Wednesday Sports in Brief

The Associated Press
·4 min read

NBA

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Becky Hammon became the first woman to direct an NBA team, taking over the San Antonio Spurs after coach Gregg Popovich was ejected in a 121-107 loss to LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night.

James celebrated his 36th birthday with 26 points, eight assists and five rebounds in the Lakers' third double-digit victory. The teams will compete the two-game set Friday night.

Popovich was ejected by official Tony Brown with 3:56 remaining in the second quarter.

Hammon took over the team's huddles during timeouts and walked the sideline following Popovich's ejection. Hammon was the first full-time female assistant coach in league history.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Longtime Indiana Pacers executive Donnie Walsh, the architect of the franchise's turnaround, announced his retirement on Wednesday.

The 79-year-old Walsh first told The Indianapolis Star of his intention to retire.

Walsh came to Indiana as an assistant coach in 1984, joining a franchise that had never won a playoff game during its NBA history.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Coastal Carolina's Jamey Chadwell is The Associated Press college football coach of the year after leading the Chanticleers to a surprising, near-perfect season.

Chadwell received 16 first-place votes and 88 points from the AP Top 25 panel to finish ahead of Indiana's Tom Allen, who was second with 14 first-place votes and 66 points. Cincinnati's Luke Fickell was third (5, 44) and Alabama's Nick Saban was fourth (8, 42).

Chadwell is the first Sun Belt Conference coach to win the AP award, which was established in 1988, and the third coach to earn it with a team from outside the Power Five leagues.

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) - The College Football Playoff semifinal in Texas will be allowed to call itself the Rose Bowl Game, but Pasadena officials don't want the New Year's event relocated in the future.

The Pasadena city council agreed Wednesday to allow the Tournament of Roses to move the game to Arlington, Texas, on New Year's Day. No. 1 Alabama will play fourth-ranked Notre Dame in the first CFP semifinal at AT&T Stadium outside Dallas.

The Tournament of Roses will pay the city $2 million to help Pasadena with its expenses and lost revenue as a result of the game being relocated.

MLB

NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Mets have hired Tony Tarasco to be their first base coach, bringing the former outfielder back to the franchise where he ended his playing career.

The Mets announced the hiring Wednesday. The 50-year-old Tarasco will take over for Tony DeFrancesco, who is moving to a new role as senior advisor for player development and scouting.

NHL

WASHINGTON (AP) - Longtime Boston captain Zdeno Chara signed with the Washington Capitals on Wednesday, saying his former team had decided to move on from the towering defenseman who helped the Bruins climb back into the top echelon of the NHL and win the Stanley Cup in 2011.

The stunning move - Chara agred to terms on a one-year contract worth just $795,000 - came less than a week before most NHL teams open training camp. The Bruins haven't opened camp without Chara since 2005, the first season after a yearlong lockout.

SOCCER

LONDON (AP) - The Premier League made it clear it doesn't intend to suspend the competition despite being forced to call off a second game this week amid concerns across England about a fast-spreading new variant of the coronavirus.

Fulham's game at Tottenham had to be postponed on Wednesday, while the government's tightening of coronavirus restrictions meant no Premier League stadiums will be allowed to have fans going forward.

HORSE RACING

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) - Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law has been suddenly retired on the advice of a veterinarian after an X-ray revealed bone bruising in the colt's front leg.

Jack Knowlton of Sackatoga Stable, the New York state ownership group, had been expecting to race the colt as a 4-year-old next year. But a series of X-rays revealed ''severe'' bone bruising to the bottom of the front leg bone.

Tiz the Law had six wins in nine career starts and earnings of $2,735,300, according to Equibase.

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