Hartman: Taylor's death brings back memories of riot

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 28, 2012 - 10:12 PM

The death of Corky Taylor brought back memories of that riot, which brought fans onto the court and into the fight.

hide

Corky Taylor of Minnesota is pulled away by an Ohio State player after Taylor kneed Luke Witte of Ohio State (on floor) with 36 seconds left in Ohio State's 50 - 44 basketball victory over Minnesota at Williams Arena. Jan. 25, 1972

Photo: Charles Bjorgen, Startribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The NHL All-Star Game was held at old Met Sports Center on January 25, 1972, but I chose to attend the Gophers-Ohio State basketball game instead.

While I didn't expect the riot that ensued when the Gophers' Corky Taylor kneed the Buckeyes' Luke Witte in the groin near the end of the game, I had talked to then-Indiana coach Bob Knight a couple of days before the game. His old coach at Ohio State, Fred Taylor, hated then-Gophers coach Bill Musselman.

The death of Corky Taylor on Wednesday brought back memories of that riot, which brought fans onto the court and into the fight. Despite two Gophers starters -- Taylor and Ron Behagen -- being suspended for their involvement, the Gophers still won the Big Ten title.

Musselman had been basketball coach at Ashland College in Ohio before being named Gophers coach before the 1971-72 season after Cal Luther first accepted the job, then reconsidered the next day.

Fred Taylor and Musselman were bitter enemies while Musselman was at Ashland and Taylor at Ohio State. Taylor said he had evidence of Musselman cheating and they clashed over a couple of players both were recruiting.

Future baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, who was asked by Musselman to try out for the Gophers after dominating intramural league basketball games, got in some good swings right in front of me in press row, but he was not suspended.

Musselman had aroused the ire of all the Big Ten coaches when he signed Behagen after all the coaches agreed not to recruit him because he had an agent out of Southern Idaho Junior College. Musselman also had financial help in recruiting Clyde Turner and Bob Nix, two other junior college players.

Jim Brewer, who was the subject of an NCAA investigation, Taylor and Keith Young were already at Minnesota when Musselman arrived.

Riot started

The riot started with Ohio State leading 50-44. Witte, who had been pushing people around the entire game, was driving in for an easy layup and got clobbered by Turner. A flagrant foul was called, as I remember, and Turner was ejected. The next thing we knew, Taylor kneed Witte after Taylor first extended his hand to help him up, then Behagen stomped on Witte's head. Then Buckeyes guard David Merchant and Brewer were going after each other.

The game was called with 36 seconds to play because the Williams Arena floor was full of fans.

Big Ten Commissioner Wayne Duke was at the game, but before he could take any action, Gophers athletic director Paul Giel suspended Corky Taylor and Behagen.

Fred Taylor and Musselman never talked for a long time after the riot, and it was years later until I brought Knight and Musselman together.

It was customary for Knight and me to sit on some steps going down from the court to the locker room and talk before games.

"How is that jerk coach of yours?" Knight once asked. I remember saying to him that they had been enemies long enough and it was time for them to get together.

"Go get him," Knight said. I went and got Musselman and they shook hands. The two of them ended up being friends the rest of the time their teams faced each other.

Lefties still a puzzle

Justin Morneau, who is hitting a mere .096 against lefthanded pitchers this season, never has hit this low against southpaws. He has a career average of .250 against them, and in his best years, he hit over .300 against lefties twice -- .315 in 2006 and .325 in 2010.

The Twins first baseman, who was the American League MVP in 2006 and finished second in voting in 2008, hit .201 vs. lefthanders in 2005, .228 in 2007, .284 in 2008, .277 in 2009 and in 2011, when he batted only 90 times against lefthanders, hit .144.

He has been somewhat more consistent against righthanders, with a career .294 batting average. In 2005 he hit .256, .325 in 2006, .294 in 2007, .310 in 2008, .272 in 2009, .358 in 2010 and .270 last season.

Given his lack of success against lefties this year, it's somewhat baffling that he's hitting .298 against righties this season. That means that while he's at a career low against lefties, he's actually posting his third-highest career average against righthanders.

