Cotton Fitzsimmons has beaten the Braves out of Buffalo, to coach the Kinsas City Kings, while Gene Shue is in print with the word that had the 76ers kept him as coach philadephia would have had the NBA championship "guaranteed."
Shue's comments for the June issue of Sport magazine came to light coincident (?) with the Sixer crisis, heading into game five versus the Bullets, and among his gems was that Billy Cunningham is "only a figurehead) coach. Interviewed in December and January for the article by Philadelphia-based writer Samantha Stevenson, Shue prophegized: "All the players are doing is falling in line. But when Billy finally has to caoch them, then you will see the types of problems they have."
She, former Maryland star and Baltimore Bullet coach, began his fifth campaign as Sixer coach only to be fired after six games this season. He said the team would have made good on its "We Owe You One" pledge to the fans for sure had he been retained, "because I had the players all last year and they were under better control."
A lot of folks thought the rap on Shue was his failure to keep his hot shots from free-lancing, which bring us to General Manager Pat Williams' retort:
"Billy's done an outstanding job. Just because of one article from a free-lance woman writer who doesn't know if the ball is stuffed or inflated I'm not going to dignify it with a comment." Except an undignified sexist slab? . . .
Fitzsimmons took his leave of the Braves after a 27-55 stand as their seventh coach in eight seasons, telling them, "It's been my lifelong dream to coach a pro team in my home state." And yesterday he told the K.C. folks, tired of rebuilding. This team (31-51 this year) will win next year . . . How long is my contract? About five pages" . . .
The U. of District of Columbia has booked its first athletic awards banquet for 6:30 this evening at the Capital Hilton. principal guest Willye White, the five-time Olympic Long jumper. Others: A1 Bumbry, Paul Cannell, Jerry Smith, Larry Wright . . .
Bryant Johnson of Spingarn, at 6-7 (and maybe growing) the best big man in 1977-78 Interhigh basketball whose 15-point, 20-rebound MVP job led the Metro stars to their Capital Classic upset of the whole U.S. of A., has eliminated Georgetown and George Washington recruiters from his hot pursuers. Wrod is it's either Rugers or Ohio State . . . U of Virginia corralled a pair of 6-9 out-or-staters: peter Mac-Beth, Marietta, Ga., and Dean Carpenter, Metairie, La . . . Pit grabbed one of a distinguished Hamilton, ohio, clan: 6-3 Scott Grevey . . . The point guard for Maryland a finalist Thomas Johnson High of Frederick, Chas Keller, opted for Lafayette. He's the grandson of Charlie (King Kong) Keller of Yankee baseball and lately harness-racing renown . . .
Humpy Wheeler, who runs Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, called a news Conference yesterday to announce that Willy T. Ribbs of San Jose, Calif, would drive a Dodge prepared by car builder Harry Hyde in the World 600 on May 28 and thereby become the NASCAR Grand National circuit's only black driver (the only previous was Wendell Scott, who quit in 1974). A few minutes later, Wheeler reassembled reporters and said, "Harry jumped the gun" - made the agreement unaware that Hyde's boss, Jim Stacy, already had committed the car to another driver, Ferrel Harris, Wheeler, commenting, "It just seems awfully dad-burned funny that we didn't know anything bout his until the press conference," said he would try to line up another car for Ribbs, 23, a six-time winner in 11 Dunlop Formula Ford races in England last year. Maybe, Humphrey ventrued, A.J. Foyt would make available his Buick for the World 600 since Foyt will be tied up with the Indy 500 the same weekend. . . .
The NFL Players Association has asked Federal Judge Earl Larson of Minneapolis to review the fee-agent signing system it accepted in the Larson-approved settlement with the club owners. Ed Garvey, NFLPA executive director,pointed to the fact that only six of the 126 players who played out the option years of their contracts in 1977 received valid offers from other clubs (setting in motion the process fusal" to match the offer) and said in the court motion, "Objective people must conclude that something is wrong" . . .