ADMINISTRATORS APPLAUD CAMPUS FOR CLEANING UP

BY MEAGAN MCGOVERN

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Acting UH President James Pickering wondered aloud if the old adage, "Everything bad comes in threes" meant the campus would be hit next with a plague of locusts.

Pickering was one of the hosts to a thank-you breakfast for members of the campus community involved in the clean-up efforts after the E. Cullen Building fire and last week's tornado on campus.

"You begin to realize what kind of community you're asked to play a role in. This is a wonderful community. I couldn't have asked for a better one," he said.

The breakfast, titled "We're a Little Singed Around the Edges but We Survived!," was originally intended to show appreciation for the teamwork and cooperation of everyone involved in the salvage efforts after the fire.

However, it was turned into a double "thank you" when the tornado on Feb. 12 created even more work for already-overtaxed clean-up and reconstruction crews.

Many of those present to extend their thanks were employees who work in the Office of Development, which was originally housed on the fourth floor of the E. Cullen building, but since the fourth floor was hit hardest by the fire, the office is now housed in the Architecture Building until the damage can be repaired.

Susan Coulter, assistant vice president for development and a hostess of the event, said, at the breakfast, "We knew that this would create an awful lot of work for an awful lot of people. We knew we had nowhere to go, nowhere to sit and no phones, which are our lifelines. But everyone really came through for us."

Dennis Boyd, vice president of administration and finance, said "When you see how everyone here reacts to this, you have to be impressed. These people have passed their trial-by-fire."

The breakfast was given by Pickering, Coulter, External Affairs Vice President David Keith and University Relations Associate Vice President Wendy Adair.

 

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BASEBALL NOTEBOOK

BY MARTY HAJOVSKY

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

It was feast or famine for Cougar pitchers this weekend as Houston opened their Southwest Conference schedule by dropping two out of three games to Baylor.

Houston pitchers feasted for 14 of 16 innings on the spotty Baylor offense Saturday. But it was the famine in the other two that did in the Coogs as Baylor took both ends of a doubleheader.

The first four hitters scored for the Bears in the opener, knocking starter Jason Hart from the game. Junior-college transfer Wade Williams came in to shut out Baylor the rest of the way, but it was too little too late as the visitors from Waco held on for a 4-2 win.

Houston led by as much as four in the nightcap, with junior transfer Jeff Haas striking out five in seven innings. When Haas lost the first two batters in the eighth, Head Coach Bragg Stockton went to his bullpen and the floodgates opened.

The usually reliable Neil Atkinson fell apart, walking one batter and hitting another as Baylor scored five in the inning on the way to a 6-5 win.

"They beat us with two big innings," Stockton said. "Our pitching really needs to solidify if we're going to win anything in the conference."

Exactly why Sunday's win from junior Jeff Wright was just the tonic Stockton and his Cougars needed.

Wright feasted on the Bears all day with a tough slider and snapping curve, giving up only four singles and striking out the same number in Houston's 4-2 win.

The star of the weekend was centerfielder Phil Lewis. The junior from Clear Lake hit .500 against Baylor pitching, including a two-for-four, three-RBI performance on Sunday.

He also shut down a Baylor rally in the fifth, possibly saving the game, with a dead-on throw from center to nail a sliding Mike Bohny at the plate. Had Bohny scored, the game would have been tied with two Bears in scoring position.

"I just wanted to make a good throw and hit my cut-off man," Lewis said. "I just got a good line and (catcher Chris) Tremie did a great job blocking the plate."

Lewis had the sort of performance at the plate that had been expected of Rusty Smajstrla. Unfortunately, nobody told Smajstrla, who instead entered a slump.

No one had a better start this season than the "Smash." Going into the weekend, he was blistering opponents with a .778 average. That number got turned around quick, as Smajstrla hit an anemic .182 against Baylor pitching with one RBI.

"He struggled this weekend, that's for sure," Stockton said. "He won't complain, but he's got a bad bruise on his right hand and it's affected him a lot."

"I just wasn't seeing the ball real well," Smajstrla said. "We also saw a little better pitching. That had something to do with it."

One thing's for sure, Lewis' weekend notwithstanding, this team will need a healthy and productive Smajstrla if they have any chance of competing in the SWC.

All will need to produce this year with the new conference format. When Arkansas left for the greener pastures of the Southeast Conference, it left the remaining teams with just 18 conference games.

The result has been an elimination of the conference tournament and a doubling of SWC matches. The upshot of all this is that now all conference teams will have home and away series in the same season.

"The format we're using now I don't particularly favor, but it's there, and we've got to live with it," Stockton said. "It means that pitching and defense have become even more critical."

"The good thing about the new schedule," Lewis added, "is that even though they beat us two out of three here, we can go back up there. We get to see Baylor later."

