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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide for Reeves County, Trans-Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas


Thursday, January 8, 1998

Love reassigns Belew, names Williams AD

Staff Writers
PECOS, Jan 8 -- In one of his first acts since being
appointed Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD superintendent on Tuesday,
Don Love has reassigned head football coach and athletic
director Mike Belew as Zavala Middle School principal, while
naming longtime varsity baseball coach Bubba Williams as
interim athletic director.

Love, who served 1½ years as Zavala principal before being
officially named as superintendent, made the changes after
meeting with Belew and Williams. P-B-T school board
president Frank Perea said Love is able to make
reassignments and add additional duties to school personnel
at his discretion.

"We met and decided we had philosophical differences in the
way things should be run," Belew said this morning. "That's
his call being superintendent, and so I need to go. This is
not the place for me."

"I just want to do what's right for the district," Love said
today. "I feel the district should take a different

"I think he'll do a great job," Love said about Belew's new
assignment. "We mutually agreed to make this change."

Belew was hired by the P-B-T school board to replace Felix
Urias as football coach and Daylon Whitehurst as athletic
director in April, 1996, and posted 4-6 records in his two
seasons as head coach. He said he accepted reassignment as
Zavala principal, "Until I find another job."

"I don't have any hard feelings. I met some good people,
have some good memories and situations and met some good
kids. It was just a difference in philosophy."

Williams, who was waiting to meet with Love last this
morning, said as of now the athletic director post is an
interim job.

"I'll stay on as baseball coach. I don't know what all the
other options are now, because I haven't had a full
discussion with Mr. Love."

Love served as offensive coordinator under Whitehurst and
Urias, as well as working as assistant varsity baseball
coach under Williams for six seasons. He spent two years as
assistant principal at Pecos High School before taking over
as Zavala assistant principal in 1996, after Mike Sadler
left from that job to serve as Belew's offensive coordinator
and head basketball coach. Sadler and Belew had served
together on the Odessa Permian coaching staff in the late
1980s and early 1990s.

"I think right now there are a lot of things that need to be
done," Williams said. "First, I need to get familiar with
the situation of being AD and the job description that goes
with it. But I feel it's a job I can handle or I wouldn't
have accepted it."

Williams added that one of the things he and Love would talk
about is the hiring of a new football coach for the 1998
season. It will be the fourth head coach for the Eagles in
the past seven seasons, after Pecos had just two head
coaches the previous 25 years.

Participation in the football program at the sub-varsity
level, which became was a problem in Urias' final two
seasons as PHS head coach, was reduced in Belew's first
season as head coach and AD, but returned in 1997. Both the
freshman and junior varsity teams saw key players quit
football and wound up with winless after posting winning
records in 1996. Belew also had troubles similar to Urias in
getting varsity players to show up for workouts, a concern
he voiced to the Pecos Downtown Lions Club just prior to the
start of district in early October.

Williams, who has also endured problems with players failing
or dropping out of his program over the past few years said,
"We need to do something about the kids, but right now I
don't know what that is."

Belew said he's updated his resume to send out, in hopes of
getting another head coaching job. "I'm in the process of
making some calls and getting a list of coaches openings. I
feel confident that I can take something from this situation
and get a good job, and hopefully, I can take some of the
guys (assistant coaches) with me, because I feel like we
have a good staff."

"I certainly wish the best for the Pecos Eagles' athletic
program. I'm sure Bubba will do a good job," Belew added.

Swimmers' break ends in Stockton

PECOS, Jan 8 -- The holiday break ends for the Pecos Eagles
swimming team on Saturday in Fort Stockton, as they prepare
for District 4 competition at the end of the month.

The Eagles will compete in the Coker Invitational, the
next-to-last meet before district, on Jan. 31 at Monahans.
All of their district rivals except Big Spring and Abilene
Wylie will be at Saturday' meet, along with Odessa Permian
and Midland High and Midland Lee.

"It's going to be a pretty low-key meet. They (Midland and
Midland Lee) are probably just going to bring the JV
swimmers that they're not going to take to Lubbock," said
Eagles' coach Terri Morse, referring to next week's final
pre-district meet.

As far as the Eagles are concerned, she said, "Pretty much
everybody's going this week. Not everybody will go to
Lubbock, because you have to qualify, plus we've got the
(Reeves-Loving) stock show."

The girls will have enough swimmers for two relay teams in
both the 200 and 400 freestyle, while the boys will field a
`B' relay squad in only one event, the 200 free. Morse said
most of her swimmers will be in the same individual events
as they were prior to the Christmas break.

Pecos has been idle for almost a month, after the girls
placed first and the boys second to Big Spring at the
Seminole Invitational. However, Morse said she was expecting
similar times this Saturday as in early December despite the
long break.

"We had a pretty good Christmas. Most of the kids show up,
and we've had pretty good workouts," she said. "If we lost
anything it would be in endurance. The sprints shouldn't be
off, but in the longer races the times may be a little bit

"We had some pretty hard workouts this week, so we could be
a little tired. They were wearing a lot of clothing while
swimming through the water, so they could be tired this
week," she said.

