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Dec. 31, 2012 at 10:59 PM
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NHL players present lockout counter-offer

NEW YORK, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Locked-out NHL players presented a counter-offer to the league's latest contract proposal Monday during a busy day of hockey labor negotiations in New York.

League officials were reviewing the counter-offer and NHL Players Association special counsel Steve Fehr said he expects the two sides to meet again Tuesday, Canadian broadcaster TSN reported.

The union's response came after players spent Sunday looking over the league's proposal of last week, which was submitted in a bid to save the remainder of the 2012-13 season as a Jan. 11 deadline for canceling the remaining games looms.

The lockout reached its 107th day Monday.

Reports indicated the NHL's latest offer put forth some key concessions, including movement on the issues of contract length, compliance buyouts and annual-salary variance, NHL.com said.

Titans coach Mike Munchak retains job

NASHVILLE, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Mike Munchak will keep his job as Tennessee Titans head coach but Senior Executive Vice President Mike Reinfeldt is out, owner Bud Adams said Monday.

Adams told The Tennessean Munchak would remain on the sidelines for the Titans after a 6-10 record this season and a 15-17 mark overall since becoming coach in February 2011.

The announcement came on a day when seven NFL head coaches and five general managers were fired.

The newspaper reported Monday that Adams fired Reinfeldt, handing more personnel responsibilities to General Manager Ruston Webster.

The Titans' defense finished last in the NFL by allowing 471 points.

Boise State opts to stay in Mountain West

BOISE, Idaho, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Boise State has rejected the Big East and will instead stay put in the Mountain West Conference for all sports, school President Robert Kustra said Monday.

Kustra said in a statement Boise State has successfully worked out a deal to remain one of the anchors of the conference.

"I am confident that our Mountain West membership is the very best decision for Boise State University, our student-athletes and our incredible fan base," he said.

"Maintaining the Broncos program as part of the already solid foundation we have established creates a posture of great stability for the Mountain West going forward," MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson added.

Boise State was set to join the beleaguered Big East in football only starting next season but reconsidered its options when Rutgers defected to the Big 12 and Louisville opted for the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The Broncos were planning on joining the Big West for other sports, but now will stay in the MWC for all its athletic programs.

With Boise State's decision, the Big East has now lost 14 existing or future members over the past two years.

Lovie Smith fired as Bears Coach

CHICAGO, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- The Chicago Bears in Monday fired Coach Lovie Smith after nine seasons and a Super Bowl appearance.

Smith, 54, was 81-63 while leading the Bears. That includes a 10-6 record this season after Chicago started 7-1 but sagged under a 1-5 slump. The Bears did win their last two games.

The team said Bears General Manager Phil Emery told Smith of the coaching change Monday.

Smith took over the Bears for the 2004 season and the team went 5-11. But Chicago improved to 11-5 in this second season and was 13-3 in 2006, advancing to Super Bowl XLI, which was won by the Indianapolis Colts.

The Bears made the playoffs just one more time with Smith after that -- a run after the 2010 regular season that ended with a loss to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game.

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