Obama offers condolences to Paterno family
STATE COLLEGE, Pa., Jan. 24 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama spoke by phone with the wife and son of the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, the White House said.
The president offered his condolences and told Paterno's widow, Sue, and son, Jay, that he and first lady Michelle Obama will keep the family in their prayers at this difficult time.
Friends and family of the late coach will have a chance to pay their final respects to the legendary football coach during public viewing times and a memorial service this week, the State College (Pa.) Centre Daily reported Tuesday.
The Paterno family said public viewing will take place Tuesday afternoon and evening, and Wednesday morning at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center on the University Park Campus.
Private funeral services for the family are scheduled Wednesday afternoon but a public memorial for the football legend will be held at the Bryce Jordan Center on Thursday. A ticket for that service is required.
Paterno died Sunday while being treated for lung cancer.
Wozniacki to drop out of No. 1 ranking
MELBOURNE, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Caroline Wozniacki's loss Tuesday at the Australian Open costs her not only a shot at a first Grand Slam title but the world No. 1 ranking.
Kim Clijsters defeated Wozniacki 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) in the quarterfinals in Melbourne. That allowed Clijsters to keep her chances of repeating as Australian Open champion alive. She'll go against world No. 3-ranked Victoria Azarenka in the semifinals.
But for Wozniacki, the result was a continuation of major tournament disappointments. While she's won 18 tournaments and earned the No. 1 ranking with consistent play, she's only been to a Grand Slam final once. She lost the 2009 U.S. Open title to Clijsters.
The defeat Tuesday means she'll drop to at least third in the rankings next Monday. She's been No. 1 for the last 49 weeks and 67 weeks overall. The 49-week streak is tied for the 14th longest and only eight women have been No. 1 longer than 67 weeks.
"To be honest, I don't really think about it," Wozniacki said on the WTA Web site of being No. 1. "I have been there for a long time already. I finished No. 1 two years in a row.
"At the end of the year we'll see who played the best throughout the year. We're just in January. I will get it back eventually, so I'm not really worried right now."
Either No. 2 Petra Kvitova, Azarenka or fourth-ranked Maria Sharapova will take over the top spot next week. Kvitova and Azarenka haven't been ranked No. 1 before and would be the 21st woman to reach the top rung.
Sharapova has been ranked No. 1 for 17 weeks, taking over the top spot the first time on Aug. 22, 2005. She was No. 1 three other times, mostly recent June 8, 2008.
Big East adds Navy football
PROVIDENCE, R.I., Jan. 24 (UPI) -- The Big East Conference said Tuesday it was adding Navy to its football lineup, giving the league 11 football-playing members.
Navy has competed as a football independent since the academy first fielded a team in 1879. It will be part of Big East football as of the 2015 season.
"America's first national football conference is adding a program with true national appeal," Big East Commissioner John Marinatto said in a statement. "Navy's decision to make the Big East its first football conference home after over 100 years of independence demonstrates the value of our new expansion model and the long-term viability of our football product.
"The Big East is truly proud to be associated with one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the country and one of the most storied programs in college football."
The Big East has undergone major changes in recent months. Syracuse and Pittsburgh said in September they were moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference and the next month West Virginia accepted an invitation to join the Big 12 Conference. Texas Christian said it was leaving the Mountain West for the Big East but then switched to the Big 12.
In December the Big East added Central Florida, Houston and Southern Methodist as full members while Boise State and San Diego State will participate in the league as football-only members. The Big East plans to add another football school to give it 12 teams.
Saunders out as Wizards head coach
WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Washington Wizards head coach Flip Saunders was fired after a dismal 2-15 start to the season, the team announced Tuesday.
Lead assistant Randy Wittman was elevated to interim head coach.
"We felt the team had become unresponsive and we will look to Randy to provide a different voice and a change in philosophy moving forward," Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld said in a statement. "We have been transparent in how we would evaluate our team this season and we were disappointed in the lack of development of our players at this point in our rebuilding plan."
Saunders compiled a record of 51-130 during his two-plus seasons with the Wizards, the team said.
"We have struggled as a team at times this season, but we have also seen a great deal of potential from our young players and glimpses of what we can accomplish together as a team," Wittman, the new head coach said. "The coaching staff will look to build on that by utilizing the length, athleticism and versatility of our roster to improve our defense and create more opportunities in the open court."
This is Wittman's third stint as a head coach after leading both the Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers. He has compiled a 100-207 career record as head coach and has served as the Wizards' lead assistant since the 2009-2010 season.