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In Sports from United Press International

Oct. 22, 2002 at 8:01 PM   |   Comments

Fall Classic resumes in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- After a pair of one-run games at Edison International Field, the World Series moves to Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco Tuesday night when the Giants host the Anaheim Angels in Game Three.

The Giants seized home-field advantage in Game One on Saturday, when Barry Bonds homered in his first World Series at-bat and former Angel J.T. Snow hit a two-run shot in a 4-3 Giants victory.

Snow, whose offensive production has dipped the last two seasons, has enjoyed a strong postseason. He also made a great play in the fifth inning of Game One with runners on the corners and one out, slipping on the warning track surface in foul territory before jumping up and catching Tim Salmon's popup.

The Angels evened the series Sunday, even though the blew an early 5-0 lead before edging the Giants, 11-10.

Salmon, who went 0-for-4 Saturday, went 4-for-4 Sunday, and snapped a 9-9 tie with his second two-run homer of the contest in the eighth inning, and rookie phenom Francisco Rodriguez tossed three perfect innings for the win.

Rodriguez, 20, tied Randy Johnson's record for most postseason wins with five, and has allowed just two runs and four hits in 13 innings.

Closer Troy Percival gave up a tremendous home run to Bonds with two outs in the ninth Sunday, but got Benito Santiago to pop out for his fifth save in as many chances this postseason.

Ramon Ortiz takes the mound for Anaheim on Tuesday. He has been shaky in two playoff starts after going 15-9 with a 3.77 ERA in the regular season.

In Game Three of the Division Series, he was tagged for six runs and three hits with four walks in 2 2/3 innings and left without a decision.

The righthander was able to pick up the win in Game Two of the ALCS against the Minnesota Twins, although he gave up three runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Ortiz did not give up a home run in those two starts after allowing a league-leading 40 homers in the regular season. He has never faced the Giants.

Livan Hernandez puts his undefeated postseason record on the line Tuesday. Hernandez struggled in the regular season with a 12-16 record and 4.38 ERA, but got a key win in Game Four of the Division Series against Atlanta.

The native of Cuba limited the Braves to three runs and eight hits over 8 1/3 innings to improve to 6-0 lifetime in the postseason.

The righthander started Game Four of the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals, leaving without a decision after allowing two runs and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings.

Hernandez did not receive a decision in his only career start against Anaheim, yielding two runs and 11 hits in seven innings of a 5-4 triumph.


Selig puts gag on Piniella announcement

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Oct. 22 (UPI) -- The Tampa Bay Devil Rays met with Lou Piniella for the second time in five days on Tuesday and were expected to formally offer him their managerial job, but Commisioner Bud Selig made sure that the continuing saga of the former Seattle Mariners manager would not steal headlines from the World Series, which resumes Tuesday night in San Francisco.

Devil Rays general manager Chuck LaMar was to address the media regarding Piniella at a Tuesday afternoon news conference, but instead the team issued the following statement.

"The Commissioner's Office has informed the Devil Rays and other clubs this afternoon that there will be no comments on any subject until the World Series is completed."

Commissioner Selig had asked teams to refrain from making major announcements during the World Series, which began last Saturday.

The New York Daily News reported Tuesday that the Devil Rays offered Piniella, a Tampa native, a four-year contract worth more than $13 million.

The Devil Rays first met with Piniella for several hours on Saturday morning, one day after reaching a compensation agreement with the Mariners which enabled them to begin negotiating with Piniella, Seattle's manager for the last 10 years.

Piniella announced last week that he was leaving the Mariners because he wants to manage closer to home. Since he has a year remaining on his contract with Seattle, the Mariners are entitled to compensation if Piniella manages elsewhere in 2003.

The New York Mets also are interested in Piniella, but have been unable to reach a compensation agreement with the Mariners.

"In principle, he (Piniella) wants to wait for the Mets. But will he wait?" Piniella's agent Alan Nero told the New York Post. "If he feels he wants to wait, I will be the champion of that cause.

"But if he feels it's an offer he can't refuse, if his heart and mind tell him to take the (Tampa Bay) job, I'll be behind that as well. There's a groundswell in the community to have Lou here."

Devil Rays managing general partner and chief executive officer Vincent Naimoli and LaMar characterized Saturday's meeting with Piniella and Nero as "positive and constructive."

