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They're Hot To Hoot
Steve Rushin
November 22, 1999
As sports pages reveal, for athletes, romance is never farther away than the nearest Hooters
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November 22, 1999

They're Hot To Hoot

As sports pages reveal, for athletes, romance is never farther away than the nearest Hooters

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At Hooters, when an employee discusses her 401K, she's probably referring to her bra size. People who go there for the food read Playboy for the articles. When then Charlotte Hornets center Matt Geiger went to the Hooters in Port Richey, Fla., on May 31, 1997, he was photographed with—and gave his cell phone number to—bartender Tanya Hillerud. Two days later, when a jealous boyfriend shot and killed Hillerud, Geiger's crumpled, autographed photo was found at the crime scene.

In one 20-month span alone, readers of SI learned that golfer John Daly fell off the wagon at a Hooters in Jacksonville, Packers quarterback Brett Favre stayed on the wagon at a Hooters in New Orleans, Steelers running back Jerome Bettis watches college football at a Hooters in Pittsburgh, and Yankees pitcher Orlando Hernandez speaks at least one perfect word of English: "Hooters!"

The first Hooters opened in Clearwater in 1983. Among the pioneer Hooters Girls working there were Lynne Austin—since divorced from Daulton—and B.L. Newell. Austin and Newell now cohost a daily call-in show, Sportschix, on Sports Radio 1010 in Tampa. ("Sports Arena" Tina Langley is the third host.) Newell says she learned to talk sports while waiting on—though never dating—countless athletes, who would pour their lonely hearts out to her every evening at Hooters.

"I remember the entire Cincinnati Reds pitching staff came in one night in 1985," says Newell, who listened patiently to the rotation. "The bill came to about a hundred dollars. They left a three-hundred-dollar tip."

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