- Paris Flash
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The future of women’s basketball at Paris Junior College will be decided in a special meeting of the PJC board of regents at 11 a.m. Friday.
On the agenda of a meeting of PJC regents’ Monday night was Item No. 8: “Discussion and possible action on discontinuing women’s basketball and beginning women’s golf.”
No news media was in attendance, and the college made no release, but by Tuesday, reports were circulating among coaches from other Texas junior colleges that PJC had abolished women’s basketball.
“Whoever is reporting that is way out of line,” PJC president Pam Anglin said Tuesday afternoon in response to the reports.
“There was a 6-3 vote of the board to discontinue. But after everybody left, they asked to revisit it, and so they asked me to put together an agenda for a special meeting on Friday,” Anglin said.
“It’s a big decision, and I think everybody just – after it was over, they said, well, did we think of everything? This is a serious discussion, and everybody wants to make sure this is the right thing to do.”
The vote to discontinue basketball has not officially been rescinded, Anglin said, but neither is it final. It’s on hold, she said.
“What I think is going to happen Friday, they’re going to rescind the motion and open it up for more discussion,” the PJC president said.
“In the meantime, I’m going to pull together information on all our athletic programs and also work on the budget for next year in athletics to see where we are financial-wise,” she said.
She made no recommendation, just gave facts and figures, Anglin said.
“Between now and Friday, what I’m working on now is putting rosters together one very team we have, how many kids are on each roster, where they’re from. And look at how many scholarships we have, what kind, in each program and what our total budget is. I’m going to pull every bit of information I can think of that might help the board in making a decision.”
Asked if there is a possibility the vote will swing around and Lady Dragons basketball might continue, Anglin said: “I think so. If it does, I’ve just got to go out and find a really good coach. If you do anything, you do it to be competitive. If we’re not even trying to be competitive, we’re throwing money away.”
Anglin herself played basketball, at Grayson College, and grieved when that school cut its basketball program three years ago.
“But I see what the financial situation is, not only here but for all the colleges. We’re looking at a half million to $700,000 cut from the state. We’re not going to get any additional tax money, so we’re having to look at everything. I have to look at support for programs, and people don’t support women’s basketball around here,” she said.
Men’s basketball at PJC gets more support than all other sports combined.
PJC cannot use tax money to support athletics. Neither can money from the state be used. Gate receipts bring in only
$1,200 a year. The only sports where there’s a fee to get in are volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball.
“Our auxiliary — which is profits from the cafeteria and the bookstore — that’s what we have to use to pay for athletics. The last few years, when we started our booster club, we used that to buy our uniforms, and so, over a period of three years, everybody gets new uniforms. We alternate years in different sports. We have not reduced our athletic budget, but as costs have gone up we have had to look outside for revenue.”
Asked if uncertainty over the program was a factor in Sean LeBeauf’s decision to resign several weeks ago to become an assistant coach at the University of Arizona, Anglin said it was just the opposite.
“Sean has been wonderful for us. When Sean agreed to come back (to take over the women’s program four years ago), we needed someone to build our program to the point it would be competitive. So this never even came up while he was here,” she said.
“But with him leaving, it was just automatic with us, because of the money situation with the state. Everytime somebody leaves a position, we look at ‘Do we refill it?’ We do that with every position. Just like when Mickey Flippen retired from men’s golf several years ago. I told the board this is a time when you reevaluate and decide if you want to continue men’s golf, or do you want to discontinue it. And the same thing has been done now with women’s basketball.”
Anglin hasn’t advertised for a new women’s basketball coach yet.
“Last month, in closed session, when I presented Sean’s resignation, I said before I advertise this position I need to know what you want to do. Now is the time if we want to reconsider. So they asked me to put it on the public agenda for May. We’ve not opened it up, waiting for the board’s decision,” she said.
LeBeauf had offered scholarships to eight players, and if the program should be shut down, those offers would be honored, Anglin said. The players also would be allowed to transfer to other schools, she said.
One reason it’s important to make a quick decision is because the school would want the scholarship players to remain at PJC, Anglin said.
She said she received an email and two phone calls from coaches interested in the position.
If a women’s sport is dropped, it either has to be replaced with another women’s sport, or a men’s sport has to be dropped. Under Title IX, the number of men’s and women’s programs has to be the same.
If women’s golf were added and basketball dropped, there would be no increase in revenue, but fewer scholarships.
“The difference is $36,000 for women’s golf scholarships compared to $90,000 for women’s basketball. The savings in coaches’ salaries and benefits would be another $80,000, so that would save us $134,000,” Anglin said. The men’s golf coach would also coach the women.
But she said she doesn’t see PJC adding women’s golf even if the women’s basketball program should be dropped.
There is no consideration at all of dropping women’s volleyball or softball, Anglin said.
“In both volleyball and softball, we have local kids. Looking at women’s golf, how do we get more opportunities for local kids, which is important to us. For men’s and women’s basketball, it’s rare we get local kids that can compete.”
In recent years, there have been only two local high school players — Justin Collard of North Lamar High School and Shanice Hill of Paris High School — who have played basketball for PJC.
