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Coaching saga produces questions

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By HUBERT MIZELL, Times Sports Columnist

© St. Petersburg Times
published February 24, 2002

A few questions I'd like to ask Joel, Bryan, Ed or Pa Mal Glazer, even if my chance of getting answers is slimmer than Steve Spurrier's possibility of being invited to this summer's Bobby and Ann Bowden traditional family reunion at Panama City:

1. What did Marvin Lewis say that suddenly soured Glazer stomachs at the shank of the former Baltimore defensive coordinator's five-hour discussion on becoming Tampa Bay's coach?

2. Were you pitifully naive and/or just plain flim-flammed in becoming totally convinced Bucs serial snubber Bill Parcells was a lock to succeed Tony Dungy?

3. If the Parcells idea had never even festered, would you have so quickly dismissed Dungy?

4. With Dungy already out, if the Parcells mess hadn't been in the equation, would the Bucs have gone after Spurrier, who scampered to Washington, convinced you guys had a legitimate deal with Da Tuna?

5. How steep did Glazer family panic become when the world seemed to be guffawing at the Bucs with Ralph Friedgen, Mike Bellotti and probably even Jimmy Johnson saying no thanks to the idea of becoming boss of the Bucs?

6. May we assume, Glazer guys, you accept having been monstrously unfair to Rich McKay, a sharp and gifted GM who, having now been appropriately granted a six-year contract extension, should make a dandy fit with Jon Gruden, who was the best coaching fit all along?

7. Was there contact with Oakland owner Al Davis we outsiders didn't know about, allowing you to know all along what the heavy price would be to pry Gruden from the Raiders ... which became your disaster bailout?

8. Did you use Steve Mariucci to prompt the deal with Oakland, or did San Francisco's coach decide to tell the Bucs to shop elsewhere, making a give-it-all ploy with the Raiders a Glazer must-do?

9. Which terms best describe your work in evolution of a Gruden-Glazers marriage: (a) smart and clever, (b) frantic and lucky or (c) bamboozled and bailed out?

10. May I borrow your brotherly diary for a couple of hours?

SHORTSTOPS: E-mail from Daryell Joseph of Tampa asks, "I was wondering just how long it's been since a white dude led the NBA in scoring?" I might've guessed Larry Bird in the '80s but, D.J., the answer is Pete Maravich (1976-77). ... In the past dozen NFL drafts, 15 quarterbacks have been top-10 picks but three have reached divisional playoffs in back-to-back seasons: Donovan McNabb, Drew Bledsoe and Steve McNair. ... Norbert Schemansky, now 77, winner of four Olympic weightlifting medals, complains "there aren't any more Olympics. They're money games. No real Olympic spirit." ... Letter from Jeanne Ferriter of St. Petersburg says, "Your article on the hockey win at Lake Placid brought tears of happiness after so many years! Seeing our flag waving. Remembering the tremendous elation of those kids. They sort of restored our pride in the whole nation. As you wrote, "Never been anything like it; never will again.' "

READER'S SHOUT: E-mail from Warren C. Ruthazer of Gulfport claims, "There is one reason why professional athletes should accept fan abuse without taking any action: it's millions of dollars.

"Dan Issel has lived a life of wealth and honors. He's been lauded and feted since being a kid. ... He earned millions as a basketball player and NBA coach.

"Let's look at a fan. He probably didn't make his high school team. He works hard to support a family. He's not talented or smart. ... "Tell these talented pro athletes that they are fortunate, even lucky. So shut up and let the fan do his dirty work. I'm not honoring jerky fans. I'm just saying that when you take money that fans provide, you should ignore their boorishness."

LONG SHOTS: Last year, Joab Lesesne became an assistant football coach at Wofford, after spending the previous 28 years as president of the Spartanburg, S.C., university. ... Larry Lucchino, among the new owners of the Red Sox, said at a Boston baseball writers' dinner, "I come from San Diego where, if they had a dinner like this in the middle of winter, it would be at a drive-through restaurant with 41/2 people." Hmmm, the incoming president of the Baseball Writers Association of America is Bill Center, from the San Diego Union-Tribune. ... Speaking of New England, did the Patriots consider voting a full Super Bowl share to Walt Coleman? He's the ref who saved the Foxboro troupe from elimination against Oakland, overturning a fumble call involving quarterback Tom Brady. ... Experts are figuring NCAA basketball coach of the year is between Jim Harrick (Georgia) and Bob Knight (Texas Tech) who won national championships at renowned hoops schools, UCLA and Indiana, before being forced out in storm clouds of controversy.

Whatever happened to Ray Perkins?

-- To contact Hubert, e-mail or mail to P.O. Box 726, Nellysford VA 22958).

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