Wake Forest wins Seattle Bowl
SEATTLE, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- The Wake Forest Demon Deacons upset the Oregon Ducks, 38-17, Monday night in the Searrle Bowl.
James MacPherson tossed touchdown passes of 57 and 63 yards to Jason Anderson and also rushed for a score to pace the Demon Deacons.
The loss completed a stunning late-season collapse for Oregon (7-6), which dropped its final four games and six of its last seven after a 6-0 start.
Defense was a huge problem down the stretch for the Ducks as they surrendered at least 40 points in four of their five regular season losses.
Wake Forest exploited that weakness, rolling up 299 yards in the first half and building a 21-3 lead late in the second quarter.
The Demon Deacons struck quickly, needing less than three minutes on each of their three first-half scoring drives. Among the touchdowns was MacPherson's 57-yard strike to Anderson.
The Ducks carried momentum into the second half after Clemens threw a seven-yard TD pass to Samie Parker with 26 seconds left in the second period that made it 21-10.
Oregon's defense appeared to settle down in the second half and the Ducks closed to 24-17 on fullback Matt Floberg's one-yard dive over the top with 5:39 left in the third period.
But the back-breaker for the Ducks came 3:37 later when McPherson and Anderson hooked up again to make it 31-17. Wake Forest put away the contest on Chris Barclay's 12-yard run with 2:48 left.
Wake Forest totaled 497 yards, including 256 on the ground. MacPherson completed 9-of-16 passes for 241 yards.
Clemens was 19-of-31 for 161 yards before Fife returned for mop-up duty on Oregon's last possession. He finished 1-of-10 for four yards.
Minnesota wins Music City Bowl
NASHVILLE, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Dan Nystrom became the Big Ten Conference's all-time leading scorer Monday as Minnesota ended a four-game losing streak.
The Gophers posted a 29-14 victory over Arkansas in the Music City Bowl.
In his final game for the Golden Gophers, Nystrom tied a school record with five field goals, helping Minnesota (8-5) register its first bowl victory in 17 years. He ended his career with 367 points, breaking the previous Big Ten mark of 355 set by Purdue's Travis Dorsch from 1998-2001.
Nystrom also set a Big Ten mark for career field goals with 71, three more than Dorsch.
The Golden Gophers, who closed the regular season with losses to Ohio State, Michigan, Iowa and Wisconsin, reached eight wins for the first time since 1999 and just the eighth time in school history.
Minnesota improved to just 3-5 in the postseason, earning its first bowl win since defeating Clemson in the 1985 Independence Bowl. The victory snapped a three-game bowl losing streak for the Golden Gophers.
Arkansas (9-5) ended its season with a two-game losing streak. The Razorbacks won six in a row to capture the Southeastern Conference West Division title but were routed by Georgia, 30-3, in the SEC championship game.
Arkansas continued to struggle offensively as it was shut down after driving 74 yards on its first possession and taking a 7-0 lead on Matt Jones' two-yard touchdown pass to George Wilson.
Nystrom kicked field goals of 24 and 45 yards in the first quarter and added kicks of 21 and 22 yards in the second period to give the Golden Gophers a 12-7 lead at halftime.
Minnesota broke it open in the second half as Asad Abdul-Khaliq tossed a 19-yard TD pass to tight end Ben Utecht with 2:44 left in the third quarter and Thomas Tapeh ripped off a 33-yard TD run with 7:49 left. Tapeh broke several tackles on his way to the end zone, extending the lead to 29-7.
Between the touchdowns, Nystrom kicked his fifth field goal, a 29-yarder three minutes into the fourth period.
Arkansas got a late TD on backup Ryan Sorahan's 10-yard strike to Richard Smith.
Campo fired by Dallas Cowboys
IRVING, Texas, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Dave Campo Monday was fired by the Dallas Cowboys after enduring his third straight season with double-digit losses.
The move to fire Campo was expected after the Cowboys concluded their third straight 5-11 season on Sunday with a 20-14 loss to the Washington Redskins. Campo is the only coach in the illustrious history of the franchise to have three consecutive double-digit loss seasons.
