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Names In The Game

April 2, 1995

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (AP) _ To children in this Arkansas town, Corliss Williamson is more than a basketball star.

He’s the guy who went to the same school they do and who visited them after Arkansas won the national championship last year, urging them to read, read, read.

Williamson’s hometown declared Corliss Williamson Day on May 23, when he visited. The mayor changed the town’s name to Corlissville that day. Thousands of people turned out to cheer for him. Williamson gave every one of Dwight Elementary School’s 200 or so kids a picture of himself in his Razorbacks uniform, and he shook all their hands.

Before Arkansas’ victory over North Carolina put the Razorbacks in this year’s NCAA championship game Monday, the children wrote him.

``I told him we would like him the same, whether or not they lost in Seattle,″ fourth-grader Matt McShame said. ``I told him just to try his best,″ classmate Rachel Sutherland said.

Few if any of Russellville’s 21,260 residents would have to ask who Corliss Williamson is, said Betty LaGrone of the Russellville Chamber of Commerce.

``He’s always been held up as a role model,″ she said.


ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ Disney says it might pursue a National Football League team for Southern California should NFL owners approve the Rams’ move to St. Louis.

``We’re waiting to see how it all shakes out,″ said Tony Tavares, president of Disney Sports Enterprises. ``We don’t want to interfere with the Rams’ business.″

NFL owners have preliminarily rejected the Rams’ move but plan to meet April 12 for further discussion on the matter. If they approve the deal, owners may require a replacement team for Southern California.

Disney, which owns the Mighty Ducks of the National Hockey League, said it would be interested in the team playing in Anaheim, where the Rams have played since 1979.

Disney would likely require a new stadium or a remodeled Anaheim Stadium, where baseball’s California Angels also play, Tavares said in Sunday’s editions of the Orange County Register.

``There are tradeoffs,″ he said, adding a remodelling job ``is never as good as a football-only stadium. But you have to look at both options.″


LONDON (AP) _ Gerald McClellan, the American boxer who nearly died after a super-middleweight title fight in February, began his journey home Sunday.

McClellan, 27, of Freeport, Ill., was taken by a helicopter ambulance from the Royal London Hospital to London’s Heathrow Airport.

Reporters were barred from the area as paramedics transferred McClellan from the helicopter to a Challenger 6 air ambulance.

Heathrow officials said the jet was due to refuel at Gander, Canada, but neither the airport nor the hospital would disclose its final destination.

A hospital spokeswoman said McClellan was conscious and breathing independently when he was discharged, but he would still need continuous nursing care and will be admitted to a hospital in the United States when he arrives.

``He will be going into hospital there and undergoing ongoing rehabilitation treatment,″ the spokeswoman said.

McClellan collapsed in the ring after his 10th-round loss Feb. 25 to World Boxing Council super-middleweight champion Nigel Benn at the London Arena. McClellan was rushed to the Royal London Hospital, where doctors removed a large blood clot from his brain and placed him on life support.


BUESNOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) _ Soccer star Diego Maradona, on the run from the press for six days, says he’s been having marital problems.

``It was just a little tiff,″ the 34-year-old Maradona said in a television interview Saturday at his Buenos Aires home.

Maradona, who left his wife Claudia on Monday, was tracked down by reporters last week at a downtown hotel where he locked himself in his suite and refused to come out.

The former Argentine captain, who is serving a 15-month soccer ban for failing a doping test at the World Cup finals, signed a one-year contract in January to coach first division Racing Club.

Troubled by personal problems, clashes with referees and an impending court case, he has repeatedly missed training sessions and failed to show up Saturday for Racing’s 2-2 draw with Talleres.


LONDON (AP) _ You’re an American in London, celebrating your 88th birthday and have the chance to see the tourist attractions on a sunny Spring day.

You might ride on an open-top bus. A relaxing sail on a riverboat, perhaps. A stroll along the embankment.

Not Mavis Lindgren. She ran the London Marathon.

``I’ve had a wonderful day,″ she said after plodding around the 26-mile 385-yard course in 9 hours 06 minutes and 42 seconds.

``People sang happy birthday to me all around the course, children were offering me sweets. I cramped up from time to time but I got there.

``Now all I want is a hot bath.″

Lindgren, who lives with husband Carl in Orleans, Calif., said she took to marathons while using exercise as a recovery from illness.

``When I was 62 I decided there was more to treating pneumonia than taking medicine,″ Lindgren said.

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