ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Horace Grant, a key member of the Chicago Bulls' first three NBA titles, was waived Wednesday by the Orlando Magic.
Grant, 37, played in only five games for the Magic this season, averaging 5.2 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 17 minutes. He missed 17 games due to a sore left knee and one with back spasms.
"Horace has had a great run," Magic Coach Doc Rivers said. "Simply put, his body just won't let him do the things he used to do."
Grant has been a part of four NBA championship teams, the Bulls from 1991-93 and the Los Angeles Lakers in 2001. He has earned NBA All-Defensive Second Team honors four times and played in the 1994 All-Star Game.
The 10th overall pick by the Bulls in the 1987 draft, Grant has averaged 11.5 points and 8.3 rebounds in 1,110 regular-season games. He also has appeared in 170 playoff games.
The 6-10, 245-pounder spent six-plus seasons with the Magic, returning last season after leaving following the 1998-99 campaign. He ranks in the top 10 in 10 different categories all-time for the Magic.
"We are sorry to see Horace go but honestly felt his contributions were limited," General Manager John Gabriel said. "He's had a great career and has the championship rings to prove it."
Five players named Heisman finalists
NEW YORK, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- The Heisman Trophy race was limited Wednesday to only five players.
Dorsey and McGahee are the first Heisman Trophy finalists from the same school since Ki-Jana Carter and Kerry Collins of Penn State in 1994. They finished second and fourth, respectively, in the voting.
Dorsey was third in last year's voting after guiding the Hurricanes to an unbeaten season and national championship. He is halfway there this season, with only the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State standing in Miami's way.
In improving to 38-1 as a starter, Dorsey has completed 194-of-350 passes for 3,073 yards with 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions this season.
McGahee wasn't even supposed to start at tailback this year, but he can become the first sophomore to win the award. He set the school record for touchdowns (27), yards rushing (1,686), total yards (2,036) and 100-yard games (10).
With this year's Heisman race as close as any in recent history, McGahee helped himself Saturday, when he ran 39 times for a career-high 205 yards and a school-record six touchdowns.
Finally living up to expectations, Palmer is trying to become the first Heisman winner from a West Coast school since USC's Marcus Allen in 1981. He has completed nearly 63 percent of his passes for 3,639 yards with 32 TDs and 10 interceptions this season.
A senior from California, Palmer finished the regular season with 425 yards passing - the most ever allowed by Notre Dame - and four TDs in a 44-13 win. He will lead the fifth-ranked Trojans into the Orange Bowl against Iowa.
Johnson became only the ninth player in Division I-A history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season, amassing 2,015. He has added 341 yards receiving - a school record for running backs - and 2,575 all-purpose yards, the ninth-best total in NCAA history.
Banks is the sleeper of the five, having come from nowhere to lead third-ranked Iowa to its first 11-win season and a berth in the Orange Bowl after never starting a Division I-A game.
A senior from Florida, Banks has completed 155-of-258 passes for 2,369 yards with 25 TDs and four interceptions. He also has ran for 387 yards and five scores.
The winner will be announced Saturday at the Yale Club in New York.
Giants suspend Ron Dixon
NEW YORK, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- The New York Giants Wednesday suspended veteran wide receiver Ron Dixon for one game.
Dixon, who was suspended without pay because of what was termed for "conduct detrimental to the team," also was fined and suspended by the team as a rookie two years ago.
In a statement, the Giants said Dixon, who has missed three of the last four games with a knee injury, has been late for team meetings, missed treatments, and failed to show up for scheduled doctors' appointments.
Coach Jim Fassel said he chose to suspend Dixon because of his repeat-offender status. The suspension began Wednesday morning, and Dixon cannot re-join the team until Dec. 18.
During his rookie season, Dixon was suspended for a Dec. 10 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers after arriving late for a walk-through the day before. Before his NFL regular season on Sept. 3, 2000, he was fined by Fassel for oversleeping and missing a team meeting.
