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Jack Cavanaugh: New A.D. makes more than the governor

Published 5:56 pm, Wednesday, February 15, 2012
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So the University of Connecticut has hired a new athletic director at $450,000 a year plus a $100,000 bonus if certain academic and athletic goals are met. That would seem to indicate that it's in the financial interest of the new A.D., Warde Manuel, that the Huskies' basketball teams make it to the NCAA tournaments every year. That could be the easy part, even though the men's team has been banned from next year's tournament because of poor academic performances by its basketball players, not to mention violations of NCAA rules, which resulted in a brief suspension for veteran coach Jim Calhoun.

Manuel's salary means he stands to make more money than anyone else in the state government except for Calhoun, the men's coach, who will take down $2.7 this year and $3 million next season ($3 million for coaching a college basketball team?); Geno Auriemma, coach of the women's team, who is paid $1.5 million a year; and new UConn President Susan Herbst, who makes $500,000. Meanwhile, Gov. Dannel Malloy has to get by on a paltry $150,000, which is probably also about what long-tenured deans and professors earn at UConn. Make sense? I don't think so.

Calhoun testily defends his salary by saying his team brings in about $12 million each year to the university, as if that was the purpose of a college basketball team, which I always thought was to entertain the school's students and its fans. Herbst, incidentally, seems to be spending too much time trying to get the NCAA to withdraw its penalties against the UConn men's hoops team and to have the Huskies become the latest team to bail out of the Big East and join the Atlantic Coast Conference, which consists almost entirely of Southern schools, but where, because of that conference's television deal, there's much more money to be made. What about loyalty to the remaining but shrinking Big East and long-time rivalries with other Eastern schools? Forget about it. For UConn, and for so many universities nowadays, basketball is all about money And who cares if hardly any of the players graduate?

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Authors usually don't hype other books, especially when they have a new one coming out soon. But I'll make an exception in mentioning books by two brand-new Stamford authors, Bob Robustelli and Msgr. Thaddeus Malanowski. Bob's book, "Teamwork," is a riveting roman a clef that blends football with espionage, international intrigue and drug trafficking. It is based to a considerable extent on some of his own experiences while representing his Football Hall of Fame father Andy's firm's involvement in popularizing football in Europe. I think you may recognize some of the characters in Bob's well-written book.

As for Monsignor Malanowski, his book, "Sacrifice for God and Country" recounts how he went from being an altar boy at the Holy Name Church in the South End to becoming the first Polish chaplain to attain the rank of brigadier general in the U.S. Army. Besides recalling his early days in Stamford, the monsignor - who in "retirement" at the age of 89 still celebrates three masses each weekend at the Holy Name church - describes a nearly 30-year Army career during which he met two popes, four American presidents, German President Conrad Adenauer and Elvis Presley, whom he counseled and got to know well after Elvis approached him at a base in Frankfurt, Germany where Presley was stationed in the mid 1950s. Monsignor Malanowski's description of Elvis' life as a soldier is alone worth the price of the book.

Speaking of the majestic Holy Name Church, its longest parishioner may very well be Mike Sandlock of Old Greenwich, who at 97 is the oldest living former Brooklyn Dodger, Pittsburgh Pirate and Boston Brave, along with being the oldest living former big league catcher. Sandlock still plays golf regularly at the Innis Arden Golf Club, where he is a four-time men's champion, and attends the 7 a.m. mass at Holy Name every Sunday.

"I've been going to Holy Name since the 1920s when it was in a wooden building on South Street, and our whole family went in my father's horse and buggy," he said. "And I'm still going every Sunday, sometimes when the monsignor is doing the mass"

But no longer by horse and wagon. "I drive, no matter what the weather's like," said Sandlock, who was cut both times he tried out for the Stamford Trade School (later Wright Tech) baseball team, but made it to the big leagues in the 1940s and 1950s.

Jack Cavanaugh is a columnist for The Advocate.