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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, July 30, 2014

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One of Warren Whitlinger's prized posesions is a picture with his mentor, UCLA basketball coaching legend John Wooden
One of Warren Whitlinger's prized posesions is a picture with his mentor, UCLA basketball coaching legend John Wooden (Photo: Whitlinger Family )

The legend of Warren Whitlinger

Warren Whitlinger was born in Barnsville, Ohio two months before World War I broke out in 1914. He was a natural athlete, playing both baseball and basketball at Ohio State. As a Buckeye basketball player, Whitlinger let the Big Ten in scoring while earning All-Conference honors as team captain in 1936.

Today at 97, Warren Whitlinger is known for an entirely different sport, and not as a player, but rather as a coach. As the revered patriarch of the Whitlinger tennis family, he remains sharp as a tack, and is still sought-after as a mentor of young athletes in the Fox Valley. His lessons are legendary; his philosophies broken down into simple phrases.

Grandson Tate, now 34, took lessons from the man lovingly known by most that know him as 'Baba'. "We would always have these little note cards he gave at the start of practice with quotes that I'll never forget," Tate Whitlinger says. One day it was Make it Happen, the next it was The harder I work, the luckier I'll get. We would have to rehearse them in front of the whole class."

How did a former basketball player morph into one of the great tennis minds in the country when he himself never played the sport? Moreover, how does a horse barn in Neenah, Wisconsin become a pipeline to professional tennis? It all began with Warren's son, John, during the summer of 1968.

John Whitlinger, like his father before him, was a naturally gifted athlete. He excelled in not only his father's sport, basketball, but also the game his older sister, Wendy, was playing, tennis.

I loved basketball," John, now the men's tennis coach at Stanford University, remembers. "But my dad and I had a heart-to-heart one evening in the den in our house, and he basically said 'you can be good in two sports, but if you want to be great in one, you might have to give the other one up.' I realized that I wasn't going to be the tallest guy in the world, so we went the tennis route."

So off to a converted indoor tennis court dubbed "The Barn" they w…

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NBA Union chief Billy Hunter and commissioner David Stern need to set their differences aside now to save the season.
NBA Union chief Billy Hunter and commissioner David Stern need to set their differences aside now to save the season. (Photo: Getty Images)

It's time for the NBA players to just accept it and get back to work

"It's not the greatest offer in the world."

NBA Players Association Executive Director Billy Hunter made that declaration late last night after the owners made what they characterized as their last-best proposal.

The honest truth is that it doesn't matter if Hunter thinks it is a spectacular offer or not. The time to get back to work is now, lest the NBA continue to swirl southward in a sea of nationwide apathy.

Of course, there are NBA fans – even rabid ones – in every city in the country. There just aren't that many of them outside of Miami, Dallas, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York.

But, to be sure, over the past two seasons at the Bradley Center Andrew Bogut's "Squad Six" has pounded their drum, heckled the opposing team, dressed in Bucks colors, stood for all 48 minutes, and generally created some much needed mayhem during times when the rest of the building resembled a morgue.

Two seasons ago, during the "Fear the Deer" playoff run, the Bucks were the hottest ticket in town. Last year, as the injuries piled up, there was, shall we say, plenty of room to stretch out if you happened to stumble across tickets.

What this shows is that most fans, while not happy with the lockout, won't have their lives affected by having to spend their disposable income elsewhere. Perhaps an extra movie; maybe an evening out at one of Milwaukee's great restaurants; maybe just tuck some cash away for a rainy day.

If you still need basketball, Marquette opens its season tonight at the Bradley Center and will play 16 home games this season. Other options for your sports fix absent of NBA basketball include UWM, the Admirals, the Wave, and of course, that football team that has had some recent success a couple hours north of town.

The notion that the only real loser in any sports lockout is the fans is rubbish. Without one particular team playing at any given time, we'll figure it out.

