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Contains items on Jose Alvarez; a college basketball coaching couple; a charity golf

April 9, 1996

Contains items on Jose Alvarez; a college basketball coaching couple; a charity golf tournament, and an elementary school teacher.

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) _ Barely a year ago, former Atlanta Braves pitcher Jose Alvarez was still trying to get back to the major leagues. Now he’s enjoying life as a high school coach.

Alvarez now coaches at Southside Christian School, where he is also on the school’s board.

``You can take the boy out of the game, but you can’t take the game out of the boy,″ he said.

In 1988, at age 31, Alvarez became one of the oldest rookies ever in the major leagues and was chosen Atlanta’s top pitcher. He had an 8-9 career record and 2.99 ERA, mostly with the Braves.

Last year, he was in spring training while the major leaguers were on strike. When the strike ended, he went to the Braves’ Class AAA team in Richmond, Va.

``I still get articles from people from last year when Bobby Cox was saying Alvarez looked as good as he did when he was in the big leagues,″ Alvarez told The Greenville News in Monday’s editions. ``I’m still very confident I could have pitched in the big leagues last year and this year.

``But I fully accept and understand that part of my life is over. There are no hard feelings or bitterness.″

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MARTIN, Tenn. (AP) _ Gary and Kim VanAtta will make history in women’s college basketball in the state of Tennessee.

The couple was scheduled to be introduced Tuesday as co-head coaches of the University of Tennessee-Martin women’s basketball team at a news conference on Martin’s campus. They are to replace Sharman Coley.

The appointment marks the first time a husband and wife have shared head coaching duties on the college level in Tennessee.

Gary VanAtta, 40, has been considered for several coaching vacancies since building an NAIA power at Montevallo, Ala., where he had a 166-44 record over the past seven years.

His wife, 30, has served as his top assistant.

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) _ Arnold Palmer, Peter Jacobsen, Mike Hill and David Frost have agreed to play in a charity golf tournament in Darien this summer to raise money for eye research.

The fund-raiser will be held Aug. 5 at the Woodway Country Club. It is being sponsored by Southern New England Telecommunications Corp. to raise money for the Connecticut Lions Eye Research Foundation.

The two-part event will feature a scramble _ where foursomes will be paired with a Connecticut or Metropolitan section PGA Club pro _ and a $210,000 Skins Game for the PGA Tour pros.

Celebrities scheduled to play include PGA Tour pro Larry Nelson and UConn men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun.

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ST. LOUIS, Mich. (AP) _ One elementary school teacher took a different approach than most to this year’s men’s NCAA college basketball tournament.

Beth Philson’s class of about 20 third-graders at Nikkari Elementary School in Gratiot County wrote to all 64 colleges and universities in the tournament requesting information about the schools.

The writing exercise earned the children gifts ranging from miniature basketballs to pens and bookmarks from the approximately 40 schools that responded.

``We were really surprised at how much we got back from all of the colleges,″ principal Tom Steere told The Saginaw News in a story published Monday. ``Everyday we would see the children’s eyes widen when boxes came in.″

Although this year’s NCAA champions, the University of Kentucky, sent nothing, runner-up Syracuse University sent fliers, a catalog and a photo of the team’s mascot. Last year’s champions, UCLA, sent a poster autographed by each team member.

``We were so lucky the schools responded,″ Philson said. ``Some of the schools were so generous. It was like Christmas.″

The University of Michigan sent a spiral media guide, the University of Louisville gave a hard cover media guide and Montana State University sent miniature basketballs, pens and bookmarks for each student.

But Philson noted that the project was not designed for the children to receive the free gifts but instead to help the students with writing and communication skills.

The project was also an effort to spur the young sports fans to go to college.

``It’s even relevant for a third-grade student to have a dream,″ she said.

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