LaMar has previously interviewed Oakland Athletics bench coach Ken Macha and New York Yankees coaches Willie Randolph and Lee Mazzilli, but admitted last Friday that Piniella is at the top of the team's wish list.

"He was a winner as a player and is a proven winner as a major league manager" LaMar said of Piniella. "I believe in my heart he is the right man for the job. Lou will know how much we'd like him to be our manager."

Piniella, 59, who has three grown children, graduated from high school in Tampa and attended the University of Tampa.

The Devil Rays tied for the worst record in the major leagues last season at 55-106 and fired manager Hal McRae.

Piniella guided the Mariners to an American League-record 116 wins in 2001 and was rewarded with AL Manager of the Year honors. But Seattle fell six games shy of the playoffs this season and Piniella reportedly was upset that the team did not make more midseason moves.

The most successful manager in team history, Piniella guided the Mariners to three straight playoff appearances and four in the last eight years.

Under Piniella, Seattle went 840-711 and reached the ALCS in 1995, 2000 and 2001. Piniella has a career managerial mark of 1,319-1,135 and guided the Cincinnati Reds to a World Series title in 1990.

Only Atlanta's Bobby Cox, St. Louis' Tony La Russa and the Yankees' Joe Torre have more wins than Piniella among active managers.


Vikings running back hospitalized

MINNEAPOLIS, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Minnesota Vikings reserve running back Doug Chapman was hospitalized Monday due to internal abdominal bleeding caused by a hit in Sunday's football game against the New York Jets.

After being held overnight in intensive care for observation at Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina, Chapman was listed in satisfactory condition on Tuesday.

The team's third back behind Michael Bennett and Moe Williams, Chapman thought he suffered a hip pointer when he was hit returning a kickoff. But after he woke up Monday with extreme abdominal pain, Chapman consulted with trainers and was taken to the hospital.

The Vikings have been hit hard by tragedy. Star right tackle Korey Stringer died from complications of heat stroke on the second day of training camp in 2001 and the wife of Vikings tackle Lewis Kelly suffered a miscarriage and later died from a blood disorder on Aug. 25.


Thome honored with Clemente Award

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Slugger Jim Thome was honored Tuesday with the 2002 Roberto Clemente Award for excellence on and off the field.

Thome, who just concluded his 12th season with the Cleveland Indians, is among the most popular players in recent franchise history. He is eligible for free agency following the World Series and the Indians are under intense pressure to keep the 32-year-old first baseman.

Thome has become a local icon for his tireless work in raising money to fight paralysis. In an on-field presentation before Game Three of the World Series, a $25,000 donation will be made in Thome's name to the Steve Palermo Chapter of the National Paralysis Foundation in Leawood, Kan.

The money will be donated in the name of his nephew, Brandon Thome, who is battling a spinal cord injury and currently is unable to walk. A $30,000 contribution in Thome's name also will be made to Roberto Clemente Sports City, a multi-purpose sports and education center in Puerto Rico.

"On behalf of Major League Baseball, I'm delighted to present the 2002 Roberto Clemente Award to Jim Thome for the outstanding contributions he has made to his team and the game," Commissioner Bud Selig said.

"This award, given in honor of the great Roberto Clemente, recognizes a player who not only puts his time and energy into the game, but also works within his community. Jim's support for the Steve Palermo Chapter of the National Paralysis Foundation and his involvement with community and team related issues make him an excellent choice for this award."

In addition to his involvement in the community, Thome had an outstanding season on the field, batting .304 while hitting a club-record 52 homers with 118 RBI in 147 games.

The award is named in the honor of Clemente, the long-time member of the Pittsburgh Pirates who died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve 1972. Arizona pitcher Curt Schilling was last year's recipient.


Alex Rodriguez is tops among his peers

ST. LOUIS, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Texas Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez has been voted by his peers as the 2002 Sporting News Player of the Year, far outdistancing San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds.

Rodriguez, who hit 57 home runs and drove in 142 runs for the Rangers, who finished last in the American League West, received 197 votes in balloting by major league players. Bonds, the 2001 winner of the award, finished second with 48 votes.

"To me, that's the most flattering honor in baseball, or any sport, to receive an award chosen by your peers," said Rodriguez, who previously won the award in 1996 while he was with the Seattle Mariners.

