Sports briefs: Sept. 13

September 13, 2012 

BASKETBALL

UConn's Calhoun retiring;Thunder sign Liggins

Connecticut men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun is retiring and plans to announce his decision on Thursday, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.

He racked up 873 wins — 625 of them coming at his beloved UConn, where he coached for 26 years and won three national titles.

Recently, though, the 70-year-old Hall of Famer has struggled with health problems, including a fractured hip last month that put him on crutches.

Assistant coach Kevin Ollie was expected to replace Calhoun, the person who spoke to the AP said. The school scheduled a 2 p.m. news conference "to address the future of the men's basketball program."

Ollie will take over a Huskies team that is ineligible for the 2013 NCAA Tournament because of its failure to meet national academic standards, one of several off-court problems that hit UConn late in Calhoun's tenure.

The Huskies will open this year with just five players who saw significant playing time last season.

Before fracturing his hip, Calhoun fought off cancer three times and missed eight games last season while suffering from a painful spinal condition. He returned just four days after having back surgery to coach the Huskies in their regular-season finale and the postseason.

UConn finished the year 20-14, losing to Iowa State in the first-round of the NCAA Tournament.

■ The Oklahoma City Thunder signed former University of Kentucky guard DeAndre Liggins on Wednesday, according to CoachCal.com. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Liggins, a three-year star at Kentucky, is entering his second season in the NBA. He spent his first season with the Orlando Magic after being drafted 53rd overall in 2011. He averaged 1.9 points and 0.9 rebounds in 6.8 minutes. Liggins joins former Wildcat Daniel Orton in Oklahoma City, which made it to the NBA Finals last year before losing to the Miami Heat. Orton played with Liggins in Orlando last year.


COLLEGE SPORTS

Irish leaving Big East for ACC

Just when it seemed the Big East had plugged all its holes, Notre Dame has created another.

The Fighting Irish will move to the Atlantic Coast Conference with an arrangement similar to the one they had with the Big East: all sports except football.

"This is a resilient conference," Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "We lose Notre Dame in basketball but we remain top to bottom the strongest basketball conference in the country."

Notre Dame becomes the fourth school to leave the Big East in the last year. Pittsburgh and Syracuse are set to depart for the ACC in 2013, and West Virginia jumped to the Big 12 this year.


NFL

Scoreboards whir in Week One

NFL teams combined for 791 points, the most for an opening week and second most in league history.

Only in Week 12 of the 2008 season were more points scored (837). Last week, games averaged just over 49 points, led by five teams putting up at least 40: the Jets (48), Ravens (44), Bears (41), Falcons (40), and Redskins (40). Never during an opening week had there been so many 40-point performances.

Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins is the first rookie quarterback to win an offensive player of the week award after his debut game.

The No. 2 overall draft pick completed 19 of 26 passes for 320 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in Sunday's 40-32 victory over the New Orleans Saints. He's the first player in league history to amass 300-plus yards passing, two or more passing touchdowns and no interceptions in an NFL debut.

The league started giving the weekly player awards in 1984.

■ Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita practiced for the first time Wednesday since an appeals panel renounced a three-game suspension he received for his role in the Saints' "bounty" scandal.

■ Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus is expected to be back for Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs after grieving with his family this week following the death of his brother, the team said. Simeon Gilmore, the defensive tackle's younger brother, was one of three people shot and killed during a burglary in Pelham, Ala., last weekend.

■ Dallas Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith has been fined $15,000 for his horse-collar tackle that prevented a touchdown on an interception return in the season-opening win over the Giants.


UK SPORTS

Kentucky rallies to title in women's golf

Kentucky's women's golf team came from behind to win the Old Waverly Bulldog Invitational by two strokes in West Point, Miss. UK posted the fifth-lowest round in program history with a team score of 2-over-par 290.

UK shot 14-over 878 overall, topping Tulane and Arkansas, which shot 16-over and 18-over, respectively. The Wildcats were six strokes back at 19-over about halfway through the third round. It's the second tournament title under third-year coach Golda Johansson Borst. Freshman Cylia Damerau led the Wildcats for the second consecutive day, posting a career-low 2-under-par 70.

■ Former Kentucky coach Keith Madison has been selected as the recipient of this year's American Baseball Coaches Association/Wilson Lefty Gomez Award. Madison, who retired in 2003, is the winningest baseball coach at Kentucky and the third-winningest coach in SEC history. In 1978, he became the youngest head baseball coach at the Division I level when UK hired him at the age of 26. He is recognized for his knowledge, integrity and passion for baseball.


HORSE RACING

Veitch's one-year suspension upheld

A Franklin Circuit Court judge has upheld the one-year suspension of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission's former chief state steward over his handling of issues surrounding Life At Ten's performance in the 2010 Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs.

An attorney for John Veitch said the former chief steward will appeal to the Kentucky Court of Appeals. "I continue to believe that we're 100 percent right on the legal issues," Tom Miller said.


NHL

Owners' offer has deadline

The NHL and the players' association swapped proposals Wednesday in a bid to avoid a lockout set to start this weekend.

The NHLPA, led by executive director Donald Fehr, made its presentation in the morning, but that was quickly dismissed by Commissioner Gary Bettman, who said it wasn't much different than earlier offers. Bettman then met with Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, and Murray Edwards of the Calgary Flames, and a new NHL offer was handed back to the players' association with a shelf life on it. "We made clear ... that this proposal was intended to lead to a deal before the weekend," Bettman said.


The last word

Tuesday's win had Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips thinking about a really big number.

"I'm trying to get to 100 wins and the No. 1 seed. A hundred wins would be nice. A hundred wins would be a beautiful thing."

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