Around the Nation (Dec. 23): Auburn's Gus Malzahn named AP coach of year

Published:

Associated Press

COLLEGE

Auburn's Malzahn named top coach

AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn's Gus Malzahn is the Associated Press Coach of the Year.

Malzahn received the honor Monday after directing one of the biggest turnarounds in college football history.

He has led the second-ranked Tigers into the national championship game against No. 1 Florida State. They have gone from 3-9 to 12-1 in his debut season.

Malzahn says the honor is "very humbling" but awards like this are a team accomplishment.

He received 33 votes from AP Top 25 college football poll voters to beat out Duke's David Cutcliffe. Cutcliffe received 17 votes after leading Duke (10-3) to its first 10-win season. Florida State's Jimbo Fisher and Michigan State's Mark Dantonio each received three votes.

Malzahn is the second Auburn coach to win the award, joining Tommy Tuberville in 2004.

SMU football coach Jones gets extension

DALLAS -- SMU says football coach June Jones has agreed to a three-year contract extension.

The school announced Monday that Jones had signed a deal that keeps him in place through 2017.

Jones has won two Conference USA championships at SMU, which completed its first season in the American Athletic Conference this season. The Mustangs finished 5-7 overall, ending a streak of four straight bowl appearances.

Jones has a 36-41 record at SMU and is 112-82 for his career.

Michigan's Gardner still slowed by injury

PHOENIX -- Michigan coach Brady Hoke says quarterback Devin Gardner is still slowed by a turf toe injury.

Hoke says if the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl was on Monday, freshman Shane Morris would take snaps for the Wolverines against Kansas State.

The coach says Gardner, who is wearing a protective boot, would have to practice by Wednesday to play in Saturday night's game. Hoke says Gardner had a setback and met with doctors last Friday.

Morris was 5-of-9 for 65 yards with one interception in two games this season.

Hoke says kicker Brendan Gibbons won't be with the team in Arizona because of a family matter. Matt Wile will kick in the bowl game as he did against Ohio State after the team said Gibbons was out with an injury.

FOOTBALL

Garrett: Romo not ruled out for Philly

IRVING, Texas -- Dallas coach Jason Garrett says Tony Romo hasn't been ruled out for a winner-take-all finale against Philadelphia after injuring his back against Washington.

Garrett says Monday that Romo will get treatment and be evaluated daily. He adds the Cowboys were looking to add a third quarterback behind backup Kyle Orton.

Romo injured his back in Sunday's 24-23 win over Washington, which set up the Cowboys' third straight regular-season finale with the NFC East title on the line. The 33-year-old Romo lost the previous two against the New York Giants and Redskins, and another one in 2008 against the Eagles.

Romo had back surgery in April and missed all the offseason workouts.

Orton hasn't started a game since 2011.

Pryor back in as Raiders QB starter

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Terrelle Pryor will start at quarterback for the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, replacing Matt McGloin for the final regular-season game.

Coach Dennis Allen made the announcement at the end of his press conference Monday, saying it was "part of the plan" that apparently took shape when Pryor recovered from an injury to his right knee in late November.

The recent performances of McGloin were also a factor. In the past two games alone, the undrafted rookie quarterback threw six interceptions and lost two fumbles.

Oakland went 3-5 in the eight games Pryor started before getting hurt. He has made only a few cameo appearances since then but did not play in Sunday's 26-13 loss to San Diego.

McCarthy not sure if Rodgers will start

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy isn't sure if quarterback Aaron Rodgers will start the team's winner-take-all NFC North matchup with the Chicago Bears on Sunday at Soldier Field.

McCarthy did say Monday that the team wants to make a decision on Rodgers' availability "sooner than later."

Rodgers, who has not played since fracturing his left collarbone against the Bears at Lambeau Field on Nov. 4, has missed the past seven games.

Including the loss to the Bears when Rodgers was injured at the end of the Packers' opening series, the Packers have gone 2-5-1 with three different starters at quarterback.

Throughout the process, the team has emphasized that Rodgers has not been "medically cleared" by team physician Dr. Pat McKenzie.

Lions send playoff tickets to some fans

DETROIT -- The Detroit Lions dealt some fans a blow one day after a 23-20 loss to the New York Giants eliminated them from playoff contention.

People who committed to buying postseason tickets from the Lions received them in the mail on Monday.

Team president Tom Lewan confirmed money spent on playoff games will be credited toward season-ticket renewals for the 2014 season.

The franchise was in a position to sell tickets to potential postseason games because the Lions were in control of the NFC North late in the season.

BASKETBALL

Clippers' Barnes fined $25K by NBA

NEW YORK -- The NBA has fined Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes for failing to leave the court in a timely manner after he was ejected in the third quarter of Sunday's game against Minnesota.

The league announced the $25,000 penalty on Monday.

Barnes was thrown out with 56.8 seconds left in the period after he was whistled for a flagrant 2 foul against Kevin Love on a drive to the basket. The Clippers went on to a 120-116 overtime victory.

Barnes' foul was downgraded to a flagrant 1 after it was reviewed by the league.

TENNIS

Spain's Olaso banned five years for fixing matches

LONDON -- The Tennis Integrity Unit says Spanish player Guillermo Olaso has been banned from the sport for five years and fined $25,000 for match-fixing.

Olaso was found guilty of three corruption offenses in 2010, including directly or indirectly seeking to "contrive the outcome or any other aspect of any event."

He was also found guilty of two counts of failing to report approaches to provide inside information or influence the outcome of any aspect of a match.

The TIU says the 236th-ranked player won't have to serve the final 18 months of his ban if he has repaid the $25,000 fine by then and has attended anti-corruption and rehabilitation programs.

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