UPI NewsTrack Sports

Dec. 19, 2012 at 5:12 PM
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Report: Andersen to be Wisconsin coach

MADISON, Wis., Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Utah State Coach Gary Andersen has been selected to be the new head coach at Wisconsin, sources told the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison Wednesday.

Andersen would replace Bret Bielema, who left Wisconsin for the top job at Arkansas.

Andersen led Utah State to an 11-2 record this year, including a Western Athletic Conference championship and convincing 41-15 victory over Toledo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. He is 27-24 in four years with the Aggies.

There was no immediate comment from the university; however the Journal said state law requires the Badgers to wait until two weeks have passed since the posting of the job, That means the earliest the announcement could be made is Thursday.

ESPN.com said Andersen interviewed with Wisconsin officials Monday.

S. Williams has surgery on toes

BANGKOK, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Serena Williams has had surgery on her toes, leading to her withdrawal from next week's exhibition in Thailand, officials said.

Williams, 31, was treated for a "chronic foot disorder," Dr. Jeffrey Rockefeller, a podiatrist, said.

The procedure was performed on both of Williams' big toes. Rockefeller said the operations were "minor" but Williams "needs to minimize activity to fully recover."

Williams, however, is expected to play in next month's Australian Open.

Williams was selected the WTA Player of the Year for 2012 after winning Wimbledon, the Olympics, the U.S. Open and the WTA Championships in the second half of the year.

Exhibition organizers said Li Na would replace Williams for the Dec. 29 exhibition match against No. 1-ranked Victoria Azarenka in Hua Hin, Thailand.

The Australian Open is scheduled to begin Jan. 14.

Spain ends 2012 as FIFA No. 1-ranked team

NYON, Switzerland, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Spain's national team finished as No. 1 in the FIFA men's soccer rankings for the fifth consecutive year, a rankings update Wednesday indicated.

Spain has been ranked on top of the FIFA rankings every month except one since May 2010. The Spaniards have been No. 1 at year's end each year since Argentina was No. 1 in 2007's final ranking.

FIFA said the "Mover of the Year" notice goes to Colombia, which started 2012 ranked 26th but went 6-1-1 on the year and, with a three-place improvement in December, ends the year ranked fifth in the world.

Italy, which is one point in the rankings ahead of Colombia, moved up one spot to fourth while Portugal slipped three to No. 7 and Netherlands is eighth, after a No. 7 ranking in November in the other changes in the FIFA Top 10.

Spain increased its rankings point total to 1,606, pushing its lead over No. 2-ranked Germany (1,437) to 169 points. Argentina is third at 1,290 with Italy (1,165) fourth and Colombia in fifth with 1,164.

England has 1,151 points and remains sixth with No. 7 Portugal totaling 1,144 points and eighth-ranked Netherlands at 1,124. Russia (1,070) and Croatia (1,064) keep the Nos. 9 and 10 rankings, respectively.

The FIFA world rankings are determined by points awarded from match results in a three-year period, with more recent games given greater weight. Teams get additional points for playing relatively strong opponents. The next ranking update is scheduled for Jan. 17.

Wedding bells for Ponder, Steele

HUDSON, Wis., Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder and ESPN reporter Samantha Steele were married in Hudson, Wis., court documents said.

Ponder, 24, and Steele, 27, were wed Monday by Court Commissioner Stephen Dunlap in St. Croix County, Wis., the county court confirmed.

The marriage came after a formal engagement of about a month, and at a time the Vikings are fighting for a playoff spot with just two games remaining on the regular season schedule, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Wednesday.

Ponder is in his second year with the Vikings. Steele is an ESPN football and basketball sideline reporter.

Their engagement has been a target of criticism, with suggestions from fans and national sports commentators Ponder should focus his attention on his erratic on-field performance, the newspaper noted.

Earlier this month CBS analyst and former coach Jimmy Johnson suggested, on the air, that "maybe his wife can teach him how to throw."

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