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Grafics

By Laurence S. Grafstein

News from the Crimson front:

Patricia Miller and Jim Stoeckel will each tackle the position of assistant director of athletics starting September 1.

Miller currently coaches and teaches at North Penn High School in Lansdale, Pa. She will be the University's official representative to the AIAW and other women's athletic organizations.

Stoeckel, who last year filled the post of liaison between the admissions office and the athletic department, will continue in that capacity and take on expanded duties. He also keeps his position as assistant coach of the successful Crimson baseball squad.

Miller packs a good dose of administrative experience. She helped organize the 1979 National Sports Festival at Colorado Springs and the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid. She also served on the Curriculum Development Committee under the auspices of the U.S. Olympic Committee, which developed athletic programs for school children.

An All-Ivy quarterback in 1972 and 1973 and an All-East shortstop in 1973, Stoeckel blitzed the Harvard sports scene as an undergraduate. He was Ivy football player of the year and recipient of the Swede Nelson award for sports-manship in 1973. Among the records he still holds are most completions and attempts in a game (27-48), as well as completions and attempts in a season(112-209). He punted more than any other Crimson hoofer--149 times.

Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1974, he eschewed baseball for football after graduation, flirting briefly with a pro football career. In 1975 and 1975, Stoeckel traveled north to play for the Hamilton Tiger Cats of the Canadian Football League--the very squad coached by Crimson gridder coach Joe Restic before he settled in Cambridge. The Ti-Cats in those days possessed a stellar quarterback by the name of Chuck Ealey.

The decision to add Miller and Stoeckel to the ranks of the athletic department is a good one. Together with Eric Cutler, former women's squash coach and another assistant director, they should give the department a degree of cohesion some say it lacks.

Since Miller will deal primarily with the increasingly important issues of women's sports, and Stoeckel will be charged with ferreting out student athletes possessing athletic and other talents, the department has covered itself in two vital areas of concern.

No comment is needed on the matter of recruiting and its relation to Harvard sports success. We have seen excesses splashed across front pages and sports pages nationwide, and as the University expands its ambitions in certain athletic endeavors--indeed, just tries to keep up with other Ivy schools--the dangers of recruiting are not far from any Crimson follower's mind. Stoeckel, as liaison between admissions and athletics, has perhaps the crucial role in assuring that Harvard treads the tightrope well--without falling into the abyss of excess. Yale president Bart Giamatti, no doubt, will have one eye cocked toward Cambridge after his speech calling for deemphasis of recruiting.

In Miller's realm, disturbing news was made public yesterday, when officials of the Department of Education announced that the newly formed federal bureau plans to act on 124 complaints of sex discrimination in intercollegiate athletics against 84 colleges and universities.

Beginning in October, department investigators will conduct interviews at at least seven schools, including Cornell--a bit close to Cambridge's creeping Ivy for comfort. While Harvard has adhered closely to the spirit of Title IX, there is no telling where a federal bureau might go to make a forcible example. Miller, then, along with director Jack Reardon, will have to stay on top of the University's status on these crucial and sometimes blurry affairs.

***

And now, some random reflections on what has surely been a strange summer in the world of sports.

It's a bit redundant to say Jack is back. But I guess he never left. He has copped two major titles in one summer, a season many observers predicted would be the undeniable end of Nicklaus' reign as King. Then, just as Tom Watson and Andy Bean thought it was safe to view for the throne. Jack stopped pulling his putts and collected two major tourneys, knocking the "kids"--by now accomplished pros--back on their butts.

Still, I think Jack has it easy. Everybody loves him. It's not like team sports, where each city has its favorites and at the same time loves to hate brilliant athletes who do not don the team's colors. It's not even like tennis, where fans have their unequivocal favorites and enemies. Nicklaus transcends these regional and individual tastes--every golf fan roots for him, worships him. Oh, there were the days when Arnie captured the hearts and minds of the weekend mulligan-and-duff set, at the expense of Jack's popularity. But that was long ago, and the aging hero has returned (in fact, never gone away) to the unanimous affection and admiration few athletes in the fickle circles of pro-sports achieve.

Man against the elements; Jack against everything and everyone else. The guy just can't quit.

Neither can Bjorn Borg, who won Wimbledon yet again against pesky John McEnroe in a splendid display of tennis. Nor can Tommy Hearns, who thumped the imposing welterweight Pipino Cuevas in a recent fisticuff duel that left even the boxing intelligentsia spouting nothing but superlatives. Nor can Roberto Duran, who showed that the impregnable wall of hype built up around welterweight Sugar Ray Leonard could be rammed through in a bare ring. Nor can the Soviet Olympic Committee, which continues to insists that the Olympics were an unmitigated triumph; nor can the U.S. Olympic Committee, which maintains that the Games were completely sapped of all drama and prestige.

Nor can Georgia Rosenbloom, who recently married for the seventh time, and who directs the L.A. Rams like a feature film instead of a football team. Nor can Cyndey Garvey, who recently opened up to a writer for Inside Sports, and didn't stop talking--and then, together with first baseman and husband Steve, filed a libel suit of $11.2 million against the magazine, perhaps the brightest new typeface on the sports scene this summer.

Nor can the Houston Astros, who have stayed in the struggle for the N.L. West crown, despite the loss of staff ace and fireballer J.R. Richard, Nor can Mark Fidrych, a/k/a the Bird before Larry ever dribbled into Boston, who made his reappearance last night against the Sox, Nor can the Baltimore Orioles, who stubbornly refuse to concede the A.L. East title to the Yankees. Nor can the Pittsburgh Pirates, who despite Dave Parker's expressed discontent, seem determined to thwart the Montreal Expos' effort to become the first Canadian assemblage to win a divisional baseball crown.

Nor can the "Fire Don Zimmer" forces. (it has been said that if a new party called the "No Vote Party" were formed, it would win every presidential election. But in Massachusetts, the "Fire Don Zimmer Party" would almost certainly garner the Commonwealth's electoral votes.)

Nor can the Oakland A's and their apopleptic manager, Billy Martin, who just can't seem to get it through their thick heads that they have no talent. Nor can the California Angels, a team that refuses to recognize that it teems with talent.

Nor can the non-players like Howard Slusher, Mike Trope and Jerry Argovitz, who have intervened to assume leading roles in the never-ending tale, "Agent for the Offense." Nor can the national political parties, who orchestrate possibly the most staged and laughable of all sporting events--the political conventions (which wind up resembling a circus more than a horse race).

But there are several people who can quit. Those include the casual fan who finds to his dismay that the dialectical struggles surrounding professional sports are too intense for his preferences. There are the sportswriters, who, besieged with a plethora of interesting things to write about, all somehow end up saying the same things. And there are the most dedicated sports fans, who take to self-deprecation because they find themselves unable to keep on top of everything, even with cable t.v. And so, in the middle of what has been a most difficult summer to figure. I officially and unequivocally give up.

For now.

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