Oakland Athletics shortstop Miguel Tejada was third with 31 votes, while second baseman Alfonso Soriano of the New York Yankees was fourth with 23.

"Despite a disappointing season by the Rangers, the players couldn't overlook the year A-Rod put together," said Sporting News Senior Vice President John Rawlings. "This is the second time he has won top honors, and we wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't his last. He is an enormously gifted player."

Mike Scioscia of the Anaheim Angels, who guided the franchise to 99 wins and its first-ever trip to the World Series, and Bobby Cox of the Atlanta Braves earned Manager of the Year honors in their respective leagues.

It was the fifth Sporting News award for Cox, who previously won the American League honor with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1985 and the National League award with Atlanta in 1991, '93 and 1999.

"I consider it a huge honor," Coz said. "I appreciate my peers thinking that of me."

Curt Schilling of the Arizona Diamondbacks was voted National League Pitcher of the Year for the second straight season, and lefthander Barry Zito of the Oakland Athletics earned American League honors.

Third baseman Eric Hinske of the Toronto Blue Jays won the Sporting News AL Rookie of the Year award, and outfielder Brad Wilkerson of the Montreal Expos captured the NL Rookie honors.


Subject: Heuberger upsets Corretja

Date: Tuesday, October 22, 2002 7:36:34 PM EST

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Heuberger upsets Corretja

BASEL, Switzerland, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- One local wild card pulled off an upset while the other faltered Tuesday in the first round of the $1 million Swiss Indoors tennis tournament.

To the delight of the hometown crowd, Ivo Heuberger provided the surprise of the day by beating eighth-seeded Alex Corretja of Spain, 6-4, 5-7, 6-1.

The loss officially ended Corretja's run at a spot in the Tennis Masters Cup - Shanghai. He entered the match 15th in the ATP Champions Race and was a long shot for making the season-ending championship.

George Bastl, the other Swiss wild card, is best known for his second-round upset of Pete Sampras at Wimbledon this year. But on Tuesday, Bastl was knocked off by German qualifier Alexander Waske, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-4.

Sixth-seeded David Nalbandian of Argentina and No. 7 Fernando Gonzalez of Chile advanced to the second round Tuesday. Nalbandian was leading his match with Olivier Mutis, 7-6, 1-0, when the Frenchman was forced to retire with a knee injury. Gonzalez defeated Italy's Davide Sanguinetti, 3-6, 7-5, 6-2.

Nicolas Lapentti of Ecuador beat Spain's Fernando Vicente, 6-3, 6-2 in a first-round match on the carpet. Lapentti defeated Vicente in the final on the clay at St. Poelten this summer.

Julien Boutter of France, a surprise semifinalist here last year, was ousted in the first round by countryman Arnaud Clement, 6-3, 6-4.

Agustin Calleri downed Jose Acasuso, 6-1, 6-4, in an all-Argentine first-round match. Felix Mantilla of Spain beat Lars Burgsmuller of Germany, 6-7 (2-7), 6-2, 6-4.

Defending champion and first-time father Tim Henman of Britain is the top seed. Henman is trying to become the first player to successfully defend a title here since Stefan Edberg won back-to-back titles in 1985-86. Henman will play France's Cedric Pioline on Wednesday.


Matthews will start for Redskins

ASHBURN, Va., Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Veteran Shane Matthews, who began the season as the starting quarterback of the Washington Redskins, but was injured then benched, will again be the starter when the 'Skins entertain the Indianapolis Colts Sunday night.

He replaces rookie Patrick Ramsey, who started the last two games.

"Shane will be our starting quarterback," said Coach Steve Spurrier. "We obviously haven't done a good job at getting Patrick ready to play. We feel Shane gives our team the best chance to win. We still believe Patrick is going to be an outstanding quarterback in the future."

Ramsey made his NFL debut in relief of Danny Wuerffel against the Tennessee Titans in Week 5, and led the Redskins to a convincing but shocking 31-14 win, throwing for two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Ramsey then started the team's last two games, both losses. Against the New Orleans Saints in Week 6, he was sacked seven times and threw four interceptions in a 43-27 loss. This past Sunday at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Ramsey lost four fumbles and Washington fell to Green Bay 30-9.

"I played terrible and I just have to get over that and move on," said Ramsey. "Coach Spurrier calls the shots around here, and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to help this team win. I didn't play well the past couple of games, but you just have to roll with the punches sometimes."

