Cincinnati basketball coach Bob Huggins (above) on Aug. 24, a day after university president Nancy Zimpher said he'd be fired if he didn't step down within 24 hours. The ouster ends a power struggle between the popular coach, who won 399 games in 16 years and took the Bearcats to the Final Four in 1992, and Zimpher, who took over as president two years ago and is intent on raising Cincinnati's academic profile. She cited the basketball program's poor graduation rates and several player arrests on Huggins's watch as reasons for the ultimatum. (Last year Huggins, who received a $3 million buyout, was suspended for two months after he was arrested for drunken driving.) The Bearcats, who are preparing for their first season in the Big East, named Huggins's top assistant, Andy Kennedy, as coach. "It was a good run," a teary Huggins said at a rally in his honor at a Cincinnati sports bar last Thursday. "I certainly want to support the guys we have here."
From the U.S. Open in the first round, Svetlana Kuznetsova (right), who made the earliest departure ever by a defending women's champ. The Russian, who won the title last year after beating fourth seed Lindsay Davenport in the semis, was the fifth seed, but back problems had hampered her preparation for this year's event. On Monday, Ekaterina Bychkova, 20, the 97th-ranked player in the world, knocked her out in straight sets. "I just didn't play my game," Kuznetsova said.
September 4, 2005
From the list of NCAA schools banned from using American Indian mascots or nicknames during postseason play, Florida State. In its ruling last month aimed at eliminating "hostile and abusive" nicknames, the NCAA said schools that are supported by their namesake tribes may be able to keep their logos. Seminole tribes in Florida and Oklahoma informed the NCAA that they don't consider the school's imagery offensive; thus, Chief Osceola, the school's mascot since 1947, can ride again. Several of the 17 other schools affected by the order--including the North Dakota Fighting Sioux--are now trying to line up support from local tribes to support appeals to the NCAA.
By Kenyan native Bernard Lagat, 30, the U.S. record in the 1,500 meters. Lagat, who was sworn in as a U.S. citizen last year, ran 3:29.30 at the IAAF Grand Prix meet in Rieti, Italy, on Sunday, the fastest time in the world this year and .47 of a second faster than the American record, set by Sydney Maree in 1985.
By the Denver Broncos, running back Maurice Clarett (above). Broncos coach Mike Shanahan raised eyebrows in April when he used a third-round selection on the former Ohio State star--who proved to be an unworthy investment. A groin injury forced Clarett to miss two weeks of training camp, and he never made it on the field in a preseason game. Shanahan stopped defending Clarett to the media, and some Broncos questioned his commitment to his rehabilitation. "You can't make the club in the tub," said wide receiver Rod Smith. Clarett, who hasn't played since the 2003 Fiesta Bowl, is free to sign with any team. But his agent, Steve Feldman, said, "I'm not real confident of anything at this point."
By the Marlins for six games, a batboy to whom Dodgers pitcher Brad Penny said he would give $500 if the young man could drink a gallon of milk in an hour without throwing up. The unidentified batboy kept the milk down but didn't finish it in time. When the team found out about the proposition, it suspended the batboy, who received an outpouring of support. A Panamanian Internet gambling site offered him a trip to that country and $2,500 if he could accomplish the feat. A minor league team in Florida owned by Mike Veeck offered him a job. The Milk Processor Education Program offered him $500 and his lost wages if he promised to drink the recommended three glasses a day. Penny also vowed to reimburse him for lost pay. "It's kind of ridiculous that you get a 10-game suspension for steroids and a six-game suspension for milk," said Penny.
To stay home for the Orioles' game at Camden Yards against the A's last Friday, Baltimore pitcher Sidney Ponson. Last Thursday, Ponson (left) was arrested in Baltimore for drunken driving, his second DUI stop in seven months. (The other case is still pending.) Ponson also spent time in an Aruban jail last December after he was arrested for punching a judge. The Orioles are reportedly looking into voiding his contract, which calls for him to be paid $10 million next season. Ponson, 7--11 with a 6.21 ERA in 2005, is on the disabled list with a torn thumb ligament and he is unlikely to pitch again this year. "I'm not going to sit here and crucify him," teammate Rafael Palmeiro said. "He supported me and I'm going to do the same for him."
Without bail, Dwight Gooden, who fled from Tampa police after a drunken driving traffic stop. The former Mets and Yankees righthander, who in April quit his job as a special adviser to the Yankees, was pulled over in the wee hours on Aug. 22 for driving erratically. Authorities said Gooden, 40, who was slurring his words and smelled of alcohol, refused to leave his 2004 BMW for a field sobriety test, then drove off after handing his driver's license to an officer. The police were unable to locate Gooden until last Thursday, when he surrendered at the Hillsborough County Jail and was charged with a felony count of fleeing police and two misdemeanors. Gooden was arrested for drunken driving in 2002 (he pleaded guilty to reckless driving) and on battery charges last March after allegedly punching his girlfriend (those charges are still pending). Gooden must stay in jail or a substance-abuse treatment center at least until his next scheduled court hearing, on Sept. 20.
Pierluigi Collina, the Italian soccer referee whose bald pate and bulbous eyes made him one of the sport's most recognized figures. The no-nonsense Collina, 45, was considered the best referee in the world. As he called more and more big games--including the 2002 World Cup final--he began appearing in magazines and on T-shirts. But ultimately his celebrity cost him. The car maker Opel signed him to an endorsement deal; Opel also sponsors the club AC Milan. When Collina was criticized for the conflict, he stepped down, saying, "Without the trust in a referee, there is no point in looking ahead."