"That was a tough way to finish the season," Campo said following the first loss to Washington since 1997, leaving his winning percentage at .312, the lowest of the four previous Cowboys head coaches. "We're not real pleased to lose the last four ballgames. I'm just disappointed in the season we had."
The Cowboys lost their final four games, allowing a total of 115 points in the span.
Campo had two years remaining on his contract. He started out his NFL coaching career as a defensive assistant in 1989, and quickly moved up to secondary coach before assuming the defensive coordinator role in 1995 season. After five solid years leading the defense, he was promoted to head coach following the firing of Chan Gailey.
The Cowboys ranked last in the league in passing offense, and had to play with more than $24 million missing from their salary cap because of "dead money" shelled out to former players no longer on the roster.
Campo was the third firing of the day. Earlier, Dick Lebeau and Tom Coughlin endured similar fates in Cincinnati and Jacksonville, respectively.
Duke remains No. 1 in college basketball
ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 31 (UPI) -- The top four teams remained the same in the latest college coaches' men's basketball poll released Monday as Duke maintained the No. 1 spot.
The Blue Devils (7-0) won their only game, dispatching Dayton 85-74, on Sunday to remain unbeaten. They received 18 first-place votes and 753 points from a panel of Division I coaches.
Pittsburgh (9-0) trounced George Mason on Saturday and remained second with seven first-place votes and 734 points. Alabama (9-0) also won its only game and is third with six first-place votes and 728 points.
Arizona (6-1), which had held the top spot all season prior to last week, routed Davidson and remained fourth. The Wildcats received the remaining first-place vote and 681 points.
Connecticut (8-0) climbed one spot to fifth. Notre Dame, Oregon, Texas, Marquette and Mississippi State complete the top 10. Both Notre Dame and Marquette moved up without playing.
Oklahoma (6-2) fell six spots to 11th after its 54-45 loss to Mississippi State. Illinois (8-1) tumbled from seventh to 12th following a 77-74 loss to Memphis.
Florida (10-2) is 13th and is followed by Michigan State (8-2), Creighton (10-0), Missouri (6-1), Kansas (7-3), Indiana (8-2), Xavier (8-2) and defending champion Maryland (6-3). Indiana fell seven spots following a 71-64 loss to Temple.
Kentucky (6-3) dropped seven rungs to 21st after an 81-63 loss to intrastate rival Louisville. Texas Tech (8-1), Wake Forest (7-0), North Carolina State (8-1) and Louisiana State (8-1) complete the rankings.
Big Ten reprimands Davis
PARK RIDGE, Ill., Dec. 31 (UPI) -- The Big Ten Conference on Monday publicly reprimanded Indiana Coach Mike Davis and accepted the school's one-game suspension.
Indiana suspended Davis for his actions in a Dec. 21 game against Kentucky when he stormed the court in the final seconds to protest a call by officials. Davis picked up two technical fouls and was ejected.
The school said Monday that Davis will miss the Dec. 31 game at Ball State. Davis also will write an apology to the officials who worked the Kentucky game.
Big Ten commissioner James E. Delaney said Davis' actions violated the conference's sportsmanlike conduct agreement, "Intentionally, or with careless disregard for one's conduct, including participants or spectators to violent or abusive action."
"We appreciate the careful considertion that the Big Ten has given to this matter," said Indiana interim Director of Athletics Terry Clapacs. "I am fully supportive of Mike and the job he is doing for his team an Indiana University.
"I've discussed this matter with Mike over the past few days, and I know he is genuinely sorry for his actions during the Indiana-Kentucky game. Mike's actions at the end of the game occured because of his intensity at the moment and are not representative of the person I have come to know to come over the years."
Delaney also indicated the the conduct under review was considered "quite serious" and that the conference appreciated Davis and Indiana University's constructive response.
Coughlin out at Jacksonville
JACKSONVILLE, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Tom Coughlin, the only coach in the history of the Jacksonville Jaguars, ended Monday with the firing he expected.
The firing came one day after the Jaguars concluded a disappointing season with a record of 6-10, good for third place in the AFC South. He had said recently that he did not expect to be retained.
