Coaching heads rolled yesterday in pro basketball - Bob Hopkins out at Seattle, Lenny Wilkins in - and college football - Ken Cooper out at Mississippi, Steve Sloan maybe in; Mike White out at California...
In baseball, rolling stones Dave Kingman, Elliott Maddox and Jack Brohamer Popped up in new places. Have a whirl:
Hopkins, successor last May to cousin Bill Russell as coach of the NBA SuperSonics, lasted only 22 games - 17 of them losses - of the new season. So the powers that be tapped Wilkens, longtime pro guard who has been player-coach at Seattle (1969-72), ditto at Portland (1974-75) and coach-retired player with the 1975-76 Blazers, to try his hand from the bench again. He was working upstairs as Sonic player personnel director and will continue in that capacity while coaching until at least the end of the season." Hopkins remains as head of scouting.
Cooper, on top to of the college football world for a little while after his Rebs shocked Notre Dame on Sept. 17, quit the Mississippi helm yesterday under heavy pressure. And Sloan - now that Bear Bryant has declared he'll hang onto the job Sloan coveted at alma mater Alabama at least four more years - sent word from Lubbock. Tex.: "I'm sure interested in Ole Miss and I'm giving it serious and prayerful consideration." Sloan has a long-term contract at Texas Tech, but said, "My contract is not a problem." That seems to be so for most manager coach sports contracts nowadays (exception: Gene Mauch, stuck in Minnesota), and fat lot of good it did Cooper to have said two years left on hos $40.000-a-year Mississippi pact. Alumni and students practically ran him out of the job after a 5-6 finish, his third losing campaign in a row after one on the sunny side of 500. The capper came when some 20 former players under Cooper advised the school he's a fine fella and all, but "would nver be a consistent winner."
Out of the blue from Berkeley, White was fired after a 7-4 season that matched most of Cal's Pac-8 rivals, but went only 3-4 in the conference with a 21-3 closing loss to archrival Stanford. White, who took over in 1972 and led the Bears toa cochampionship with UCLA in '75, has a year left on his contract at Cal, where he used to play on the varsity.
Kingman, who hits kingly shots when he hits the ball at all, spent the 1977 season doing for the Mets, Padres, Angels and Yankees. In the re-entry drfat. he negotiated with the latter two plus the two Chicago - and the Cubs announced yesterday he'll be swinging for the ivy vines and beyond in Wrigley Field, 1978 through '82 - on a five-year $1 million contract. If anybody can fight the winds off Lake Michigan, it's Swish Kingman.
Brohammer, journeyman second baseman at Cleveland and Chicago (Al) for six years (241 lifetime), suddenly is a $100,000 a year ballplayer for the Boston Red Sox, if you can believe the estimates. He and the Sox agreed to terms yesterday - look out, keystone incumbent Denny Doyle - for a reported a three years.
And Elliot Maddox returns to New York. The former Yankee outfielder, troubled in the Bronx by injuries and a hangover feud with manager Billy Martin, now moves from the Baltimore Orioles (.262 in 40 games) to the Mets - for a five-year package estimated at $800,000 . . .
John Y. Brown has sold half-interest in Buffalo NBA to Harry Mangurian and the Brave's long-rumored move to Florida looms a bit less fuzzy. Mangurian lives in Florida and Kentuckian Brown has Fort Lauderdale offices, but for now onetime Rochester, N. Y., resident Mangurian and his partner express guarded optimism about keeping afloat on Lake Erie's shores. "Sure," said Brown. "I'd love to have the team somewhere where I can watch them play more often. But I don't want to get into that any more until after the season. I want to give the fans of Buffalo a fair chance.."
Chub Feeney, National League baseball president, may take one more headache than usual to those Hawaii meetings. Early yesterday morning near his midtown Manhattan offices, Feeney was mugged to ht tune of $100, a bump on the back of the head (was he hatless a la his bravado performance throughout that rainy playoff night in Philadelphia?) and a three-stich cut above an eye in resulting fall to the sidewalk . . . Hope Feeney made it to yesterday's dedication Toots Shor at the site of the original Toots Shor restaurant. Bowie Kuhn, Pete Rozelle, Larry O'Brien, John Ziegler and the gang all made it.