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Clemens speaks to students in Victoria before Jim West Intercollegiate

By BY ALBERT ALVARADO - aalvarado@vicad.com
April 9, 2010 at 11:03 p.m.
Updated April 8, 2010 at 11:09 p.m.


Lone Star flamethrower Roger Clemens is back in Victoria this weekend to do a little mingling and play some golf for charity.

Friday he was the guest speaker at the annual Texas Exes Victoria Chapter Scholarship Award Banquet.

Sunday he'll play in the Jim West Intercollegiate Tournament pro am to benefit his foundation.

The Victoria chapter of UT's Alumni association recognized five area students to receive scholarships at the banquet and dinner Friday. The students will attend the University of Texas this fall.

Clemens said he took the opportunity to return to his home state and take time to give back to his alma mater.

"UT means so much to me," Clemens said. "I have the opportunity to get reacquainted with the people who watched me play."

Kristie Cohen, UTEX Victoria Chapter Committee Member, knows having a celebrity associated with this event is beneficial.

"Roger increased people's interest in coming," Cohen said. "Roger being here brings more awareness to the Exes and helping kids go to college."

Clemens signed baseballs and Astros merchandise for a silent auction with the proceeds benefiting the Victoria Exes Scholarship Fund.

Jim West also has benefited with having Clemens in Victoria for these functions.

Victoria Country Club will host the West Intercollegiate Tournament to benefit the Roger Clemens Foundation and Texas State University Athletics.

"It's really helped bring interest to the tournament, which really helps the economy," West said.

The tournament is hosted by Texas State with Cal State Fullerton, McNeese State, UT-Arlington, UT-Pan American, Centenary, Nicholls State, Sam Houston State and Rice also competing.

Sunday's pro-am will open the tournament and although the field includes former Houston Oiler Ray Childress, Rice football coach David Bailiff and Texas State football coach Brad Wright, West welcomes all challengers on the course.

"I'll be one of the premier golfers," West said.

Clemens said he is excited to mingle with fellow Longhorns, break out the clubs and spend some time in Victoria this weekend.

"Anytime I get a chance to get to Victoria or go through Victoria I'm excited," Clemens said.

For many baseball fans in this state, Roger Clemens makes the Mount Rushmore of baseball players to come out of the Texas.

Clemens was an All-State baseball player and graduated from Spring Wood High School in the Houston area.

After playing two seasons at San Jacinto Junior College he transferred to the University of Texas where he went 25-7 with 241 strikeouts in two seasons for the Longhorns and got the win for UT in the schools 1983 National Championship clinching game during the College World Series.

Ten years later Clemens became the first UT baseball player to have his number retired.

Clemens played 24 MLB seasons with Boston, Toronto, the New York Yankees and Houston. Clemens is a five-time Cy Young winner, 11 time all-star and 1986 American League Most Valuable Player. He was a member of two World Series Championship teams in New York and helped the Astros reach the Fall Classic for the first time in 2005.

Even though Clemens only spent three seasons in an Astros uniform, he spoke fondly about being able to come back home and pitch in front of large, loud crowds at Minute Maid Park.

"Coming back, having the opportunity to pitch at home was a big thrill," said Clemens. "I feel very blessed I could come home and pitch."

Although he hasn't suited up for a major league team since 2007, Clemens has stayed busy working with his foundation and participating in baseball clinics.

"I feel I'm very approachable to kids," said Clemens. "I like to teach more than I like to coach."

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