AUSTIN -- With an estimated $4.7 billion deficit, Texas lawmakers say it's probable higher education will maintain its current budget. However, they say hopes of increased funding look slim.

With court mandates on public school reform, prison systems, public health and welfare, funding for higher education in Texas is now on the back burner.

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Commissioner Kenneth Ashworth said because higher education has no fund mandates, it will be last on the list to receive funds.

Ashworth recently testified before the House Higher Education Committee and gave a state of conditions update, such as the 20 percent increase in the student/faculty ratio resulting in larger classes, increased use of part-time faculty, lack of library funding, loss of faculty because 25 states pay higher faculty salaries, deferred maintenance and problems of overcrowded classrooms.

He said many legislators were unaware and surprised by these facts, so he is laying the cards on the table and trying to alert representatives to the problems in higher education.

State Representative Gary Watkins, D-Odessa, Chair of the House Higher Education Committee said although it recommended a decrease in higher education funding (a 6 percent decrease in UH's 1991 $131 million budget), these decreases are just a starting base and will be increased in certain areas, such as faculty salaries.

"I am optimistic. I don't think the members of the public will let Texas higher education take the back road," Watkins said.

Watkins, along with other legislators, expect the state's performance audits (an audit of all state agencies), due July 1, to accrue $300 to $400 million in savings.

He also said he expects $2 or $3 billion in new revenues.This new revenue, he said, could come from changes in the franchise tax, broadening of the sales tax base and the possibility of a lottery.

He does not, however, think legislators will pass the state income tax proposed by Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock.

Watkins does expect cuts to occur in state agencies, but believes they will not occur in higher education.

If higher education receives cuts, Watkins warned, it could probably sustain one year of zero growth (no additional funding) but two years would be detrimental and would impact these institutions severly.

Legislators are focusing attention on public school reform and until they set this "monster free" public education and higher education will suffer, State Rep. Ken Yarbrough, D-Houston, said.

"The best that you (higher education) can come out with is what you've got," Yarbrough said.

A major problem for legislators' is many of their constituents oppose tax increases.

State Representative Mike Martin, D-Galveston said his constituents range from one end of the spectrum to the other, with one asking for more funding and the other end saying they have had it up to here with taxes.

"My biggest concern is keeping UH and other universities from getting killed up here," Martin said.

Texas is at the bottom of the ladder in most state services like health and human services and the environment, he said.

"We are behind," he said adding that higher eduction is in jeopardy of joining the others.

"We need to get with the program and get with the times," Martin said.

Texas is behind the times in tax reform, but he said, Texans don't want to pay for tax reform.

Whether the proposes made by Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock for an income tax and corporate tax will correct the woes of the estimated $4.7 billion deficit is a question Martin said has not been answered yet.

"Many believe broadening the sales tax base is more controversial than an income tax," he said.

Not all legislators believe Texas woes are as bad as they are being perceived.

State Senator Don Henderson, R-Houston said he doesn't think there is a $4.7 billion deficit.

He calls it a $4.7 billion "wish list" that includes everything state agencies want to spend.

He perceives the deficit to be half of what is being speculated, more, he said, in the $2 billion range.

Henderson said he would not rule out voting for a tax bill, but only after he is satisfied state agencies have been "scrubbed" for excess spending.

Higher education, Henderson said, will get treated as well or better than most state agencies.

State Representative Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, said the income tax issue will definitely not pass.

He chided Bullock for throwing the issue out too early which resulted in killing the issue.

If Bullock would have waited until Texans could have seen how badly the state needs increased funding, like the early release of prisoners and the effects on education, Turner said, it might have had the opportunity to pass.


If higher education receives a marginal increase it will still be a "big hickey" because of the cost of living increases.

By higher education holding their current levels, they will still lose, he said.

"We are facing a severe financial problem. If there are any increases, they will be marginal at best," Turner said.

State Representative Roman Martinez, D-Houston said of the July 1 audit that state agencies were already lean and are getting leaner.

He said he expects there to be only $200 to $300 million in savings from state audits.

Martinez implores the educational community to make constituents around the state aware of their importance.

