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Jan. 20, 2013 at 11:17 PM
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Helfrich named Oregon head coach

EUGENE, Ore., Jan. 20 (UPI) -- University of Oregon offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich is the Ducks' new head football coach, the school announced Sunday.

Helfrich replaces Chip Kelly, who last week was hired to lead to the Philadelphia Eagles.

"We were looking for a coach who exemplifies excellence, leadership and character, and who would embrace what our winning football culture is all about," Oregon Athletic Director Rob Mullens said. "We found that person in Mark."

Helfrich, 39, has served as the Ducks' offensive coordinator since 2009.

"As a lifelong Duck fan, this is a responsibility that I welcome and accept the undertaking that stands before me to carry on the legacy of success that has been created by my many predecessors," the Oregon native said.

Helfrich was among at least two candidates interviewed for the position, sources told The (Portland) Oregonian. The other was Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton.

His hiring is expected to provide continuity for the Ducks' prolific offense, which averaged 49.6 points per game under Kelly.

Suns name Hunter interim head coach

PHOENIX, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Lindsey Hunter has been tapped as the interim head coach for the Phoenix Suns, the team announced Sunday.

Hunter takes over behind the bench for Alvin Gentry, who was fired Friday after the Suns struggled to a 13-28 record to start the season.

Phoenix has failed to the make playoffs in each of the past two seasons.

Hunter, who logged a 17-year playing career with Detroit, Milwaukee, the Los Angeles Lakers, Toronto and Chicago, had been serving as the Suns' player development coordinator since last year.

Skier Bode Miller loses unborn child

NEW YORK, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- U.S. downhill skier Bode Miller and his wife, Morgan Beck, said they lost their unborn child over the weekend.

Beck sent out a Twitter tweet Saturday announcing she and Miller "lost the baby," the New York Daily News said.

Beck and Miller had announced her pregnancy on Christmas Day.

The sad news broke on the same weekend TMZ.com reported Miller filed paternity suits against two women. One seeks joint custody and child-support from Chanel Johnson, mother of a 4-year-old girl. The other suit seeks joint custody of the unborn child of a woman named Sara McKenna.

Miller is taking the 2013 World Cup season off in order to fully recover from knee surgery before the 2014 Winter Olympics, the Daily News said.

Gay bests Howell in Humana playoff

LA QUINTA, Calif., Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Brian Gay's birdie on the second hole of a playoff Sunday enabled him to outlast Charles Howell III for the Humana Challenge title.

Gay, Howell and rookie David Lingmerth each finished regulation play knotted at 25-under-par 263 after third-round leader Scott Stallings stumbled to a bogey on the final hole to miss the playoff.

Lingmerth fell out of contention when he bogeyed the first extra hole, while Gay and Howell each notched a par to advance.

Then, playing on the par-4 10th hole, Gay put his drive in the middle of the fairway and got to within 10 feet with his approach shot. Howell, however, found the rough with his first shot and a greenside bunker with his second.

After Howell failed to get up-and-down, Gay needed only one shot to sink a birdie putt for the win.

It was his fourth career PGA Tour victory and first since 2009.

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