The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, November 13, 1980, Image 14

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David Kent
Rangers hire
Don Zimmer
United Press International
ARLINGTON — The Texas Rangers, whose nine-year history has
been marked by almost continuous frustration, Wednesday hired Don
Zimmer in hopes of creating a pennant winner out of a team that was
one of the major league’s biggest disappointments in 1980.
Zimmer, fired in September by the Boston Red Sox, succeeds Pat
Corrales, who was dismissed by the Rangers shortly after the end of the
season. Zimmer was given a one-year contract, whose terms were not
It will be the third managerial job for the short, rotund Zimmer, who
guided the San Diego Padres for two seasons before his tenure with the
Red Sox.
His hiring ended a strange managerial search that typifies the history
of the Rangers, a team that has had three owners and has been a
revolving door for players of both high and low quality.
Zimmer was one of the leading candidates from the start, but Ran
gers General Manager Eddie Robinson and owner Eddie Chiles de
layed hiring a manager because of the possibility they might be able to
acquire the New York Yankees’ Dick Howser.
A post-season spat between Howser and New York owner George
Steinbrenner appeared to open up the chance of Howser leaving that
club and if he did so the Rangers wanted him.
Finally, after gaining permission from Steinbrenner to talk to How
ser, the Yankees’ manager told Robinson Monday night that he had not
yet made up his mind on whether to leave New York.
That was enough for Robinson, who then grabbed Zimmer.
“I have spoken with all knowledgeable baseball people who have
known Don,” said Robinson, “and he received nothing but the highest
marks from all of them. I am convinced we have the finest manager
available in baseball today.”
After serving as third-base coach with the Red Sox, Zimmer took
over the top spot with that club in July 1976 when Darrell Johnson was
fired. Boston went 42-34 for the remainder of that season. The Red Sox
won 97, 99 and 91 games from 1977 through 1979 and Boston had
posted a record of 83-73 when Zimmer was fired this year.
Zimmer takes over a team with a checkered past. He follows a
managerial roster that has included Ted Williams, Whitey Herzog,
Billy Martin, Frank Lucchesi, Eddie Stanky, Billy Hunter and Cor
Although the Rangers have had their troubles on and off the field
throughout their stay in Texas, the 1977 season stands as the high water
mark for disaster. That was the year in which Lucchesi, who had his jaw
broken by Len Randle before the season even began, was dismissed in
a firing botched by the Rangers’ front office.
Lucchesi, as it turned out, was one of the last to know he was being
fired. Stanky took over the club, managed one day, decided it wasn’t
for him and went home to Alabama.
That left the red-faced Rangers having to scramble for a manager and
they came up with Hunter, who led a surprising rally during the
second-half of the season that threatened to bring Texas a pennant.
Texas appeared to have turned the comer, but Hunter lost control of
his team in 1978, received no backing from management and was fired
on the last day of the season. That led to the hiring of Corrales, but in
two years as Texas manager he could not get the job done. He was not
helped by the fact the Rangers’ front office mishandled a trade that
wound up costing them Oscar Gamble.
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Kent: Tennis team one big family
A&M head coach believes Ags are headed for Top 10
Battalion Reporter
David Kent, in his third year as head coach of the Texas
A&M University tennis team, said that “tennis is my vocation
and my avocation in one.”
Kent, who has coached the Aggies to some of their best
seasons ever the past few years, said he enjoys coaching college
“I don’t think I’d want to do anything but teach. You don’t
stay in coaching for the money,” he said.
Kent was attracted to the University because “the gorgeous
weather down here is the best weather ever for playing tennis”
and the tennis facilities are some of the best in the Southwest.
He added that Athletic Director Marvin Tate is “all you can ask
for in a boss.”
Coaching college players, however, isn’t all cake, Kent said.
The job involves watching the players’ grades and health, as
well as their tennis game.
But he said he seems to have a knack for getting along while
getting things accomplished.
Kent said he believes this year’s schedule of strong national
competition for the men’s team is “the best we’ve ever had.”
The team is working hard to accomplish the goals he set before
the season — to haVe the men finish in the Top 10 in the NCAA
ratings and the women in the Top 20 of the Association o
Intercollegiate Athletics for Women standings.
“If you have some goals you don t mind working hard, he
said. “If we don’t win it’ll just be our own fault. What you want
to do is at least compete, have a chance at it. ^
The coach said he considers the Aggie netters to be one big
family.” The team is first before the individual, and one per
son’s win is a win by the team. „
Kent said permanence is the key to any program, adding
he feels this is one of his reasons for recruiting athletes who
realize that education comes first. _
The University is easy to recruit for because it sells itseli
because of its academic excellence, traditions and friendly
people, he said. Kent recruits everyday because it is like
shaving. Don’t do it everyday; (and) you look like a bum.
One of the ways he is able to recruit is the successful Texas
A&M tennis camp during the summer. Kent, who developed
the West Texas Tennis Camp into the most successful tennis
camp in the Southwest, said he wants to make this the hub of
tennis activity in this area.”
Kent, a native of Amarillo, is a 1958 graduate of Texas Tech,
which he attended under a four-year tennis scholarship. He
won 15 straight singles matches during his senio I
At 41, he is still active in tournament play and h M I
Junior Veteran singles titles in the last year andauH'
these was the state TAFF singles title held yearly mil
recently beat Avery Rush, former No. 1 player for twl
sity of Texas in the finals of a tournament.
Kent’s achievements are not limited to the tenn 1
1976, he was the recipient of the Texas Educatilli
Award while coaching at West Texas State Universih 1
his teams developed a reputation for hard, aeire ■
while showing good sportsmanship and castingaeJ|
the school. All but one of his players finished up their J
Kent completed his master’s degree at WestTera <
1969. He is married to the former Eileen Jacobson
three children: Tanya, 22; Todd, 19; and Trey, 16 ^
tennis scholarship at Utah State University, andlrev
Bryan High School tennis team. V*
On the wall of Kent’s office, though, is the newest J
of the Kent clan. His granddaughter, whois just over J
old, is pictured with a tennis racket in her hands 1
Kent said the youngster already is showing potential J
the game, and he hopes to coach her tennis game so®
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