Journal Gazette from Mattoon, Illinois on July 30, 1998 · Page 11
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Journal Gazette from Mattoon, Illinois · Page 11

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Mattoon, Illinois
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Thursday, July 30, 1998
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Page 11
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Mattoon (111.) Journal Gazette Thursday, July 30, 1998 Manning starts camp B2 o Goodwill Games B3 Tyson gets mad B4 "Impressive campeir St. Louis Rams take notice of Holcombe MACOMB (AP) The St. Louis Rams used a high draft pick on another running back this year, and so far he appears to be the polar opposite of Lawrence Phillips. The coaching staff has nothing but raves for second-round pick Robert Holcombe, who persevered through a winless senior season at Illinois and a 14-30-1 four-year college career. . "He's a very committed young man," coach Dick Vermeil said. "I don't think he's ever going to be the kind of guy that you question where his mind is on the practice field, and especially on game day "He plays every play like it's the most important play of the game." Phillips, the Rams' first-round pick in 1996, was nothing but trouble before the team finally gave up on him last November. Phillips was released again on Saturday by the Dolphins. Holcombe's background, on the otherhand, is nothing but hard work. Landing with the Rams, the NFL's worst team of the 1990s and coming offa 5-11 season, doesn't seem to bother him a bit. "I love playing football, and that's the bottom line," Holcombesaid."Itinspiresmetogooutandworkhard every chance I get to put on the pads." Holcombe is expected to challenge Jerald Moore, who replaced Phillips in the starting lineup last November, for the starting tailback spot and could be paired with Moore in a two-back set. He put together some impressive numbers at Illinois, setting the school career rushing record with 4,105 yards despite , the absence of much of a supporting cast. Last year he ran for 1,253 yards, led the team with 35 catches and was a first-team All-Big Ten selection. As a junior, he broke the school record with 1,281 yards and 12 touchdowns. As a sophomore he had 1,051 yards. The Rams envision Holcombe as something of a Terrell Davis clone. He has a so-so 40 time of 4.53 and isn't the flashy type, preferring to get the job done running between the tackles. "He always acts like he's heading to the end zone," Vermeil said. "If he makes a break to the outside, it's onlyaboutafootandthenhe'sbacktostraightup field." Running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery was impressed with Holcombe in minicamps, and he's even more impressed with Holcombe in full equipment. "You see a different breed of guy than he was in his underdrawers at the complex," Montgomery said. "He has taken his game to another level, and he's a very in-tenseguy." Unlike Phillips, who usually was on the bench for passing downs, Montgomery said the 5-11,220-pound Holcombe can be an every-down player. Nonetheless, Holcombe said the area that needs the most work is the passing game. He's dropped a few early in camp, and said that's partly because he's running more complex routes. He also said pass-blocking is harder than it was at Illinois. The way it's gone so far, the Rams figure hell soon master the weak areas. Holcombe was singled out for praise on Day 1 of camp for bis blocking skills. "You can tell he's a hard worker, because he's worked on some things while we weren't in camp," quarterback Tony Banks said, "He's smoothed out a lot of his style and he's a hard runner." pi .V. . f . I to J' A; X: AP Photo Former Illinois running back Robert Holcombe is getting noticed at the St. Louis Rams' training camp. Crews found innocent by jury DECATUR (AP) A former boys' basketball coach at Stephen Decatur High School was found innocent Wednesday of charges that he sexually abused and exploited his players. The jury deliberated IV2 hours before acquitting Tom Crews, 42, of one count of child pornography, one count of aggravated criminal sex ual abuse and one count of ag-gravated battery all felonies. He was also found innocent of two misdemeanor counts of sexual exploitation of a child . The alleged incidents were reported by three of Crews' former players. All three players testified Tuesday that they waited 10 months to alert authorities about the alleged incidents. During his trial, Crews denied allegations that he made a player shoot baskets in the nude after losing a bet, exposed himself to players, and grabbed a youth's genitals. Jurors also heard former player Tarise Bryson testify that in a telephone call with a prosecution witness, he heard the boy's mother in the background saying, "I'm going to get all that white man's money." Several other players testified they never saw the incidents prosecution witnesses described. All of the incidents allegedly occurred between January and August 1997. Crews was suspended without pay after his January arrest, and his contract was not renewed. After the verdict, Crews said God and his supporters gave him strength during the trial. Crews, who said in court Tuesday that he is unemployed, would not comment Wednesday on whether he would ask for his old job back.