Louisville player mistakes TV sideline reporter for spy

Published: Saturday, March 18, 2017 @ 6:53 AM



Icon Sports Wire/Corbis via Getty Images
(Icon Sports Wire/Corbis via Getty Images)

It was a case of mistaken identity. Friday night Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino assured one of his players that the woman on the sidelines near the Cardinals’ huddle Friday night was not a spy, but a television reporter.

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Pitino, whose team advanced in the NCAA tournament with a 78-63 victory against Jacksonville State, said one of his players mistakenly thought CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson was stealing plays Friday for Jacksonville State.

"This is a very inexperienced team," Pitino told reporters. "We're down two scholarships. Our backcourt is a little thin. Show you how inexperienced we are, one of my players said, 'There's a lady in the huddle stealing our plays.' It's Tracy Wolfson."

CBS' Wolfson said via Twitter she found Pitino's assertion humorous, ESPN reported, although the coach apparently was not joking.

"They thought she was giving it to the other team," Pitino said. "I told [sophomore guard Donovan Mitchell], she's not doing that.”

Jim Larranaga: 'I am Coach-3' in FBI college basketball probe

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 4:41 PM

Head coach Jim Larranaga of the Miami Hurricanes looks on during the game against the Buffalo Bulls  during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Head coach Jim Larranaga of the Miami Hurricanes looks on during the game against the Buffalo Bulls during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

University of Miami coach Jim Larranaga said his legal team believes he is “Coach-3,” as noted in the Department of Justice report about the FBI investigation into college basketball’s underbelly.

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“I am grateful we have come to that conclusion,” said Larranaga, “as I know I did nothing wrong, and it is comforting to know none of my assistants are connected in any way.” He added that the U.S. attorney’s office has not confirmed the identity of “Coach-3.”

In a news conference at the Watsco Center, Larranaga addressed the media for the first time since the Sept. 26 complaint was unveiled in New York. Uncharacteristically, he read from a prepared statement. He fielded questions afterward from reporters about the emotional impact, but referred all inquiries about the investigation to his statement, which said he appreciated that the media had a job to do, but that he would not offer comment.

Larranaga’s full statement: 

Jim Larranaga reads from a prepared statement on his involvement in the FBI investigation into college basketball's underbelly.

Posted by Post on Miami Hurricanes on Monday, October 23, 2017

“I cannot state more emphatically that I absolutely have no knowledge of any wrongdoing by any member of our staff and I certainly have never engaged in the conduct that some have speculated about,” Larranaga said, holding a piece of paper with both hands.

“I have tried to live every single one of my 68 years on this earth with integrity, character, and humility. … To have those values that I cherish so dearly even questioned, is disheartening and disappointing.”

“Coach-3,” in the FBI report, was said to know about an Adidas executive and others conspiring to funnel some $150,000 to a 2018 recruit, later learned to be Orlando-based five-star wing Nassir Little. Little and his father signed statements, provided to The Post by Larranaga’s legal team, saying they accepted no money, never discussed payment with any of the men charged, and they and Miami did nothing wrong.

>> Related: Auburn, Oklahoma State, USC coaches among 10 charged with corruption

Asked about his relationship with former Adidas executive Jim Gatto, who was one of 10 men indicted by the FBI on conspiracy and fraud charges, Larranaga declined to comment, referring to the statement.

“It’s been a strain, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually,” Larranaga said. “It’s something that’s there. I have to deal with it. I have the support of my wife and a wonderful family. I have the support of the university, my staff and players.”

Both Ja’Quan Newton and Bruce Brown, the two players Miami made available to the media, said they were not aware of the details of the investigation. They said practice has been as usual, and they’ve noticed no change in their coach.

“Around us, ‘Coach L’ isn’t going to show he’s hurt,” Newton said. “He’s so happy to be around us.”

Larranaga said he briefed his players on Sept. 26, along with UM Athletics Director Blake James.

10 Charged With Corruption In College Basketball

“They have nothing to do with this,” Larranaga said. “It hasn’t been talked about since.”

Asked how the investigation has affected recruiting, Larranaga said it has been a negative, but his staff is “very strong and resilient, and we’ll figure out a way to recruit successfully.”

UM does not have a verbal commitment for 2018. It had an official visit set up the weekend of Sept. 9 with five-star point guard Immanuel Quickley, but it was canceled when Hurricane Irma forced UM to evacuate the campus.

Asked if he has received messages of support from colleagues, Larranaga answered, “Yes.”

Asked if that has helped, Larranaga answered with the same flat, “Yes.”

Homecoming queen kicks game-winning field goal

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 5:19 AM

Goalposts.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Goalposts.(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)


It was a great week for a Texas high school student. She was named homecoming queen last week, and on Friday she kicked five extra points and the game-winning field goal for her football team.

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Claire Jeffress was the clutch kicker for Dawson High School on Friday, converting a 30-yard field goal with 1:08 to play to snap a tie and give the Eagles a 38-35 victory against Pearland.

