At age 79 of multiple myeloma, a cancer that attacks plasma cells, offensive football innovator Homer Smith (above), who developed more than a half-dozen future NFL quarterbacks, including Steve Bono and Jay Schroeder. As a star running back at Princeton, Smith once rushed for 273 yards, then a university record, against rival Harvard. Later, after serving in the Army in the mid-1950s, he became known for his successes coaching the wishbone at Stanford, UCLA (where his '73 Bruins backfield led the nation in rushing with 400.3 yards per game), Pacific and Davidson. In 1974 he became head coach at West Point. Despite the program's being hobbled by the unpopularity of the Vietnam War, Smith broke a stretch of Midshipmen dominance in the Army-Navy game and returned the Cadets to respectability, only to be fired after a 28--0 loss to Navy in '78. He would spend the remainder of his 39-year career as an assistant at UCLA (where he coached three times), with the NFL's Chiefs, at Alabama (two stints) and at Arizona.
From a planned MMA fight in June after she learned that she is pregnant, Cindy (Battlecat) Dandois, 26, who last fought in March, when, according to an MMA report, she would have been carrying for two months. (Dandois has not confirmed how far along her pregnancy is.) A Belgian who has lost just once in six MMA outings, Dandois scrapped her bout with Gina Carano last week after learning that she was with child; she also confirmed that she had struggled to make weight before her last match, a second-round TKO in Antwerp, but that a pregnancy test before that contest had come up as a false negative. On Tuesday, two days before posting a sonogram picture of her unborn baby on Facebook, Dandois wrote to her fans, "I am so sad I can't take the fight. ... I hope I can do the fight after my pregnancy."
April 24, 2011
For the NBA draft, which is scheduled for June 23 (one week before the current collective bargaining agreement ends, an event that could set off a lockout), the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player, Kemba Walker, who guided 32--9 UConn to the 2011 national title. Walker, who scored a school-record 965 points as a junior, is expected to be an early first-round pick, as are a slew of other nonseniors who have declared: Washington point guard Isiah Thomas (16.8 ppg in '10--11); Kansas twins Markieff and Marcus Morris (13.6 and 17.2 ppg); San Diego State forward Kawhi Leonard (15.5 ppg); and Arizona forward Derrick Williams (19.5 ppg). Meanwhile, freshmen Harrison Barnes of North Carolina and Baylor's Perry Jones both chose, unexpectedly, to stay in school, making themselves likely 2012 lottery picks.
By Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya, the 115th Boston Marathon. Mutai (right) crossed the finish line on Monday in 2:03:02, four seconds ahead of countryman Moses Mosop and 57 seconds under Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie's 2008 world record. (Mutai's performance won't count as a world record because the Boston course runs point to point and has too great a decline in elevation from start to finish.) An ideal day, with temperatures in the high 40s and a 15-to-20 mph tailwind, produced stellar performances throughout the field. Twenty-eight-year-old Ryan Hall of Big Bear Lake, Calif., finished fourth in 2:04:58, the fastest marathon ever by an American, while unheralded Desiree Davila, 27, was just steps from notching the first U.S. victory since 1985. Davila traded the lead with Kenya's Caroline Kilel three times in the final kilometer before Kilel opened up just enough room to take the women's title by two seconds in 2:22:36.
Last Thursday in Encino, Calif., for alleged grand theft, former Mets and Phillies outfielder Lenny Dykstra, who finished second in the 1993 NL MVP voting. Charges against Dykstra, who was still being held on Monday on a $500,000 bond, stemmed from suspicions that he was attempting to buy stolen vehicles, and came a day after he was hit with an unrelated federal complaint of embezzling from a bankruptcy estate. In that case prosecutors allege Dykstra, 48, hid, destroyed or sold more than $400,000 worth of property from his $18.5 million Ventura County mansion without permission from the bankruptcy trustee. (Included in those items: sports memorabilia and a $50,000 sink.) Nails, as Dykstra was known for his gritty play, could face up to five years in federal prison if convicted.
By Victor Ortiz with a thrilling 12-round unanimous decision over the unbeaten Andre Berto on Saturday at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, the WBC welterweight title. With his victory, the 24-year-old answered lingering questions about his heart and chin and positioned himself for even grander prizes. Two years after nearly quitting the sport following a battering by Marcos Maidana, Ortiz (29-2-2) delivered his finest performance, knocking down Berto (27--1) in the first and sixth rounds while surviving two knockdowns. The win established Ortiz as a candidate for a big-money bout with Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather; it also reminded Berto's promoter, Lou DiBella, of another ferocious champ, the late Arturo Gatti. "[He] would have been very pleased with the fight," said DiBella.
Consecutive seasons in which Cubs righthander Carlos Zambrano has homered, after he went yard on April 13, tying Gary Peters's expansion era record.
Age of Florida brick mason Charles Chulada—who played guard at Syracuse from 1969 to '73—when he tried out for the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders last week.
Celtics players whose jerseys were among the NBA's 15 best sellers in 2010--11. That count includes Shaquille O'Neal (12th), who played just 752 minutes, the fewest in his career.
Strokes it took Kevin Na to finish the ninth hole at the Texas Open last Thursday, a PGA Tour record for a par-4.
Boston Pizza outlets in Quebec that were renamed Montreal Pizza during the Canadiens-Bruins playoff series.
Fans of the Uruguayan soccer team Penarol who last week helped carry a 1,017' √ó 157' 120th anniversary flag into the team's stadium. The banner, which took four months to sew and weighs more than two tons, covered almost half of the stadium's 65,000-plus seats.
THEY SAID IT
Pacers forward, on the Bulls' point guard, who doggedly led Chicago to a late comeback victory over Indiana in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series on Saturday:
"Derrick Rose ... is like a crazy stalker ex-girlfriend. Every time you tell her you don't want to talk to her, she'll show up at your door again."