 

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COUGAR EX STILL IN RUNNING

BY KEITH ROLLINS

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Who do you think of when track is mentioned? Who pops into your mind when people speak of winning gold medals in the Summer Olympics? That person is Carl Lewis.

The UH product, who is training in our very own back yard at Robertson Stadium, will be competing in his third Olympics this summer at the unprecedented old age of 30.

While visiting Lewis last week between takes of a Panasonic commercial, he told me the `92 Olympics will "definitely" be his last.

Even though Lewis, a winner of six gold medals, will stop racing, he said he "will always be involved to some degree as long as my teammates are competing."

To be 30 years old and still competing as a sprinter with world-class intensity is somewhat unusual in the world of track and field. Lewis, who holds the world record in the 100 meter dash with a time of 9.86 seconds, will be going against all odds in an attempt to capture gold in Barcelona, Spain. His motivation is not only to compete, but for financial gain.

"The reason people haven't lasted that long is because there was no money in the sport," Lewis said. "I would not be here if there wasn't money in track . . . I also think of financial gain."

Lewis has been singled out by many as the man who revolutionized track and field into what it is today.

"He was the first guy to say, `Hey, I'm making money, and I want to make more,' UH track Head Coach Tom Tellez said.

"Today, athletes are getting paid more, are taken care of more and can now earn a living in track and field.

"He had a good vision about where track should go, and it obviously went his way," Tellez said.

The day-in and day-out practices required for four events were at one time almost too draining for Lewis, who reportedly gave up track after the `84 Olympics in Los Angeles. In that meet, he tied Jesse Owens' record of winning four Olympic golds in one year, capturing medals in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, 4X100-meter relay and the long jump.

"At the time, people thought it was easy because it looked easy, but it was very difficult physically and emotionally," Lewis said.

He returned to the `88 Olympics in Seoul, and won the gold in the 100m and the long jump. His win in the 100m was marred by the stripping of Ben Johnson's gold medal after Johnson tested positive on a drug test. Lewis said he isn't worried about Johnson's return in `92.

"His comeback last year was unsuccessful. Basically, as long as he stays clean, his career is over," Lewis said. "Track has definitely done the best job of any drug-testing entity in this country."

Lewis isn't sure what events he will enter in `92.

"All I know right now is that I won't do all four events; it's just too much," Lewis said. "Based on the Olympic trials held in June in New Orleans, I will decide from there. The only event that is a given is the 100m."

Because of his notoriety on the track scene, Lewis is one of the most recognizable persons in the world. However, it is less widely known that anybody can witness Carl's workouts any day at Robertson Stadium. Likewise, track is one of the more popular sports in Europe, but not in the U.S. Lewis blames the lack of attention given to his sport on American values.

"Track is overshadowed by people because it is not considered professional. It is professional, but people call it amateur. Most Americans are not interested in watching unless it involves football or baseball. I understand; that's just the way it is," Lewis said.

Lewis said he believes that the way television networks produce track meets contributes to the lack of enthusiasts.

"They don't know how to package it on television, and it is boring. They won't listen to me because they are regimented in their ways," Lewis said.

Besides working out and training in Houston, Lewis, who donated the funds for the track in Robertson, also serves as an assistant to Tellez.

"We set goals together, and a lot of times, coaches and athletes can't do that," Lewis said. "Athletically, I couldn't have done it without him, and that's why I'm reciprocating my feelings by staying here."

The Santa Monica Track Club, an organization whose main goal is to prepare athletes for international competition, has also played a big part in Lewis' achievements. Joe Douglas, the manager and one of the coaches for the club, has been with Carl since 1980.

"Carl is now the elder statesman who sets the tone for the other athletes," Douglas said. "He commands respect and doesn't demand it. You have to command leadership and that's what he has done."

Carl's success on the track has followed him to the business ranks as well. He and another ex-UHsprinter, Leroy Burrell, own a sports apparel store called Sports Styles located in downtown Houston.

Another Lewis will also be competing in the Olympic trials. Her name is Carol, Carl's well-known sister.

 

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STATE FUNDING FORMULA COULD LEAVE UH SHORT

BY DEBBIE HOUSEL

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

With the next legislative session facing a $5 billion deficit, Austin is asking state agencies to establish priorities and evaluate their performance to gauge funding.

"Texas is moving rapidly to implement a series of performance measures for each institution. The Legislative Budget Board is asking us how well we do as a state agency, to meet our goals and objectives," acting UH President James Pickering said.

Like other state agencies responding to House Bill 2009, UH is required to prepare a strategic plan outlining its mission, philosophy, external/internal assessment and goals by April 1.

