SENTENCED To four months in federal prison, Ravens running back Jamal Lewis, who pleaded guilty in October to using a cellphone to try to set up a cocaine deal in 2000. Lewis, who originally faced more serious conspiracy charges, could have been hit with at least a 10-year sentence if convicted at trial, and under federal guidelines he could have received six to 12 months for the crime he pleaded to. But U.S. district judge Orinda Evans let him off easy, in part, she said, because prosecutors had a weak case and there was a "very high" probability that a jury would have acquitted him. (The judge recommended that he serve his time at a federal prison camp in Alabama.) Lewis, who underwent ankle surgery last month and appeared in court on crutches, should be released in time for the beginning of training camp in July. Said Lewis, "I'm truly sorry for what I did."
FIREDBy the ABA's Nashville Rhythm, Ashley McElhiney, the first woman to coach a professional men's basketball team. McElhiney, 23, was axed after an argument with co-owner Sally Anthony during a win over the Kansas City Knights last Saturday. Before the game, Anthony told McElhiney not to play forward Matt Freije because she thought other players resented his playing time. McElhiney ignored the order, and in the third quarter Anthony stormed onto the court and tried to fire her on the spot. Anthony was hauled off the floor by security guards; after the game she announced that McElhiney was out. Cooler heads eventually prevailed: On Monday league chairman Joe Newman told SI that McElhiney would get her job back.
FILED By Heat forward Wesley Person, a grievance with the NBA players' union accusing the team of wrongfully placing him on the injured list. Miami shelved Person last week, saying he had right-knee tendinitis. Person claims he's healthy--even though he approved the move. His excuse: "They called me when I was taking my nap.... Once I woke up and came to my senses, I was like, Hold on now."
FIRED After 18 seasons, Peabody (Mass.) High baseball coach Ed Nizwantowski. Officials didn't specify a reason for Nizwantowski's removal, but under his watch--he's also the football coach--several former Peabody athletes, including Marlins minor league pitcher Jeff Allison, have admitted to being addicted to prescription painkillers (SI, Dec. 20, 2004). Nizwantowski still holds his football position, but the school said it will begin accepting applicants for that job later this year.
February 7, 2005
DIED Former heavyweight boxer and actor Coley Wallace, of heart failure at age 77. Wallace didn't amount to much as a pro (he was 20-7-0), but as an amateur in 1948 he knocked out Rocky Marciano, handing the future champ the only loss of his career. Wallace was also known for his resemblance to Joe Louis. In 1953--with cotton stuffed in his cheeks to simulate Louis's puffy face--he played the Brown Bomber in The Joe Louis Story, then reprised the role 27 years later in Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull.
PUNK'D By an unidentified Maryland fan, Duke's Cameron Crazies, who unknowingly mocked their team during a Jan. 26 home loss. Before the game Duke fans were told Maryland forward Nik Caner-Medley's girlfriend is named Myra and her pet name for him is Piggy. It was a hoax: When fans chanted, "Myra and Piggy," it sounded like they were saying "Myron Piggie"--the notorious summer-league coach who, it was revealed in 2001, had given money to former Duke star Corey Maggette.
DEBUTED As a pro golfer at the Victorian Open in Mordialloc, Australia, last Friday, tennis player Scott Draper. The Aussie missed the cut, but the week wasn't a total loss--on Sunday he and Samantha Stosur took the Australian Open mixed-doubles title. Draper planned to suspend his tennis career to pursue golf, but now he could make Australia's Davis Cup team.