In Sports from United Pres International

May 9, 2002 at 11:52 PM
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Coach Dan Devine dead at 77

PHOENIX, May 10 (UPI) -- Dan Devine, whose Hall of Fame coaching career included a national championship with Notre Dame in 1977, died Thursday after a long illness. He was 77.

Devine coached 22 seasons at Arizona State, Missouri and Notre Dame, posting a 173-46-9 record, and also spent four seasons as coach of the NFL's Green Bay Packers, winning an NFC Central Division title in 1972.

A native of Wisconsin, Devine will best be remembered as the coach who replaced Hall of Famer Ara Parseghian as coach at Notre Dame in 1975. Devine won a national title in his third season at South Bend as the Fighting Irish went 11-1 and defeated previously unbeaten Texas, 38-10, in the Cotton Bowl.

In six seasons at Notre Dame, Devine was 53-16-1.

Devine became a head coach in 1955 when he was hired by Arizona State at the age of 31. He made an immediate impact, posting an 8-2-1 record in his first season and beginning a highly successful three-year tenure in Tempe. In 1957, the Sun Devils finished 10-0 for the first perfect season and national ranking in school history.

Arizona State had nine shutouts under Devine, including four in 1957.

Devine left for Missouri in 1958, beginning a 13-year stay in which the Tigers were 93-37-7 and never lost more than three games in a season. Missouri won the 1961 Orange Bowl, 1963 Bluebonnet Bowl, 1966 Sugar Bowl and 1969 Gator Bowl with Devine on the sidelines.

Lured to the NFL in 1971, Devine was just 25-27-4 in four seasons in Green Bay. His best season was 1972, when the Packers were 10-4 and Devine was named Coach of the Year by the Pro Football Writers.

Devine was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1985.

Detroit one game away from advancing in NHL

ST. LOUIS, May 10 (UPI) -- Captain Steve Yzerman celebrated his 37th birthday with a goal and an assist Thursday night as the Detroit Red Wings withstood a valiant comeback attempt and defeated the St. Louis Blues, 4-3, to take a commanding three games to one lead in their NHL Western Conference semifinal series.

Carolina and Montreal are all even (2-2) in their series after Carolina won 4-3 in overtime Thursday night.

After registering a convincing 6-1 victory in Game Three, St. Louis scored 4:24 into the game when Scott Young cashed in on a two-man advantage. But Detroit took control from there.

After St. Louis defenseman Chris Pronger left the game with an apparent leg injury, Brendan Shanahan and defenseman Jiri Fischer scored 2:32 apart late in the first period to give the Red Wings a 2-1 lead.

The winner of the Hart and Norris Trophy in 2000, Pronger was upended by Yzerman along the boards and fell to the ice with 9:40 remaining in the session. Pronger seemed to be favoring his left leg as he made his way to the dressing room and did not return.

Sorenstam takes lead at Electrolux

FRANKLIN, Tenn., May 10 (UPI) -- Annika Sorenstam shot a 7-under-par 65 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead over five golfers after the first round of the Electrolux USA Championship.

As one of the LPGA's most visible stars, Sorenstam often is slated for afternoon tee times that attract a larger number of fans. But she had an early start Thursday and took advantage of the favorable conditions to post a bogey-free round at the Legends Club of Tennessee Ironhorse Course.

Sorenstam, who leads the money list with $566,242, hopes to rebound from an uncharacteristically poor showing. She tied for 59th at last week's Chick-fil-A Championship. In six previous events this year, she has two wins and a pair of runner-up finishes.

Wendy Ward, Kris Tschetter, Brandie Burton, Mhairi McKay of Scotland and Wendy Doolan of Australia all shot 67s on Thursday to share second place.

Saints drop Randy Mueller as GM

METAIRIE, La., May 10 (UPI) -- After conducting the NFL draft and making numerous offseason signings, Randy Mueller is out as general manager of the New Orleans Saints.

Saints owner Tom Benson announced on Thursday that Mueller has been released from his contract so "he can pursue another position that reflects his style of management."

Benson immediately assumed the position of general manager.

The timing of Mueller's departure is stunning since he has already shaped the 2002 team with major offseason moves. He traded leading rusher Ricky Williams to the Miami Dolphins for draft picks to pave the way for Deuce McAllister, shipped perennial Pro Bowl tackle William Roaf to the Kansas City Chiefs, signed numerous free agents and made the team's picks in the April draft.

Yet Benson waited until two months before the start of training camp to fire Mueller.

"This had to do with Randy's management style," Benson said at a news conference Thursday afternoon. "It had nothing to do with wins and losses, it had to do with style of management. I felt he needed to do a better job of communicating. He wanted to manage things in a different way than I wanted to manage."

Mueller took over as general manager for the Saints in January 2000, shortly after Benson fired coach Mike Ditka and general manager Bill Kuharich, and was named as executive of the year.

