Off the wire: Wooden finalists announced


Wooden finalists announced

Zach Edey of Purdue and Tristen Newton of UConn are among the five finalists for the John R. Wooden Award as the nation's outstanding men's college basketball player of the season. Edey won the award in 2023. Joining them are RJ Davis of North Carolina, Dalton Knecht of Tennessee and Jamal Shead of Houston. On the women's side, Caitlin Clark of Iowa and Paige Bueckers of UConn are among the five finalists. Clark won last year and Bueckers won in 2021. The other women's finalists are Cameron Brink of Stanford and freshmen JuJu Watkins of Southern Cal and Hannah Hidalgo of Notre Dame.

Iowa-LSU breaks record

Caitlin Clark can claim another record -- the most-watched women's college basketball game in history. Iowa's 94-87 victory over LSU in the Elite Eight of the women's NCAA Tournament on Monday night averaged 12.3 million viewers on ESPN, according to Nielsen. That makes it one of the most-viewed games in any sport other than NFL football over the past year. Iowa-LSU outdrew all but one of the five games in last year's NBA Finals, along with the clinching game of last year's World Series (11.48 million). Clark scored 41 points as the Hawkeyes avenged last year's loss to the Tigers in the national championship game. The viewership surpassed the 11.84 million who watched the 1983 NCAA championship game between Southern Cal and Louisiana Tech. LSU Coach Kim Mulkey played for Louisiana Tech and was matched up against USC great Cheryl Miller in that game, which the Trojans won 64-58. It was also the most-watched men's or women's college basketball game ever on ESPN.

Mack to coach Charleston

College of Charleston has hired former Louisville Coach Chris Mack as its men's coach after its last coach in Pat Kelsey left to take the Cardinals job last week. Athletic Director Matt Roberts said Tuesday that Mack agreed to a five-year contract to take over the program. Mack will receive $1.1 million per year through the 2028-29 season. He is also eligible for a range of performance bonus, from $150,000 for winning the NCAA Tournament to $5,000 for an NIT appearance. Should Mack leave his position in the first two seasons, he would owe the school $1.5 million. That figure decreases to $1 million in his third season and $750,000 in his fourth season. He would owe nothing if he departs in his final season. The school would owe Mack 100% of what remains on the deal should it dismiss him. Mack also earned a $35,000 signing bonus, earmarked in the contract for moving expenses and temporary lodging. Mack made the NCAA Tournament nine times in 12 full seasons as coach at Xavier and Louisville. Mack's time with the Cardinals ended in January 2022 when he was dismissed with the team at 6-8. Mack had been suspended the first six games of the season by Louisville, which said he violated school guidelines in his firing of one-time Cardinals assistant coach Dino Gaudio. Mack has not coached since then.


Mariners sign Keuchel

The Seattle Mariners are signing 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel (Arkansas Razorbacks) to a minor league deal. The left-hander will report to Class AAA Tacoma by this weekend. Keuchel pitched in 10 games last season for the Minnesota Twins, starting in six. He went 2-1 with a 5.97 ERA. Before the Twins, he played for the Texas Rangers, Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago White Sox and Atlanta Braves. The 36-year-old enjoyed most of his success in his seven-year stint with the Houston Astros, where he also won a World Series (2017) and was a two-time All-Star (2015, 2017).

Surgery for Jung

Texas third baseman Josh Jung was scheduled for surgery on his broken right wrist and will miss about six weeks, according to Rangers General Manager Chris Young. Jung was hurt when he was hit by a pitch from Tampa Bay reliever Phil Maton on a swinging strike in the ninth inning of the Rangers 9-3 win on Monday night. He was placed on the 10-day injured list and infielder Justin Foscus was recalled from Class AAA Round Rock.

Lucchino dies at 78

Former Red Sox, Padres and Orioles executive Larry Lucchino has died. He was the force behind baseball's retro ballpark revolution and the transformation of the Boston Red Sox from cursed losers to World Series champions. Lucchino was 78. He died of congenital heart failure. He had survived cancer three times. Lucchino's career included three major league baseball franchises and one in the NFL. After law school, Lucchino landed a job with Washington lawyer Edward Bennett Williams and worked on Williams' sports teams. With the Baltimore Orioles, Lucchino helped build Camden Yards, the ballpark that ended the trend of cookie-cutter stadiums.


Judge OKs Fitzgerald's suit

A judge has denied Northwestern's motion to dismiss former Coach Pat Fitzgerald's $130 million lawsuit against the school claiming he was wrongly fired in the wake of a hazing scandal. Cook County Circuit Judge Daniel J. Kubasiak ruled Tuesday that Fitzgerald made a strong enough argument to keep the case going. A trial is set for April 2025. Fitzgerald was initially suspended for two weeks and then fired last year after 17 years as head coach of the Wildcats. The school said he had a responsibility to know that hazing was occurring and should have stopped it. Fitzgerald denies wrongdoing.

Chiefs add Wentz, re-sign CEH

The Kansas City Chiefs have agreed to one-year deals with quarterback Carson Wentz and running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, two people familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Tuesday, giving them a backup for Patrick Mahomes and some depth in their backfield. The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because neither deal had been announced. Wentz, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, will join his fifth team in five years after starting his career in Philadelphia and spending last season with the Los Angeles Rams. He was 47-45-1 as a starter in eight seasons with the Eagles, where he finished third in NFL MVP voting in 2017 but tore two knee ligaments and watched backup Nick Foles lead them to a Super Bowl victory. Edwards-Helaire is a known commodity in Kansas City, which picked him 32nd overall in the 2020 draft. He struggled to live up to expectations as a first-round pick, though. Edwards-Helaire dealt with a series of injuries over the past four seasons, and that was part of the reason that Isiah Pacheco was able to wrestle away the starting job two years ago.

Memphis extends Silverfield

Memphis has agreed to a five-year extension with Coach Ryan Silverfield, keeping him under contract through the 2028 season. Athletic Director Laird Veatch announced the deal Tuesday. Silverfield has worked at Memphis the past eight seasons and the last four as head coach. He went 10-3 last season capped with a 36-26 win over Iowa State in the Liberty Bowl. That was just the fifth 10-win season in program history. Silverfield has capped each of his first four full seasons with bowl victories. He ranks second at Memphis with 31 wins, tying for fourth nationally among coaches hired in 2020.


Pegula rallies to win

Top-seeded Jessica Pegula rallied from a set down and beat fellow American Amanda Anisimova 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3) in a second-round match at the Charleston Open. Third-seeded Maria Sakkari also advanced to the third round with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Viktoriya Tomova. Earlier in the day, Miami Open champion Danielle Collins and Sloane Stephens won first-round matches. Collins beat Paula Badosa 6-1, 6-4 at the clay-court tournament, while Stephens, the 2017 U.S. Open champion, defeated Magdalena Frech 6-0, 6-2.

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