Real Fans Have to Kick Off to Reach This Coffin Corner

For the college football fan literally dying to make that last statement of eternal loyalty, a casket company has come up with coffins in the school colors of Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee and Georgia.

Loretto Casket Co. will drape a $2,000 casket in the colors of the deceased’s school. School logos are in full color on a white velvet panel inside the lid.

“The reception has been tremendous,” owner Ken Abercrombie said.

The company has sold more than a dozen coffins, with the Alabama model the most popular by far. This is not necessarily a commentary on the quality of life in Alabama.


St. Joe: Dick MacPherson feuded with Penn State’s Joe Paterno before leaving Syracuse to become coach of the New England Patriots and wasn’t thrilled with the Nittany Lions’ 81-0 rout of Cincinnati.

Said MacPherson: “I can see now why Joe Paterno was the Sports Illustrated sportsman of the year.”

Paterno won eight of 10 meetings with MacPherson. They also clashed over the number of home games each was entitled to, and the series was discontinued.

“I know he feels bad about Cincinnati,” MacPherson said. “I’m being very serious now. You can’t let that happen to a great institution and a bunch of kids. . . . Joe Paterno’s done a lot for football, but you can’t let things like that happen.”


Add forgettable quotes: Martina Navratilova, after upsetting Steffi Graf in the U.S. Open semifinals:

“You know, we have all been written off many times before. I have. I should have quit playing in 1987 if I listened to other people or to what was written. But Jimmy (Connors) is still in there, and he has a chance to win the whole thing. And obviously, so do I. I think it just shows what the spirit can do.”

Navratilova lost in straight sets in the final to Monica Seles.

Trivia time: UCLA’s John Wooden won a record 10 NCAA basketball championships. Who is second?


Airplane: A game in the triple-A championship series at Columbus, Ohio, between the hometown Clippers of the International League and the Denver Zephyrs of the American Assn., had to be postponed because the Clippers’ equipment was left behind in Denver.

Continental Airlines, which brought the team back, didn’t load its uniforms, bats, helmets and gloves, according to a Clipper spokesman.

The game was scheduled to start at 7 p.m. About 8, the team announced to about 2,500 fans that the game was being postponed.

No one from Continental was available to comment. A message was left with its answering service at Houston, where the company is based.


Ebb tide: The United States hasn’t won the Ryder Cup since 1983 and won’t be favored this year.

Golf historian Pat Leahy points out that the 12 U.S. team members won 14 PGA Tour events in 1990 and only seven this year.

“Am I the only one who finds that a little disturbing?” Leahy asks.

James?: Chicago Bear tight end James Coley and his wife, Gwannettia, have daughters named Tiyonneteona, Shanuanevia, Ani, Myrialysia and Fehlisegwanafay, and a son named James Jr.


Stan the Man: Fifty years later, Stan Musial had no trouble remembering his major league debut.

The St. Louis Cardinals were playing the Boston Braves on Sept. 17, 1941, and Musial, who had worked all the way up from Class C that season, began his Hall of Fame career with two hits, driving in two runs.

“Jim Tobin was the pitcher,” Musial recalled Sunday, when the Cardinals celebrated the golden anniversary by having Musial throw out the first pitch against the Phillies.

“He was a knuckleball pitcher, and I had never seen a knuckleballer before. The first time up I popped up to third. The next time there were a couple of men on and I hit it against the screen for a double.”


Joked Musial, at 71 a senior vice president with the team: “When they called me for this, I thought that was what they wanted me to do, play for them.”

This date in history: In 1984, rookie Dwight Gooden of the New York Mets struck out 16 in a 2-1 loss at Philadelphia.

Five days earlier, Gooden struck out 16 Pirates. He tied a major league record for 32 strikeouts in two consecutive games.

Trivia answer: Adolph Rupp, Kentucky, four.


Quotebook: Pete Rose to Doc Severinsen after being introduced on “The Tonight Show:” “Thanks for not playing ‘Jailhouse Rock.’ ”