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The manager

Updated: August 20, 2007, 3:39 PM ET
By Graham Hays | ESPN.com

Minority owner Rabitt Blake needed a manager for a new franchise in Houston four years ago and figured he knew the perfect man for the job. Remembering the work Jav Vela, a local high school coach, had done for Blake's daughter, he asked Vela to lead the Texas Thunder.

But Vela passed on the offer, unsure if was ready to work with the "older youngsters," as he calls the players in a Texas drawl that occasionally strays toward late television chef Justin Wilson's "I guar-on-tee" Cajun ...

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