close to the Hoosiers. It was going to be a matter of struggling for respectability. In the end, it was Indiana that struggled to avoid total embarrassment. The 'Cats came out of the gate with fire in their eyes, even held an 11-point lead in the first half before talent finally overtook emotion. After falling behind by 10 in the last half, Kentucky refused to quit, kept coming back time and again and even had a shot to tie at the end before Sean Woods' jumper failed to go at the final horn. Pitino has often insisted there are no moral victories but after the battle Saturday, the "Little Yankee" said he was willing to make an exception to his philosopy. Said Pitino, "I don't think I've ever been prouder of a team I've coached, not at Providence, not at Boston, not at New York." The Indiana fans were stunned. Only three times during the course of the game could they allow themselves to "get into the game." "That was important in a place this big," Pitino said, "our kids did a great job of keeping their fans out of the game." That, they did. And as the Hoosier fans filed out of the massive Hoosier Dome, you could heard them bemoaning the future and what Kentucky opponents will have to deal with in this new-found excitement called, "Pitino Ball." ? ? ? Please push button No. 4 This may not be the sports pages for you, but one of the hottest topics around UK concerns the future of its president, Dr. David Roselle. As this issue was going to press, Dr. Roselle was on his way to Newark, Del., for an interview with the presidential selection committee for the University of Delaware. Believe you me, this is not just a friendly call on behalf of Roselle. This may be the beginning of the end. You're well aware of Roselle and his clashes with everyone from Gov. Wallace Wilkinson right on down to supporters of the athletics program and the controversy over whethere or not Roselle acted properly in the NCAA basketball investigation. Clearly, there were no perfect actors in the mess. There's plenty of blame for everyone. But Roselle is guilty of one major misdeed in the basketball mess. He never did fully explain the con- troversy which surrounded the Eric Manuel ACT test score. Whether it's right or wrong, fans and the public deserved to know the details of that test because the entire history and reputation of the Wildcat program is being judged on this one aspect. The $1,000 Emery envelope is certainly critical, but nothing compares to the academic integrity of a university and I have a great deal of trouble accepting the philosophy that Eric Manuel cheated alone. And I knew of thousands of other Kentuckians who feel the same way that I do and they are allowing this one issue to affect the way they feel toward Dr. Roselle. There are those close to Dr. Roselle who insist people should forget the Manuel case, that public knowledge of the case isn't important, but Roselle and his people are very wrong. Other than the fact that the public deserves to have this information, Dr. Roselle and his inner circle should remember that voters control legislators who in turn control the man Roselle fears most, and that is Gov. Wilkinson. Not helping matters any for Dr. Roselle is the Lexinton Herald-Leader's constant and almost daily putdown of the Kentucky citizenry as it relates to public education. The newspaper is to be admired for its role in trying to upgrade education, but the approach is all wrong. Instead of tearing down athletics, officials should be using athletics as a base to upgrade education. It wasn't unusual over the past decade or so for the UK Athletics Association to net as much as $3 million in profits in a single season. That money could be used to help other parts of the university. Fact is, most academic communities at major universities would love to be in a situation where an athletic program has to take no money from academics to pay the bills. Kentucky has succeeded in this mission for several decades. As soon as Dr. Roselle arrived, he immediately pulled some $4 million from the athletic revenue for high salaries for faculty and staff. Some resented that in athletics and I'm sure you can understand why. But Roselle may have done his professors a strong disservice. Sorta like the separation of church and state in governmental matters. Taking the money from athletics set a precendent of mixing the two. Everyone now knows the UK athletic program is going to be in a real financial struggle for the next three to five years. I'm sure it didn't seem all that difficult to Dr. Roselle a couple years ago, but we all learn something new each day, don't we? The question remains, will Dr. Roselle stay? His popularity is high among those in the academic community, the state's two largest newspapers and some so-called intellectual circles. Unfortunately for Roselle, all those groups don't represent more than five percent of the Commonwealth's voters. And politicians from Frankfort on down to the little wide spots in the road listen to voters, not newspapers and professors. Dr. Roselle has indicated his decision on staying at UK for the long haul will depend on the state legislature's funding of the university. If he sticks to that criteria, he will either move on or begin realizing he must be more honest and forthright with the average Kentuckian, whether that person has a college degree or leans on the handle of a hoe. After all, in America we're supposed to be equal, regardless of race, color, religion, wealth, and yes, education. For starters, Dr. Roselle could begin to win some new-found respect from one segment of this state and that would be to clean his name in the Eric Manuel mess by telling us what really happened. And the question still remains, will Dr. Roselle stay? I hardly doubt it. ? ? ? Please push buttom No. 5 Dear Mr. Knight, This is a warning. You will not intimidate officials in a Kentucky-Indiana basketball game without being challenged. I may be small in size, but I carry a heavy punch and I don't have to scare anyone by acting like a spoiled brat and slinging a chair halfway across the state of Indiana. Let today be a lesson. By the way Mr. Knight, enjoyed the game today, didn't you? It's what college basketball is all about. Look forward to seeing you again. Sincerely, Rick Pitino Manager Kentucky "Pitino Ball" Above is what Rick Pitino probably would have written to Knight had he penciled his thoughts to the Hoosier boss after Kentucky's battle last Saturday. Twice, Knight tried to bait the officials and each time Pitino refused to yield his rights and betray his team's own rights. The great news is that Kentucky has a coach who will stand up to this childish, unsportsmanlike person who once again, this time by a simple notice distributed before the game, snubbed his own invitational showcase by refusing to show up for a post-game press conference. But would one expect anything else? ? ? ? HITS AND MISSES...The more times change, the more they stay the same. And in this respect, guess who has become Rick Pitino's personal legal counsel in Lexington? Why, none other than well-known Lexington attorney Terry McBrayer's firm. McBrayer, who is a close personal friend of former Wildcat coach Joe B. Hall, also represented former UK coach Eddie Sutton last year during Sutton's controversial exit. To say the Sutton saga strained the relationship between McBrayer and some UK officials would be an understatement. McBrayer declined to discuss the relationship, but friends say Terry is not high on Dr. Roselle's Christmas card list. Could this be another sign to consider when thinking of Dr. Roselle's situation...Word is that the Southeastern Conference presidents will interview a select number of candidates during the NCAA convention next month for the successor to Dr. Harvey Schiller. Several names have been mentioned and some have said they have no interest, but two local names continue to make the circles in Birmingham. They are former UK president Otis Singletary and current athletics director C. M. Newton. Singletary privately says the presidents would never be interested in him, but don't count him out as a draftee. Newton has said publicly and privately he is very happy with his present situation and has no interest in leaving UK. He recendy also told a staff meeting he had no interest, but there are some highly placed sources in Birmingham who still insist he might not resist a draft. Newton was one of several University of Kentucky employees to speak out at a campus rally last week, urging Dr. Roselle to remain as president of the university. Newton's decision to come to Kentuckky was influenced no small part by Roselle. Should Roselle leave, would that have an effect on Newton? C. M. says no.