"These types of issues need to go to the general public so by the time we vote, there will be more people on higher education's side," Martinez said.








UH's Central Campus showed an increase in black and Hispanic student enrollment again last semester, figures released by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) revealed.

In the fall of 1990, black student enrollment at this campus increased by 217, and Hispanic enrollment increased by 270. Of the 33,108 students enrolled here in the fall, 2,637 were black and 3,065 were Hispanic.

THECB spokeswoman Elaine Adams said the universities showing the strongest minority enrollment growths have effective minority recruiting plans.

"These schools also have good programs to help minority students succeed in college," Adams said.

UH Presidential assistant Dorothy Caram confirmed that UH has numerous programs in place to aid in minority recruitment, upholding the goals of President Marguerite Ross Barnett.

"She is adamant that this campus reflect the diversity of the global society in which we live," Caram said. "We have to recognize the contributions that people from all ethnic and cultural backgrounds are giving to the university life."

The Mexican American Studies Program aids in the recruitment of Hispanic students with its annual Mexican American Outreach Day. The active African American Studies Program recruits indirectly with its series of renowned speakers, she said.

"As people who are leaders in the community begin to realize what the university is offering its students, they are going back into the community as our ambassadors and encouraging students to apply," she said.

UH is also involved with other universities in an admissions outreach program. Dean of Admissions Wayne Sigler described the program as an effort to encourage students as early as middle school to stay in school and prepare to move on to colleges and universities.

Central campus was the only predominantly white school among the top three schools with increased black enrollment for the period. Texas Southern University was first in black enrollment with 7,260, followed by Prairie View A&M with 2,637.

Although the central campus did not rank among the top schools in total numbers of Hispanic students enrolled, it was ranked third in increased Hispanic enrollment. University of Texas/San Antonio led with 629 more Hispanic students in the fall, followed by UH-Downtown with an increase of 367.

Texas Commissioner of Higher Education Kenneth Ashworth said almost three-fourths of the additional 5,734 students enrolled in state universities last fall were black or Hispanic. Total enrollment at public universities in the state reached 405,682 last semester.








The Mexican-American Studies Program, under Tatcho Mindiola's lead, is not only helping students

while they're at UH, its also reaching out into the community to help high school students.

MAS emphasizes recruitment and retention, Mindiola said.

"We engage in actions to try

to increase the numbers of Latinos on campus. Each semester we sponsor a career day," he said.

The fall career day is for Latino students outside of the Houston Independent School District and the spring event is for those in HISD. The high schools targeted are those with large numbers of Mexican-American students, he said.

The students attending the career day are required to have a C+ or better average, be on an academic track, have a stable attendance history, be recommended by a teacher or counselor and have permission from their parents, he said.

The program is in cooperation with the school districts, which provide the buses to UH. Mindiola said the program is geared toward seniors and juniors, and it follows up on the seniors.

Students in the MAS Program receive three credit hours for counseling and tutoring the high school students. The students' parents and teachers are consulted on a regular basis. At graduation, the students are guaranteed a $1,000 renewable scholarship if they are admitted to UH, Mindiola said.

Research is also important to the program, he added.

"We invite outstanding senior scholars and junior scholars with potential to campus for one year," he said.

The scholars then undertake research and the program publishes it as part of the MAS Monograph Series. Mindiola said some of the projects that have been undertaken in the past include a history of Mexican-Americans in Houston, a study of dropouts from HISD and a contemporary history of Mexican-American females in Houston.

Mindiola said there is also another reason for bringing in the scholars.

"We try to bring in scholars who are potential employees of the University of Houston," he said. "We use it (the visiting-scholars program) as a recruitment mechanism as well."

With all of the components, Mindiola said the program is a good one.

Mindiola has been at UH since 1974 and has been the MAS director for seven years.

One example of the program's helping students is visible to anyone entering the office. The creative painting on the walls was done by a student, who received payment for his work. Both the student and the program benefitted.

The Mexican-American Studies Program is interdisciplinary, offering courses in the colleges of Humanities and Fine Arts, Social Science and Education, he said. A minor in MAS requires 18 credit hours, with nine in HFA and nine in Social Sciences.

