Johnson wins another Cy Young award
NEW YORK, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Arizona Diamondbacks lefthander Randy Johnson received all 32 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers Association of America and Tuesday captured the highest honor in pitching for the fourth straight season.
The only other pitcher to win the Cy Young award four straight seasons was Atlanta Braves righthander Greg Maddux (1992-95). Maddux also was the last unanimous selection in 1995.
Johnson, 39, went 24-5 with a 2.32 ERA in 35 starts, and is the fourth-oldest Cy Young Award winner ever. He had eight complete games, including four shutouts, and struck out 334 batters in 260 innings.
One of the hardest throwers in history, Johnson led the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts, held opponents to a .208 batting average, and nearly was unbeatable following an Arizona loss. For good measure, he went 5-0 with a 0.66 ERA in September.
The 6-10 southpaw also won the American League Cy Young Award with the Seattle Mariners in 1995. Only Roger Clemens, who won his sixth Cy Young Award last year, has more.
Johnson's teammate, Curt Schilling, was the runner-up, receiving 29 second-place votes.
Schilling, who turns 36 on Nov. 14, was 23-7 with a 3.23 ERA in 35 starts. He completed just five games and only had one shutout, but posted a remarkable walk-to-strikeout ratio of 33-to-316. The veteran righthander was 11-2 in the division, and held opponents to a .224 batting average.
As good as he was, Schilling had a rough finish, giving up 18 runs in his final three appearances, enabling Johnson to pull away.
John Smoltz, who made a stunning 18-month transformation from frontline starter to All-Star closer, received one second-place vote and was third overall in the voting.
The 35-year-old righthander set an NL record with 55 saves, blowing just four this season. He posted a 3.25 ERA and held opponents to a .206 batting average. He was spectacular in the
second half, going 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA, and 24 saves in 25 opportunities.
Davis to remain suspended by Cougars
PULLMAN, Wash., Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Washington State University linebacker Ira Davis will be on the school's suspended list until teammate Jason David is fully recovered from his fractured cheek bone and can return to the team.
Davis was suspended after attacking his teammate in the Cougar locker room on Oct. 29. David suffered three fractures of his right cheek bone in the altercation.
David, a cornerback, and Davis were starters on defense. Both are juniors.
"Ira is suspended indefinitely," said Coach Mike Price. "He will not be allowed to rejoin his teammates until Jason David fully recovers from his injury and returns to the team. In addition, Ira and I have agreed on several points he must comply with during his suspension. When he meets those expectations and Jason is ready to play, then he will be taken back as a member of the team.
Price added he is looking forward to putting the matter to rest.
"One of my stipulations is (Davis') involvement in an anger management program," said Price. "The other points we have agreed on will be between me and Ira Davis. When Jason plays, Ira will play. Ira is still as remorseful as any athlete in my program who has gotten into trouble."
Davis slugged his teammate in the face in the locker room after being misinformed that David was somehow involved with his girlfriend. David suffered three fractures of his cheekbone, had surgery, and will be lost 4-6 weeks.
Michigan State football coach fired
EAST LANSING, Mich., Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Michigan State football coach Bobby Williams was fired late Monday as the Spartans disappointing season bottomed out over the weekend, and an increasingly tumultuous period in MSU history finally came to a close.
Offensive coordinator Morris Watts will serve as interim coach until the end of the season, said Athletics Director Ron Mason.
"When I was named athletics director, I promised decisive leadership," Mason said at a news conference. "I assured the administration that I would make the decisions I thought were in the best interests of the athletics department and the entire university. I knew some of them would be difficult ones and didn't expect one this early."
According to a report Tuesday by the Detroit News, three words convinced Mason that a change was needed in football coaches: "I don't know."
That was Williams' reply to a question by a reporter after last Saturday's humiliating 49-3 loss to archrival Michigan as to whether or not he had lost control of the team.
Led by quarterback Jeff Smoker and receiver Charles Rodgers, the Spartans began the season with high hopes and were considered a dark horse candidate to play for the national title.
But, after back-to-back wins, the Spartans went into a free fall, losing six of their next seven games, including the Michigan debacle. The Spartans have lost four games in a row by an average of more than 28 points.
Rumors about Williams' likely dismissal have been running rampant almost from the start of the season.
On Sunday, the school announced Smoker has a substance abuse problem and dismissed arrested running back Dawan Moss from the team.
On Oct. 24, Williams suspended the 21-year-old Smoker for an undisclosed violation of team rules.
Smoker, a junior, threw for 1,593 yards, 13 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions before his suspension.
Moss was dismissed by Williams after his arrest Saturday night on felony and misdemeanor charges.
According to Lansing Police Department Sgt. Dave Dahlke, Moss was charged with fleeing and eluding, a felony, operating a vehicle under the influence, and resisting arrest, a pair of misdemeanors. He was jailed, arraigned on the charges Sunday morning, and posted bond.
The alleged incident took place at the Lansing Center in downtown Lansing. Dahlke said Moss had contact with an officer while he was driving and that an officer was injured, although he declined to be more specific.
Moss, a senior, was MSU's leading rusher with 592 yards and four touchdowns on 125 carries.
"It became clear to me that the direction of the football program required this decision," Mason said. "There was no one incident, event, episode or game that determined my conclusion. Therefore, I don't think it wise or helpful to publicly analyze any single event or incident. I made the decision today. There was no reason to prolong what I had determined was inevitable."
Williams, who became Michigan State's coach on Dec. 5, 1999, following 10 years as running backs coach, was 16-17 after taking over for current LSU Coach Nick Saban.
Since the start of the 2000 campaign, the Spartans have led the Big Ten with 15 conference losses. Williams, one of only four black football coaches in Division I-A, was just 1-9 on the road in Big Ten play.
Mason said Watts has no intentions of remaining coach past this season.
One person who was angered by Williams' firing played the race card.
"Since I have been an adult, MSU has had a reputation for fairness to minorities," Joel Ferguson, the only black member of the MSU Board of Trustees, said Monday in a written statement. "What is now incredibly disappointing to me is that MSU, under the cover of night, has decided to ignore the facts, ignore the precedent, and damage its reputation of fairness and commitment to diversity."
The two men before Williams, George Perles and Saban, each made it through four years, most of which were controversial for both and rather contentious. Perles currently is out of college coaching.
Rangers retain Hershiser
ARLINGTON, Texas, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- New Texas Rangers Manager Buck Showalter has retained pitching coach Orel Hershiser and hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo.
The team also announced Tuesday that first base and outfield coach DeMarlo Hale and third base and infield coach Steve Smith will return. Mark Connor was named bullpen coach, and Don Wakamatsu bench coach.
"I am very pleased with the makeup of our coaching staff," said Showalter, who was named Rangers manager on Oct. 11. "I had the opportunity to visit extensively with DeMarlo, Orel, Rudy and Steve, and was extremely impressed with each. They all have a great knowledge of this organization, and I'm happy they are returning to the staff."
Hershiser replaced Oscar Acosta on June 22 after joining the Rangers last November as a special assistant to General Manager John Hart. Hershiser, a former National League Cy Young Award winner and the MVP of the with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988, will work with a staff that finished 12th in the American League with a 5.16 ERA.
Jaramillo is returning for his ninth season, the longest tenure of any Rangers coach. He is serving as the hitting coach for the major league All-Stars for their Japanese Tour.
Connor served under Showalter with the Arizona Diamondbacks. At Arizona, Connor was the pitching coordinator before the team's inaugural season, and the pitching coach from 1998-2000.
Wakamatsu spent the previous two seasons as minor league coordinator and roving catching instructor for the Anaheim Angels.