Mueller hired Jim Haslett as coach, who in the 2000 season led the Saints to a 10-6 record, the NFC West title and the franchise's first playoff win. But the Saints finished 7-9 last season, dropping their last four games.

Molder, Durant share lead at Nelson

IRVING, Texas, May 10 (UPI) -- Bryce Molder, a 22-year-old four-time All-American at Georgia Tech, carded a 7-under-par 63 on Thursday for the low round of his brief pro career and shares the lead with Joe Durant after the first round of the Byron Nelson Classic.

Esteban Toledo, Nick Price, Frank Lickliter, David Gossett and Lee Janzen all are tied for third at 6-under 64. Eleven players are within two shots of the lead.

Birdies were plentiful Thursday as 33 players shot 67 or better. However, Tiger Woods did not share in the wealth as the Masters champion shot a 1-over 71.

After missing the cut in six of his first seven PGA tournaments this year, Molder showed signs of turning things around by tying for ninth last week at the Compaq Classic. He was in contention until bogeying the final three holes.

The Arkansas native gained a share of the lead by shooting a 5-under 30 on the back nine at the host TPC Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas course. He made a strong closing charge, birdying six of the final eight holes.

Russia, Slovakia win hockey shootouts

GOTHENBURG, Sweden, May 10 (UPI) -- Russia and Slovakia will meet for the gold medal after emerging with semifinal shootout wins Thursday at the World Hockey Championships.

Russia mustered only 12 shots on goal, but rode the superb goaltending of Maxim Sokolov to a 3-2 victory over Finland. Sokolov made 38 saves and stoned the Finns in the shootout.

Miroslav Satan's power-play goal with 1:58 left in the third period pulled his team into a 2-2 tie and Ziggy Palffy and Richard Lintner scored on Tommy Salo during the shootout to lead the Slovaks to a 3-2 win over Sweden.

Russia, which won the bronze medal at the Olympics, will meet Slovakia on Saturday in the gold medal game.

Finland will meet Sweden for the bronze on Friday.

Capriati, Serena Williams into quarterfinals

BERLIN, May 10 (UPI) -- Top seed Jennifer Capriati and Serena Williams, both from the United States. moved into the quarterfinals Thursday at the $1.22 million German Open.

Capriati, the two-time reigning Australian Open champion, routed 14th-seeded Iroda Tulyaganova of Uzbekistan, 6-2, 6-0. The 26-year-old Capriati, who lost to Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo in the final here last year, is seeking her 14th career title. She will face eighth-seeded Sandrine Testud of France in the quarterfinals.

Williams, who also is seeking a 14th career title, defeated Bulgaria's Magdalena Maleeva, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 on Thursday. The 20-year-old Williams is in this tournament for the first time since reaching the quarterfinals in 1999 and will play Mauresmo.

Making her fifth appearance here, Mauresmo cruised to a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Italy's Silvia Farina Elia.

Israel's Anna Smashnova, who called her second-round win over second-seeded Belgian Kim Clijsters the biggest of her career, eliminated Spain's Cristina Torrens Valero, 7-6 (7-0), 6-0.

Mets' Franco done for season

NEW YORK, May 10 (UPI) -- Long-time New York Mets reliever John Franco needs "Tommy John" surgery to repair an avulsion of the MCL and flexor tendon in his left elbow and will miss at least the rest of the season.

Franco, the National League's all-time leader with 422 saves over a remarkably durable 18-year career, has not pitched since undergoing surgery Dec. 3 to remove a calcium deposit in the elbow.

The 41-year-old southpaw was delivered the bad news before Wednesday night's game against San Francisco by Mets General Manager Steve Phillips, Manager Bobby Valentine and team physician Dr. Andrew Rokito, who administered the MRI that found the damage.

Franco was advised to wait before deciding whether to undergo the ligament replacement surgery, which would put him out of action for approximately one year, or end his career.

The New York native who was named the Mets' captain last May, Franco was acquired from Cincinnati prior to the 1990 season. The four-time All-Star trails only Lee Smith (478) on the all-time saves list. Franco has the most games pitched (605) and saves (274) in Mets history.

Falcons oust General Manager

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga., May 10 (UPI) -- The reshuffling of the Atlanta Falcons' front office has cost general manager Harold Richardson his job.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank recently completed the purchase of the team from the Smith family and promised a reorganization of the front office. One of those moves came Thursday when the team announced that Richardson, who has served as general manager since January 1998, will "pursue other opportunities" in the NFL.

In his role, Richardson served as the team's salary cap administrator and was responsible for player contract negotiators. The major personnel decisions are made by Dan Reeves, the Coach and Executive Director of Football Operations.

Richardson joined the Falcons in February 1997 as assistant head coach-football operations, and helped build a team that went to the Super Bowl following the 1998 season.

Prior to joining the Falcons, Richardson spent eight seasons with the Denver Broncos as a coach and administrator.

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