SPENDING a year away from coaching, perhaps as an analyst on the Fox TV's new NFL broadcasts, seems to be the next likely step for ex-Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson.
Johnson walked away from the Cowboys Wednesday - and a chance for a third Super Bowl ring coaching the defending NFL champs.
Johnson and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, former college roommates, had seemed on the verge of parting company several times in the past. It's oversimplifying to say it's a case of ``this town ain't big enough for both of us.'' But when two such gigantic egos are involved, even good times and total success sometimes cannot be enough.
Johnson says he would like to coach again. Early speculation has him headed back to Florida (he won a college championship with Miami) to coach the Dolphins if Don Shula retires. Meanwhile, at least one press report Wednesday had former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer, a bitter rival of Johnson's when they were both college coaches, taking over the Cowboys job. Will this Final Four be the birth of girth?
RECRUITING players with height, speed, and refined basketball skills has been the key to success in the college game. But this year's Final Four teams have another ingredient: power and sheer bulk.
Witness Arkansas sophomore Corliss Williamson, a key player in the Razorbacks' season. At 6 ft., 7 in. and 250 lbs., he uses muscle to out-duel smaller players and agility to finesse taller opponents. He's the perfect inside weapon to balance the team's strong outside shooting.
Then there's Florida's Dametri (The Thrill) Hill, who at 6 ft., 7 in. and somewhere near 300 lbs. looks more like a middle guard for the Gators football team. Though a reserve, he averages 12 points and nearly 5 rebounds per game.
If these two guys meet head to head in the finals, be prepared for Richter-scale shock waves.
President Clinton's favorite team (Arkansas) and Duke (seven trips to the Final Four in the last nine years) will be favored to meet in Monday night's championship.
Arizona will be trying to prove it didn't just beat up on weak Western teams. Florida can play loose as the underdog - nothing to lose, everything to gain.
* The men's Final Four is only the capstone to a big week for college basketball. The women's Final Four matches North Carolina vs. Purdue and Louisiana Tech vs. Alabama on Saturday. The winners play Sunday. And the National Invitational Tournament basketball championships, the best of the rest, wrapped up last night in a game pitting Vanderbilt and Villanova.
* Having grabbed the NFL away from the established networks for the next four years, Fox television now is thinking worldwide. This week it upped its involvement in pro football by joining the NFL as a partner in restoring the World League. This all-European World League will start play in April 1995 with six teams, including three from the original World League - the London Monarchs, Barcelona (Spain) Dragons, and Frankfurt (Germany) Galaxy.
* Purdue basketball forward Glenn Robinson added the Eastman Award to his list of player-of-the-year trophies Monday, becoming the first Boilermaker ever to win the award. Only three juniors before him - Michael Jordan, Ralph Sampson, and Walter Berry - have won the award, which is voted on by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. On Sunday, Robinson was named winner of the Naismith Award.
* Ross Atkin is on vacation.