In Sports from United Press International

Nov. 12, 2002 at 3:34 PM
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, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Lowe resigns from Grizzlies

MEMPHIS, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- With his job in jeopardy and the losses and pressures mounting, Sidney Lowe Tuesday resigned as the basketball coach of the Memphis Grizzlies.

The struggling, woeful Grizzlies have matched the worst start in franchise history at 0-8.

No replacement has been named, but the Grizzlies are expected to hold a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

Lowe's resignation comes one day after the Grizzlies lost to the Golden State Warriors, 108-101, in a duel of two of the NBA's worst teams. The crowd of 10,112 was the lowest to attend a Grizzlies game since the franchise relocated from Vancouver last year.

Lowe vowed he was going to shake things up for Monday's game and did, starting Gordan Giricek for shooting guard Wesley Person and Lorenzen Wright for center Stromile Swift, who was not with the team for personal reasons. He also gave extended playing time to rookie guard Mike Batiste and point guard Earl Watson.

Lowe, who was the fifth head coach in the Grizzlies' eight-year history, was in his third season at the helm. He led Memphis to a franchise-best 23 wins in each of his first two campaigns.

The former North Carolina State star, who helped the Wolfpack win the NCAA Final Four in 1983, also has coached the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Tejada named AL MVP

NEW YORK, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- In a major surprise Tuesday, Oakland Athletics shortstop Miguel Tejada, who led his team to a third straight postseason in 2002, was named American League Most Valuable Player.

Tejada received 21 first-place votes and a total of 356 points from the Baseball Writers' Association to become the second Athletic in three years to be named MVP. Jason Giambi, Oakland's former team leader and best offensive player, won it in 2000. He signed with the New York Yankees as a free agent last winter.

The MVP favorite, Texas Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez, received five first-place votes and was second with 254 points. Rodriguez, who was hoping to become the second MVP from a last-place team in history, led the league with 57 home runs and 142 RBI, both seven more than the next-closest player.

The other two first-place votes went to second baseman Alfonso Soriano of the New York Yankees.

Soriano, 24, was the catalyst on a balanced, veteran lineup, and nearly became the fourth player ever with 40 home runs and 40 stolen bases. He led the AL with 41 stolen bases and 209 hits, and also hit 39 homers.

Report: Cubs official talks to Baker

PHOENIX, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Dusty Baker, who is the top candidate for the job, has been interviewed by the Chicago Cubs for their vacant managerial post., the official website for Major League Baseball, reported the two sides met Monday in the Windy City, and said Cubs General Manager Jim Hendry intimated that Baker is the man for the job.

Their meeting took place in the Phoenix, Ariz., area. They met for nearly 3 1/2 hours before going to dinner together.

"Everything went well," Hendry said. "He's a terrific guy. I've known him for awhile. Nothing changed today. He's the guy that I've always thought he was and would be a great addition to the Cubs. It was a great session. We talked about everything. He was very prepared. We talked about our minor-league players. He was on top of our system. He asked a lot of good questions, and I think he has a good feel for the Cubs. The next step is to get the negotiation process going with his representative."

Hendry planned to meet Tuesday with Baker's agent, Jeff Moorad.

Baker's last contract with the Giants was a two-year, $5.5 million deal, making him baseball's second highest-paid skipper to Joe Torre of the New York Yankees.

Hendry has said money is not an issue in who he hires.

Baker became available last week when San Francisco management decided to end talks with the three-time National League Manager of the Year. He led the Giants to the World Series, but San Francisco lost in seven games to the Anaheim Angels.

Baker, 53, a free agent, is highly sought, but will not interview with Seattle.

With the Cubs, Baker would face a tall order. The team has not posted back-to-back winning seasons since 1971-72.

Under his guidance, the Giants reached the Fall Classic this year for the first time since 1989. The Cubs have not been there since 1945, and haven't won it since 1908.

Baker managed the Giants for 10 seasons, compiling a record of 840-715. San Francisco finished first or second in its division eight times in his 10 seasons at the helm.

Finley files for free agency

NEW YORK, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- On the final day to file for free agency Monday,

aging St. Louis Cardinals lefthander Chuck Finley was one of four players to make himself available on the open market.

Finley, who turns 40 on Nov. 26, split last season between Cleveland and St. Louis. He helped stabilize the St. Louis rotation following the tragic death of Darryl Kile, going 7-4 with a 3.80 ERA. He also picked up his first career postseason win in Game Three of the National League Championship Series against San Francisco.

In 524 career games, Finley owns a record of 200-173 with a 3.85 ERA.

Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Mike Fetters, Houston Astros reliever Doug Brocail, and Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Chad Kreuter also filed on Monday.

Atlanta Braves pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens, Cleveland Indians slugger Jim Thome, and San Francisco Giants second baseman Jeff Kent were among the most prominent players to file this offseason.

Players had until midnight Monday to file paperwork with the Players Association to make themselves available on the open market.

Dec. 7 is the final day for teams to offer salary arbitration to their free agents or lose negotiating rights through May 1.

Gators lose Nelson to foot injury

GAINESVILLE, Fla., Nov. 12 (UPI) -- The seventh-ranked Florida men's basketball team could be without starting guard Brett Nelson for up to a month because of a stress fracture in his right foot.

The 6-4 Nelson, a preseason All-SEC selection, could miss the Gators' season-opener at West Virginia on Dec. 3.

Coach Billy Donovan confirmed the injury, but said that Nelson could return to the court as early as a week or two.

Last season, Nelson averaged 14.6 points per contest. The game at West Virginia was supposed to be a homecoming for Nelson, who is from St. Albans.

Donovan also announced that sophomore guard James White has left the team and plans to transfer. He averaged 6.1 points and 2.9 rebounds as a freshman.

Three surrender in Breeders probe

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Three men who were fraternity brothers at Drexel University in Philadelphia and recently were accused in a betting scam that resulted in payouts of $3 million Tuesday surrendered to authorities in White Plains, N.Y.

Glen DaSilva of New York, Chris Harn of Newark, De., and Derrick Davis of Baltimore, all 29, surrendered at FBI offices in White Plains, and expected to be charged with wire fraud conspiracy.

The trio has been the target of a probe that they manipulated a computer system to ensure winning Pick Six tickets in the Breeders' Cup on Oct. 26 at Arlington Park racetrack in suburban Chicago.

The three were fraternity brothers at Tau Kappa Epsilon when they attended Drexel.

Ed Hayes, the attorney for DaSilva, told the paper recently that the government has no proof that the men did anything wrong.

"They made bets. They won. They got paid," Hayes told the paper. "These are very risky bets. They have very high payouts. Can the government show the bets they placed are different from the bets they won? I don't think so."

The FBI and federal prosecutors confirmed last week that they had joined in the investigation of the suspicious bets.

Sharpe sustains elbow injury

DENVER, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Denver tight end Shannon Sharpe suffered a dislocated right elbow in the first quarter Monday night when the Broncos were manhandled by the hated Oakland Raiders, 34-10.

Team doctors say Sharpe will be lost 2-4 weeks.

Sharpe was injured while trying to make a one-handed catch of a pass by Brian Griese late in the first quarter. He was hit by former Bronco linebacker Bill Romanowski and could not hold onto the ball.

"I landed on (Sharpe's) elbow," Romanowski said. "You hate to see a guy get hurt, but that's the name of the game. Things happen, and on any given play, you never know. I was just glad he dropped the ball. I didn't know he was hurt. He didn't say anything."

"All season, we have been pretty lucky not to lose somebody," said rookie running back Clinton Portis. "When you don't have injuries, look, you go 6-2. Tonight, (the injuries) might have hurt us. When you have injuries though, guys need to step up. And we need to win, no excuses."

Sharpe is the NFL's all-time leader among tight ends in receptions and receiving yards. This season, he is second on the Broncos with 38 catches for 455 yards and two touchdowns.

Denver also lost defensive end Trevor Pryce to a possible torn MCL and offensive tackle Ephraim Salaam to a twisted ankle.

Knee surgery for Van Exel

DALLAS, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Veteran Dallas Mavericks guard Nick Van Exel Monday underwent surgery to repair damaged and torn cartilage in his right knee. He is expected to be sidelined 3-6 weeks.

The arthroscopic surgery was performed by Dr. T.O. Souryal at the Texas Sports Medicine Clinic.

"It (the surgery) happened quickly after the last game," said Mavericks Coach Don Nelson. "Nick just didn't think he could be effective. He talked to the captains and talked to me, and it went very well. They cleaned it up and are very happy with it. We were told four to six weeks. So we're in a situation where we're going to be without Nick for a little bit."

The 6-1 Van Exel has come off the bench in all six games this season and averaged 9.5 points and 3.3 assists per contest. He has shot 38 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range, and 92 percent from the free throw line.

Van Exel, acquired last February along with center Raef LaFrentz in a multi-player deal with Denver, has been forced to play a backup role to point guard Steve Nash in Dallas.

Ironically, LaFrentz also is sidelined for at least the next three weeks with a severely- sprained ankle.