Dixon is fifth on the Giants with 22 receptions for 377 yards and two touchdowns this season. He was promoted to the starting lineup after Ike Hilliard suffered a season-ending dislocated shoulder on Oct. 28 at Philadelphia.
In his first two games as a starter, Dixon caught four passes, including an eight-yard touchdown against Jacksonville, and four passes for 107 yards at Minnesota, his first career 100-yard game.
Dixon suffered a partially-torn ligament in his knee against the Vikings, and missed games against Washington and Houston.
He returned on Dec. 1 against Tennessee, and caught five passes for 93 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown.
Dixon did not play last week against the Redskins, and was listed as doubtful prior to the suspension.
The Giants (7-6), who are still mathematically alive for the postseason, host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
Baylor hires former Kentucky coach
WACO, Texas, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Guy Morriss Wednesday was introduced as the new football coach at Baylor.
The downtrodden Bears have had one of the losingest Division I programs in the country in recent years. They has four-year record of 4-32 under Morriss' successor, Kevin Steele, winning just one conference game in the Big 12.
Steele, who had a 24-game conference losing streak, was fired Nov. 3.
Morriss spent 18 years in the National Football League, where he was an All-Pro player, played in two Super Bowls, and coached for three seasons.
He is a native Texan (Colorado City, Texas) who played high school and college football in Texas, and has recruited in the state for years.
During his tenure at Kentucky, the Wildcats had 10 players earn All-SEC recognition, and two were named All-American. In his six seasons at the school, four UK offensive linemen were selected first-team All-SEC, and three earned freshman All-America honors.
Morriss is second coach in the last two weeks to leave an SEC school for the Big 12 in Texas. On Friday, Dennis Franchione left Alabama to fill the vacancy at Texas A&M.
He assistant at Kentucky from 1997-2000, and took over for Hal Mumme in 2001, posting a two-year record of 9-14.
Utah hires Meyer
SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- The University of Utah Wednesday hired Urban Meyer as its new football coach.
Meyer posted a two-year record of 17-6 at Bowling Green. He will be introduced officially at a news conference on Thursday.
Bowling Green was the most improved team in the country in 2001, going 8-3 after winning just two games in 2000. This year, the Falcons finished 9-3, and were ranked in the top 25 for five weeks.
"Urban is one of the brightest stars in the coaching fraternity and he has left our program in tremendous shape," said Bowling Green Athletic director Paul Krebs.
Prior to joining the staff at Bowling Green, Meyer, 38, spent four seasons as the wide receivers coach at Notre Dame. The 1986 graduate of Cincinnati also has coached at Ohio State, Illinois State, and Colorado State.
At Utah, Meyer will replace long-time coach Ron McBride, who was dismissed after posting a 13-year record of 88-63.
The Utes have gone just 17-17 since the start of the 2000 campaign, including 10-11 in the Mountain West Conference. They went 5-6 this season.
Saban steps down at Chowan
MURFREESBORO, N.C., Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Lou Saban has resigned as football coach at Chowan College after winning just two games in two season.
Saban, 81, was hired on an interim basis in October of 2001 with five games to play after the resignation of Steve Lee.
The Braves went 2-3 during his 2001 tenure, and Saban was hired full-time.
In 2002, the Braves went 0-10 under the former NFL coaching great. They were plagued by injuries and inexperience.
"I enjoyed the opportunity to work with such a successful football legend," said Athletic Director Debbie Warren. "I am also very encouraged by the spirit of competitiveness that he has instilled in the football program while at Chowan."
"I would like to say that I am deeply grateful to Coach Saban for his willingness to step in at an awkward time to help Chowan's athletic program," said President Dr. Stanley Lott. "He brought a wealth of knowledge, wisdom, and experience that is hard to find."
Saban is a member of the Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame. In 1964 and '65, he led the Bills to record of 12-2 and 10-3-1, respectively, and two AFC titles. His overall record of 70-47-1 is second-best in Bills history behind Marv Levy.
Defensive backs coach Steve Gill has been named as Saban's successor.