"I think we've got one of the most dynamic programs in the country. We're small but we've made some gains," he said.

"I think we're helping the university make their goal of diversity."








The Dalai Lama visited Rice University Sunday. Espousing world harmony, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists said peace had to start with the individual.

"That's something I call `inner disarmament,'" he said. "Control anger, jealousy, reduce hatred and open (the) mind to compassion."

He said humans, being social animals, need to act responsibly in saving the earth. He compared the world's population to the billions of cells that make up a person's body, noting that each serves a vital function that can only be realized when viewing the body as a whole.

The audience at Edgard Lovett Gymnasium received the Dalai Lama in silence when he entered, many with their hands clasped together in the ancient Buddhist greeting. The diminutive man, clad in a red robe with yellow trim, sat in a red velvet-covered chair on a short platform. After his introduction the crowd of several thousand honored him with a standing ovation.

The Dalai Lama spoke in simple terms, often emphasizing his points with comparisons to the body parts.

He noted weapons-making was irresponsible, like his own childish spats. The believer in non-violence told how he used to scratch his older brother with his fingernails.

Animals such as horses and donkeys use their hands for pushing and kicking, but we are not animals, he said.

The Dalai Lama said milk is the symbol of human companionship. He said a person's first act is taking milk and without a feeling of genuine warmth and compassion between mother and child, the process could not happen.

He pointed out how humans have blunt teeth and lack the sharp claws of other animals, which make it natural for them to be vegetarians.

"Human nature is basically gentleness, not aggressiveness," he said.

The Dalai Lama said the world can survive without religion, for peace is not a religious issue.

"When we're born, we are free from any religion," he said. "Religion later comes in our minds. When I was in Tibet, I also had the feeling that Buddhism was the best, that the others were so-so."

The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, has held the position for 51 years. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1959, the same year he was forced from Tibet because of the invading Chinese army. He has lived in India since then.

When asked if he harbored "an iota" of animosity toward the Chinese, he responded, "Occasionally some irritation."

He said he hoped Tibet would be liberated in the next five to 10 years and he could return to his native land.

Brian Evans, a former employee at the UC, said his heart immediately opened when the Dalai Lama entered the gym.

"When he walked in, the whole energy field just lit up in here," he said.

The Thubten Rinchen Ling Center hosted the four-day visit.








A Latin American cultural benefit to honor a UH alumnus who was killed in a 1989 Dallas auto accident raised enough money March 21 to provide two foreign studies scholarships and a textbook grant.

The Arturo Monsanto Scholarship and Endowment Fund raised a total of $2,850 during a benefit held at the Cullen Performance Center. Carlos H. Monsanto, associate professor of Hispanic and classical languages, said two $500 scholarships will be awarded to students participating in this summer's Foreign Studies Abroad program in Puebla, Mexico.

Monsanto, the father of the deceased UH graduate, also said a $100 textbook grant will be awarded to a student in the Communications Department.

The program, billed as "an evening of Latin American culture, dance and music," featured performers from seven Latin American countries as well as Kjatari, a group that played musical instruments commonly found in the Andes region of South America.

Singers and dancers from Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina and Puerto Rico gave the audience of 250 a sampler of the cultural diversity found in the nations south of the U.S. border.

"Next year we are going to schedule the benefit program for a Saturday in February so it won't interfere with spring break," Monsanto said, adding that attendance was probably lower at this year's benefit because it was scheduled the day before spring break.

Monsanto said he has been contacted by consular officials from a number of Latin American countries with offers of time and talent for smaller benefit programs to be held on campus throughout the year.

This year's benefit was co-sponsored by the School of Communication, the Department of Hispanic and Classical Languages and KLAT Radio "La Tremenda."

Arturo Monsanto graduated in 1984 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and was killed in an automobile accident Sept. 21, 1989 in Dallas.







Houston Mayor Kathy Whitmire praised UH international students for taking the challenge of studying in a new country and helping to make Houston an international city.

Whitmire spoke at the third biennial banquet hosted by UH International Student Scholar Services on Friday, March 22. The banquet was held to honor 150 host families. Whitmire said the 2,000 international UH students from 100 different countries is evidence that the UH family had been busy telling the world about Houston and bringing the world to Houston.

