#!&+% What a way to start off the morning… learning that a long-time sportswriter friend, Bill Jauss, had died.
Jauss wrote for virtually all of the Chicago daily newspapers at one time or another in his long career and being as though none are well circulated in southern Illinois, few fans in this area have any reason to recognize the name.
Believe me, he was one of a kind.
My first impression of Jauss was somewhat questionable as I watched him partially destroy a buffet spread at a Hambletonian press party thrown by the Hayeses of Du Quoin at the Chicago Press Club in the early 1960s.
Bill enjoyed eating almost as much as talking — and writing — about sports. His knowledge of Emily Post’s suggestions, however, were limited.
Strangely, we remember well visiting with Bill several years later — and after becoming much better acquainted — when the Salukis played in a basketball triple-header at the Chicago Stadium on West Madison Street. It was a great game although SIU lost to Michigan State, 68-56, despite a 29-point effort by Dickie Garrett.
That was the season following SIU’s never-to-be-forgotten NIT championship in 1967 and a season in which the Salukis played Iowa, Arizona State and Arizona in their first five games of the season, met San Francisco and Maryland in the Sun Carnival Tournament at El Paso, Tex., and returned to Madison Square Garden in New York City to meet Duke in a re-match from the previous year.
It wasn’t necessarily a productive season — the Salukis won just 13 of 24 games —but players, coaches and others got to see a lot of the country.
And, before switching to the more timely happenings such as SIU’s football program, we must make mention of one other recent death. Don Sheffer, the main man and leading scorer on SIU’s 1946 NAIA championship basketball team, was buried earlier this week.
A native of Zeigler and long-time resident/businessman in Herrin, Sheffer was called “the greatest athlete I ever coached” by Glenn (Abe) Martin in a column written by Merle Jones, the legendary sports editor of The Southern Illinoisan.
Finally we get to this week’s homecoming game at SIU where coach Dale Lennon’s football Salukis will be hosting Northern Iowa in the first afternoon game of the season. And what a game it should be, particularly so after SIU shocked undefeated and highly-rated Illinois State, 17-0, last week on the road.
Now owning a 3-3 record and with renewed optimism for the remainder of the season, the Salukis still face a difficult schedule which calls for clashes with Northern Iowa, Youngstown State and North Dakota State in the next three weeks. All are dangerous opponents and SIU will have to maintain the stout defense shown against the Redbirds last week as well as figure out some way to score points other than blocking punts and scoring on returns.
Page 2 of 2 - One thing for certain, it’ll be entertaining to watch and there may be a near-record crowd on hand this weekend to see if the Salukis are for real after last week’s upset win.