Other Sports

Sports briefs: May 29

UK Sports

Jorgensen promoted to head swimming and diving coach

Lars Jorgensen will take over as head coach of the Kentucky's swimming and diving program, Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart announced Tuesday. Jorgensen, who served as the team's associate coach this past season, replaces Gary Conelly, who retired in April after 22 years on the job.

"It's a dream of mine to be the head coach at the University of Kentucky," Jorgensen said in a UK news release. "I know we can be very successful here. We have a lot of work to do, but this past year we laid the foundation for future success as we have a really good recruiting class coming in. I think we're going to have a lot better team next year and in the years to come."

Jorgensen, a native of San Diego, Calif., brings an extensive Southeastern Conference background to the UK job.

He swam for Tennessee and was an interim head coach there before arriving at Kentucky. He also was an assistant coach at LSU. In between those stops, Jorgensen was a two-time Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year during eight seasons at Toledo.

"We want to consistently perform in the SEC and at the NCAA level," Jorgensen said. "We want to lay a foundation built by work ethic and toughness. If we do the little things, then we're going to be competitive, and that's our goal."

As a swimmer, Jorgensen represented the United States in the 1,500-meter freestyle at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, when he finished ninth. He also won six U.S. national championships. In addition, Jorgensen holds the Ironman Triathlon record for fastest swimming time in competition history.

Southeastern Conference meetings

Saban wants expanded football schedule

Alabama Coach Nick Saban has a strong — and seemingly solitary — stance on the Southeastern Conference potentially moving to a nine-game league schedule. Saban said Tuesday he would like to see the SEC expand from eight to nine games, an opinion that surely will draw debate and dissent during the league's annual spring meetings this week.

Saban was the only SEC coach to publicly call for increasing the number of league games, the biggest topic being discussed during daylong meetings held in Destin, Fla. SEC presidents and chancellors could vote on the issue Friday.

"I'm absolutely in the minority, no question about it," Saban said. "But everybody has their reasons."

Having won three of the last four Bowl Championship Series national title games, Saban admits he should be against changing the model.

"If you look at it through a straw and how it affects you ... then you're not going to be for it," he said. "I shouldn't be for it. We'd have a better chance to be successful if we don't do it, but I think it's best for the game and for the league. I'm trying to look at it from 1,000 feet."

Several coaches argued that expanding to nine games would only make an already difficult schedule even tougher — and could affect bowl eligibility for teams on the bubble.

"You add a ninth game and that's seven more losses for our conference," Mississippi's Hugh Freeze said. "We want to fill all our bowl slots and represent our conference. When you play that ninth game, it would create some more revenue, but it's seven more losses. I'm in favor of playing the West and two rotators. That's what I will push and vote for."

Hoops tourney might get a regular home

The Southeastern Conference's basketball tournament is ready to settle down. And Nashville could be home. SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said league athletics directors voted unanimously to "authorize the conference to explore a primary site for the men's basketball tournament." Slive stopped short of saying "permanent," but hinted that could change.

Slive said, "We've been very successful with our permanent site in football in Atlanta. We've been very successful in our permanent site in Hoover (Ala.) in terms of baseball, so the ADs felt it was time for us to explore the possibility of a primary site for the men's basketball tournament."

The basketball tournament has been played in Tampa, Fla., Nashville, Atlanta and New Orleans over the last five years. It is scheduled for Nashville in 2015, 2016 and 2019. Two years, 2017 and 2018, have not been finalized.

French OPen

Djokovic opens with win in straight sets

Embarking on a bid to complete a career Grand Slam and fill the only glaring hole on his résumé, No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic pulled out a tight first set en route to a 7-6 (5), 6-4, 7-5 victory Tuesday in the first round of the French Open against David Goffin, a Belgian who was the surprise of Roland Garros a year ago.

The key moment came in the first-set tiebreaker, with the 58th-ranked Goffin serving at 5-all. After he faulted once, a fan yelled, "Allez, David!" The 22-year-old Goffin then proceeded to miss his second serve, too, for a double-fault that gave Djokovic a set point.

After that, though, there were not too many hiccups for Djokovic, although he did get broken at love by Goffin, evening the second set at 4-all. Djokovic broke right back and was really on his way.

There was a rain delay of more than 2½ hours before play could start, and then after only 1½ hours of action, another stop of more than an hour. Only 26 of 40 scheduled singles matches were completed, three were suspended in progress, and organizers wound up postponing others entirely. That means players such as Victoria Azarenka, the reigning Australian Open champion, will be slated for first-round action Wednesday, the fourth day of the tournament.


NFL moves its draft to May in 2014

The NFL Draft is moving to May next year. The league officially announced Tuesday that the 2014 edition will be held May 8-10 at Radio City Music Hall in New York because of a scheduling conflict in April at the venue. The NFL has yet to decide on dates for drafts in 2015 and beyond. The last time the entire draft took place in May was 1984.

■ Louisville junior right-hander Jeff Thompson was one of 30 players to be named semifinalists for the 2013 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award, which is given to the top amateur baseball player. Thompson, the Big East's pitcher of the year, is 10-1 with a 2.09 ERA and 97 strikeouts in 901⁄3 innings pitched.

■ Former St. Xavier standout Justin Thomas, a sophomore at Alabama, shot a 3-under 67 and is tied for fourth at the NCAA men's golf championships. Arizona State's John Rahm shot a 61 to grab a four-shot lead in the two-day event.

■ The Kannapolis Intimidators scored five runs in the fourth inning and seven more in the fifth on their way to a 13-1 victory against the Lexington Legends on Tuesday at Whitaker Bank Ballpark. Jason Coats and Micah Johnson homered for the Intimidators, who had 15 hits in the game. Bubba Starling's seventh-inning homer accounted for the Legends' only run.

■ The NHL's Colorado Avalanche introduced Patrick Roy as their new coach Tuesday, turning to the Hall of Fame goalie to revive a franchise he once led to prominence. The 47-year-old Roy joins forces with former teammate-turned-executive Joe Sakic to fix a squad that's missed the playoffs three straight seasons. Roy and Sakic helped the Avs to Stanley Cup titles in 1996 and 2001.

The last word

The Indianapolis 500 trophy is destined for the bedroom of Tony Kanaan's 6-year-old son in Brazil. What young Leo doesn't realize is that the Indy 500 winner gets a much smaller replica of the Borg-Warner Trophy than the permanent one at Indianapolis. Kanaan said:

"He truly thinks I'm bringing the big Borg-Warner home. ... The excuse I have, because it is in Brazil, dad has to shrink the trophy to fit in a bag."