Carolina fires head coach
CHARLOTTE, N.C., Dec. 31 (UPI) -- The Carolina Panthers announced Friday Coach John Fox and his entire staff would be dismissed after Sunday's final regular-season game.
Fox has spent nine seasons with the Panthers and led them to the NFC title and a Super Bowl appearance seven years ago. Carolina won a division title the season before last, but went 8-8 last year and has the worst record in the NFL at 2-13 heading into Sunday's concluding game at Atlanta.
The Panthers are last in the league in points scored, total yards and passing yards. Carolina has managed only eight touchdown passes in 15 games this season.
"I appreciate the opportunity Mr. Richardson (team owner Jerry Richardson) gave me to be a head coach in the National Football League nine years ago and to be a part of this organization," Fox said.
"I have formed many close relationships and I have many great memories. I particularly want to thank the players for their efforts throughout the years. Working with so many great people has been a rewarding experience."
Fox, 55, is the third coach in the 16-year history of the franchise, having followed Dom Capers and George Seifert.
"I told John today that I appreciate everything he has done for us over the last nine years, but as happens in this business, it is time for both sides to move in different directions," Richardson said.
Fox will take a 73-70 regular-season record and a 78-73 overall mark into Sunday's game. Capers won 31 games as Carolina coach and Seifert won 16.
Notre Dame downs Miami in Sun Bowl
EL PASO, Texas, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Tommy Rees threw two touchdown passes while Notre Dame was building a 27-point lead Friday and the Fighting Irish defeated Miami in the Sun Bowl 33-17.
The teams had a heated rivalry late in the 20th century but this was their first meeting in 20 years. They are scheduled to play a regular-season game in 2012.
Rees, a freshman, completed 15-of-29 passes for 195 yards and hooked up with Michael Floyd on throws of 2 and 34 yards to produce the game's first two scores.
Cierre Wood ran 34 yards for a second-period touchdown and David Ruffer kicked field goals of 40 and 50 yards to give the Irish a 27-0 lead.
Jacory Harris threw three interceptions for Miami before being benched in favor of Stephen Morris.
Morris threw fourth-quarter touchdown passes of 6 yards to Leonard Hankerson and 42 yards to Tommy Streeter.
Notre Dame (8-5) won its second bowl game in three seasons and finished its first season under Coach Brian Kelly with four straight victories.
Miami (7-6) has not won a bowl game in four seasons and the Hurricanes lost their final three outings this season.
Ohio State remains unbeaten
BLOOMINGTON, Ind., Dec. 31 (UPI) -- William Buford led No. 2 Ohio State to a big first half and produced a season-best 26 points Friday in the Buckeyes' 85-67 victory over Indiana.
Buford established a season high in points for the second straight game. He scored 23 Monday against Tennessee-Martin.
The Buckeyes became the last Big Ten Conference team to open its league season and ran their overall record to 14-0. Ohio State will go into 2011 as one of seven unbeaten teams left in major college basketball along with Syracuse, Cincinnati, Kansas, San Diego State, Central Florida and Duke.
Ohio State established a 46-33 halftime lead and boosted its advantage to as many as 21 points during the second period. The Buckeyes shot 60 percent from the field and converted 13-of-19 attempts from 3-point range.
Jared Sullinger added 19 points for the Buckeyes and Jon Diebler had 15.
Indiana (9-6, 0-2 Big Ten) was led by Christian Watford with 17.
Outdoor NHL game to be delayed
PITTSBURGH, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- The National Hockey League announced Friday the outdoor game between Pittsburgh and Washington Saturday would be delayed because of the threat of rain.
The Penguins and Capitals are meeting in the NHL's Winter Classic, the fourth in a series of New Year's Day games played in outdoor stadiums.
Game time for the contest at Heinz Field was originally set for shortly after 1 p.m. EST, but officials now hope to get the game started at 8 p.m.
The National Weather Service forecast for the Pittsburgh area calls for showers and thunderstorms before 3 p.m. with a high temperature of 52 degrees. As much as a half inch of rain was forecast.
A chance of showers will remain early in the evening, but mainly before 7 p.m.
The NHL said it consulted with the Penguins, the player's union and its television partners before making the decision.