"I am looking forward to working with someone as energetic as Steve," Warren said. "I feel he is someone who is ready to take the reign and build a solid program at Chowan College."
Gill has coached ten seasons at the college level, including stints at Frostburg State College, Western Maryland, and Waynesburg College.
Boise State coach gets five-year extension
POCATELLO, Idaho, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Boise State football coach Dan Hawkins, who has his team among the nation's elite in the rankings, was awarded with a five-year contract extension Wednesday.
The Idaho State board of education approved an extension through 2008 for Hawkins, who is completing the second year of a three-year deal he signed in December 2000.
The new agreement will continue to pay Hawkins an annual base salary of $141,750 but will increase his pay for media and public appearances to $158,250 a season, bringing his cumulative salary to $300,000.
There also are merit increases and incentive agreements in the new deal. Hawkins will collect five percent of his cumulative salary if Boise State wins six games in a season, 10 percent for eight wins and 15 percent for 10 wins.
Hawkins will receive an extra 8.3 percent of his salary if the team is ranked in the top 25 and another 8.3 percent if the Broncos appear in a bowl game. He will get six percent if the team wins a conference championship or six percent if it fails to win a league title but makes it to a bowl game.
If Hawkins terminates his contract before 2008, he must pay Boise State $100,000.
The Broncos are 11-0 this season after rolling through the Western Athletic Conference at 8-0. They are 15th in the College Coaches football poll and will play Iowa State at home in the Humanitarian Bowl on New Year's Eve.
Brewers sign Clayton to one-year deal
MILWAUKEE, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Free agent shortstop Royce Clayton, who spent the last two seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Wednesday signed a one-year contract with Milwaukee.
Last season, Clayton, 32, batted .251 with seven homers and 35 RBI in 112 games. He set a White Sox franchise record with a fielding percentage of .989, the third-best mark of all major league shortstops behind Baltimore's Mike Bordick (.998) and Cleveland's Omar Vizquel (.990).
Over the past two seasons, Clayton has committed just 12 errors in 1,033 chances. After a slow start last year, he batted .331 from June 22 through the end of the season.
Clayton is a career .258 hitter with 86 homers, 534 RBI and 187 stolen bases in 1,459 games with the White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants. He began his major
Blue Jays sign Myers to one-year deal
TORONTO, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Veteran catcher Greg Myers is back where he started after signing a one-year, $800,000 contract Wednesday with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Myers was selected by the Blue Jays in the third round of the 1984 draft and spent parts of five seasons with them before getting traded to the California Angels in the middle of the 1992 season, the year Toronto won the first of two World Series.
Myers, 36, batted .222 with six home runs and 21 RBI in 65 games with the Oakland Athletics last season. He has a .250 average with 72 homers and 342 RBI in 973 career games with seven teams.
Tom Wilson and Ken Huckaby did most of the catching for the Blue Jays last season. The 31-year-old Wilson, who was with Oakland in 2001, batted .257 with eight homers and 37 RBI in 96 games. The 30-year-old Huckaby hit .245 with three homers and 22 RBI in 88 games.
Erickson has shoulder injury
BALTIMORE, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Baltimore Orioles righthander Scott Erickson has a torn muscle in his right shoulder.
Erickson missed 1 1/2 seasons with elbow problems before returning in 2002.
The team announced Wednesday that Erickson will undergo a rehabilitation program and is expected to be ready in time for that start of spring training.
Erickson, 34, had "Tommy John" surgery on his right elbow in August 2000 and missed all of the 2001 season before going 5-12 with a 5.55 ERA in 29 games in 2002.
Erickson, who relies on keeping the ball down and getting groundouts, is 140-128 with a 4.51 ERA in 355 career games. He had his best season with the Orioles in 1997, when he was 16-7 with a 3.69 ERA as Baltimore won the American League East Division.
In his second major league season, he went 20-8 with a 3.18 ERA, and helped the Minnesota Twins win their second World Series title in 1991.