Forrest Gregg is gone as coach of the Cleveland Browns; no surprise. Warren Powers has forsaken Washington State to take over the Missouri football helm; no surprise there - except:
While, in conventional style, Gregg's NFL former employer will pay off the remainder of his contract (through 1978), Washington State officials are making Powers pay them for release from the two years left on his contract - $55,000 plus 9 per cent interest over a three-year period.
Sam Jankovich, Washington State athletic director, called the action, in which Powers will be required to sign a promissory note, "precedent-setting . . . we believe this is the first (such) instance . . ."
WSU was exasperated at having to initiate its second football-coach hunt in a year - and in the wake of its first winning season (6-5) since 1972. Jackie Sherrill left in 1976 after a one-year stand to succed Johnny Majors at Pitt, where he had been an assistant.
"This is going to make the students very cynical," said WSU student-body presiden t Mark Ufkes. ". . . The school is losing a lot of alumni support. I say make him live up to his contract. Take away his coaching job and bury him in intramurals or something. Don't let him out."
But out Powers is, out of a $32,000-a-year pact and into a $35,000-per-annum, three-year contract at Mizzou, where Al Onofrio was ousted four days after a season-ending loss to Kansas. Powers, 36, a Kansas City, Mo., lad who played at Nebraska, was an assistant coach of the Cornhuskers and made his mark by beating them in the 1977 season opener, and is married to a Missouri alumna, says coaching the home state in the Big Eight is a dream come true. He's made an initial $5,000 installment on his contract buy-out and, as for the rest, "It's something me and my wife will have to work out."
Missouri will not be involved in the contract settlement, according to Jankovich and U of M chancellor Herbert W. Schooling. But if Powers makes the Tigers an instant winner - well, there are a lot of moneyed boosters out there.
P.S. The Powers-Missouri contract is nonbinding . . .
P.P.S. Jim Sweeney, Washington State's coach the eight years pre-Sherrill and Powers, has been named Pacific Coast Athletic Association coach of the year for leading Fresno State to a 9-2 season and its first PCAA title . . .
In Cleveland, the Browns first said Gregg would finish out the season, then owner Art Modell said after the "mutual agreement" for Gregg to resign became known the termination became immediate. Gregg, who brought the slumping franchise back to 9-5 in 1976, had Modell and the city excited with a 5-2 start this year. But now the Browns are 6-7, and players have been bad-mouthing the former Packer lineman as having created "a pathetic mess - a cesspool," etc. That's what happens when you lose your first-string quarterback (Brian Sipe) to injury at midseason . . .
Fill-in coach for the Seattle game Sunday - how about the Seahawks being favored! - will be the Browns' defensive coordinator, old Redskin Dick Modzelewski of the famous Modzelewskis of Maryland . . .
One more football coaching change, Bill Parcells succeeds retiring Ben Martin at Air Force Academy. Parcells, a 1963 Wichita State grad, has been defensive coordinator at Texas Tech the last three years. Terms undisclosed except the contract will be for "three or four years." Doesn't sound too binding either . . .
"Jefferson Street" Joe Gilliam, former NFL Steeler quarterback back home in Nashville, Tenn., after having failed in his presason try to come back from drug-addiction rehabilitation as a New Orleans Saint, is in big trouble. Out on a pretrial release program stemming from two arrests involving marijuana, heroin and a weapon, he now is accused of robbing a man of $44 at an outdoor, after-hours bank-teller machine. At last report Gilliam was at large . . .
Denver Mayor William McNichols says he has received no official word about the Oakland A's moving to his town. Reports had circulated that/oil man Marvin Davis was prepared to pay $12.5 million for the franchise and there might even be an announcement - but a Davis Oil Co. spokesman said, "I have never seen Charles Finley in my life (about stadium leases). We have talked to Mr. Davis . . . on and off. There is nothing new on it, nothing signed, sealed or delivered" . . . In D.C., neither . . .
COURT HONORS - ACC basketball player of the week; N.C. State's Nawkeye Whithey from De Natha. (All this and Wolfpack mates Tomy Warren and Tomy Pinder cleared of that $1.48 pricetag switching, insufficient evidence) . . . Eastern Eight player of the week; Bob Limdsay, of Geroge Washinkgton's Louisville legion . . . ACC rookie of the week, for a second time in three weeks, freshman guard Jeff Lamp of Virginia's Louisville recruits.
DIED - At 48 in Waterloo, lows, Richard Klawittev, center for the Chicago Bears 1956-57.