- The Washington Times - Monday, July 23, 2001

Lefty won't come visiting during final season

It's official: Lefty Driesell, who revived college basketball in this area when he came to Maryland in 1969, won't be returning with his Georgia State team for a game in the Terrapins' final year at Cole Field House.

Although nearly everybody liked the idea, the schools were unable to agree on terms for a game. Sources indicated that Driesell didn't want to come here unless Maryland coach Gary Williams agreed to play in Atlanta. That wouldn't have made a lot of sense for the Terps, who already play ACC rival Georgia Tech there each season.

Also, last spring's momentous meeting between the teams in the NCAA tournament removed some of the drama from the prospect of Lefty striding into Cole and perhaps flinging his hands upward in a double "V for victory" gesture one more time. Still, it won't seem right to close Cole's doors Maryland will move into the on-campus Comcast Center for the 2002-03 season without the Lefthander getting one more standing O.

"I would have liked to see it played," said Greg Manning, the former Maryland player, athletic department official and broadcaster who now is Georgia State's athletic director. "A game at Cole would have been great for Coach and fun for me. But we just couldn't work it out."

And that's too bad.

Farewell to Bucky

A few final words about Bucky Summers, the former Washington sports editor who died of cancer last month in Houston at 62.

They held a nice reception for Bucky last week in Frederick, where he grew up, became a star athlete and lived for much of his life. The gathering attracted many of his old friends, including three newspapermen who worked with him at the Washington Star: Gene Mueller, George Kolb and me. It wasn't a sad affair, because Bucky wasn't a sad guy. During his long journalistic career, the last 20 years of which were spent at the Houston Chronicle, he brimmed over with enthusiasm and ideas.

The only negative note came when his widow, Wanda, and daughters Whitney Duck and Wyllis Vidrine attempted to scatter his ashes at McCurdy Field, where he played as a youth. The doors were locked, and they couldn't get in, so the remains were spread under a tree at Staley Field, a little league venue in the city. R.I.P.

A McConkey campaign?

Remember Phil McConkey, the wiry receiver who starred at Navy in the late '70s and later with the New York Giants? One day we could be calling him guv.

McConkey conceded last week that he might run for governor of New York next year. "It's crossed my mind," he said, which is polspeak for "if I can find enough supporters with money, it's a go … "

If he were elected, it would represent a comeback for McConkey, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in New Jersey in 1990 as a Republican. While he said talking about a run for governor was "way premature," he conceded that he has written to the leaders of New York state's Conservative and Right to Life parties informing them he is "actively considering" seeking both parties' nominations.

McConkey, who grew up in Buffalo and was a member of the Giants' 1987 Super Bowl championship team, now works on Wall Street and is a Conservative Party member. An adviser said McConkey has no intention of challenging current Republican Gov. George Pataki for the GOP nomination. But we assume that could change, like nearly everything else in politics.

Mario the mogul

Despite his dramatic comeback on the ice last season, Mario Lemieux is sounding more like an owner than a player these days. For instance, he thinks the NHL should consider introducing a salary cap.

"Some teams are losing $10 million, $15 million, $20 million a year," the Pittsburgh Penguins' owner said at a celebrity golf tournament in Quebec. "Some owners who are billionaires can deal with that, but more and more can't."

Like the Penguins?

Eric Heiden's return

The U.S. Speedskating team has a new physician for the Salt Lake City Games. Would you believe Eric Heiden, who swept all five speedskating events at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics?

Heiden, 43, is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine who completed two weeks of required training last month with the U.S. Olympic Committee's medical department in Colorado Springs. The USOC usually assigns doctors to various Olympic teams, but Heiden requested the speedskating job.

"Maybe some of the athletes might get a boost from having me around," he said. "I could lend my thoughts on what it's like to compete in a big event. But it's just the joy of being able to give something back to the sport."

Good attitude from a guy who, obviously, still is a big winner.

Favre's strategy

Never mind all those golf videos, magazines and lessons. Brett Favre says the way to succeed on the links at least for him is to make believe the sport at hand is football.

"The way I play football is the same identical way I play golf," said the Green Bay Packers quarterback, who has a 7 handicap. "When I'm playing golf, guys will ask me, 'Are you going to lay up here?' I always say, 'No, I'm going for [the hole].' That's the same way I am on the football field. If I have the choice of throwing the ball away or scrambling to make something happen, I'm going to scramble."

Um, there is one crucial difference, though, Brett: In golf, you usually don't have 350-pound linemen seeking to pound you into the turf. Maybe you should rethink that comparison.

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