Van Exel, who turns 31 later this month, averaged 21.4 points and 8.1 assists in 45 games with Denver last season before the trade. He has a penchant for shooting too much and feuding with coaches, but has accepted his role with the Mavericks.

Dallas owner Mark Cuban said Van Exel told Nelson and team captains that he would try to gut out the increased pain.

"This is a guy people say is a bad guy. I'll take a guy like Nick anytime. The doctor said Nick has one of the highest pain thresholds he's ever seen."

With Van Exel out, the unbeaten Mavericks will use veteran Avery Johnson, who also was obtained in the Denver deal.

Dallas placed Van Exel on the injured list and activated 6-5 rookie guard Adam Harrington. He is an undrafted free agent out of Auburn who began the season on the injured list with tendinitis in his left knee, and is an excellent long-range shooter.

Gary Williams gets new contract

COLLEGE# PARK, Md., Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Gary Williams, the men's basketball coach at the University of Maryland, has agreed to a new multi-year contract at the school.

Under Williams, the Terrapins have won a national championship and made back-to-back Final Four appearances.

The new deal was announced by Athletic Director Deborah A. Yow, will enhance the financial terms and length of his previous contract, and make him the second highest-paid basketball coach in the prestigious and always-competitive Atlantic Coast Conference.

Specific terms were not disclosed, but there were significant improvements in a number of categories, including the amount of guaranteed compensation, competitive bonuses and academic bonuses, as well as radio, television and personal appearances income.

"We are very pleased to tangibly acknowledge the most recent achievements of Coach Williams through multiple enhancements to his contract," Yow said. "He has rebuilt the struggling basketball program he inherited in 1989 and has transformed Maryland basketball into one of the nation's premier programs."

Williams' existing long-term contract, which ran through May 2008, also was extended by one year through May 31, 2009.

"I'm very happy with my new agreement, and I'm looking forward to completing my coaching career here," Williams said. "I appreciate what the school has done. "The school understands what's going on, where the market is. I still feel very energized about coaching. I wanted practice to start to see how I felt after last year. This summer was crazy. When practice started, you got that old feeling again, this is where you're supposed to be on Oct. 15. It's a great feeling."

Since Williams' arrival as coach in the summer of 1989, the Terrapins have soared to a high level of national prominence.

Included among the many accomplishments during the his tenure are nine consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, which include back-to-back trips to the Final Four, a national championship, and six Sweet 16 appearances.

In 2002, Williams, who also coached at American, Boston College and Ohio State, became the first coach since 1974 to guide his alma mater to a national title. He has a 274-143 record in 13 seasons at Maryland, and an overall record of 481-271.

Sanchez-Vicario retires from tennis

BARCELONA, Spain, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, a former world No. 1 in women's tennis and a winner of four Grand Slam titles, Tuesday announced her retirement.

Sanchez-Vicario, 30, confirmed her departure from the WTA Tour at a packed press conference near her native Barcelona, Spain.

"It's not been easy, but I think the time has come for me to abandon tennis," she said at the family-owned Open Sports Club. "My motives are personal. Up to now, all my life has been tennis. It's been a great effort, but in exchange I have got what any professional sports person could want."

After turning professional in June 1985, she won 29 tournaments, including the French Open three times and the U.S. Open once. She appeared in eight other major finals.

Sanchez-Vicario earned the nickname, "The Barcelona Bumblebee" for her buzzing, tenacious style. Her older brothers Emilio and Javier Sanchez competed on the men's tour, with Emilio coaching her after he retired.

In 1988, Sanchez-Vicario won her first title at the Belgian Open at age 16 years, 11 months. A year later, she upset Steffi Graf, 7-6 (10-8), 3-6, 7-5, in the French Open final to become the first Spanish woman to win at Roland Garros. At the time, she was the youngest French Open champion at 17 years, six months.

The Spaniard won the French and U.S. Opens in 1994, and became the No. 1 player in the world on Feb. 6, 1995. She did not win a Grand Slam title that year, but reached the final at the first three majors.

Sanchez-Vicario once held the top ranking in both singles and doubles simultaneously. She captured 67 doubles titles and several mixed doubles crowns.

In her most recent, she was part of the Spanish team that lost to Slovakia in the Federation Cup finals earlier this month. She lost the deciding match to Janette Husarova, 6-0, 6-2.

In that event, she set records for most Fed Cup matches (100), most Fed Cup ties (58), and most Fed Cup finals appearances (10, shared with Conchita Martinez). She helped Spain win the competition five times, and collected four medals at the Olympics.

Sanchez-Vicario did not win a title this year, with her best result a runner-up finish at the French Community Championships in June. She completed the season ranked 54th.

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