Coughlin, who was in his eighth season, posted a 72-64 record with the Jaguars, leading the club to appearances in the AFC championship game in 1996, team's second year in the league, and in 1999. Overall, he led the Jaguars to four playoff appearances.
In the face of increasing salary cap problems, the Jaguars have struggled since their 14-2 record in 1999, going just 19-29 over the last three seasons, and attendance figures have dwindled. Coughlin had two years left on his contract and had total control over all decisions, including personnel.
Known as strong-minded coach who had run-ins with his players, one of whom was quarterback Mark Brunell, Coughlin came under fire after the Jaguars also finished 6-10 last season. Owner Wayne Weaver reportedly wooed former University of Florida Coach Steve Spurrier, before Coughlin was retained.
Also, when players have left the Jaguars' organization, they have not hid their disdain for Coughlin.
Weaver reportedly will seek a replacement that has previous head coaching experience. Among the candidates are former Minnesota Vikings Coach Dennis Green, LSU Coach Nick Saban, who has experience as an NFL assistant, and Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops.
Coughlin was not expected to have an easy time this season after the Jaguars lost perennial Pro Bowl offensive tackle Tony Boselli and defensive tackle Gary Walker in the expansion draft. The club also was forced to release wide receiver Keenan McCardell for salary cap reasons.
Even with the losses, the Jaguars got off to a good start, winning three of their first four games, but they stumbled badly, losing nine of their last 12 games, including Sunday's 20-13 defeat at Indianapolis.
He joined Dick LeBeau in the unemployment line Monday. LeBeau was canned by Cincinnati.
Bengals fire Lebeau
CINCINNATI, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- In the wake of the worst record in franchise history, the Cincinnati Bengals Monday fired head coach Dick LeBeau.
The Bengals ended the 2002 campaign Sunday with a record of 2-14 after a 27-9 loss to the Buffalo Bills. They had never lost 14 games in a season before this year.
"The 2002 season was an acutely disappointing one for everyone in the Bengals organization, and for our fans," said Cincinnati President Mike Brown. "I credit Coach LeBeau and his staff for their hard work and perseverance. They held the team together in the face of great difficulty. We remained competitive in games long after our elimination from playoff contention, and our statistics on a yardage basis, normally indicative of a team's performance, were noticeably better than the win-loss record."
LeBeau was told of his fate by General Manager Mike Brown in their weekly Monday morning meeting.
"I got the job, I kept it for three years, and lost the job," LeBeau said in a press release at Paul Brown Stadium. "In between, I worked as hard as I could. End of statement. End of story."
The Bengals were the worst team in the league this season, continuing a string of bad seasons in recent years. During his tenure, his overall record was 12-33, and Cincinnati lost 21 of its last 25 games.
LeBeau, 65, had been an assistant coach with the Bengals for 15 seasons before taking over after Bruce Coslet resigned following the third game of the 2000 season. His winning percentage was the worst winning of any of the eight head coaches in franchise history.
This season, it did not help that the team lost its first seven games before beating the expansion Houston Texans, 38-3, on Nov. 3.
LeBeau played cornerback with the Detroit Lions from 1959-72, and was voted to three Pro Bowls. He also was an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Since Brown became general manager, the Bengals have had 12 straight losing seasons with an abysmal record of 55-137.
Also, the Bengals played their final three homes in front of the smallest crowds in the history of Paul Brown Stadium.
Kentucky names Brooks as new football coach
LEXINGTON, Ky., Dec. 31 (UPI) -- The University of Kentucky Monday named Rich Brooks as the school's new football coach.
Brooks is the former head coach of the St. Louis Rams, and also held a similar post at Oregon. He has 27 years of coaching experience.
His most recent coaching assignment was as the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator position for the Atlanta Falcons from 1997-2000. The 1998 campaign was the most successful in Falcons' history.
With Brooks' defense generating a league-leading 44 takeaways, Atlanta advanced to its only Super Bowl appearance in franchise history.
The Rams had a 13-19 record in those two seasons, the team's best two-year stretch since 1989-90. The Rams won only nine games in the two years prior to his arrival, and won just nine games in the two years following his departure.
As head coach at Oregon from 1977-94, Brooks won more games than any coach in school history.