Morneau is aware of the problem, having said recently that he is "searching for solutions right now. It's something that I kind of know what I'm doing. I'm just having trouble correcting it."

Jottings

• The Gophers football team has four commitments for the 2013 season, according to rivals.com. They are Tartan defensive back Keelon Brookins; Alex Mayes, a offensive lineman from Van Alstyne, Texas; Owen Salzwedel, a defensive end from Beaver Dam, Wis.; and Chris Streveler, a quarterback from Marian Central Catholic in Woodstock, Ill.

• Since the NBA draft went to a two-round format, two Gophers have been selected only once, in 1997. Guard Bobby Jackson went 23rd overall to the Seattle SuperSonics and center John Thomas went 25th to the New York Knicks. But in looking toward 2013, nbadraft.net has two Gophers being taken by pro squads. Forward Trevor Mbakwe is projected as going to the Sixers with the 15th selection, while swingman Rodney Williams is slated at 40th overall, going to the Wolves.

• Nemanja Bjelica and Henk Norel, the Timberwolves' two European draft picks who are in the Twin Cities this week working out for the club, recently finished their seasons in Liga ACB in Spain, the same league Ricky Rubio was in before coming over. Bjelica, playing with Caja Laboral, averaged 6.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in 18.3 minutes per game. He shot 51.4 percent from the field and 70 percent from the free-throw line. Norel, playing with FIATC Joventut, averaged 6.9 points and 4.5 rebounds in 15.8 minutes per game.

• Tanner Vavra, the son of Twins hitting coach Joe Vavra, is fourth in batting average in the Northwoods League, hitting .397 through 19 games with the Alexandria Beetles. Tanner has been blind in his right eye since 2000 after suffering a detached retina, but he continues to play at a high level. Vavra also posted a .332 average at Valparaiso this year with 52 runs scored and 20 RBI. He posted the 11th-highest batting average in school history in 2011, when he hit .421.

• Mo Walker, who missed most of the past two basketball seasons with the Gophers because of knee and ankle injuries, saw his first action in the Howard Pulley League on June 25. He tweaked his ankle again in the game, but indicated he would be ready to play for the Gophers this season.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. shartman@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland 4 Suspended
Kansas City 2
Baltimore - W. Chen 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - M. Pineda
Kansas City - D. Duffy 6:05 PM
Cleveland - C. Carrasco
Seattle - J. Paxton 6:07 PM
Toronto - J. Happ
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt 6:08 PM
Detroit - K. Lobstein
Pittsburgh - F. Liriano 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Houston - N. Tropeano 7:05 PM
Texas - D. Holland
St. Louis - A. Wainwright 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wood
Arizona - J. Collmenter 7:10 PM
Minnesota - R. Nolasco
LA Angels - C. Wilson 9:05 PM
Oakland - J. Samardzija
San Francisco - J. Peavy 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - D. Haren
Colorado - T. Matzek 9:10 PM
San Diego - E. Stults
San Diego 22 FINAL
Buffalo 10
Dallas 34 FINAL
St. Louis 31
Washington 34 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
Houston 17 FINAL
NY Giants 30
Minnesota 9 FINAL
New Orleans 20
Tennessee 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 33
Baltimore 23 FINAL
Cleveland 21
Green Bay 7 FINAL
Detroit 19
Indianapolis 44 FINAL
Jacksonville 17
Oakland 9 FINAL
New England 16
San Francisco 14 FINAL
Arizona 23
Denver 20 FINAL
Seattle 26
Kansas City 34 FINAL
Miami 15
Pittsburgh 37 FINAL
Carolina 19
Chicago 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Ottawa 12:30 PM
NY Islanders
Ottawa 5:00 PM
NY Islanders
New Jersey 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Detroit 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Toronto 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Washington 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
St. Louis 7:30 PM
Dallas
Anaheim 8:00 PM
Colorado
Colorado 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
Arizona
Arizona 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(12) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(9) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
(23) East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(20) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
(14) Miss State 34 FINAL
(17) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(13) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
UNLV 14 FINAL
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(21) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 32 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pm
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close