Zook succeeds Spurrier at Florida
GAINESWVILLE, Fla., Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Ron Zook, the New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator who held the same position with the Florida Gators in 1992-93, officially became the new head football coach at Florida Wednesday with a tough act to follow. He succeeds Steve Spurrier, the winningest coach in school history.
Athletic Director Jeremy Foley turned to Zook after he was spurned by Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops, another former Gators defensive coordinator who had the job during their national championship season of 1996.
Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, who like Stoops and Zook is a good friend of Foley, also turned down the job.
Still, it took Florida just four days to find a successor for Spurrier, who resigned Friday to pursue a job in the NFL after achieving great success during his 12-year run in Gainesville. In addition to winning a national title, the Gators won six Southeastern Conference titles while recording nine 10-win seasons under Spurrier.
Zook, 47, spent the last six seasons as an NFL assistant, the past two with the Saints. He served as Florida's defensive coordinator for two seasons before Spurrier demoted him to special teams coordinator and linebackers coach in 1994. Zook reclaimed the defensive coordinator's post but left for the Pittsburgh Steelers before the 1996 season.
Report says Teevens next Stanford coach
GAINESVILLE, Fla., Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Florida assistant Buddy Teevens
was reported Wednesday about to be named the head football coach at Stanford.
The Gainesville Sun said Teevens, the Gators' offensive coordinator and tight ends coach last season under Steve Spurrier, would be named coach later Wednesday.
School officials were not immediately available for comment.
If the report is true, Teevens would replace Tyrone Willingham, who stepped down last
week to become coach at Notre Dame. Various reports indicate that Teevens was a finalist along with Mike Riley, who last week was fired as coach of the NFL's San Diego Chargers.
The 45-year-old Teevens was hired as Dartmouth coach in 1987 by Ted Leland, now the athletics director at Stanford, and the two have remained friends.
Trio reported headed for NFL draft
NEW YORK, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Nebraska offensive lineman
Toniu Fonoti, Oklahoma safety Roy Williams and Tennessee wide
receiver Kelley Washington apparently are part of the next wave
of underclassmen who will enter the NFL draft.
Fonoti, a finalist for the Outland Trophy as top interior
lineman and a semifinalist for the Lombardi Award as top
lineman, told ESPN.com on Wednesday that he will leave school
The 6-4, 340-pound Fonoti set a school record with 201 so-called "pancake" blocks this season. A native of Hawaii, he has been projected as a first-round pick by some scouts, although he is considered a better run blocker than pass protector.
ESPN.com also is reporting that Williams will enter the NFL
draft, although the winner of the Jim Thorpe Award as the
nation's top defensive back was not quoted directly.
Washington has called a news conference for Thursday afternoon
after telling The Tennessean that he will leave for the NFL draft.
Hewitt, Capriati top seeds in Australian
MELBOURNE, Australia, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Lleyton Hewitt and defending champion Jennifer Capriati were named the top seeds Wednesday for next week's Australian Open despite some question as to their health.
Hewitt became the first Australian seeded No. 1 at the Australian Open since Ken Rosewall in 1976. However, the 20-year-old Hewitt is suffering from chicken pox.
Capriati's bid for her third career Grand Slam took a hit Wednesday when she sustained a hip flexor during a second-round loss at the adidas International in Sydney. She was awarded the No. 1 seed after the withdrawal of top-ranked Lindsay Davenport on Monday with a knee injury.
The second seeds are Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil and reigning Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion Venus Williams of the United States. .
American Andre Agassi is seeded third as he tries to win his third straight and fourth overall Australian Open crown. Switzerland's Martina Hingis, a three-time winner and runner-up on two occasions, is the third seed among the women.
Hall, Bouleware among NFL players of week
NEW YORK, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- New York Jets kicker John Hall and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Peter Boulware, who played pivotal roles in putting their respective teams in the playoffs, were among the NFL Players of the Week announced Wednesday.
Hall was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week after kicking a game-winning 53-yard field goal with 59 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter in the Jets' 24-22 win over Oakland on Sunday. Hall's kick was his longest of the season and clinched the Jets' first playoff berth since 1998.
A day later, Boulware had seven tackles, four sacks and forced a fumble in the Ravens' 19-3 win over Minnesota, earning him AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors. The victory clinched a wild card playoff berth for the defending Super Bowl champions.
Offensive honors in the AFC went to running back Lamar Smith of the Miami Dolphins. Smith had 30 carries for 158 yards and one touchdown in the Dolphins' 34-7 win over Buffalo.
Running back Marshall Faulk of the St. Louis Rams, rookie defensive end Andre Carter of the San Francisco 49ers and kick returner Dorsey Levens of the Green Bay Packers were the Players of the Week in the NFC.
Astros, Wagner agree on long-term pact
HOUSTON, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Bypassing the potential of free agency after the upcoming season, closer Billy Wagner agreed to a long-term contract with the Houston Astros on Wednesday.
