- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 23, 2001

A trio of new sports tomes to peruse during the holidays or thereafter:
"Cole Classics"
($9.95, 21st Century Online Publishing, 128 pages, illus.) Authors John McNamara of the Annapolis Capital and David Elfin of The Washington Times have turned out a book that, quite simply, no Maryland basketball fan should be without. Even Dean Smith and Mike Krzyzewski might find it hard to put down.
In words and many fascinating pictures, the authors recall the key games and players during Cole's 46 seasons as a hotbed of college basketball. (The Terrapins will move into new Comcast Center next season.) For anyone who has been there, the book will recall the electric moments before big ACC games when Lefty Driesell strode onto the court flashing the victory sign or Gary Williams arrived shaking his fist in the air.
Included are a foreword by Williams, who also played at Maryland, and the authors' choices for the all-time Maryland team. Players profiled include relative old-timers Bob Kessler and Will Hetzel, as well as Len Elmore, Tom McMillen, John Lucas, Albert King, Buck Williams, the ill-fated Len Bias, Walt Williams, Joe Smith, Lonny Baxter and Juan Dixon. There's even a segment on Johnny Holliday, Maryland's longtime radio broadcaster.
Some of the old pictures are hilarious and not just because of the oh-so-short shorts. I especially loved the one of nattily dressed coach Bud Millikan standing at the foul line "showing" future coaches Gary Williams and Joe Harrington and other players how to shoot foul shots. Hey, Bud, didn't those black dress shoes scratch the floor?
One especially valuable section tells us "Who Was Cole?" Answer: William P. Cole Jr. was a former federal judge and chairman of the university's Board of Regents. The building was named for him in December 1956, a year after it opened, but he was unable to attend because of illness and died a year later. And as Maryland trivia buffs know, the words "Field House" are not part of the official title; instead, it's the Cole "Student Activities Building."
"Every Saturday Afternoon"
($29.95, Sporting News, 224 pages, illus. If college football turns you on, so will this coffee table book. Author Ron Jones and many talented photographers do a fine job of capturing what repeatedly has been called "the color and pageantry" of the game on American campuses.
It is necessary, of course, to believe that football is genuinely important and then some at institutions of higher learning, even if many of the athletes are college students in name only. Certainly, sports are a vital and fascinating part of college life. The question is how important they should be, but no doubts are raised here.
Jones and his editors identify the 20 best places to watch a game and even, bravely, rank them. No. 1, in case you simply have to know, is Tennessee, where the entire town of Knoxville turns orange and white on game day.
Interestingly, 11 of the top 20 (including Clemson and Florida State of the ACC) are in the Southwest or South, where "inhibition gives way to an overt passion that has existed as long as there has been college football," Jones says.
Perhaps the most evocative of more than 200 color photos shows the stands at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb., as a total sea of red in honor of the Cornhuskers. We also see two (thankfully empty) caskets at a local funeral home bearing the team's "N" logo on the inside of the lid. Husker fans, I suppose, never really die.
There is no mention of Maryland or Virginia in the book, but Navy gets the last two paragraphs as sort of a sop after Army's Michie Field is praised to the skies. Jones cites the "spine-tingling" experience of watching the brigade of Midshipmen march into Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, plus the F-18 fighter jets that buzz the field and jumps by the Navy Seal Parachute Team. However, Bill the Goat doesn't rate a mention bah!
"I Remember Al McGuire" ($18.95. Cumberland House Publishing, 240 pages, illus.) This slim volume by Nashville author Mike Towle is a somewhat overwrought tribute to the iconoclastic basketball coach who took Marquette to a national championship in 1977 and later won acclaim as a refreshingly candid and witty broadcaster in tandem with Dick Enberg and Billy Packer on NBC.
Like most testimonials, this one tends to be somewhat repetitive, but there's no denying the fact that McGuire was one of a kind. In applying for the Marquette job in 1964, he conveniently reversed the records of his last two teams at Belmont Abbey: 6-19 and 6-18: McGuire's explanation, according to longtime friend and rival Lefty Driesell: "I just flipped it and put my losses first. I didn't say they were wins and losses, I just said I was [19-6 and 18-6]."
Adds Driesell: "I don't think Al took basketball all that seriously." Oh, but he did that's why McGuire broke into sobs in the final moments of Marquette's title-game victory over North Carolina in '77 and why he then quit to go ride his motorcycle and collect toy soldiers. But he also gave the impression of being able to laugh at himself, a quality that endeared him to millions when he became a broadcaster.


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