Spurrier said Matthew's experience and his improved health were the reasons that he will start against the Colts, who were beaten, 28-10, at Pittsburgh Monday night. Matthews started Washington's first three games in 2002, but was replaced after suffering a shoulder injury against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 3.

He had been named NFC Offensive Player of the Week after a 327-yard, three touchdown pass effort in a 31-23 season-opening win over Arizona.

Spurrier said Ramsey will go back to being the team's backup quarterback.


Subject: Top seed Hewitt advances with walkover

Date: Tuesday, October 22, 2002 7:31:19 PM EST

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Top seed Hewitt advances with walkover

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- What was expected to be a quality opening-round match between top-seeded Lleyton Hewitt and local favorite Thomas Enqvist at the $650,000 Stockholm Open never got under way Tuesday.

Three-time champion Enqvist withdrew several hours before the match with a shoulder injury. Magnus Larsson was the only other player who signed the lucky loser sign-in sheet, but he could not play due to a back injury.

Hewitt, who is just 43 points in front of Andre Agassi in the ATP Champions Race, advanced without lifting a racket and next faces Raemon Sluiter in the second round.

Hewitt had his lead for the No. 1 world ranking reduced after he was forced to drop out of last week's Tennis Masters Series - Madrid with a viral infection. The Australian is without a title since winning his second Wimbledon crown and is 54-12 on the year.

Also Tuesday, unseeded American Jan-Michael Gambill fought off a match point against Olivier Rochus of Belgium to prevail 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (10-8). Gambill next takes on No. 6 Marcelo Rios of Chile, who also needed to go the distance in his first meeting with Australia's Wayne Arturs, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-1.

Meanwhile, eighth-seeded Rainer Schuettler of Germany crushed Albert Montanes of Spain, 6-1, 6-2, in less than an hour. Schuettler's second-round opponent will be Nicolas Massu of Chile.

Massu got a small measure of revenge against Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. Bjorkman beat Massu in the opening round of the Australian Open.

Also, unseeded Frenchman Michael Llorda bounced Dutch qualifier John van Lottum, 6-3, 6-2, and Andreas Vinciguerra of Sweden eliminated Karol Beck in a battle of qualifiers, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1.


Eagles give Darwin Walker long-term deal

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- The Philadelphia Eagles Tuesday signed defensive tackle Darwin Walker to a seven-year contract, continuing their recent trend of locking up key players for the long term.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Walker has emerged as a pivotal player on one of the NFL's top defenses since moving into the starting lineup for Hollis Thomas, who went down with a broken foot during training camp.

In six games, Walker has collected 4 1/2 sacks to rank third in the NFL among tackles, behind Tampa Bay's Warren Sapp (seven) and Kris Jenkins

of Carolina (5). He also has 29 tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

"As I've said many times this year, Darwin is one of the strongest and most explosive players on this team," said Eagles Coach Andy Reid. "He's stepped up and played very well this year in a starting role."

Earlier this season, the Eagles made quarterback Donovan McNabb the highest-paid player in NFL history with a 12-year contract worth $110 million. They also signed offensive linemen Hank Fraley and John Welbourn to long-term deals.

Walker, a 2000 third-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals, was released after just one game during his rookie season, and claimed off waivers by the Eagles. He saw significant playing time down the stretch last season, when the Eagles reached the NFC championship game for the first time since 1980.


Wagner to undergo procedure on blood clot

CLEVELAND, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Cleveland Cavaliers rookie guard Dajuan Wagner Tuesday is scheduled to undergo a medical procedure to remove a blood clot in his ureter, the tube that connects his left kidney with his bladder.

The clot was discovered on Monday during tests for Wagner's bladder infection. It is anticipated that Tuesday's procedure will speed his recovery. No timetable has been set for his return to the team.

Wagner, the sixth overall pick in this year's NBA draft, is an explosive shooting guard who may also play the point for the Cavaliers. His specialty is getting into the lane and creating shots for himself and his teammates.

The 6-3 Wagner left Memphis after his freshman season to enter the draft. When the Cavaliers selected him sixth overall, it became clear they planned to deal point guard Andre Miller, who was shipped to the Los Angeles Clippers in a deal for forward Darius Miles.