-", Crews was hired at Stephen Decatur in 1995. At the time of his arrests, nearly two months into his third season as the varsity coach, he had compiled a 56-14 record. In his first year, he guided the basketball team to its first winning season in 10 years. It was undefeated in regular season play during his second year. Crews came from North' ridge High School in Middle-bury, Ind. He also spent a season as assistant coach at Loyola University in Chicago. SweepsM By Brian Nielsen StaffWriter CHARLESTON Closing in on 2,000 wins as a harness horse race driver, Dave Fagan on Wednesday just took a free ride. He let his mare go hard when she was good and ready. "She's probably more of a come-from-behind horse," Fagan said. "She's 8 years old and knows what to do. You kind of let them do what they want." Jean Rader's strategy worked as the horse passed JD. Finn-driven Bob's Buddy on the home stretch to complete a sweep of the two open trot heats in Coles County Fair harness racing. That made Fagan 4-for-4 on the day as he also drove Anxious Charlie to a pair of open pace wins. Paris-owned Minor's Joy's sweep in the winners under $5,000 lifetime overnight pace meant all three races with double heats had repeat winners. Charleston's Marsha Combs won the single-heat amateur driver's race to round out Wednesday's competition. ' Fagan apparently will have to rely solely on Wednesday's four wins for his standing in the Coles County Fair's driving competition. He drove Monday at Albion, Tuesday at Greenville and is not expecting to be in Charleston today. "I don't think so," the 30-year driving veteran from Newton said. Tm not sure. I just get up and go where I'm told." On Wednesday, Fagan went to ) r i v Photo by Ikuya Kurata Charleston's Marsha Combs drives Sporty Margie to victory In Wednesday's amateur race in Coles County Fair harness racing. Charleston and won for two different horse owners who both have Fagan as a driver and his brother-in-law Bruce Baker as the trainer at a Newton stable. With Fagan on the bike, Anxious Charlie, owned by Harland Lautenschlager of Terre Haute, and Jean Rader, owned by ClifTord Johns of Trivoli, used different methods to victories. The 6-year-old gelding Anxious Charlie had the lead by the half-mile mark in both ofhis wins, clocking times of 2 minutes 35 of a second and 2:04 45. In the second heat, the first half time was a lazy 1:05 2but Fagan still had the horse in front. "I didn't want to leave him short at the end," Fagan said. He ended up with enough left to See SWEEPS B3 Baseball Roundup Cards fall 2-1 against Brewers By The Associated Press ST. LOUIS ' Steve Woodard is pitching like he's planning on staying in Milwaukee's starting rotation for a while. Woodard, who got a chance to f start when Jose Mercedes went on the disabled list, struck out a season-high 1 1 batters to lead the Milwaukee Brewers to a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night. "I was getting ahead of most of the guys I was facing," Woodard said. "Once I got ahead of the guys, I was able to throw three pitches for strikes. Any time you can throw three pitches for strikes you have guys guessing up there because they have no idea of what you're throwing." Jeff Cirillo provided the Offense for the Brewers with a two-run, home run. The Cardinals scored their only run without the assistance of Mark McGwire, who was l-for-4 with a strikeout and a single. Having good control is nothing new for Woodard (8-5), who gave up six hits and no walks in 6 1-3 innings. He has allowed only one walk in his last 27 1-3 innings. Woodard struck out the first five batters he faced and didn't al low a hit until pitcher Bobby Witt singled with one out in the third. But Milwaukee manager Phil Garner says that is not as good as Woodard can pitch. "He's actually pitched better than that," Garner said. "He has good control and he varies speed all the time. When he keeps the pitches where he wants to, he's pretty successful." Garner added that Woodard nearly