When Jody Conradt started out, she was a physical education teacher who didn't get paid to coach. Back then, women played six on six, and only two players could go the length of the court.

"People say they love doing their job so much they'd do it for free," Conradt said. "Well, I can prove it."

Her first victory came with Sam Houston State in 1969 -- so long ago that the school doesn't have official records from that season. Now at Texas, Conradt is one win from becoming the second women's basketball coach with 800. She could reach that milestone tonight when the 17th-ranked Longhorns face No. 7 Texas Tech (15-1, 4-0 Big 12). She is 799-262 in 34 seasons.

Until this month the 800-club included only a handful of men's coaching greats, until Tennessee's Pat Summitt reached the mark last Tuesday. Conradt, however, insists tonight's game will be just one more game in a season in which the Longhorns (11-4, 4-0) are trying to win a Big 12 title and return to the NCAA tournament.

"I think it would be shortsighted to focus on 800 wins," Conradt said. "We would be shortchanging a lot of young women that have worked hard. "They don't remember 1976," she said, referring to when she started at Texas. "They weren't even born."

Although Summitt got to 800 first and her Tennessee teams have won six national titles to Texas's one, Conradt was the standard bearer for many years.

"Texas was a role model program for us," Summitt said of her early years at Tennessee.


Taylor Heads Va. Hall

Lawrence Taylor, one of the best linebackers in NFL history, is among six athletes and coaches named to the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. Taylor, who played 13 seasons with the New York Giants, will be inducted with five others who had outstanding careers on the state and national sports scene.

The others include:

* Terry Holland, the winningest basketball coach in University of Virginia history.

* Laura Mapp, the successful coach of three women's sports at Bridgewater College.

* Johnny Oates, a player, coach and manager in Major League Baseball for 29 years.

* J.C. Snead, winner of 12 PGA tournaments on the regular and senior tours.

* Bob Thalman, a veteran football coach who won two Southern Conference championships at Virginia Military Institute.

The six will be inducted during the Hall's annual awards dinner in Portsmouth on April 26.

Pro Basketball

Walker Is Sidelined

Antoine Walker is expected to miss up to two weeks with a knee injury suffered in the Boston Celtics' comeback victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. An MRI exam taken yesterday, one day after Boston's 100-99 win, showed a mild ligament sprain of his right knee.


Mientkiewicz Agrees

The Minnesota Twins avoided salary arbitration with Doug Mientkiewicz, agreeing to a $1.75 million, one-year contract. Mientkiewicz, 28, hit .261 last season with 10 homers and 64 RBI and a team-high 74 walks for the AL Central champion Twins.


Kelly Dies in Avalanche

Craig Kelly, a four-time world champion and three-time U.S. Open champion, was among seven people killed Monday in an avalanche near Revelstoke, B.C.

"I can't think of a bigger loss to the sport and to all of us personally," Jake Burton, founder of Burton Snowboards of Burlington, Vt., said in a release that confirmed Kelly's death.

Kelly, 36, grew up in Mount Vernon, Wash., and lived the last two years in Nelson, B.C.

When Jody Conradt talks, players such as Nina Norman listen. Conradt, in her 34th year of coaching, could get 800th win tonight as Texas plays Texas Tech.