PORT ARTHUR —
PORT ARTHUR — Numerous celebrities will be rolling into the area next week to pay tribute to 88-year-old Bum Phillips and raise money for the Hughen Center. Bum doesn’t play golf any more but he’ll be on the course at Bayou Din Friday shaking hands and thanking those who are helping out one of his favorite causes, in what is officially titled the Bum Phillips 2012 Charity Golf Tournament benefiting the Hughen Center. Last year’s event, thanks to a staggering $2 million purchase of an autographed Houston Oilers helmet from Steve and Amber Mostyn, raised $2.2 million for the Hughen Center through the tournament and a sports auction. Underwriters for this year’s tourney are Chevron, the Mostyn Law Firm, Valero Port Arthur Refinery and Veolia ES Technical Solutions . . . Headline celebrities for Bum’s Bash are former Oilers Dan Pastorini, Elvin Bethea and Willie Alexander and entertainers Mark Chesnutt and Zona Jones. Former Port Arthur NFL stars participating include Goose Gonsoulin, Gary Hammond and Duriel Harris. Others on the celebrity list include former Dallas Cowboy Alois Blackwell, Lamar University football coach Ray Woodard and former University of Texas and NFL standout Bill Bradley. Bradley, of course, is Woodard’s new defensive coordinator at Lamar. The history of this event, as area old-timers know, dates all the way back to 1980 when Phillips and Bob Hope teamed up for an event so loaded with big-name celebrities that two golf courses had to be used.
Don’t get too carried away with the 100 plus names on the list of coaches interested in the Lamar State College-Port Arthur job. There are made a half dozen legitimate prospects on the list. The one that makes the most sense is Pat Knight’s former associate head coach at Texas Tech, Chris Beard. Beard, who also coached at Seminole Junior College, worked under both Bob Knight and Pat at Texas Tech, and would get a two thumbs up recommendation from both of them. Among the reasons Beard would be a good hire would be to help establish a pipeline between LSC-PA and Lamar-Beaumont. Knight would love to be able to place prospects at Lamar-Port Arthur . . . One rumor that needs to be shot down, and I’ve heard it several times, is that former Southeast Texas Mavericks coach Steve Tucker will be Matt Cross’ replacement. The rumor, which Pat Knight said he’s heard, has Nutty Jerry, aka Jerry Nelson, sinking considerable money into building much-needed dorms at LSC-PA in return for his guy Tucker being hired as the coach. That same rumor was floating last year when Lamar University was looking to replace Steve Roccaforte as its head coach. I can’t speak for Seahawks’ AD Scott Street, but I’ve got enough confidence in school president Sam Monroe to know he’s not going to sell his coaching job . . . LU basketball, by the way, has one scholarship left for next year and is debating on whether to take a Division 1 transfer or a high school player they got in on late. The transfer Lamar had hoped to land, 6-7 sophomore J.J. Avila, signed with Richmond. Avila, a deadly outside shooter from the Rio Grande Valley, played his freshman season at Navy.
Jimmy Johnson’s name was one of the first mentioned when speculation began on whom Arkansas might hire as an interim coach, in the wake of the Bobby Petrino firing. J.J., of course, was a star defensive lineman at Arkansas in the mid 1960s, and at one-time thought he was going to be named head coach of the Razorbacks. AD Frank Broyles, however, reversed his field at the last minute in 1984 and hired Fred Hatfield. It was the best thing that ever happened to Johnson, who then landed at the University of Miami, won a national championship and used it as a springboard to the Dallas Cowboys. As for any interest in coming out of retirement to bail out Arkansas, Jimmy answered my e-mail with one word. No . . . PN-G ex David Satcher is back in the high school head coaching ranks, and once again he’s taking on a major challenge. A member of a 12-2 Indians team that went to the state quarterfinals in 1988, Satcher is the new head coach at long downtrodden Pasadena Rayburn. How downtrodden are the Texans? They have not won more than one district game the past seven seasons. It’s Satcher’s second head-coaching job. He took over an El Paso Eastwood team in 2010 that had lost 25 consecutive games, went 3-7 that first season, then left for “family reasons.” He spent 2011 as an assistant at Jersey Village. Prior to El Paso, he was the defensive coordinator at Clear Lake from 2004-09 . . . Among the highlights of a retirement party for Lamar University sports information director Rush Wood Thursday night at Starvin’ Marvins in Beaumont was rehashing a lot of great moments in Cardinal sports. One of those Rush brought up that I’d forgotten was when Jim Gilligan’s Lamar baseball team beat John Elway and Stanford, 6-5, in a 1981 regional at Texas. Elway is remembered as an NFL Hall of Fame quarterback, but he was a good enough outfielder to get drafted by the New York Yankees, and wound up playing two years in their farm system.
