This is a dyn-o-mite college football lineup ever-lovin' ABC-TV will serve up on September's five Saturdays: Sept. 2, Nebraska-Alabama, the Tide out to avenge its only 1977 defeat; Sept. 9, UCLA-Washington, the Rose Bowl champion Huskies out to avenge their only Pac-Eight loss last fall; Sept. 16, Penn State-Ohio State, 'nuff said; Sept. 23, doubleheader: Michigan-Notre Dame, first meeting of those powers in 35 years, and USC-Alabama, a 21-20 wow last year; Sept. 30, North Carolina-Pitt. Roone Ariedge &' Co. leave us wondering for now about October et seq, but with all that early fireworks, the question becomes: by post season bowl time how many matchups will be able to excite us rather than being anticlimatic? Or, by Jan. 1, who will remember who lost on Sept 2? . . .
Seattle Slew won't run in Monday's Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont, so no handicap triple crown in store as a 4-year-old for the 3-year-old Tripler. Trainer Doug Peterson slated Slew for a five-furlong workout yesterday but discovered a slight filling in the colt's right hind leg and said because the workout had to be canceled. Slew could not be ready for the one-mile, $100,000 stakes.
Gene Shue has interviewed for the Chicago Bulls NBA coaching vacancy. Rod Thorn, new Chi general manager, says he has a couple more interviews to make in hopes of hiring Dick Motta's successor once removed before the June 9 draft; so apparently Jerry Sloan, the heir apparent to Ed Badger, is no shoo-in. Another applicant, we assume, would be Larry Costello, who was hot for the Kansas City job that Cotton Fitzsimmons got . . . At Shue's alma mater, Maryland, the plot thickens. First off, a promotion for William (Spider) Fry, U-Md. '51 and Terrapin head trainer since 1967: to assistant athletic director. Not the Russ Potts assistancy, but the slot. Alfred J. Hanlon has occupied; the university telling us. Fry, pride of Elkton, Md., "has worked with Hanion to allow for a smooth transition in the areas of scheduling, team travel and personnel policies." And here's a self-styled "long shot" for the big job, succeeding Jim Kehoe as the athletic director: Jim Merkel, academic adviser to the games department for 10 years.
Merkel, a Penn State grad who has a doctorate in engineering and is a professor in Maryland's department of agriculture engineering, decided about six years ago on a new life's ambition: to be an athletic director. So this spring he gets a master's in business administration, says he would provide "balance between the athletic and academic community" and has lots of ideas, e.g., night football home games for the Terps. Win or lose the big job, Merkel figures to be moving out of the team dormitory, where he has resided for eight years - on Saturday, at Norbeck, he is getting married; to one of the first Terrapin women basketball stars of a couple years back, Monica Rogers . . .
But is this a long shadow over College Park? Clyde Walker resigned yesterday as U. of Kansas athletic director, saying he wanted to settle closer to old home territory, North Carolina. Maryland is closer to Carolina than Kansas - but word is that Walker may be introduced today as A.D. at UNC-Charlotte, a post vacated by Lee Rose when he took his basketball-coaching skills to Purdue. Anyway, unlike Jersey Jermier, who was forced out the other day at scandal-ridden Kansas State, Walker leaves Kansas with nothing but praise for his five-year tenture.
One of the heartwarming moments at the Washington Touchdown Club's January shindig was Timmie Award winner Joe Gattuso Jr., from the rostrum, leading off with, "Well, dad, we did it." Say it again, Joe - June 6 in Halsey Field House, Annapolis. Halfback Gattuso will receive the Thompson Trophy Cup, awarded to the midshipman who "has done the most during the current year for the promotion of athletics at the Naval Academy - same honor Joe Gattuso Sr. won in 1955.
So, what about the Women's Pro Basketball League? Nothing firm came out of a Chicago gathering as promised - still only two franchises officially in, Des Moines and St. Louis - the latter operated by Harry Wald, who claims to be veteran of 50 years in show biz, used to own a burlesque house and promises, "We're going to have a high-class operation" . . . So, what about Joe Gilliam after that surprise tryout by the Dallas Cowboys? Back to Pittsburgh for drug-reformed, he swears, Jefferson Street Joe - and a contract with the Wolf Pak of the new Atlantic Football Conference whose other semipro members include the Connecticut Sea Raiders, Buffalo Geminis, Rochester Mustangs, Syracuse Bisons, Binghamton Jets - and Scranton Stars, against whom Gilliam aims to be starting quarterback in the July 1 opener. Said Gilliam: "I consider myself a better athlete than when I played for the Steelers" . . .
Greg Norris, ACC baseball player of the year for his 11-0 regular-season pitching, has pitched North Carolina into the College. World Series - yielding 11 hits but fanning 14 to beat Memphis State in a playoff at Auburn, 11-9 . . . In the Northeast Regional, Delaware swung into double-elimination action yesterday with a 32-15 record against Harvard (24-8) - and at first base for the Blue Hens in tricaptain Mickey DeMatteis, a .364 batsman as a senior, never under .340 in his four-year college career, and a fine representative of Rockville's Woodward High . . .