The Alexandria Dukes open their Carolina League season Friday in Salem, Va., and by then their manager will have four days' experience.
But don't sell him short; he's Mike Toomey, giving up the coaching reins at George Washington U., and he showed in a hurry he could do the job there.
Toomey's Colonials made the NCAA tournament in 1977 and 1979, last year's outfit winning 35 of 51.
The Dukes figure on carrying several area players on the roster, and besides Toomey -- quite a player at St. John's High, Montgomery College and GW ('74) -- pad the local angle with Woody Holland of Silver Spring, Mont-Rock, Howard U. and Dukes '78-Mariners '79 assisting him as player-coach.
Speed-merchant Holland was dropped by the Seattle Mariners' organization in the offseason -- along with the Alexandria franchise -- and the team reorganized as a cooperative Class A venture, being stocked by five major-league organizations, notably the Orioles.
One drawback: player allocations slow in coming (a number yet pending) so that practice had to be crammed into just this week, with that road opener right off the bat and 1980 home bow in Four Mile Run Park coming up a week from today, versus Lynchburg.
Oh. GW, wishing Toomey well as he seizes the bottom rung in the pros and looks up the ladder, replaced him for the rest of the spring college season with his assistant, John Norris, Maryland outfielder 1973-77 who had a free-agent trial in the Cleveland Indians organization . . .
Herschel Walker, the Johnson County, Ga., running back honored here in January by the Touchdown Club as national high school athlete of the year, might have opted for Southern California but for the Pac-10 questionable -- credits investigations. So laments USC recruiter John Jackson on getting the word that Walker has signed a national letter of intent to attend U. of Georgia, 94 miles from home.
"If we didn't have the investigation going on now, I think he might have already signed with us by now," Jackson said. "We feel certain we won't receive a penalty but we couldn't assure him of that and be honest."
As for shady credits, no concern about Walker himself in that regard. Besides scoring 45 touchdowns and rushing 3,167 yards as a senior, he has a grade-A academic showing through high school . . .
Mustang Mania -- the greening of Southern Methodist athletics under ex-Marylander Russ Potts and friends -- has taken on a strong tinge of red, so much so that SMU is dropping men's golf and baseball. Oh, football and basketball are generating more money than was demanded when Potts went to work as athletic director, but inflation hiked expenses even higher. The Dallas school counts a deficit nearing $6 million, $2.5 million of that in the athletic budget. Something had to go -- and not women's athletics, not in Title 9 time . . .
So the Mustangs retain women's varsity golf -- but missed out on a good recruit. Oklahoma State, where golf is really big, recently signed Karen Jones of Rockville's Peary High. She was the first girl on a Maryland state champion (otherwise boys) golf varsity, in '78, and cemented her full ride at Stillwater, Okla., with several winning performances in junior events, playing out of Argyle C.C. . . .
The capital area veritably teems with major golf events this spring, several of them charity benefits, and here comes one of the top-notch: second annual Fellowship of Christian Athletes national pro-am, Memorial Day, Monday, May 26, at Country Club of Fairfax. Some three dozen PGA tour stars already have agreed to tee it up in the one-day event -- the likes of Andy Bean, Larry Nelson, Craig Stadler, Lee Elder, J. C. Snead. Plus Commissioner Deane Beman. Amateur entry fee $500, via Fred Farnsworth, spectator ticket, $5, going on sale this week at C.C. of Fairfax and First and Merchants banks . . .
Danny White, moving in at quarterback for retiring Roger Staubach in Dallas, says he'd sure like to continue as the team's punter, too.