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Nation and World Sports | In brief | 05-18-14

May 18, 2014 - 12:05am

Ex-Warriors coach Jackson back to ESPN’s NBA team

NEW YORK — Former Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson has agreed to a multiyear deal to rejoin ESPN’s lead NBA announcing team.

Jackson is scheduled to work the Eastern Conference finals and NBA Finals with Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy. They called the last of their five straight NBA Finals together in 2011. ESPN is making the announcement Saturday.

Jackson then went straight from TV to coaching and led the Warriors to the playoffs the last two seasons. But he was fired earlier this month after Golden State went 51-31 and lost to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round. The Warriors have hired Steve Kerr, another analyst without coaching experience.

Jackson played 17 seasons in the NBA and is fourth on the career list with 10,334 assists.

Arizona hires La Russa to run baseball operations

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks have hired Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa as their chief baseball officer.

La Russa retired from managing in 2011. He will report to Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall and oversee the entire baseball operations department.

La Russa won three World Series titles and six league championships and was a four-time manager of the year in 33 seasons. He will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in July and is third all-time with 2,728 wins as a manager and second with 70 postseason wins.

La Russa played parts of six seasons in the majors before starting a managerial career that began in 1979 with the Chicago White Sox and took him to Oakland and St. Louis, where he won World Series rings in 2006 and 2011.

Saints sign Tulane’s Walker to honorary contract

METAIRIE, La. — New Orleans coach Sean Payton says the Saints are signing paralyzed former Tulane player Devon Walker to a free-agent contract.

Payton, who met with Walker at the Saints’ practice fields during rookie camp Saturday, said Walker has “been an inspiration” to his community, his university and to the Saints.

Walker was paralyzed from the neck down while making a tackle at Tulsa in 2012. Now operating a motorized wheelchair with his mouth, Walker nonetheless managed to graduate on Saturday with a degree in cell and molecular biology.

In between graduation festivities, Tulane coach Curtis Johnson brought Walker, along with family and friends, to Saints headquarters to receive the honorary contract.

Walker remained part of Tulane’s football team last season, even giving speeches before home games.

Blake fails in UK to break Bolt’s 150m record

MANCHESTER, England — Former world champion Yohan Blake failed in a bid to break training partner Usain Bolt’s 150-meter world best at the Manchester CityGames on Saturday.

Blake timed 14.71 seconds, only the third fastest over the non-Olympic distance, and well behind Bolt’s 14.35 in 2009, and Walter Dix’s 14.65 in 2011.

Blake, the 2011 world 100 champ, blamed the lack of a proper warmup area for not being quicker.

“I feel I could have got that record today, but I just had to make sure I came away injury-free,” the Jamaican said. “There just wasn’t anywhere to warm up.”

The Olympic 100 and 200 silver medalist hinted he will attempt the double at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, in July.

‘Miracle on Ice’ gold medal auctioned for $262,900

MINNEAPOLIS — An Olympic gold medal earned by a player on the “Miracle on Ice” 1980 U.S. Olympic team has been auctioned for nearly $263,000.

It belonged to Mark Pavelich, who had the assist on Mike Eruzione’s game-winning goal for Team USA against the Soviet Union.

Heritage Auctions of Dallas says it fetched $262,900 Friday in an online-only sale. The company says it’s just the second 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey gold medal to reach the block, the first being Mark Wells’ medal, which commanded $310,700 in 2010.

Pavelich, a native of Eveleth, went on to play for the New York Rangers, Minnesota North Stars and San Jose Sharks in the NHL.

Heritage sports director Chris Ivy says Pavelich was not in financial distress but wanted to help his kids with their education.

Perry takes 1-stroke lead over Inman at Tradition

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Kenny Perry shot a 3-under 69 on Saturday at Shoal Creek to take a one-stroke lead over John Inman after the third round of the Regions Tradition.

Perry is seeking his third Champions Tour major title after winning the Senior Players Championship and U.S. Senior Open in consecutive tour starts last year.

Perry had a 7-under 209 total. He had four birdies and bogeyed No. 16.

Inman, a two-time PGA Tour winner who coached at the University of North Carolina, shot a 66 after two even-par rounds. He had seven birdies before his first slip-up, a bogey on No. 16.

Steve Elkington, second-round leader Mark Calcavecchia, Jay Haas, John Cook, Jeff Maggert, Olin Browne and Tom Pernice Jr. were 4 under.

Woman seriously hurt in Fenway elevator shaft fall

BOSTON — Police and state inspectors are examining whether one or both doors of an elevator at Boston’s Fenway Park opened before a woman plunged two stories down an elevator shaft after a game, officials said Saturday.

The 22-year-old woman fell from the fourth floor and landed on the roof of the elevator, which was stopped on the second floor. It happened late Friday after the Red Sox lost to the Detroit Tigers, said Steve MacDonald, a spokesman for the Boston Fire Department.

Power to the elevator was shut off, and firefighters climbed through the elevator’s emergency hatch to reach the woman, who was transported to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, MacDonald said.

Unbeaten Russia reaches world ice hockey quarters

MINSK, Belarus — Russia secured a quarterfinals berth at the ice hockey world championship with a 4-1 win over Latvia on Saturday to remain unbeaten.

Russia outshot Latvia 43-15 in its fifth straight win. It leads Group B, with still two games to go, by six points from Latvia and Belarus. The United States and Finland are another point back.

Also, Denmark upset the Czech Republic 4-3 in a penalty shootout, France prevailed in another penalty shootout to edge Norway 5-4, and host Belarus rallied to beat Germany 5-2.

In late games, Slovakia topped Italy 4-1 and Switzerland downed Kazakhstan 6-2 to earn their second victories in Minsk in six games.

Southeast Missouri investigating tweet link

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. — Officials at Southeast Missouri State University say they’re investigating how an athletics department tweet linked viewers to a photo of two partially clad women.

The Southeast Missourian reports sports information director Jeff Honza apologized Friday for the tweet, which went out from the official Twitter profile of Southeast Missouri State Redhawks athletics earlier Friday. The tweet was supposed to link to track and field results but instead linked to the women’s photo.

The photo shows two women in a bathroom, one in her underwear and a tank top and the other in a vest and blouse and a pair of shorts around her knees. Their faces were blurred out.

Director of Athletics Mark Alnutt also says the university apologizes and is investigating what led to the photo being linked.

By wire sources

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