Jackson out as Raiders coach after going 8-8 in first season
Reggie McKenzie made clear on his first day as the Raiders' general manager that there's a new regime in Oakland. Soon after officially signing his contract to be the first GM since longtime owner Al Davis' death, McKenzie fired coach Hue Jackson in a bold first move as he looks to give the organization a fresh start.
"There comes a time when change is necessary," McKenzie said Tuesday. "For the Raiders the time is now. The Raiders organization, with respect and deference for all its tradition and history, is about to embark on a new era."
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The era will begin without Jackson, who was fired after going 8-8 in his first season as head coach. McKenzie wanted to bring in his "own guy" to rebuild the organization.
Finding that coach will be the first major task for McKenzie, who also must bulk up the personnel department and evaluate the roster in what promises to be a busy off-season. Owner Mark Davis said McKenzie will decide on the new coach and the personnel decisions, with the coach ultimately reporting to the general manager.
That's a major change from how the organization was run before Davis' father, Al, died of heart failure on Oct. 8. Al Davis made all the major decisions when he was in charge of the team, with many of those now falling to McKenzie as Mark Davis focuses on finding a new stadium and other off-field issues.
Mularkey new head coach for Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars have hired Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey as head coach, a move they hope will help improve the league's worst offense. Mularkey's Falcons managed only two points in a wild-card loss to the New York Giants on Sunday. Nonetheless, his long relationship with Jaguars GM Gene Smith made him a front-runner from the beginning of the search.
He previously was a head coach with Buffalo, where he went 14-18 before being fired after the 2005 season. He has been Atlanta's offensive coordinator since 2008, helping mentor quarterback Matt Ryan. The Jaguars hope he can do the same with Blaine Gabbert, who struggled in his first season.
Wizards, Wall get first win of season
Rashard Lewis and Nick Young each had 15 points to lead the Washington Wizards to their first win after eight straight losses, a 93-78 victory over the visiting Toronto Raptors. After the worst start in franchise history, Coach Flip Saunders left Andray Blatche and Lewis on the bench to start the game. Former Kentucky star John Wall tied his season high with nine assists, but missed nine of 12 shots and finished with eight points. In his last two games, Wall is 6-for-21 from the field.
■ Elton Brand had a season-high 21 points and 10 rebounds, and the Philadelphia 76ers routed the visiting Sacramento Kings 112-85 for their sixth straight victory. The Sixers are 7-2 and lead the Atlantic Division. It's their best start since Allen Iverson helped them open 10-0 on their way to the NBA finals in 2000-01.
Rookie Jimmer Fredette scored seven points in his first start for Sacramento. Filling in for injured leading scorer Marcus Thornton, the former BYU sensation shot 2-for-7. Former Kentucky star DeMarcus Cousins led the struggling Kings with 17 points and 10 rebounds, and former Wildcat Jodie Meeks scored 14 for the Sixers.
■ Derrick Rose scored a season-high 31 points and had 11 assists to outlast Ricky Rubio in a thrilling duel, leading the Chicago Bulls to a 111-100 victory at Minnesota. Luol Deng had 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Kyle Korver scored 13 points off the bench for the Bulls. Rubio had 13 points, 12 assists and four rebounds for the Timberwolves. Luke Ridnour led Minnesota with 22 points.
■ Stephen Jackson had 34 points and eight assists in his best game since joining Milwaukee in an off-season trade, leading the Bucks to a 106-103 victory over the visiting San Antonio Spurs. Milwaukee also got a big lift from the return of center Andrew Bogut, who had 14 points and 11 rebounds after missing four games to return home to Australia for an undisclosed personal issue.
■ Rookie Chandler Parsons scored 20 points and Kevin Martin added 17 points and the visiting Houston Rockets defeated Charlotte Bobcats 82-70 to snap a four-game losing streak. Jordan Hill had a double-double for the Rockets off the bench with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
■ Dirk Nowitzki scored 18 points, and the Dallas Mavericks reached the .500 mark by routing the Detroit Pistons 100-86 in Auburn Hills, Mich. The defending champion Mavericks (5-5) started their NBA title defense slowly, losing four of their first five games, but they've bounced back. Tuesday's win was their first on the road. Pistons rookie Brandon Knight had 12 points, five rebounds and two assists but committed six of his team's 20 turnovers.
High School Basketball
NCAA bylaw forces Derby Classic move
The Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic, which was played for the first time last year in Louisville's KFC Yum Center, will move back to Freedom Hall this year because of a recently adopted NCAA bylaw. The date of the game has also changed. The Derby Classic, a post-season high school all-star game usually featuring several recruits bound for schools in Kentucky, is now scheduled to be played April 6. The new NCAA bylaw prohibits non-scholastic events from being played on a collegiate campus or its main practice/playing facility — in this case the University of Louisville's.
LCA's Barnette might miss a month
Lexington Christian senior basketball player Taylor Barnette has a stress fracture that will sideline him for two to four weeks. Barnette, a 6-foot-2 guard who has signed with Central Florida, was hurt in a loss last week to Tates Creek.
LCA Coach Tommy Huston said in an email that Barnette, who is averaging 21 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals, may not be back until the last two weeks of the regular season.
UK's Riggs honored for academics
Kentucky soccer sophomore Tyler Riggs was named a third-team Academic All-American by the College Sports Information Directors Association of America. Riggs, who starred in high school at St. Xavier, led the Wildcats in scoring during the 2011 season with 11 goals and five assists. In the classroom, Riggs had a 3.91 grade-point average as a mechanical engineering major.
Cubs give Maholm one-year deal
The Chicago Cubs agreed to a one-year contract with Paul Maholm that guarantees the left-hander $4.75 million and should add depth to their starting rotation. The deal announced Tuesday includes a $4.25 million salary for this year and $6.5 million club option for 2013 and $500,000 buyout. The 29-year-old Maholm made 26 starts for Pittsburgh last season, going 6-14 despite a 3.66 ERA, before shutting it down because of a left shoulder strain.
The last word
Veteran wide receiver Derrick Mason decided to retire after 15 NFL seasons. The two-time Pro Bowl selection caught 943 career passes for 12,061 yards and 66 touchdowns. Other than not winning a Super Bowl after playing in one with the Tennessee Titans when they lost to the St. Louis Rams in 2000, Mason said he leaves the game with no regrets:
"I leave it healthy and able to run and walk and not take a half-hour or 45 minutes to get out of bed. I don't have lingering pains as of now. Me leaving now, even though it didn't happen the way I wanted it to happen, I had a good run. It was fun while it lasted."