The year 1988, as it was, but not necessarily as it will be remembered.
All these things happened. Honest.THE WINNERS:
- The Jazz, a growing local (national?) phenomenon, take the Lakers to seven games, losing on a single jump shot by Michael Cooper.
- Karl Malone, Danny Ainge, John Stockton and Michael Smith reach new all-star heights.
- BYU, at one point 17-0 and ranked No. 2 in the nation, wins the regular-season WAC basketball championship and finishes 26-6.
- Utah State wins the PCAA tournament.
- Scott Mitchell gets an early start on rewriting the NCAA record book.
- The Golden Eagles win a fifth league championship.
- Utahns Missy Marlowe, Denise Parker, Henry Marsh, Doug Padilla and Ed Eyestone make the U.S. Olympic Team.
- Unheralded Ben Smith, a former auto mechanic, bids to become the first player never to play on the regular PGA
Tour to win a Senior Tour event. He leads the Jeremy Ranch Showdown Classic through 52 holes, then regains consciousness and blows it with bogeys on the final two holes.
- The Trappers wonder what they'll do for an encore following a year in which they won their fourth straight Pioneer League championship and set baseball's longest winning streak of 29 games. Answer: nothing.
- BYU's 17-0 basketball team loses six of its last 15 games, fails to win the conference post-season tournament on its home court, loses in the second round of the NCAAs and in the fall must hold open tryouts to fill out its roster.
- The BYU football team fades in similar fashion - but does pull out a Freedom Bowl victory.
- The Jazz travel half-way around the world on and off for a year before finally signing Jose Ortiz - last seen riding the end of the pine.
SPORTS SOAPS AND FAMILY FEUDS:
- Frank Layden and Mel Turpin exchange fat insults, but in the end it becomes clear who carries the most weight: Turpin is traded to Spain; Layden gets a new car.
- Mild, humble, reticent Michael Smith tells his coaches to shut up during a game in the Marriott Center.
- Michael Smith writes a public apology to the world.
- The national gymnastics team brings its giant not-to-be-believed version of family feud to Salt Lake City to hold the U.S. Olympic Trials and Tribulations. Don Peters fails to qualify as many athletes as Bela Karolyi for the U.S. team, and so, as the world turns, Peters resigns. Utah coach Greg Marsden, who months earlier had resigned as U.S. coach to avoid all of the above, looks like a genius.
- Swimmer Troy Dalbey, a would-be BYU student, borrows a statue from a Seoul restaurant, thus igniting an international incident.
- Frank Layden shuts the locker room to reporters following a playoff game. Similarly, the University of Utah's football defense, ranked 101st nationally, closes its mouth to reporters following a game.
- Frank Layden, the amateur psychologist, says his team has no business being on the same court with the Lakers, following a Game 1 playoff loss. The Jazz respond by winning three games.
- Kelly Tripucka grumbles and sulks on the Jazz bench, then, happily, lands on a new team.
- Ladell Andersen's lucky suit goes prime time during the winning streak and back to Mr. Mac's when the streak ends.
- Chuck Cutler's amnesia-and-bionic-hands story gets told and retold wherever BYU's football team goes. "I can't wait till he graduates because I'm tired of reading about it," said coach LaVell Edwards last week.
THE OLYMPIC FOLLIES:
- Madonna Harris is among the lead cyclists when she gets a flat tire and belated help to fix it.
- Binesh Prasad, a Salt Lake banker from Fiji, loses count of the laps in his heat of the 10,000-meter run and in his confusion stops briefly.
- Denise Parker misses out on a team silver medal in archery when a U.S. teammate misses the entire target, bale and all. The arrow was last seen heading for North Korea.
- Missy Marlowe is robbed of a bronze medal in gymnastics when an East German judge stretches an obscure rule to penalize the U.S. team. East Germany - surprise! - gets the bronze.
- Henry Marsh, 34 and running in the final race of his career, gets stuck in the fastest steeplechase race in history in the Olympic final and finishes sixth.
- Ed Eyestone gets hammered by 50 percent humidity while running in a Olympic marathon that looks like a war zone and finishes 29th.
- A Carbon assistant football coach slugs a Springville coach and knocks him into the hospital, setting sportsmanship back to the ice age.
- A Golden Eagles game/fight leaves an opponent in the hospital with a concussion, keeping hockey in the ice age.
- A genuinely baffled BYU football team is repeatedly slandered with a dirty-play-and-racist rap.
THE POIGNANT MOMENTS:
- Missy Marlowe nails a landing and a spot on the Olympic team during her balance beam routine. She melts into tears in front of an adoring, screaming, hometown crowd in the Salt Palace.
- Utah's own Jay Don Blake finally wins the Utah Open after years of near-misses, then cries for joy in a year that, marred by the death of his father and a divorce, had little of it.
- The University of Utah, long stuck in its neighbor's shadow, whips BYU behind the passing of Scott Mitchell and the running of Eddie Johnson. It is a victory so sweet that in the end they're selling I-Was-There T-shirts and sections of the goal posts and replaying the game at least twice on a local TV station.
