Jack Pardee and Tom Heinsohn were in Houston yesterday to talk about coaching employment. Upshot: Pardee, possible; Heinsohn, improbable.
Pardee now had met "more than once" with Jerry Argovitz, boss of the Houston Gamblers, about coaching the USFL expansion team, apparently to good effect, since he said that if he couldn't count on direct communications with ownership, forget it.
Argovitz scheduled yet another meeting with Pardee today, commenting, "We feel very positive at this moment and hopefully something in the very near future will come about . . . He's not only an outstanding coach, he's an outstanding man."
"I never want to be in a coaching situation where someone is between me and the owner," said the 1978-80 Redskins' coach currently in the oil industry in Midland, Tex. " . . . I'll want to be able to discuss any problems with the owner. If a coach can't do that, little problems become monumental.
"Edward Bennett Williams hired me in Washington. We worked well together. Then Jack Kent Cooke took over. He brought in his people. The first day we really talked was the day he called me in to fire me" . . .
Heinsohn, after considering the Rockets' basketball job "just for the pleasure of coaching Ralph Sampson," evidently will forgo the pleasure because he also insisted on "an offer commensurate with the top guy (coach) in the NBA." Discussions with the Boston Celtics' former coach broke off, General Manager Ray Patterson said, after the Rockets "made an outstanding offer and he chose to turn it down." It was a reported four-year contract at $250,000 a year, and when Heinsohn said he makes that much doing commercials and broadcasting, Patterson broadcast that the Rockets will look elsewhere.
One experienced NBA coach apparently not being pursued is Butch van Breda Kolff; the former leader of four pro clubs, including two NBA West champion editions of the L.A. Lakers, just signed to coach Picayune (Miss.) High School . . . But one who, surprise, might be available is Stan Albeck, who had his San Antonio Spurs in the '83 NBA West finals. Albeck's attorney says his three-year, estimated $175,000-a-year deal of last season was never put in writing--leaving him open to talk now with two rival teams pursuing him (reportedly New Jersey and San Diego). Angelo Drossos, Spurs' owner, admits the contract slip-up "because both Bob (Bass, general manager) and I thought the other one was doing it"--but says Albeck told him, "Don't worry about it." Albeck, before heading Tuesday for vacation, said, "At the present time, I am in San Antonio and I'm not interested in any of those other jobs at this point" . . .
Kevin Ross, 24 and with four years of varsity basketball at Creighton U. behind him although he could hardly read and write, graduated last night from grammar school (Marva Collins' Westside Prep in Chicago).