earned the fifth starting spot in spring training. Woodard now has a five-game win streak. "I'm just happy to be up here," Woodard said. Tm going to try to contribute any way I can." St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said the Cardinals gave Woodward some assistance. "He's got a winning record and an ERA under 4.00 in this league," La Russa said. "He's a good pitcher, but we helped him with a bunch of chases." Bob Wickman worked the ninth for his 17th save, retiring Royce Clayton on a groundout with the bases loaded to end the game. After Wickman walked the bases full, Clayton swung at the first pitch. "I'd like to see him make a better pass (than that)," La Russa said of Clayton. "But those are See CARDS B3 Furry, six others, enter EltPs Athletics Hall of Fame CHARLESTON Current major-league shortstop Tim Bogar and Mattoon basketball product Jeff Furry are among those entering Eastern's Athletics Hall of ' Fame, v Three other former athletes Roger Kratochvil, Joe Snyder and Wayne Stingley plus Gene Aik-man and Dennis Aten were also . selected to join EKFs elite group. The seven are to be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Panthers' Oct. 3 football game against Southeast Missouri. A 1- - sprvArl a s n I t part-time equipment manager following his retirement as a life insurance underwriter. Affectionately referred to as "Mean Gene" by the athletes, he joined the Panthers in their NCAA Di vision II national football championship season in 1978 at age 72 and remained on the staff until his death in 1992. In 1995 the university posthumously honored Aikman by dedicating the O'Brien Stadium footr ball dressing room in his name. Aten was EIU's head trainer Dennis Aten i7 Gene Aikman and physical therapist from 1968 until his retirement in 1993, pioneering the establishment of Eastern's undergraduate athletics training curriculum. Named to the Illinois Athletic Trainers Hall of Fame and a former member of the Governor's Council on Sports Safety, Aten since his retirement has been a part-time instructor at Lake Land College. A former Panther baseball standout in 1985-87, Bogar is currently a short stop for the Houston Astros and has been a major-leaguer since 1993. In 1989 he received the Mitch Webster Award from the New York Mets organization for outstanding representation on and off the Tim field. Bogar At EIU, a Bogar was the 1987 Mid-Conti- " nent Conference Player of the Year and still ranks in EIU's si ngle season top 10 in several categories. Furry earned Ail-American basketball honors as the center of the 1976 EIU team that finished third in NCAA Division II with a 23-8 record. - He was second-team academic All-Ameri-can, honorable-mention Ail-American by Street & Smith's magazine, NCAA Division II national all-tournament and Great Lakes Region all-tourney. Previously named to the Mattoon High School and Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fames, Furry lives in Normal where he is a senior analyst for State Farm Insurance Companies. Kratochvil was a four-year letterman for the baseball Panthers in 1957-60, team Most Valuable Player in 1960 and a two-time All-IIAC outfielder and at one time held EIU's single season RBIs record with 38. He was named to the Illinois Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1981, received the n Jeff 0 Furry Roger Kratochvil American Baseball Coaches Association Dedication Award in 1985 and is a part-time scout for the St. Louis Cardinals. Kratochvil ". recently retired after 34 years as a teacher, coach and administrator at his hometown high school, of Mount Olive. . Snyder was a two-time all-conference football player and onetime school record holder in the shot put during the late 1930s. In 1939 he was named Collegiate Little All-American. He served in the U.S. Army from 1941 through '54 and earned the Purple Heart and Silver Star during combat in the Battle of the Bulge.- The mayor of Charleston from 1957 through '60, Snyder taught in Charleston and St. Charles public schools until his retirement in 1971. He died in 1977. Stingley was the last athlete to letter in three sports, earning a total of 11 in track, basketball and football. .. As a running backsafety he wfis nnmed honorable-mention 5 -A . Jt tv" 1 Joe Snyder Little All-American in 1964 and two-time IIAC. From 1965 through '82 he taught and cached in the Chicago public school system and directed Chicago Vocational High School to the city's Blue Division championship in 1974. Stingley and his wife, Dorothy, currently own and operate five Mc-Donald's restaurants in Arizona. 1 mm-& I Wayne Stingley

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