"The goal of Houston is to be a multicultural community," she said.

Whitmire told the 500 attendees that as Houston develops international economic ties, social cohesion with people from around the world becomes increasingly important.

"This is where UH plays a crucial role of bringing people together from around the world and creating an environment of understanding and peace," she said.

Whitmire invited the audience to attend the Houston International Festival this spring and thanked host families and sponsors for their work with international students attending UH. She said she wants students to take whatever they learn about Houston wherever they go.

"It is my hope that international students will become missionaries for world peace and keep the vision of communities working together," she said.

Whitmire presented a proclamation to D'Ann Burke, Coordinator of International Hospitality Program, on behalf of the host family program. Burke is the wife of Jack Burke, the director of the International Student Office.

Whitmire also declared Friday, March 22, 1991, as UH International Hospitality Program Day in Houston, Texas.

The D'Ann Burke Award for Excellence in Service, named for Burke who founded the hospitality program 20 years ago, was presented to Joan Litzenburger. Litzenburger serves as a volunteer in the office of foreign students. She and her husband have sponsored international sutdents for four years.

"We have sponsored students from Pakistan and India to name a couple," Litzenburger said. "I help the students with their English and in getting around Houston."

Paul C. W. Chu, Director of the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH said he was hosted by a family while studying at the University of California at San Diego.

"I am very impressed with the unselfish sacrifice of this group who sponsor foreign students and I think the best way to repay all of you is to try to carry on this kind of spirit," Chu said.








Professor Allan J. Jacobson has accepted the new Robert A. Welch Chair in Science at UH.

The Welch Chair is an endowed position, which means the Welch Foundation will provide $1 million to the university and UH will contribute another $1 million dollars. Funds are managed by the university system.

Income generated by the $2 million, through investments or interest, will fund his salary and projects undertaken by the chemistry department, Norbert Dittrich, the foundation's exective manager, said.

A noted scholar in solid state chemistry and physics, Jacobson will start here on Sept. 1, leaving his post as senior research associate of Exxon Research and Engineering Company in New Jersey.

"We've sponsored basic research in chemistry since 1954," Dittrich said. "There are 24 funded chairs throughout Texas and UH has two of them."

Jacobson is a graduate of St. Catherine's College and New College, both at Oxford, England. After receiving a doctorate in 1969, he remained at Oxford, teaching and researching. He joined Exxon Research in 1976. Jacobson has published 102 research papers and is named in 36 patents.

"By all accounts, Dr. Jacobson is among a handful of scientists who are leading the world in this area," UH President Marguerite Ross Barnett said. "The entire university is excited by this outstanding addition to the faculty."

"Building a strong research department is like constructing a house," Professor John Bear, chair of the chemistry department, said. "To do it right, you have to have all of the pieces and Jacobson is one of the important pieces. He fills the void of an area in which the university was looking."

Jacobson becomes the sixth member of the chemistry department to be awarded an endowed or distinguished position, more than any other department on campus.








Scholarships specifically for students age 30 or older are being offered by Orville Redenbacher's Second Start Scholarship Program for the 1991-1992 academic year.

Twelve $1,000 scholarships will be awarded nationally to students enrolled in either an associate, bachelor or graduate degree program at an accredited college or university. Recipients may be either part-or full-time students. Applications will be accepted until May 1, 1991.

"We believe we are one of the first companies to initiate a scholarship program that is specifically directed toward the growing number of adult students," Gary Redenbacher, a program advisory board member, said.

U.S. Department of Education statistics show 42 percent of college students in 1986 were at least 25 years old. A study conducted by the College Board in New York City estimates the percentage will reach 50 by 1993.

"Although paying college tuition and other college-related expenses can be difficult for any student, the added responsibilities of a family and job can make the non-traditional (or second start) student's quest for higher education even more challenging," said Wally Douma, director of financial aid at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and another member of the program advisory board.

This is the second year of the "Second Start" program. Ten scholarships were awarded in the inaugural year.

"The fact that nearly 8,000 applications were received during the first year indicates the need for such non-traditional support," Redenbacher said.

