Around the Nation (Jan. 13): Titans hire Ken Whisenhunt as their new coach

Associated Press Published:

ASSOCIATED PRESS

FOOTBALL

Titans hire Ken Whisenhunt as their new coach

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans have wrapped up their coaching search by hiring San Diego offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt as their new head coach.

Titans president and CEO Tommy Smith called the hiring a big day in announcing the hiring Monday.

Smith says he looks forward to seeing Whisenhunt's vision of building the Titans into a consistent winner a reality.

Smith says Whisenhunt has a history of building successful offenses and noted the coach took Arizona to a Super Bowl.

Whisenhunt will be introduced at a news conference Tuesday.

The Titans flew to San Diego on Friday and interviewed Whisenhunt, who started his coaching career in Nashville at Vanderbilt. He was the fourth person interviewed by the Titans, who fired Mike Munchak on Jan. 4.

Zimmer in lead of Vikings' coaching search

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings have moved into the home stretch of their search for a head coach, and Cincinnati defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer has emerged as a favorite.

John Wooten is the executive director of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which works with candidates for jobs around the NFL. Wooten said on Monday that Vikings general manager Rick Spielman told him the team's plan was to contact finalists for the job by Tuesday.

According to an NFL Network report on Saturday, Zimmer was scheduled to travel to Minnesota on Monday and meet with Vikings officials for a second interview on Tuesday.

Another front-runner to replace the fired Leslie Frazier in Minnesota is Arizona defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. Wooten said Spielman told him he was "thoroughly impressed" by his first interview with Bowles.

Harbaugh brothers' grandfather dies

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Joe Cipiti, the grandfather of NFL coaching brothers Jim and John Harbaugh, has died. He was 98.

Cipiti died Sunday morning in Ohio, and Jim Harbaugh spoke fondly of his grandfather Monday as the coach begins San Francisco's preparation for the NFC Championship Game Sunday in Seattle.

Along with the Harbaughs' parents, Cipiti attended last year's Super Bowl in New Orleans, where John's Baltimore Ravens beat Jim's 49ers 34-31.

Jim Harbaugh says his grandpa watched as San Francisco beat Green Bay in the wild-card round Jan. 5. The coach says it was hard leading his team during Sunday's 23-10 victory at Carolina, calling his grandfather, "an amazing storyteller. He is a poet of life. A man that was all about family."

He will miss the memorial service Friday, "a bit of a crushing blow."

TENNIS

Heat wave arrives at Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Conscious of the time and the temperature, former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki raced to a 6-0, 6-2 win over Lourdes Dominguez Lino in the first round of the Australian Open on Tuesday.

Melbourne was braced for a predicted heat wave, with temperatures topping 37 Celsius (99 Fahrenheit) as play got under way on the second day of the tournament and a hot, gusty breeze swirled across the venue. With the hot conditions forecast to last at least until Friday, the higher-ranked players were desperate to progress quickly.

No. 11 Simona Halep was off the court within an hour after a 6-0, 6-1 win over Polish qualifier Katarzyna Piter.

No. 25 Alize Cornet only had to win one game before Polona Hercog of Slovenia retired with an undisclosed injury.

SOCCER

Michael Bradley signs with Toronto

TORONTO -- Toronto FC unveiled Michael Bradley as its newest designated player Monday, signing the American midfielder from Italian club AS Roma.

Striker Jermain Defoe, signed from English club Tottenham Hotspur last Friday, was introduced along with Bradley at a late-morning press conference.

Bradley, 26, began his professional career in 2004 with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars before being sold to Dutch club Heerenveen in January 2006. He has also played for Germany's Borussia Monchengladbach, England's Aston Villa and Italy's Chievo Verona.

COLLEGE

VanGorder is Notre Dame's def. coord.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Brian VanGorder was officially named defensive coordinator at Notre Dame on Monday after spending the past season as the New York Jets' linebackers coach.

VanGorder was an assistant under Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly at Grand Valley State from 1989-91 and won the Frank Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant while he was at Georgia in 2003. He has previously served as head coach at Georgia Southern and Wayne State, his alma mater.

He has coached in college and the NFL since then.

BASEBALL

Viciedo, White Sox agree on deal

CHICAGO -- Outfielder Dayan Viciedo and the Chicago White Sox have agreed to a $2.8 million one-year contract and avoided arbitration.

Viciedo, 24, hit .265 with 14 homers and 56 RBI last year, when he also made $2.8 million in his second full season with the club. He ranked third among AL outfielders with 12 assists.

Infielder Cedeno agrees with Phillies

PHILADELPHIA -- Infielder Ronny Cedeno has agreed to a minor league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Cedeno, whose deal was announced Monday, is joining his seventh team in 10 years He is a .246 hitter with 40 homers and 239 RBI in 868 games.

The 30-year-old has played for the Chicago Cubs, Seattle, Pittsburgh, New York Mets, Houston and San Diego. He's played shortstop most of his career and has started games at second base, third base and four in the outfield.

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