Following the first deadline, UH will have until June 1 to submit a more detailed plan expanding on the university's specific objectives to reach stated goals.

Also during the last legislative session, article V, section 49(4) of the General Appropriations Act instructed institutions to periodically report the achievement of key performance targets.

These targets include student retention rates, degrees earned, classroom utilization and others.

But UH faces the question of how the targets and the school's strategic plan will be intertwined, how much of its funding will be based on the results and whether UH will be compared to other Texas universities.

Tennessee is now the only state basing funding on performance measures, letting them affect 5 percent of higher education budgets.

"There is a strong implication that their (universities') funding will be directly linked to performance outcomes," said Albert Hawkins, assistant director for Program Evaluation.

Specific objectives established by the universities are measured against their outcomes, Hawkins said.

The LBB has not mandated any goals for the universities, but he said legislators may compare the results with key performance targets.

LBB Budget Examiner David Young said the amount of the appropriation based on these performance measures is unclear.

"The measures may be used or may not, that is still up in the air. (Higher education appropriations could be based on) 5 to 10 percent or the Legislature could decide to base it all on performance," Young said.

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Commissioner Kenneth Ashworth said, "I don't think (the strategic plan or key performance targets) will enhance funding at all. It's a device that could result in a reduction in funding at some institutions and could result in making more unstable the base of funding for higher education."

Higher education formula funding portions are currently based on university enrollment.

"If that changes, universities won't know how many faculty to hire because they will be funded on some other base and won't be able to predict how much money they will have. That kind of variation makes it impossible to plan for staffing and managing an institution," Ashworth said.

There has been a great deal of interest among legislators to substitute performance measures for the formula funding, Ashworth said.

"If schools had been funded amptly and generously, they would have a cushion. But higher education funding has been deteriorating and is now 20 percent less than it was in 1985. Universities have used Band-Aids, baling wire and stitching to hold their operations together while handling more students.

If the performance measures were used in moderation, Ashworth said, it could become a benefit. "But some legislators are talking about basing funds of 20 to 80 percent on performance. This would destroy the whole base, and that kind of change would cause absolute chaos."

Pickering said the LBB could ask UH to explain how well the classrooms are used during the working week. The latest data shows 41 percent of the classrooms are in use from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Other colleges around the state use only 31 percent of their classrooms during the same hours, he said.

But another problem could be whether the LBB chooses to judge performance on the percentage of students enrolled in classes at the end of the semester compared to the beginning, Pickering said.

Since resident campuses tend to have lower drop-out rates during the semester, Pickering said this standard would not be appropriate.

"The state may argue that this judges how well your instruction is going. What we have to argue is that because we are an urban university, our performance measures should not be compared to Texas A & M or the University of Texas," he said.

 

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COUGARS TAKE RICE IN FINAL SECONDS 86-83

BY JASON LUTHER

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Cougar guard David Diaz nailed a free-throw with eight seconds left to push Houston to an eventual 86-83 victory over Rice in a nail-biter in Hofheinz Tuesday.

Four Cougars reached double figures in scoring, including guard Derrick Daniels and forward Sam Mack, who each had 20.

Daniels, who posted one of his best shooting contests of the season, was 5-12 from three-point range.

For the first 10 minutes of the contest, it looked as if Houston (18-5, 7-3 in conference) was going to have another game like the Texas game as Rice had compiled a 12-point lead at 29-17 with 10:37 remaining in the half.

However, the Cougars came alive with a 15-2 run with 5:05 left in the first period to take a 35-31 lead.

The swing of momentum came from hot Cougar shooting and a lethal full-court press that forced eight Owl turnovers in the first half, compared with only three by Houston.

"Our press helped us a lot tonight," Cougar Head Coach Pat Foster said. "They weren't pressing, but it's tough to play a half with only three turnovers."

Rice (17-8, 5-4) and Houston traded baskets for the remainder of the half, and by intermission, the score was 52-47.

Daniels and Mack combined for seven three-pointers in the first half, and the Cougars were 50 percent from three-point range.

Things got even better for Houston in the second half as the Cougars opened the lead to 10 at 14:35.

However, the Cougars let their guards down, allowing the Owls to get back into the game with a 7-2 run as they closed to within two at 71-69 with 7:50 remaining in the game.

The Cougars answered by scoring seven unanswered points.

Rice quickly responded, reeling off six straight points, and at 3:31, the Cougars owned a three-point lead.

The Owls brought the game to within two again at 83-81 on forward Kenneth Rourke's 18-footer with 0:27 left.

However, Cougar forward Craig Upchurch sank two free-throws with 0:19 remaining to extend the Houston lead to four.

Rice center Brent Scott scored the team's final basket to bring the Owls to within two again, but Diaz's final free-throw put the game away.

 

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