Wagner, who possesses quickness, long arms and great jumping ability, had a stellar season in his only year at Memphis. He averaged 21.2 points per contest and led the Tigers to an overall record of 27-9. He then was named the Most Valuable Player after he led Memphis to the NIT title.


Felipe Lopez likely to miss season

MINNEAPOLIS, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- The Minnesota Timberwolves, who have had a plethora of injuries, likely will be without swingman Felipe Lopez for the 2002-03 season.

An MRI Monday revealed that Lopez has both a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee. He suffered the injury when he charged into Boston's Paul Pierce and twisted the knee awkwardly in the first quarter of an exhibition game on Saturday.

"It's a shame because we've been able to play him at a lot of different positions," said Minnesota Coach Flip Saunders. "He's averaging almost 10 free throws a game, he's played extremely well, we've been able to play him at a lot of different positions. "(Injuries) are always bad, but especially if someone is on the last year on his contract. He has worked as hard as ever over the course of the summer to put himself in the position to take that big step, then something (like this) happens."

Lopez, a four-year veteran out of St. Johns, fills in at shooting guard and small forward. He averaged 10.2 points per contest in his first four exhibition games. Veteran Kendall Gill, who does not have a guaranteed contract, likely will take over Lopez's role.

Lopez is the sixth Minnesota player sidelined with an injury.

Point guard Terrell Brandon is out indefinitely while rehabilitating his left knee, and forward Joe Smith has a sore groin. He probably will not be ready for the season opener on Oct. 30.

Starting shooting guard Wally Szczerbiak has missed the last three preseason games with a dislocated toe, and point guard Troy Hudson the last two with a sore groin. Reserve point guard Randy Livingston is out at least a week with a sprained left ankle suffered in Friday's game at Boston.


Don Reid has successful Achilles surgery

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Oct. 22 (UPI) -- A spokesman for the NBA's Detroit Pistons Tuesday said veteran backup power forward Don Reid has undergone successful surgery on his ruptured right Achilles tendon and will be lost for the 2002-03 season.

The surgery was performed by team physician Dr. Robert Teitge at Hutzel Hospital in Detroit. The seven-year NBA veteran is expected to be in a cast for six weeks, then will begin the post-op rehabilitation process,

Reid suffered the injury in the second quarter of Sunday night's preseason contest against the Miami Heat in Tampa.

"Everybody in this locker room knows how big a loss this is," said guard Michael Curry after that contest. "There's nobody, no fan, no media person, no nobody that knows how valuable Don was for our team. Whenever the energy is low, he's the guy who comes in and picks us up. He's a great teammate, and we're going to pull for him to get healthy."

"It's really a shame," said team president Joe Dumars. "He had been playing as well as he's played in a couple of years."

"It appeared that Don was going to be a key player for us this season," said Coach Rick Carlisle. "He wasn't going to start or be in the regular rotation, but we were going to depend on him for his physical play and energy."

In five preseason games, the 6-8 Reid averaged 1.2 points and 2.6 rebounds in 7.4 minutes per contest. He has been acquired from Denver along with Mengke Bateer and a future first-round draft choice in exchange for Rodney White on Oct. 1, 2002.


Three Georgia starters slated for surgery

ATHENS, Ga., Oct. 22 (UPI) -- With a critical Southeast Conference contest at Kentucky looming, the Georgia Bulldogs have learned that three starters will not play when the team plays in Lexington, Ky. on Saturday.

At least one of them, offensive lineman Jon Stichcomb, could be done for the season. He will have arthroscopic to repair a partially-torn MCL in his left knee.

Stichcomb originally was hurt in the Oct. 5 game against Alabama, and aggravated the injury in subsequent games against Tennessee and Vanderbilt the past two weeks.

Stinchcomb, who tore the ACL in his left knee in high school, left the Vanderbilt game in the first quarter.

"It seemed like when it was getting on the right page, someone would roll up on it again," Stinchcomb said. "I didn't want to go through the season fighting it. I should be able to get back by Florida."

Stinchcomb will be replaced in the starting lineup by senior George Foster, who still is playing with a club on his right hand. Foster dislocated his wrist in a preseason car accident, but said the cast won't keep him from playing a complete game.

Meanwhile, junior tailback Musa Smith and sophomore wide receiver Fred Gibson will both undergo surgery to repair thumb injuries.

Smith plans to lobby to play against the Wildcats this week.

"I'm going to try to get them to let me play this Saturday, but they'll probably hold me out," he said.