Here’s one offer I don’t see how long-time Houston Astros fans can pass up when it’s made available on May 15. Major League Productions and A&E Networks Home Entertainment has put together a five-DVD set titled the Houston Astros Anniversary Collector’s Edition. It contains footage of all memorable Colt .45s/Astros moments from the beginning, including full-game videos of Nolan Ryan’s 5th no-hitter, Mike Scott’s pennant clinching no-hitter, the 18-inning pennant clincher over Atlanta on Oct. 9, 2005 and Craig Biggio’s 3000th hit night. Special attention is given to the historic 1980, 1986 and 2004 seasons, and there’s updated interviews and salutes to key players like Ryan, Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Jimmy Wynn, Cesar Cedeno and others . . . As woeful and anemic as Astros attendance has been the season, underscored by a Minute Maid Park all-time low of 14,195 last Sunday, there is at least the excuse of a bad team with no star players. So what’s the excuse for the Cincinnati Reds, a trendy pick to win the NL Central? The Reds, after shelling out megabucks contracts to first baseman Joey Votto and second baseman Brandon Phillips after the season started, drew only 54,891 for a three-game series against defending World Series champion and hated rival St. Louis. Only 16,909 showed up on Monday night. By contrast, the Astros drew 57,356 for three games against Atlanta on the same nights. Of course, a significant portion of those were probably Braves fans . . . It was mentioned in this space last week that the Astros opening day payroll of $60,651,000 was 28th out of 30 MLB teams. What wasn’t mentioned is that Carlos Lee at $19 million, Brett Myers at $12 million and Wandy Rodriguez at $10.5 million account for over two thirds of the total payroll. Lee is untradeable because of his salary but you have to think Myers and Rodriguez will be moved at the first good opportunity.
NFL draft frenzy is just around the corner, complete with mock drafts and speculation about what favorite teams will draft. Based on Jerry Jones’ draft and free-agent history — think Quincy Carter, Terrell Owens, Pacman Jones and Dez Bryant, among others — it seems to me that highly regarded cornerback Janoris Jenkins is the perfect pick for the Cowboys. Jenkins, with a background of personal problems and marijuana busts, played his senior season at Division II North Alabama after establishing solid NFL credentials at Florida. Among other things, he’s fathered four children by three women. It’s going to be awfully hard for Jethro to pass up such an ultra-talented, high character athlete . . . The news continues to be good on Memorial ex Jamaal Charles and his rehab from a torn ACL suffered in the second game of the 2011 season. Charles revealed last week that Dr. James Andrews, who performed his surgery in September, said the Kansas City star is ahead of schedule and that he’s started doing “hard running.” The Chiefs have indicated they plan to hold Jamaal out of preseason OTAs and maybe the early part of training camp. Charles says he expects to be ready to play in the regular-season opener . . . Trust the NFL to leave no stone unturned in finding ways to separate fans from their money. Last week, Roger Goodell’s league held a runway-style fashion show in New York, with players from each team modeling new Nike-designed, “shrink wrap” uniforms. The Texans sent Andre Johnson and J.J. Watt. The upshot of all this is that fans can begin buying the new jerseys on April 26, the first day of the NFL draft. Prices start at “only” $99.99 for replica jerseys, but the more discerning fan who wants the special edition limited jersey, with flywire technology and strategic ventilation, must fork over $135. Then there’s the Rolls Royce jersey, featuring water repellent fabric. It goes for a mere $250.
Sports editor Bob West can be e-mailed at email@example.com