Members of the PJC board of regents are: Curtis Fendley, president; Louise Taylor, vice president; Berdie Gibson, secretary; Daigone Garner; Carlton Grant; Frankie Norwood; Roma Street; Ginna Walker Bowman; and Ann Wyche.
By CHARLES RICHARDS
Each month, the Paris City Council is given a ditch maintenance report.
Drainage is the focus of a Wednesday joint meeting between KSA and a citizens’ advisory committee that will help prioritize major infrastructure projects that will be undertaken in coming years.
For the most part, drainage issues will have to be funded through the city’s normal budgeting process. A $45 million bond issue approved by citizens in a May 11 election are primarily for replacement of bad water and sewer lines. Construction of streets and drainage repair is included only as affected by the water and sewer line replacements.
Monday night, the council received (in the consent agenda) a 12-page report detailing routine checks on routine maintenance of ditches, culverts, inlets, etc. – mostly resolved day-to-day by city personnel by excavating or cleaning out ditches, etc.
Following are the 24 unresolved major drainage cases being worked by the city’s Public Works Department:
The Paris City Council pulled $400,000 out of reserves last year in order to demolish all dilapidated structures in the city.
That led to an aggressive program by the city’s code enforcement department, which presented 195 cases to the city’s Buildings and Standards Commission forrepair or demolition. All but 19 have been given a deadline (usually 30 days) to demolish (or in some cases to repair).
According to the monthly dilapidated structure report on Monday (contained in the consent agenda) to the Paris City Council on Monday, here are the 74 addresses where demolitions have occurred, either by the owner or by the city, in the past 12 months:
By CHARLES RICHARDS
The Paris City Council on Monday canvassed the results of the May 11 city election, and then the three recently elected councilmen took their oaths of office from city clerk Janice Ellis.
All three are beginning their second two-year terms on the council after first winning election in 2011.
Holdover members of the council are District 1 councilman Aaron Jenkins, District 2 councilwoman Sue Lancaster, District 3 councilman John Wright, and District 6 councilwoman Cleonne Drake.
Thomas Neugent, 74, who is stepping down as director of the Paris Municipal Band during its free weekly summer concerts in Bywaters Park, was honored Monday night by the Paris City Council.
After a stellar 37-year career as a band director at four Texas high schools, Neugent retired in 1995 to the Paris area, where his wife, Jacquelyn, had been named principal of Parker Elementary School in Powderly. They built a white two-story house in the woods next to a lake four miles east of Powderly in the Hidden Lake Estates.
He worked part-time as an adjunct wind instruments instructor at the North Lamar High School Band, a job he continues to do, and in 2001 began directing the municipal band through six free Friday night concerts at Bywaters Park in June and July.
“Mr. Neugent has been an asset, and we have been fortunate for his service to the citizens of Paris with his time and talent,” Mayor AJ Hashmi said during a proclamation at the start of Monday’s council meeting.
The Paris Municipal Band, one of the longest-running in Texas, also plays at the Rotary Club’s annual Fourth of July fireworks show, and wraps up its performances with the annual Paris Council of Garden Clubs’ Crape Myrtle Coronation in mid-July.
The concerts always begin with the Star-Spangled Banner and end with “I Love Paris,” but Neugent brought his own tradition to the band, the mayor noted.
Paris’ municipal band is made up of former members of high school and college bands, along with current high school band members. Members are paid $25 each performance.
“His dedication to practicing and getting musicians to attend the concerts at Bywaters Park will not be forgotten,” Hashmi said. “Mr. Neugent is well-respected by the musicians, and is appreciated by all who know him.”
Neugent was born in Deport on May 1, 1939, and attended school in the Titus County community of Talco, where he played in the high school band from the fifth grade on.
His last 24 years as a high school band director were at Euless Trinity High School, which won UIL Sweepstakes ratings every year he was there. He was inducted in 2005 into the Texas Bandmasters Hall of Fame. Throughout his career, he has served as conductor at summer band camps, adjudicator, all-region clinician and workshop facilitator.
Many of his former students are band directors, music teachers, professional musicians, or still perform at church or in community bands.
His secret to success, he said, is that he always demanded excellence from his students and refused to accept less.
“I played literature above their heads, but we’d stumble through and get it done,” Neugent said in a 2005 interview with me.
“But I wanted to expose those kids to that kind of music, so they could go off to college, or they could sit back and talk to their kids and say, ‘This is what I played when I was in high school,’ “ he said.
The Paris Municipal Band routine under Neugent was the same every time – fast and furious.
“It’s upper left-hand corner to bottom right-hand of each song. Then we go to the next song. We don’t have time to stop and clean stuff up,” Neugent said.
It’s not a place for beginners. Members of the Paris Municipal Band have to be accomplished musicians already.
“Especially the high school students, they have learned they’ve got to be good sight readers. The songs are not all in the same key, the tempo is different for each song, stuff like that,” Neugent said.
Members of the Paris Municipal Band come from as far away as Bonham and other surrounding cities to play — ranging in age from people in their 70s to high school freshmen.
By CHARLES RICHARDS