The Bulldogs, who Monday were ranked fifth in the first BCS poll of the year, play arch-rival Florida on Nov. 2 after the Kentucky contest.


Badgers to play without Evans this season

MADISON, Wis., Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Lee Evans, a senior wide receiver at Wisconsin, has abandoned his hopes to play for the Badgers this fall, and a decision about redshirting has yet to be made.

Evans suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in the school's spring game in April, and underwent surgery on May 22. He had planned to be ready for the Badgers' Big Ten opener Oct. 5 against Penn State, but persistent knee swelling led to a delay, and the Badgers' medical staff refused to clear him to play.

The injury happened shortly after Evans decided not to forego the 2002 campaign and return to Madison this fall. Because he has a year of college eligibility remaining, he would have to declare for the NFL draft in January.

Evans continued to work out with the team in hopes of returning at a later date, but Coach Barry Alvarez told reporters that Evans has taken his doctors' advice and will not play this fall.

His missing the Ohio State game last Saturday was the last straw.

"He was obviously disappointed," Alvarez said, "yet I think he understood that it is in his best interests to wait a little bit longer and let it (the knee) heal."

Evans was unavailable for comment.

"We'll continue as a staff and football team to support and consult him in any way we possibly can," Alvarez said. "I don't feel comfortable talking about the specifics of the knee. All I know is that the doctors told me that they felt it needed rest and continued rehab, but more than anything else, rest. He needed rest right now and that they would make a decision at a further date at what he will do."

Evans' big-play capability has been a missing ingredient in the Badgers' offense this season and now they need to find a player who can help open up an otherwise conservative attack.

"I felt all along we would prepare without Lee," said Alvarez. "If he would have come back, it would have been a bonus. We'll just continue to prepare and play as we have."

Alvarez said Evans will continue to work with the team's other receivers.

"He's done a tremendous job in helping develop those young receivers and being there for all of the time for them, in the game and during practice," Alvarez said. "He will continue to work with them. He's really an important part of our football team as a leader as well as helping those guys to come along. He has been awesome in that way."

In 2001, Evans was one of the nation's leading pass-catchers, hauling in 75 throws for a league-record 1,545 yards. That made him a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award as the top 1-A receiver in the country.

Wisconsin, which is 5-3 overall, 0-3 in the Big Ten, has been one of the nation's biggest disappointments this fall. The Badgers have lost their last three games, including a second straight setback to unheralded Indiana, and have long since fallen out of the ESPN/USA Today college football coaches poll. They were ranked as high as No. 15 earlier this fall.


Rabedeaux steps down as UTEP basketball coach

EL PASO, Texas, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Jason Rabedeaux, the men's basketball coach at Texas-El Paso, late Monday resigned from his job, citing personal priorities.

In three seasons with the Miners, Rabedeaux went 46-46. After he guided the team to its first postseason appearance in six years two seasons ago, UTEP went just 13-15 in 2001-02.

Rabedeaux stressed that he wasn't fired or forced out. He also said he wasn't stepping away from what he thought was a losing situation. He said that he just has things in his life he needs to prioritize.

"Right now, at 37 years of age for Jason Rabedeaux, what defense we're in, and how many points we score, and when the next booster function is are not at the top of my list," he said. "I felt at this time it was in the best interest of our basketball program and our university that a change in leadership be made. It's a difficult decision, but one right now in my life that needed to be made. I'll coach again, but right now I need to prioritize and do something different."

Two seasons ago, Rabedeaux, whose annual salary is $145,000, led the Miners to a 23-9 mark and a trip to the National Invitation Tournament. That followed a 13-15 campaign, Rabedeaux's first as a head coach after serving as an assistant for five years at Oklahoma State.

Last season, the Miners slumped to 10-22, the most losses in a single campaign in school history.

"He did things his second year here that no one else has done, winning 20 games," said Athletic Director Bob Stull. "He's certainly going to be a part of UTEP history in a very positive manner."

Stull said Assistant Coach Junsie Cotton, 30, could become the interim coach, but said he hasn't had a lot of time to think about it. For now, he is being called "the point man."

Legendary former coach Don Haskins already has said he is not interested in the job.

"It's a tough situation," said Cotton, "but we have to deal with it. (The players) were shocked, surprised, but they also know Coach Rab has issues to deal with right now."

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