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UPI NewsTrack Sports

Feb. 1, 2013 at 5:15 PM   |   Comments

Brothers Harbaugh take Super Bowl stage

NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- NFL coaches Jim and John Harbaugh have made Super Bowl XLVII a family affair, pointing out their many relatives at a news conference Friday.

Jim Harbaugh, the coach of the San Francisco 49ers, takes on John Harbaugh's Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl Sunday. They appeared Friday at the first joint coaches' news conference prior to the NFL title game.

But that is because it is the first time brother-coached teams will meet for the title.

While the stage had two Harbaughs in the spotlight, other members of the family were around the room.

"I just want to start by saying what an honor it is for both of us to be here with each other, no question about it," said John Harbaugh. "What a very exciting moment it is, but even more than that for our families to be here. For our mom and dad, sitting right over there, Jack and Jackie and for Grandpa Joe -- 97-years-old and going strong -- and Bob Sepidi, our uncle, and Chad, our cousin."

He didn't mention Jim's son Jay, who is a coaching intern with John's Ravens.

Asked about the mixed emotions Sunday -- with one brother winning and the other losing -- John Harbaugh said it will be a different brotherhood that will take precedence.

"It's not really about how we're going to feel," John Harbaugh said. "It's about the teams. We're fiercely loyal, there's no doubt. That's definitely not ever going to change.

"We'll continue to be fiercely loyal and protective of one another but also of our teams. The band of brothers will be the brothers on the sideline. That'll be the band of brothers in this competition."


NBA players' union head placed on leave

NEW YORK, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- NBA players' union head Billy Hunter is on indefinite leave of absence as the National Basketball Player's Association reorganizes, the group said Friday.

Hunter had led the NBA players' union since 1996 but recently was the subject of an investigation. It showed no evidence of illegal activities by Hunter but there were findings of questionable behavior.

"In light of the detailed findings contained in the recent [investigative] report ... the ongoing criminal and civil investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, and the need to ensure an orderly and appropriate meeting of the player representatives at All Star Weekend, the Players have requested that the Executive Committee protect the Players' interest and move the Union forward," the association said in a statement.

NBPA Deputy General Counsel Ron Klempner was appointed acting executive director.

The union's Executive Committee formed an Interim Executive Committee and an Advisory Committee, which both voted unanimously to place Hunter on leave, the NBPA release stated.

"Unfortunately, it appears that union management has lost sight of the NBPA's only task, to serve the best interests of their membership. This is the reason I called for a review almost a year ago," union President Derek Fisher said, citing the review of Hunter's leadership he called for in the wake of the lockout before last season.


Sterne still in front at in Dubai

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Richard Sterne used an 18th-hole birdie to hold onto the lead Friday at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic in the United Arab Emirates.

Sterne rode a 10-under-par 62 to the first-round lead but his second round was a more sedate 2-under 70. He's at 12-under 132 halfway through the tournament.

Thorbjorn Olesen, for the second time in the tournament, had a string of four consecutive birdies en route to a 6-under 66 and Tommy Fleetwood shot a bogey-free 68 and Stephen Gallacher, who again had back-to-back bogeys, had a 70 in creating a three-way tie for second. They are at 11-under, one stroke back of Sterne.

Chris Doak (69 Friday), Andreas Harto (67) and Maximilian Kieffer (68) are tied for fifth at 12-under 134.

Sterne opened his second round with a birdie but had his first bogey of the tournament at the No. 4. He also bogeyed the 14th hole but dropped in birdies on all three of the par 5s on the second nine. His 4 at the 564-yard 18th pulled him ahead of Olesen, Fleetwood and Gallacher.

Olesen, who had birdies over Nos. 4-7 Thursday, matched that run with birdies over 10-13 in the second round.

Gallacher had bogeys at the 12th and 14h holes, where he went birdie-eagle in the first round.


Kirilenko through to Pattaya semifinals

PATTAYA, Thailand, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- No. 2-seeded Maria Kirilenko used a straight-set win Friday to advance to the semifinals of the WTA's PTT Pattaya Open in Thailand.

Kirilenko, who lost to Daniela Hantuchova in the 2012 Pattaya final, defeated seventh-seeded Elena Vesnina 7-6 (8-6), 6-3 on Friday. Each player had a break in the tight first set but Kirilenko ran off the final three points of the tiebreaker for the match lead.

She backed that up with three breaks in the second set when she won 57 percent of the points off Vesnina's serve.

Fourth-seeded Sorana Cirstea will go against Kirilenko in the semifinals after she beat Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 6-0 in just 57 minutes. She had two breaks in the first set and took two-thirds of the points in sweeping through the second.

Sabine Lisicki, the No. 5 seed, stopped Marina Erakovic -7, 6-3, 6-2 and unseeded Nina Bratchikova got by Ayumi Morita 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 in the other quarterfinal matches.

Kirilenko and Vesnina have split their four career matches but Kirilenko won twice last year. Saturday will mark the first time Lisicki and Bratchikova play each other.

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