To be sure, collateral damage will be felt by the bars and restaurants around NBA venu…

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Now that the dynamic duo of Fielder and Braun is broken up, how will the Brewers replace Fielder's production?
Now that the dynamic duo of Fielder and Braun is broken up, how will the Brewers replace Fielder's production? (Photo: Milwaukee Brewers)

Brewers brass to talk about 2012

It was a great season. Now go out and do it again.

That's the hope of Brewers fans everywhere after a franchise record 96 wins, a division title for the first time in 29 years, and a berth in the National League Championship Series.

But can they do it without Prince Fielder in the lineup?

Fielder is almost assuredly gone, sold at auction to the highest bidder because that was always his desire. It is what Brewers fans have been dreading since his breakthrough 2007 season, even some suggesting that he be shipped off for prospects years ago.

While I won't go into how foolish that defeatist line of thinking was, the time to face the inevitable is here. To that end, general manager Doug Melvin will travel to the Los Angeles area to meet with manager Ron Roenicke and owner Mark Attanasio, who both make their offseason homes there.

The Brewers payroll at the beginning of last season was just over $88 million, including Rickie Weeks' $4 million signing bonus. Prince Fielder was the Brewers highest paid player at $15.5 million. The problem is that Fielder's money coming off the books will be primarily taken up by players earning more than they did last season.

Ryan Braun's salary jumps from $4 million to $6 million; Yovani Gallardo's goes from $3.25 million to $5.5 million. Rickie Weeks will get a $2.5 million raise, even after factoring in his signing bonus. Shaun Marcum gets a $2.85 million raise. Nyjer Morgan and Casey McGehee are both arbitration eligible, and assuming both are back with the Brewers, they can expect to receive up to an additional $4 million between the two of them. Corey Hart's salary will jump from $6.5 million to $9 million.

With those scheduled raises, that is a jump of $18 million alone, give or take a few dollars. So much for Prince's salary being used to go out and add a bullpen arm or the object of Ryan Braun's desire, Jose Reyes.

Several national reports have the National League batting champion being heavily courted by both the Brewer…

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After his final game as Penn State's defensive coordinator in 1999, Jerry Sandusky is carried off the field at the Alamo Dome in San Antonio.
After his final game as Penn State's defensive coordinator in 1999, Jerry Sandusky is carried off the field at the Alamo Dome in San Antonio. (Photo: Joe Hermitt, The Patriot News)

Time to start over in (not so) Happy Valley

I know there is human decency in the world. However, I am more than a little bit concerned that there is less and less of it every day.

What do decent human beings do when they find out someone they know intimately well and have worked with for decades for up to 80 hours a week has a deviancy so sinister it reaches beyond the scope of comprehension?

Jerry Sandusky was a defensive assistant, then defensive coordinator at Penn State University under the legendary Joe Paterno for 30 years, from 1969-1999. During Sandusky's time coaching in State College, the Nittany Lions had four undefeated seasons and two consensus national championships. During his tenure, 10 of Sandusky's linebackers became All-Americans, and he is generally regarded as the coach responsible for making Penn State known as "Linebacker U."

Jerry Sandusky will also go down in history as one of the worst sexual deviants most sports reporters will ever have to cover. At least I hope so. The prospect of someone being more abominable is frightening.

Late last week, Sandusky was charged with 40 counts of sex crimes against young boys, the result of a three-year investigation. At least 20 of these incidents happened during his employment at Penn State and under the guise of an organization he founded in 1977 called "Second Mile," a group foster home dedicated to helping troubled young boys.

As it appears now, Second Mile was simply a gathering place for Sandusky's victims to congregate; nothing more than a front for a pedophile to have a full stable full of young boys available to fulfill his demonic urges.

According to court records, even after his retirement, the assaults continued on university property, as Sandusky was given the title of "coach emeritus" with an office and full access to the Penn State football facilities. He had his own set of keys to all of the football program's facilities and was considered, for a time, to be completely above reproach.

When Sandusky retired in 1999 at the a…

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