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June 23, 2008

BILL HART COLUMN

Colt McCoy making a difference in Peru
By Bill Hart


Many students ask, "How did you spend your spring vacation"? Former Jim Ned quarterback Colt McCoy, now at the University of Texas, spins an unusual story, one not many have heard or will hear.


He spent a weeklong Christian mission in Peru, near the Amazon River, at a campsite about an hour and a half drive on a muddy, unpaved road from Iquitos, the largest city in the country.

The Portuguese-speaking villagers sent their children, about 200 in all, to a Christian sports camp that was sponsored by T Bar M in New Braunfels. Each counselor spent three hours each day teaching the youngsters about football, basketball, volleyball, baseball and soccer. At night, they shared their faith and taught Bible lessons with help from translators.

In their spare time, they did some sightseeing, including a boat ride on the Amazon, and they once went to Iquitos where they found a restaurant named "The Yellow Rose of Texas." It turned out the owner was a graduate from UT and "he almost fainted when he saw me walk in," McCoy told Suzanne Halliburton of the Austin-American Statesman.

McCoy left most of his clothing and shoes, plus a lot of Texas gear for the kids.

He also left 10 pounds. The counselors ate rice, a staple in that country, at every meal.

• When James Segrest was running track at Bangs High School, a farmer named Leo George would watch him work out.

In 1916, George was the "One Man Gang from Bangs" after winning the state track championship by himself. In 1954, Segrest duplicated the feat by winning state by himself.

George won the 50, 100 and 220 yards, and was second in the low hurdles. Segrest won the 100, 220 and 440 and was fourth in the long jump.

After Segrest won his title for the school, the Bangs newspaper took a picture of both and they became friends.

Now for the rest of the story. Bonnie Richardson won the Class A state crown by herself for Rochelle. Years ago, James' mother moved to Rochelle and like the good son, he would go over there and visit "family" because his sister also lived there.

James has met Bonnie, but like George did to him years ago, he did not offer her any advice about running or high jumping.

• Recently, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram got a reader's feedback on the late Cooper High and University of Oklahoma quarterback Jack Mildren: "There are a few of us that realize what he did for us. We were fixing to get fired ... He did affect the careers of us," meaning Chuck Fairbanks, Barry Switzer, Jimmy Johnson and the writer of the note, Larry Lacewell, a former OU coach on the same staff.

• Congratulations to David Ritchey for becoming the head coach and athletic director at Rotan High. He is the son of former Sweetwater Mustangs headmaster Tom Ritchey, who is in the Big Country Hall of Fame.

The former schoolboy quarterback has been coaching at Clyde, Abilene High and Wylie. I wonder if dad is going to serve as volunteer coach.

• The Sweetwater High football coaching staff has been revamped to gear the Mustangs' run in the strongest Class 3A district in the state, which includes Wylie, Brownwood, Snyder, Graham and Breckenridge.

Former Levelland coach Cory Barnes will be the offensive coordinator, and Che Hendrix is returning home from Justin Northwest as defensive coordinator. Roland Herrera will be the new baseball coach. He includes Snyder and Big Spring as stops in his 27-year career.

Hendrix, who played baseball at Abilene Christian University, was a former coach in Sweetwater for that sport.

• End of quote: "Why would anyone expect him to come out smarter? He went to prison for three years, not Princeton," -- boxing promoter Dan Duva on boxer Mike Tyson hooking up again with promoter Don King.




Bill Hart is a retired senior staff writer of the Reporter-News. Contact him by e-mail at hartbf@msn.com, by fax at (325) 854-2812 or by mail at 640 Arch St., Baird, TX 79504.



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