In a game against St. Joseph’s on February 22nd., Temple U. basketball coach John Chaney sent into the game one Nehemiah Ingram as his hatchet-man. The coach wanted to rough-house the opposition and send St. Joseph's a message, and Ingram obliged by breaking the arm of senior St. Jo player, John Bryant, thus ending the latter’s season and college basketball career. The incident was totally uncalled for, a mild understatement. Coach Chaney will not be guiding his team in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. That’s not enough! He has a long history of run-ins ala this one. In 1984, he literally choked rival George Washington coach Gerry Gimelstab. In 1994, he threatened to kill rival U-Mass coach John Calipari. There have been several other such incidents on Chaney’s resume. Because of his credentials, Temple U. and the NCAA look the other way where Chaney is concerned. He’s damn lucky I’m not the one dishing out his punishment for this one. He should not be suspended for his latest action; he should be terminated at once. And I hope John Bryant goes after Chaney and Ingram, too, via the legal process on the grounds of premeditated assault.
Story of the Week
As I evaluated my sport of preference for this particular article, boxing, I thought about a very well known and respected legend of the sport, a non-combatant. I can still hear his name announced at ringside, and see him doing the very artful job of refereeing important top-name fights for many years.
Famed boxing referee, Ruby Goldstein, also had a distinguished career as a fighter. Born in New York in 1907, Goldstein learned to box at the Henry Street Settlement House, and started boxing in amateur tournaments at the age of 16. He turned pro in 1925. He was nicknamed "the Jew of the Ghetto."
Goldstein won his first 23 fights before Ace Hudkins knocked him out. He compiled an early record of 50 wins in 55 bouts. However, after losing five fights by knockout, including a vicious beating at the hands of Hall-of-Famer, Jimmy McLarnin, Goldstein realized he just didn’t have the boxing talent to become a champion.
After leaving the ring, Goldstein remained on the fringes of boxing, and managed a pool hall that was a popular hangout for local fighters. He actually started to referee while in the Army during World War II. He served as referee when the great Joe Louis fought exhibitions at military installations.
After his discharge from the Army, Ruby continued to officiate. His first heavyweight title fight was the first Joe Louis-Joe Walcott match. Goldstein scored the decision for Walcott, while the two judges scored the bout in Louis’ favor. Many observers agreed with Goldstein. It is to Joe Louis’ credit that he defended the referee’s card by stating that he knows Ruby to be honest and to call a fight the way he sees it.
Louis’ comment went far to help build Goldstein’s reputation as a top referee, and from then on he officiated many important fights including the first Tony Zale-Rocky Graziano bout, and the Ray Robinson-Joey Maxim light-heavyweight championship fight. The 104-degree heat that night conquered Goldstein before it beat "Sugar Ray" as Ruby had to leave the fight in the tenth round. Ruby also officiated the Ernie Griffith-Benny Paret fight in which Paret was actually killed in the ring. That incident affected Goldstein greatly, and he retired after working just one more fight.
Ruby then worked for Schenley Distillers, and wrote a column for the Ring Magazine before retiring to Miami Beach. He died in 1984, 10 years before his induction into the Boxing Hall of Fame.
Last Week’s Trivia
The Dallas Cowboys’ "Bullet Bob Hayes" was a favorite target of Don Meredith. Why not! This former 1964 Olympic gold medallist possessed world record speed for the 100-yard-dash at 9.1 seconds. And as sports-savvy Dennis Cler, a Sports Junkie regular who invariably answers my trivia questions correctly, points out, Hayes absolutely changed the way the NFL played defense trying to compensate for his incredible speed. And I agree with Dennis that Jerry Jones should include the great receiver in the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor at Texas Stadium. (For more on Bob Hayes, please refer to my article dated 1-1-2004.)
Trivia Question of the Week
Who’s the oldest MLB player ever to hit a grand-slam homer? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.