"Basically, I want them to be ready for district, so I want
them to get in their workouts, but don't want them to be too
tired later," she said.

Hicks vows to make Rangers winners

AP Sports Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas, Jan. 8 -- Tom Hicks has already proved he
will spend what it takes to get a winner in town.

He did it with the Dallas Stars. Now, he plans to do it with
the Texas Rangers after agreeing to spend $250 million to
buy the team.

The billionaire, in just two short years, has turned the
Stars into the leading team in the NHL.

He did it by going out and signing an impact player, goalie
Ed Belfour.

``I've demonstrated with the Stars we will have the most
competitive team we can have,'' Hicks said. ``I've shown
when I signed Ed Belfour that I'll do what it takes to get
to the next level. If it takes a goalie, I'll get him.''

Belfour signed a three-year contract for $10 million and has
helped the Stars jump to the top of the NHL.

The Rangers need pitching and at least one more power
hitter. It's a long wish list to get Texas into a World

``There's no reason the Rangers can't get to the top,''
Hicks said. ``This is one of the best franchises in the
country. It's in a world class facility. You don't even have
to win a championship every year to draw the fans. You just
have to show you're really trying.''

If approved by other baseball owners, a process expected to
take 6-12 months, the price would be the second-highest for
a baseball team. Fox Sports, a division of Rupert Murdoch's
News Corp., is awaiting approval on its purchase of the Los
Angeles Dodgers from Peter O'Malley, a deal worth about $350

``I love sports,'' Hicks said. ``We want to add an American
League pennant ... and to bring the World Series to
Arlington. I expect to be involved with this team for many
years to come. This is a long-term ownership.''

Hicks has agreed to buy the lease for The Ballpark in
Arlington and ownership of an office building and restaurant
in the stadium, 43 acres of nearby land and an option to buy
227 acres of adjacent property.

``In the next 20 years I see hotels, restaurants and office
buildings,'' Hicks said, who had negotiated the deal for six

Hicks said the team's management, including president Tom
Schieffer, general manager Doug Melvin and field manager
Johnny Oates, would remain in place.

``My style is to keep folks in place who are good managers
and want to win,'' Hicks said. ``I have great confidence in

Melvin and Oates have contracts that extend through 1999.

Texas Gov. George W. Bush, part of the current ownership
group, called the sale announcement ``a bittersweet one.''

``While I will no longer be an owner, I will continue to be
a full-time Texas Rangers fan,'' he said. ``I have loved
every minute of my involvement with the Rangers.''

In 1989, the Rangers, Arlington Stadium and some surrounding
property were bought for $83 million by a group of 28
investors headed by Bush and Rusty Rose. Their deal kept
then-owner Eddie Chiles from selling the team to another
group that would've moved the Rangers to Tampa, Fla.

Led by Bush, the Rangers persuaded Arlington taxpayers to
finance a $189 million stadium that opened in 1994. After
Bush was elected governor in 1994, he stepped down as a
general partner, handing over day-to-day operations to

Hicks, 51, who becomes the fifth owner of the team since the
franchise moved from Washington to Texas in 1972, said he
likely would ask some of his business partners in the Stars
to become partners in the Rangers. He expects to end up with
about 80 percent ownership, similar to his share of the
hockey team.

``It will be some of my close friends with the Stars,
they'll own a piece,'' Hicks said.

The new ballpark and the team's first playoff appearance in
1996 led to a record attendance of 2.9 million last year
despite a losing record.

Hicks built his billion-dollar empire during the last two
decades through a series of leveraged buyouts and other
high-finance deals. In recent years, he's been buying radio
and television stations, including spending $1.7 billion
last August on LIN Television, which owns the rights to
Rangers broadcasts through the 2000 season.

Hicks moved from the business pages to the sports section in
December 1995 when he bought the Stars for $82 million.

As a sports franchise owner, Hicks has been hands off,
leaving the Stars' hockey people in place and allowing them
to run the team. He's consulted only on contractual matters,
but he doesn't say no very often, allowing the payroll to
increase from $18 million to $31.7 million.

His formula has worked. In 25 months, the Stars have gone
from 22nd in the 26-team league to the best record.

``I think you'd have to say he's our MVP,'' team president
Jim Lites said. ``Everything we're doing now is a direct
reflection on what he's done.''

Behind the scenes, Hicks has become something of a power

As a regent at his alma mater, the University of Texas, he
was instrumental in removing football coach John Mackovic
and hiring Mack Brown last month. Hicks also has been
personally involved in trying to get Dallas taxpayers to
help build a downtown arena for the Stars and NBA's

A vote will be held Jan. 17. Opponents say Hicks' spending
so much on the baseball team while asking taxpayers for $125
million to build an arena could be the fatal blow to the

Some also have speculated that the purchase means the Stars,
and possibly the Mavericks, could be headed for Arlington.
But Hicks said he's still committed to the Dallas arena

``If you're a sports fan or you care about your city, please
go vote and say, `Yes, let's do it,''' he said.

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