Financial terms were not disclosed. The Houston Chronicle is reporting that the deal is for three years and worth between $24 million and 25 million and includes a team option for 2005 that could push the total value of the package to $32million.
The newspaper added that talks had broken down last month when Wagner sought to have a fourth year of the contract guaranteed.
Wagner matched his own franchise record with 39 saves in 2001, one year after undergoing surgery on his left elbow.
Tribe signs Wohlers to 2-year contract
CLEVELAND, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Righthander Mark Wohlers, who has battled back from control problems and "Tommy John" surgery, signed a two-year deal with the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday.
Wohlers finished the 2001 season with the New York Yankees. He had a 4.54 ERA and allowed 33 hits in 35 2/3 innings in 31 outings and was left off the World Series roster.
Wohlers was one of the better closers in the major leagues from 1995-97 when he had 97 saves with the Atlanta Braves. But after converting his first seven save opportunities the following year, he went on the disabled list with a strained oblique muscle. He came back from the injury, but endured terrible control problems.
and did not pitch after Aug. 21.
The 31-year-old Wohlers appeared in just two games in 1999 as he battled an anxiety disorder and suffered a torn ligament in his pitching elbow that required surgery.
Orlando puts Ewing on injured list
ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Orlando Magic center Patrick Ewing, who had not mIssed a game this season until sitting out Monday, was placed on the injured list Wednesday with tendinitis in his right calf and Achilles tendon.
Ewing is averaging 7.1 points and 5.0 rebounds for Orlando (18-18) and played in every game before nmissing Monday's 98-87 victory over the Boston Celtics.
The 11-time All-Star center signed with the Magic in the offseason after playing in 79 games with the Seattle SuperSonics last season.
Capriati beaten in adidas tourney
SYDNEY, Australia, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Australian Open champion Jennifer Capriati injured her hip and lost to fellow American Alexandra Stevenson on Wednesday at the adidas International tennis event.
Capriati, who received a first-round bye, became the second women's top seed in four years to lose her opening match here when she fell, 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 6-4. She sustained a hip flexor during the second set and underwent treatment in the third.
With the withdrawal of world No. 1 Lindsay Davenport, Capriati is the top seed at next week's Australian Open, where she won her first career major.
Fourth seed Serena Williams of the United States, meanwhile, became the first player to reach the semifinals when she topped sixth seed and 2000 champion Amelie Mauresmo (6), 6-4, 7-6 (8-6).
Ivanisevic advances in Heineken Open
AUCKLAND, New Zealand, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Second seed Goran Ivanisevic withstood rain delays and a determined opponent Wednesday to advance to the quarterfinals of the $357,000 Heineken Open.
Ivanisevic, the Wimbledon champion from Croatia, rallied past 19-year-old Russian Mikhail Youzhny, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Ivanisevic will have to wait to find out his quarterfinal opponent after four matches were either stopped or postponed due to the weather. His next foe could be sixth seed Greg Rusedski of Britain, who trails Michal Tabara of the Czech Republic, 5-7,1-0.
Top seed Marat Safin of Russia fell behind 1997 winner Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden, 3-1, before their match was halted. The matches between fourth-seeded Sjeng Schalken of the Netherlands and Spain's Felix Mantilla and Michel Kratochvil of Switzerland
and New Zealander Mark Nielsen were rescheduled for Thursday.
Top seed Tanasugarn advances in Canberra
CANBERRA, Australia, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Top seed Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand and sixth seed Patty Schnyder of Switzerland advanced Wednesday to a quarterfinal meeting at the $110,000 Canberra Women's Classic.
Tanasugarn topped Denisa Chladkova of the Czech Republic and Schnyder defeated Greece's Eleni Daniilidou by identical 6-4, 6-3 scores.
Schnyder has won both previous meetings with Tanasugarn entering Thursday's match.
Fresh from her WTA tour win in Auckland on Saturday, unseeded Anna Smashnova of Israel continued her fine form Wednesday with a 7-6 (7-3), 6-0 victory over Australian wild card Bryanne Stewart.
Smashnova will try to win her eighth straight match on Thursday when she goes against France's Emilie Loit, who ousted fifth-seeded Elena Likhovtseva of Russia, 6-4, 6-3.
Grande wins, Pierce out in Tasmanian
HOBART, Australia, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Defending champion and top-seeded Rita Grande of Italy advanced to the quarterfinals of the $110,000 ANZ Tasmanian International tennis event Wednesday but the comeback of former Australian Open champion Mary Pierce hit a snag.
Trying to get back in shape after missing seven months with back problems, Pierce suffered a 7-5, 6-4 loss to Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain.
Pierce clearly was hampered by a set of new ailments, including an injured hamstring suffered at an exhibition in Hong Kong last week and a right ankle sprain sustained during her first-round match against Kristina Brandi.
The loss comes just five days before the year's first Grand Slam gets under way in Melbourne.
Grande held off Austrian Barbara Schwartz, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, to advance to a quarterfinal encounter with Medina Garrigues.