Jerry Tarkanian, supposed front-runner for the Los Angeles Laker coaching job vacated last week by Jerry West, has told the NBA club's new owner Jerry Buss to count him out.
Tarkanian, 143-32 for six years at Nevada-Las Vegas, said he decided not to leave "at this time" until his dispute with the NCCA is resolved. "I owe it to my family and all of the Las Vegas fans who have faithfully supported me," said the man under fire in Big V as he had been at Cal State Long Beach for alleged recruiting violations, "to stay at UNLV until the NCAA matter is resolved through the courts" . . .
Onward and upward for American U. basketball. Maryland has booked the Eagles for a December 6, 1980, Cole date with the Terps . . . Last season, would you believe, AU had the second toughest schedule in the capital area, according to Basketball Weekly's listing that showed Ohio State played the most rugged slate in the land. Maryland's sked was rated No. 94. GW opponents rated 147th in degree of difficulty, Georgetown's a meager 168th ... The better to cope, AU Coach Gary Williams has just collared a fifth recruit for 1979-80: 6-5 1/2 Dennis Ross, onetime All-New Jersey high schooler, at East Orange, the past two seasons a 20-point, 15-rebound key to Indian River Junior College of Fort Pierce, Fla., winning 43 of 55 ... Looking forward to another AU year in another sport, baseball: Bob Maxwell, 363-hitting junior short-stop and Eagle MVP who learned of his selection as All-East Coast Conference while laid up in Andrews AFB Hospital with a gashed kneecap from an auto accident. . .
New York fight promoter Bob Arum flew into Johannesburg yesterday and declared the World Boxing Association heavyweight championship definitely will be fought in South Africa in September. Announcement due Wednesday or Thursday on the principals, but indubitably John Tate versus Gerrie Coetzee. South Africa's Mike Mortimer, chairman of the WBA championships committee, listed Earnie Shavers and Tate victim Kallie Knoetze to round out the WBA top four, but said if Shavers goes ahead with his September 14 challenge of Larry Holmes for the World Boxing Council title, he eliminates himself as WBA contender. . .
Major league baseball has just enjoyed its biggest week ever: 2,134,297 paying customers, June 25-July 1 [former high, 2,062,491 July 24-30, 1978]; overall attendance up 781-962 through the comparable date a year ago -- even though the all-time pack-'em-in champs, the Dodgers, wallow in dire W-L straits. Heading into action at San Diego last night with a six-game losing streak, Los Angeles could look back on the 7-20 month of June -- worst for a Dodger club since Casey Stengel's 1936 Brooklyns plummeted toward a seventh-place finish [in an eight-team league] -- and ahead to a stretch of 20 of the next 27 games on the road -- where the Boys in Blue have gone 11-25 this year.
Said Manager Tom Lasorda, who used to chirp about the Big Dodger in the Sky; "I read in a paper last night the quotation, 'put everything in the hands of the lord.' That's the way it stands. Game after game, night after night, I can't believe this is happening. Night after night, it's tearing my insides out. I've tried everything. . . All we can do is hope and pray that tommorow's the day we turn it around". . . Pray to the Big Astro in the Sky?
Gentleman Jim Lonborg, still hoping for a summons from some pitching-desperate big league club -- even the Dodgers evidently haven't grown that desperate -- came through six innings of one-hit shutout pitching in his debut for his hometown Scituate, Mass. team in the South Shore Coast League. Recently cut by Philadelphia, Lonborg ironically helped Scituate beat a Hingham team attired in Phillie uniforms, 8-4 . . . Lonborg, fans will recall, went generally downhill from his Cy Young Award, Boston penant-winning 1967 campaign after an offseason skiing accident. The Salem Pirates, Carolina League guests of the Alexandria Mariners lately, had not only D.C. area stalwarts Bob Rock and Steve Farr on their 1979 pitching staff but 6-foot-7 righty Bob Davis -- a professional ski racer. The Lake Tahoe native won $25,000 on the tour last winter -- five times his Class A baseball season's pay. Pittsburgh drafted Davis from U. of Utah, whence he made the U.S. national ski team, and the Pirates were unaware of his winter occupation until he won a race and made the news wires. Baseball, he told them, is just a sideline. CAPTION: Picture, Jim Lonborg debuts for Scituate.