- Allergy-plagued Doug Padilla and aging, out-of-shape Henry Marsh finish first and second, respectively, in the U.S. Olympic Trials.
THE FISHY STUFF:
- USU coach/athletic director Rod Tueller hires one of his former high school players, Kohn Smith, away from Indiana to be his assistant, and denies he has made an arrangement for Smith to take his job. The season isn't half finished when Tueller announces that Smith will replace him.
- Utah coach Lynn Archibald hires Greg Grant to be a graduate assistant coach, and a week later Utah signs, yes, you guessed it, Grant's younger 6-foot-9 returned-missionary brother Josh. There is no connection, we are told.
- Budding star Martel Black quits the Utah football team, then rejoins the team, then gets busted for allegedly distributing cocaine and is dropped from the team, then tries to fool a Weber State coach into recruiting him.
- Four Utah collegiate quarterbacks throw for more than 2,500 yards apiece.
- Out of habit, BYU lands another bowl (for the 11th straight year), despite itself.
- BYU's reserve quarterback once again is the most popular man in town.
- Basketball fans litter the court with rolls of toilet paper, but by the end of the year the fad has died, along with the wave.
- Emery's Shawn Bradley (7-foot-4 and growing), Richfield's Ryan Cuff and Bingham's Ken Roberts give the Utah prep ranks a Super Soph (now juniors) class.
- Robert Saunooke, a reserve offensive lineman at BYU, tackles a team of ponies pulling a runaway wagon in a Provo parade. Inside the wagon were - are you ready for this? - the grandchildren of BYU coach LaVell Edwards.
- The Utah football team barfs almost en masse on the sidelines during a game against UTEP. No one is sure if it was the water or the Utes'lopsided loss.
- A 319-pound basketball player takes the floor for Utah. A 5-foot-7 football player stars for BYU.
- Muhammad Ali calls the Deseret News to do an interview.
- Or did he?
- Bob Jensen, the latest of BYU's spurned quarterbacks, skips his senior year to try out for the Canadian Football League, but winds up working in a landscaping business in Salt Lake City. At least he had a better place to view the Cougars, as the quarterback turmoil continues.
- For the second time in two years, Karl Malone gets a new contract and a whopping raise to replace the old one. Stay tuned. Next year he holds out for a small island in the Pacific - Maui.
- The first Heritage International Triathlon is a success and afterward the athletes are positively glowing - from the dip in Utah Lake.
THE SAD FAREWELLS:
- Wilbur Braithwaite - coach, philosopher, school teacher, adviser, all-around nice man - retires after a lifetime of coaching and teaching at Manti High.
- Frank Layden, booed in January, cheered in June, surprises everybody by quitting as coach of the Jazz. His wit, humor, his perspective on the game, his honesty, his sheer entertainment value, if not his Jeckyl and Hyde act, will be missed.
- Pete Maravich, an original right down to his sagging socks and behind-the-back passes, dies suddenly and prematurely - after a pickup game.
- Rod Tueller, for nine years Utah State's head basketball coach, leaves in style, following a 21-10 season.
- Weber State's Larry Farmer doesn't have that luxury. After three disastrous seasons he is fired, but no one celebrates. Farmer was always a gentleman, if rarely a winner.
- BYU's Clarence Robison and Utah State's Ralph Maughan bow out after quietly and successfully serving as head track and field coaches for four decades. Athletes gather in Provo from all over the world to give Robison a sendoff; similarly, 40 years' worth of Maughan-coached athletes gather in Logan to hold, what else?, an alumni track meet.
- Frank Layden on the rigors of NBA travel: "Oh, sure, it was hard having to fly first class, have a martini, be driven to the best hotel in town, then struggle up to a suite on the top floor. It's awful."
- Ladell Andersen, speaking to LaVell Edwards during a round of golf last summer: "I had the best basketball team in my life. BYU had the best record it ever had. It was the best record I ever had. BYU was ranked higher than ever before . . . Why do I feel so bad?"
- "It's not as dumb as it sounds." - BYU linebacker Rocky Biegel, explaining the new sport of "bonking" in which he rams heads with his teammates - without a helmet.
- "If I know anything about basketball, (Jeff Chatman) is a first-round draft choice." - Ladell Andersen on the talent of his star player. Chatman was a no-round draft choice.
- "Write good stories, guys." - a cheery Mike Smith to reporters leaving the lockerroom shortly after he ripped his coaches.
- "We're going to work real hard next week, and rest is going to be a big part of it." - Ladell Andersen.
- "I'm on a team with 12 token white guys." - Jeff Chatman.
- "I guess anything's possible as long as it hasn't happened." - Right. Ladell again.
- "This will never happen again." - Utah baseball coach Rick Sofield after watching his team lose to BYU by 25 runs. The Utes would lose 30-9 to Air Force and 26-4 to San Diego State, but, true to the coach's words, neither was by 25 runs.