In 1994, his last, the Ducks had nine wins, the most since 1948. They won the Pac-10 championship, and played in the Rose Bowl for the first time in 37 seasons.
His overall record at Oregon was 91-109-4, but former Oregon Athletic Director Bill Byrne told the Lexington Herald-Leader that the mark was deceptive.
"(The school) was very primitive to say the least," Byrne told the paper. "We had four coaches to an office, and one would be in the dark watching film, and another would be under a desk calling recruits. We never showed recruits the weight room or the training room. But Rich just had that work ethic. He stuck with it. Eventually he upgraded facilities, and that led to getting more talent. From there, things started to stabilize. I'll tell you this much: Rich was never outcoached. We never had much depth, so when injuries hit, we'd struggle. But he was never outcoached."
He also was given high praise by Jeff Van Note, a former UK standout who now is an analyst on the Atlanta Falcons radio network.
"(Brooks) is good man and solid football guy," Van Note told the paper. "He'll bring sound fundamentals to the table. He has an organized approach to football."
Brooks, 61, won the Bear Bryant Award as the National Coach of the Year by the Football Writers Association of America, was chosen the Pac-10 Coach of the Year, and became the first coach in school history to take the Ducks to four bowl games.
Yankees, Clemens come to terms
NEW YORK, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Roger Clemens returned to the New York Yankees Monday, agreeing to a one-year contract worth a reported $10.1 million.
According to reports, Clemens will defer some of his salary to make its value closer to $8 million, helping the Yankees to save money against the luxury tax.
"The importance of Roger Clemens in 1999 has turned out to be one of the best things that I have been involved with in our efforts to maintain championship-caliber teams," said Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman. "I am equally excited about having our association continue in our quest for another championship in 2003."
Baseball's only six-time Cy Young Award winner's return to the Yankees had been anticipated for weeks. The club simply had to find a way to work his contract into its bulging payroll.
Clemens, who turned 40 in August and is seven wins shy of becoming the 21st pitcher to reach the 300-victory plateau, was coming off a two-year, $30.9 million deal with the Yankees. By re-signing Clemens, the Yankees now have eight starting pitchers in a group that includes Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte, David Wells, Jeff Weaver, Cuban defector Jose Contreras, Orlando Hernandez and Sterling Hitchcock.
Hernandez and Hitchcock likely will be traded before the season.
"The importance of Roger Clemens to our pitching staff can not be overstated, so it's great to have him back," said Yankees Manager Joe Torre. "Roger's work ethic is second to none, and he is a great example to other pitchers, both young and experienced. Even at his age and with all of his accomplishments, he continues to adjust and work at bettering himself along the way."
In four seasons with the Yankees, Clemens has posted a 60-27 record, helping the club to a pair of World Series titles. The righthander went 13-6 with a 4.35 ERA in 29 starts last season, when he struggled with leg problems.
Clemens, who won three Cy Young awards with Boston, two with Toronto and the other with the Yankees, owns a career record of 293-151 with a 3.15 ERA. He ranks third on the all-time strikeout list with 3,909, behind Steve Carlton (4,136) and Nolan Ryan (5,714).
Two more beg out of Australian Open
MELBOURNE, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Two veterans from Britain, Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski, both have withdrawn from the Australian Open because of health problems.
Henman, the top-ranked player in Britain, used his personal website to announce he would not play at Melbourne.
"This was a very difficult decision to make," Henman said. "I've been working hard and much progress has been made but it's not quite there yet and I've said all along that I was only going to make the trip to Australia if I felt my shoulder was fully recovered. Obviously the Australian Open is a very important event and one which I was very keen to participate in. I always enjoy my trips to Australia at the beginning of the year, and my goal was to try and compete there again if at all possible. However, at this stage of my career I am only interested in making the trip if I feel I can compete with the very best players in the world and have a realistic chance of winning the title."
He was hampered by a shoulder injury for much of the latter part of 2002. It required arthroscopic surgery in November, and he says he has not fully recovered from it.
Rusedski, 29, Britain's No. 2, has been dealing with a lingering foot injury. He had surgery on his painful right foot in October, but had been practicing for this week's Qatar Open when he experienced enough pain to sit out.