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Friday, July 28, 2006

Ewing signs to play UTPB softball

Pecos Eagle softball player Savannah Ewing signed a letter of intent on Tuesday to attend the University of Texas-Permian Basin on a softball scholarship.

Ewing, who graduated from Pecos High School in May, was a three-year starter at third base for the Eagles. She was a second team All-District 3-3A selection this past season, and earned the same honor during her sophomore year.

Her father Steele Ewing said UTPB coach Danny Dunaway watched her once during the season. “He came and watched her play at Monahans, and then she went to the tryouts in June,” he said.

“I’m excited, but I’m going to be one of the smallest girls on the team,” said Ewing, who was a member of the 2004 Pecos team that advanced to the Region I-3A quarterfinals.

Two other ex-Eagles also are playing college softball. Jessica Rodriguez, who graduated in 2003, is a member of the Sul Ross State University Softball team, while 2004 grad Stephanie Herrera plays for New Mexico State University.

Eagles’ staff to have many new faces

Coaching changes at Pecos High School and Crockett Junior High will leave football players with more new faces greeting them next month than at any time in the past 10 years. New head coach Chris Henson has brought several assistant coaches with him from Marfa, along with other new coaches, including new head coaches for baseball and basketball. In football, the changes will affect all five levels, going from high school varsity down to the seventh grade team.

On the varsity level, Tom Hughes is one of the assistants coming from Marfa with Henson, and will be the team’s defensive coordinator, while Derick Price arrives from Rotan, and will be the Eagles’ offensive coordinator for 2006.

Hughes was also with Henson in Fort Stockton under Gary Roan before both moved down to Marfa for three years. He said going from the Class A Shorthorns back up to the 3A level means they’ll have a few more players to work with.

“On the defensive side we’re going to be playing a lot of seniors. We’ll have six seniors with three or four sophomores and juniors,” Hughes said.

He added that the Eagles will try to take use their size to advantage this season, while adding, “We’ll try to keep it simple and let them play.”

Hughes got back into coaching after working as an at-risk counselor for the Concho Valley Council of Governments in San Angelo. “I’m a single parent and I was waiting for my kids, so I’m a little older than most of the coaches,” he said.

Price served as head basketball and head track coach at Rotan, and comes to Pecos after his team captured the Class A boys state title in May at the UIL Track and Field Championships.

“Coach Henson and I worked together for six years in Snyder,” he said, and has been at Rotan for the past three seasons. During their time in Snyder under head coach David Baugh, the Tigers became one of the top Class 4A (now 3A ) teams in West Texas, after languishing at the bottom of the standings in the 1980s when Pecos and Snyder were both members of the same district.

Price added that along with the offensive coordinator’s job, he’d also work with running backs and inside linebackers for Pecos this season.

“That’s the good thing about a larger school. We have two offensive line coaches and three linebacker coaches, so it’s good,” he said.

“I’ve met several of the kids, and they’re every bit as big and strong as the Snyder kids,” he said. “We had good numbers in the 7-on-7 (summer games). The kids are excited, the coaches are excited, and now we just have to get people in town excited about Pecos football, and it will be a lot of fun.”

At the sub-varsity level, Eric Garcia and Chaun Brooks will be freshman and JV coaches, while also serving as the new head baseball and basketball coaches respectively for Pecos. It will be the first head baseball job for both Garcia, who originally is from Marfa, and the first head basketball post for Brooks, who is from San Antonio.

Garcia has spent the past two years at Christoval, where he was head basketball and assistant football and track coach. He said he’s played baseball all his life.

“Coach Henson is a good guy. I’ve known him for a few years since he’s been at Marfa,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to coach baseball, so this is a great opportunity.”

He said he wouldn’t officially be moving into town until next month, “so I haven’t met as many players as I would like. The ones who play baseball over the summer, I got to see them, but I hope to meet with the rest of them as soon as we start workouts.”

Brooks played college basketball at Drake University, and said he’s learning the system Henson will have the Eagles running in 2006 during meetings leading up to the start of workouts on Aug. 7.

“For everybody it’s a learning experience, except for the ones who’ve worked under coach Henson before,” said Brooks, who’ll be in his first coaching assignment, but who will also be working with Art Wellborn, who has been the head basketball coach for the past two seasons.

He said when basketball opens, he plans to run an aggressive style on both offense and defense. “Defensively, we’re going to play a man(-to-man) defense most of the time, unless the ones we’re playing are really tall,” while offensively, he wants to try and run a fast-break offense.

Down at the junior high level, Art Rios will serve as program coordinator as well as head football coach for the eighth grade Eagles.

“I’m going to coordinate everything on the seventh and eighth grade level, so that we’re on the same page with what coach Henson is doing up at the high school,” Rios said. “It will be kind of like the head coach at the high school. If the parents have anything to ask, they’ll be coming to me.”

Rios also worked with Henson in Marfa, where he served as assistant football and varsity basketball coach. He was with the Shorthorns for five years and before that was at Carrizo Springs for eight years, where he coaches football before taking a job as assistant principal. “I went back into coaching because my kids are old enough to play now,” said Rios, who will have a son playing for him in eighth grade this season.

The new group of coaches has one Pecos High School alumni in Oscar Luna, who graduated in 1999 and was a member of the Eagles varsity football and baseball teams that advanced to the playoffs that season. He decided to take the position with the Eagles after moving back to town from Dallas, where he was in private business.

“The opportunity came up and I did a lot of thinking and decided to take up the chance to begin my career,” Luna said. “It’s something I’ve thought about doing, and this is a chance to start in my hometown.”

While he’s a PHS grad, like several of the other coaches he’s just recently gotten into town. “I’ve seen some of the kids, but I haven’t really gotten to know them yet,” said Luna, who’ll be an assistant coach at the junior high level in football and a freshman baseball coach during the spring.

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