“Homecoming queen knocks it through, Dawson wins,” Dawson head coach Eric Wells told the Houston Chronicle. “You have to love that.”

Wells said Dawson “doesn’t get rattled” during games. 

“There wasn’t even a question that she was going to kick it,” he said.

Besides, it wasn’t even Jeffress’ first game-winning kick. She made a go-ahead extra point on Oct. 5 to give Dawson a 14-13 victory against George Ranch.

Jeffress has been playing football since she was a seventh-grader. She told TMC News in January that she felt she needed to prove herself to play on the boys squad.

“I didn't want to make the team because I was a girl -- I didn't want it to be some special factor," she told TMC News. “I wanted to make it because I deserved to be on the team. They understood that.”


On the night she was crowned homecoming queen -- her homecoming dress was adorned with a football -- Jeffress was 6-for-6 on extra points as Dawson defeated Brazoswood 51-16. 

So kicking a game-winner on Friday was not a pressure situation, she said.

“I just wanted to do what I've always done and not think of it as any big deal,” Jeffress told the Chronicle. “My team had faith in me, and they were going to block for me, and the snap and the hold were going to be good, so I just had to do my job.”

Trump says there's 'no leadership in NFL'

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 12:06 PM

Roger Goodell Wants NFL Players To Stand During Anthem

President Donald Trump on Monday lamented what he called a lack of leadership in the NFL days after the league’s commissioner said no plans are in place to force football players to stand during the national anthem.

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“Two dozen NFL players continue to kneel during the National Anthem, showing total disrespect to our Flag & Country,” Trump tweeted on Monday morning. “No leadership in NFL!”

NFL commissioner Roger Goddell said last week that he believes players “should” stand for the anthem, but that team owners and other officials are focused on understanding the issues that are prompting the protests. He said that players will not be penalized if they choose to kneel during the anthem.

"I think our clubs all see this the same way -- we want our players to stand, we're going to encourage them to stand and we're going to continue to work on these issues in the community," Goodell said Tuesday at a news conference following the Fall League Meeting in New York.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first started kneeling during the anthem last year, to protest police violence against minorities. The protest got mixed reactions, but other NFL players -- and players in other sports -- have since followed Kaepernick’s lead, to protest inequality.

>> Related: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wants players to stand during national anthem, memo says

“They're talking about criminal justice reform,” Goddell said last week. “They're talking about changes that, I think, will make our communities better -- that there's bipartisan support for and that need focus. … They're talking about equality issues, making sure we're doing everything we possibly can to give people an opportunity, whether it's an education or economic and what we can do to try to effectuate that. And we believe, with the players, that we can help them, we can support them. And those are our issues, national issues, American issues that are all important."

Trump suggested last month that NFL team owners should fire players who refuse to stand during the anthem, telling a crowd in Alabama that “that’s a total disrespect for our heritage.”

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally for Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala., Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)(Evan Vucci/AP)
Goddell said last week that players “are not doing this in any way to be disrespectful to the flag, but they also understand how it's being interpreted, and we're dealing with those underlying issues."

Related

49ers icon Dwight Clark, battling ALS, asks fans for ‘prayers and thoughts’

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 2:05 AM

San Francisco 49ers Dwight Clark (87) makes
San Francisco 49ers Dwight Clark (87) makes "The Catch" against the Dallas Cowboys on Jan. 10, 1982. The touchdown reception and ensuing extra point sent the 49ers to their first Super Bowl.(Bettmann/Bettmann Archive)

Former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Dwight Clark, whose iconic reception in the 1981 NFC Championship Game will be forever known as “The Catch,” gave an emotional speech Sunday as his team honored him during halftime of Sunday’s game against Dallas.

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Clark, 60, is fighting amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. “Dwight Clark Day” at Levi’s Stadium gave the former NFL star a chance to say thanks and reunite with his former teammates, the Mercury News reported.

“I think you all know I’m going through a little thing right now,” Clark told the crowd. “And I need your prayers and thoughts. I appreciate those that you’ve been giving me.”

Clark spoke from a private suite at Levi’s Stadium during halftime of the 49ers’ a 40-10 loss to Dallas, the team he beat for “The Catch.”

Clark is in a wheelchair because of the terminal neuromuscular condition that affects his ability to move, speak, eat and breathe, the Mercury News reported. Clark revealed in March that he was battling the fatal disease. The 49ers asked him what they could do, and Clark asked for a reunion with his teammates, “So I could see them one more time.” 


Thirty-seven members of that 1981 Super Bowl champion squad returned to pay tribute, along with former team owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., the Mercury News reported.

Clark is best known for his 6-yard grab with 58 seconds left against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 10, 1982. 

The 49ers would win five Super Bowls, but the catch and victory was the springboard for the team’s future successes.

“He’s very well known to all you 49ers fans and, oh, yeah, to you Cowboys fans, too,” said Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana, who threw that game-winning pass. “Any time you turn on the NFL and you’re watching TV, you’ll see him flying high in the back of that end zone and making one of the most iconic catches in NFL history.”