UH Assistant Director of Scholarships Don Fernandez said he has no statistics on the number of non-traditional students seeking or awarded financial aid.

A search of records by his staff uncovered only one other scholarship targeted for older students. The Avon Company offers a scholarship targeted to "mature women" seeking careers in sales.

Applications for both programs can be picked up in room 23 of the E. Cullen Building.








In the 1980's, writer-producer-director John Hughes made a name for himself with films for and about teenagers. Hughes has since moved into the adult arena and found megasuccess with the recent blockbuster Home Alone. His last teen-oriented film was 1987's Some Kind of Wonderful.

Hughes has returned to the fold, so to speak, with Career Opportunities, now playing at area theaters. The film was ready before Home Alone, but got shelved for various reasons. On the shelf is where it should have stayed. There are some genuinely Hughesian moments of insight, but they are trapped in a muddled story.

The film focuses on Jim Dodge, a screw up and BS artist who can't hold a job. Despite these flaws, he's a nice guy. His father presses him to find work or get out, so he lands a job as night clean-up boy at a Target store.

Meanwhile, the beautiful and well-to-do Josie McLellan is struggling with an overbearing, abusive and wealthy father. Now, how do we get Jim and Josie together?

Well, believe it or not, Josie shops at Target, or rather, shoplifts from Target. Jim's first night on the job finds him locked alone inside the store.

Being a goof-off, Jim works about 20 minutes then goes roller skating around the store in his boxers and a wedding veil. While skating, he spies Josie standing in one of the aisles. Seems she fell asleep in a dressing room and got locked in with Jim. The sight of her freaks him out and he runs smack into a L'eggs display. Okay, now they're on speaking terms.

What follows is a mutual exploration of two people, post-high school. Jim sees high school as the worst point of his life and hasn't gotten over it. Josie, on the other hand, lived for high school and can't get over not having that stability anymore. In a sense, both are trapped.

This is standard fare for a Hughes' film. This time, however, he goes far into left field and brings in two thugs bent on robbing the Target. Go figure.

Performances are as good as they can be, given the material. The talented Frank Whaley, of The Doors, does as much as he can with Jim, creating a wonderful character. Unfortunately, that character has nowhere to go.

Jennifer Connelly, (Some Girls), is a believable Josie, trapped inside her image. Kieran and Dermot Mulroney are sufficiently bizarre as the two thugs.

Hughes' script presents two interesting characters, but neglects to give them action, resulting in a character sketch, not a story. The film spends a lot of time supplementing scenes without dialogue with cutting-edge music.

Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of John Hughes, but Career Opportunities is not his best work. At only 80 minutes, one gets the feeling Hughes didn't know where to go with his characters. The result is flawed, but watchable.








We have a winner!

However, much to our chagrin here at Entertainment Central, not one of our various entrants correctly guessed all six Oscar winners. Instead, we had a three-way tie among those who guessed five out of six correctly.

From that tie we randomly drew our winner.

The winner is Catherine Grissom, who predicted that Kevin Costner would win the Best Director prize and that Costner's Dances With Wolves would be named the Best Picture of 1990.

Grissom also correctly guessed that Kathy Bates would take the statuette for Best Actress for her portrayal of psychotic fan Annie Wilkes in Misery. She also pegged winners Joe Pesci (GoodFellas) and Whoopi Goldberg (Ghost) with supporting honors.

Grissom was unable to prognosticate the winner of the Best Actor category. She chose Robert DeNiro from Awakenings instead of Jeremy Iron (Reversal of Fortune) who walked off with Oscar last Monday night.

Grissom will now receive weekend tickets to shows at Fitzgerald's. She and a guest will be able to attend every night from April 11-15. Performers for that weekend include Global Village and Mucky Pup. Catherine also gets two promtional CDs from MCA.

"I never thought that guessing the Oscar winners would win me anything, " said Grissom upon learning of her win.

The runners-up (who get nothing, by the way) were Louis Perez and and Elisa Guardia. The Cougar received approximately 100 entries for the Academy Awards Contest before Spring Break.

Thanks to everyone who entered.








