Nicholasville native Burton takes over at Union College
Nicholasville native Kevin Burton has been named the new men's basketball head coach at Union College in Barbourville, the school announced Wednesday. Burton replaces Sean Gillespie, who resigned in March after three seasons with the Bulldogs.
Burton previously spent seven seasons as head coach at Lambuth University in Jackson, Tenn., before the school closed in 2011 for financial reasons. He compiled a 139-75 record.
"I don't know if there's a more excited guy about getting a coaching job than me," Burton said in Union's news release.
Burton's Lambuth teams were ranked in the top five of the NAIA Division I coaches' poll in three consecutive seasons. He had the nation's top scoring team in 2008 (95.2 points per game) and ranked second two other times (92.0 ppg in 2007 and 91.0 ppg in 2010), and made three consecutive trips to the NAIA Tournament.
After leaving Jessamine County High School, Burton moved on to Asbury College where he was captain of the basketball team. In 1999, Burton received his master's from Eastern Kentucky University in sports administration. He was head coach at St. Catharine College for four seasons before going to Lambuth.
"I always felt fortunate and blessed to be able coach basketball, but even more so now given the situation that took place at Lambuth," Burton said.
Union went 8-23 overall and 5-11 in the Appalachian Athletic Conference in 2011-12.
Bernie Fine's wife threatens libel suit
The wife of fired Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine claimed Wednesday that ESPN maliciously trampled her reputation by broadcasting salacious stories about her and about claims that her husband molested ball boys.
Laurie Fine held a news conference Wednesday and threatened to file a libel lawsuit in federal court against the cable network and two employees. ESPN in November broke the story of two former Syracuse ball boys, Robert Davis and Michael Lang, who claimed they were molested by Bernie Fine decades ago.
"I'm here today as a wife and a mother who has had to endure the trauma of being smeared in the public as a monster," she said, reading quickly from a statement. "My life has been destroyed."
ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said the complaint is without merit and the network stands by its reporting.
Strength and conditioning coach honored
University of Kentucky head Olympic sports strength and conditioning coach Stephanie Tracey-Simmons was named Master Strength and Conditioning Coach by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association at the 2012 National Conference in Orlando, Fla., May 10. The honor is the highest given in the strength and conditioning coaching profession.
Federer, Nadal cruise; Azarenka out
Fresh off a title in Madrid and back up to No. 2 in the rankings, Roger Federer showed off his strong form with a routine 6-3, 6-4 win over Carlos Berlocq of Argentina in his opening match at the Italian Open on Wednesday.
Rafael Nadal, who was replaced by Federer at No. 2 with his Madrid Open victory Sunday, beat Florian Mayer 6-1, 7-5 to get even for a defeat in his only previous meeting with the 28th-ranked German.
In women's action, top-ranked Victoria Azarenka routed Shahar Peer of Israel 6-1, 6-2 then announced she was withdrawing because of a right shoulder injury. Azarenka has won four titles this year, including the Australian Open. She lost the Madrid Open finals to Serena Williams on Sunday.
Earlier, Williams rallied past Nadia Petrova of Russia 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 to extend her winning streak to 15 matches, following titles in Charleston, S.C., and Madrid — plus two wins in Fed Cup.
Serena's sister, Venus Williams, had an easier time reaching the third round, eliminating Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 7-6 (7), 6-1.
There were several upsets, with No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska, No. 6 Caroline Wozniacki and No. 7 Marion Bartoli all eliminated.
SPORTS IN THE COURTS
Little League mom jailed over threats
A suburban New York mother will spend 60 days in jail after admitting she threatened a Little League official and his family because her boy didn't make a summer baseball travel team. A Nassau County judge also imposed five years' probation for Janet Chiauzzi.
■ A Texas judge has ordered Hall of Famer Deion Sanders to pay $10,550 in monthly child support as part of his divorce.
Sanders and his estranged wife, Pilar, agreed Tuesday to share custody of their three children for the summer.
■ Former NFL defensive end Johnny Jolly has been given 10 years of "shock" probation by a judge, just six months after he was sentenced to prison for violating terms of his probation for a drug conviction. The former Green Bay Packers star was sentenced to six years in prison last November.
■ The engineer who signed off on plans for the Dallas Cowboys practice facility that collapsed and seriously injured two team employees three years ago is paying a $12,000 fine to settle faulty design charges from the Texas Board of Professional Engineers. Enrique Tabak and the board agreed on the penalty last August.
Cowboys special teams coach Joe DeCamillis suffered a broken vertebra and scout Rich Behm was paralyzed from the waist down when the tent-like structure fell during a wind storm in May 2009.
U.S. Amateur trophy stolen in burglary
The U.S. Amateur trophy is among the artifacts missing after a burglar broke into the U.S. Golf Association Museum. Somerset County prosecutor Geoffrey Soriano says police responded to the building in Bernards Township, N.J. after a burglar alarm was activated there around 2:40 a.m. Wednesday. Officers found several trophy cases had been extensively damaged with an ax.
Clarkson goal evens series for Devils
David Clarkson's deflected goal 2:31 into the third period snapped a tie and lifted the New Jersey Devils to a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers that evened the Eastern Conference finals at one game apiece on Wednesday night. Game 3 will be Saturday in New Jersey.
Trustees close Junior Seau's restaurant
A San Diego restaurant opened by Junior Seau in 1996 has closed its doors two weeks after the NFL star's suicide. Trustee Bette Hoffman said in a statement Wednesday that the decision to close the restaurant was made to honor Seau's legacy. She also says trustees felt the restaurant's future profitability could be in question without Seau's leadership.
The last word
Like a little kid with a brand new toy, Eli Manning couldn't wait. Manning and his New York Giants teammates received their Super Bowl rings at Tiffany's Wednesday. It was the second title in four years for Manning and the Giants, and the fourth overall in the Super Bowl era for the franchise. Said Manning:
"You're up on stage getting the box, and you wonder how quickly you can get off stage and open the box and get the ring on ."