Last Monday's Academy Awards show ran nearly three hours in length and offered the same-old same old. Plenty of gaudily dressed actors on stage, excessively silly dance numbers and acceptance speeches which we have already forgotten.

Time for post-Oscar tidbits.

Surprisingly, some justice was served in the way of the Oscar recipients. Those who have seen Reversal of Fortune know that Jeremy Irons deserved the coveted award for Best Actor. But until Reversal arrives on video, Jeremy Irons' performances in Dead Ringers and in The Mission are available at your local video store.

In Ringers, Irons plays twins, one shy and compassionate, the other cruel and sadistic. It's a chilling performance which was overlooked by the Academy but compensated for this year. In The Mission, Irons played (what else?) a missionary on the move in South America. Robert DeNiro, who lost to Irons in the Best Actor category, is his co-star in that film.

Kathy Bates, for years a stage actress, took Best Actress honors, defeating the likes of Meryl Streep and Joanne Woodward. Playing a Stephen King character who mutilates the author she admires, Bates certainly impressed Academy voters.

Bates also starred in the little-seen but marvelous Men Don't Leave in which she played Lisa, a bitchy caterer who helps Jessica Lange cope with her recent widowhood. Men Don't Leave is available on home video and has been playing on cable.

Although she lost her bid for Best Supporting Actress, Annette Bening (The Grifters) did admirably in Valmont, Milos Forman's retelling of the Les Liasons Dangerouses story. This up-and coming actress is now starring opposite Robert DeNiro in Guilty by Suspicion, will be in Regarding Henry with Harrison Ford and has been cast by Tim Burton as Catwoman in Batman II.

Big winner Kevin Costner (Best Director, co-producer, Dances with wolves) is donning tights for his next screen peformance as Robin Hood: Prince of Theives. The film, which opens this spring, has Costner frolicking in Sherwood Forest along with castmates Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Morgan Freeman.

Costner (who can now do anything he wishes in Hollywood) will next star in JFK, being directed by Oliver Stone.

Costner's costar, Academy Award nominee Mary McDonnell, may look familiar to TV-goers. That's because she starred in the short-lived sitcom E/R with Elliot Gould. E/Ris currently on cable.

Winners. Losers. Academy Award lightning has struck again. Who can't wait till next year's contest?








Former UH golfer Steve Elkington won one of the most coveted tournament championships on the Professional Golfer's Association (PGA) Tour.

Elkington, a two-time All-American, won The Players Championship in Ponte Verde, Fla., shooting a final round of 68 on Sunday.

Elkington, who has lived in Houston for the past 10 years, putted his way to a 12-under-par 276 total edging-out Fuzzy Zoeller by one stroke.

Elkington takes home $288,000 and the victory gives him a 10-year exemption on the PGA.

The former UHer earned All-American honors in 1984 and 1985. He led the Cougars to an NCAA golf championship in 1985.

Elkington, who hails from Wollongong, Australia, not only took home a hefty sum of money, he also came away with a great deal of respect from his peers.

"I know what a win like this means," Elkington said. "I've seen what an event like this has done for other players."

Before the TPC, his only tour victory had been at the Greensboro Open in 1990.

He'll be in Houston this weekend competing in the Independent Insurance Agents Open.







The women's track team grabbed the Bayou Classic title at Rice University on March 30, with two first place individual finishers.

Angela Stearns won the 1500-meter race with a time of 4:30.92, while Sandra Cumming qualified for the NCAA with a first place time of 57.36 in the 400-meter hurdles.

Houston enjoyed a comfortable win with 117 points. San Jacinto came in second, but far from close, with 90 points.







After a slow start the UH tennis team seems back on track.

The Lady Cougars won their sixth game in a row against the University of Washington in the University of California-Irvine Invitational.

Houston won all games against Washington for its first sweep of the season.

The Lady Coogs also won two matches against nationally-ranked teams. The University of Utah is ranked 21 among the top 25 and Florida State also received votes for the national rankings.

The win leveled Houston's record at 8-8 overall, but the team still has a low 1-6 Southwest Conference record.

Houston will next host the Cougar Classic this weekend at the John Hoff Courts. The classic begins Thursday and ends on Sunday.







Two UH divers and a swimmer have received All-American honors.

Diver Linda Pesek was named All-American after her performance at the NCAA championships March 21.

Pesek placed third in the three meter springboard competition, eighth in the 10-meter platform and ninth on the one meter springboard.

Hanneke Faber placed 14th in the 10-meter platform diving and 16th in the three meter springboard.

Faber was given an Honorable Mention All-American along with UH swimmer Michelle Collins.

Collins placed 16th in the 400-meter individual medley in Indianapolis.







The UH volleyball team added four players to its roster, hoping it will help the Lady Cougars repeat its successful 1990 season.

Lilly DeNoon will be joining Houston after leading Pasadena High School to a second place district finish. She was named the PISD Athlete of the Year in 1990, an all-District 23-5A selection and was named the team MVP.

Kristen Sellers, another 1990 all-District 23-5A selection, will be joining the Lady Cougars. Sellers was named the South Houston High School team MVP.

Heidi Sticksel from Tascosa High School in Amarillo will be joining her former teammate, freshman Ashley Mulkey, next year. Sticksel was named MVP for District 3-5A while leading her team to the regional semi-finals. She is definitely a student athlete, earning three sports letters, a member of the National Honors Society and named to Academic All-State teams.

A 5-foot-10 outside hitter, Edwina Ammonds will transfer to Houston from Kings River Community College in Fresno, Calif. Ammonds was named the team's MVP, earned all-league honors and led her team to a second place finish in the Central Valley Conference. She was also named the Fresno County Athlete of the Year in 1989.








Second place in the Southwest Conference now belongs to the Cougars (25-9, 4-2) after winning consecutive series over Texas Tech and Arkansas over spring break.

Freshman pitcher Jason Hart started at third base for the Cougars in Fayetteville over the weekend and came through with flying colors on the mound, at third and at the plate.

In the first game against Arkansas Friday, Hart knocked in the game-winning run on a sixth inning single, capping off a 2 for 3, two RBI day at the plate, and snagged a line drive over his head in the bottom of the ninth with two outs to prevent what would have been a game-tying extra-base hit.

Steve Velasquez (2-0, 2-0) and Al Benavides combined on the mound to strike out nine Razorbacks to nail down the 4-3 victory. Benavides picked up his third save.

Houston split a doubleheader with the Hogs Saturday, losing the opener and winning the nightcap.

Senior Ben Weber was roughed up in the third inning of game one, surrendering three runs and giving Arkansas a 4-2 lead. The Hogs added two more in the fifth and coasted to a 6-2 win.

The Coogs pulled out a 6-5 come from behind win in the nightcap, with outfielders Derrick Deitrich, Rusty Smajstrla and Phil Lewis hitting a combined 6 for 7 with three RBI and catcher Chris Tremie singling in the winning run in the eighth.

Arkansas took a 5-4 lead into the seventh when the rookie Hart appeared once again, this time on familiar ground. Hart took the hill and pitched three scoreless innings against the Razorbacks, surrendering only one hit and picking up his fourth win to go with one save.

"I got a chance to play and I did. It was fun, especially with the astroturf," Hart said, noting that the artificial surface prevented any bad hops at third base.

Senior Vaughn Eshelman set a school record against the Red Raiders in the second game of a twin bill March 23, striking out 14 batters through nine innings. He finished with a one-hit, 1-0 complete-game shut out, over a Tech team that boasted a .340 batting average coming into the series.

The performance was widely recognized, as Eshelman became the second Cougar of the year to be named Mizuno National Player of the Week (March 17-24).

"I'm just doing what I can to help the team," Eshelman said. Houston won the first game of the series, the SWC opener, 6-2 March 22. Smajstrla led off the sixth inning with his third home run of the season, the game-winning run. Velasquez and Benavides combined for the win and save, respectively.

The Coogs took one on the chin in the first game of the doubleheader with Tech, 4-1.

The Cougars are currently one game behind Texas, with a single game at Sam Houston State today and a three-game series against TCU this weekend at Cougar Field.


Visit The Daily Cougar