MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota fired men’s basketball coach Tubby Smith, cutting ties with the veteran coach one day after the Golden Gophers lost to Florida in the NCAA tournament.
Athletics director Norwood Teague announced the decision and said it was time for a “fresh set of eyes” on the program.
Smith was 124-81 (.610) in six seasons at Minnesota, helping to bring the program back to respectability and ramping up expectations for a team hit hard by an academic cheating scandal.
Smith won 20 games five times. But he went just 46-62 in Big Ten play and never finished higher than sixth in the conference. The Gophers made three NCAA tournament appearances under Smith.
Tebow addresses Shockers
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita State University’s men’s basketball team got an unexpected new fan when they arrived home after their latest NCAA tournament victory.
A plane carrying New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow was refueling in Wichita when the Shockers’ bus arrived Sunday after their upset win over top-seeded Gonzaga. Tebow’s representative asked coach Gregg Marshall if the Heisman Trophy winner could talk to the team.
Tebow got on the team bus, grabbed a microphone and told the players their surprising run to the Sweet 16 is something they will remember for the rest of their lives, regardless of what they do in the future.
Brewers sign veteran Lohse
PHOENIX (AP) — Kyle Lohse waited all winter and finally found a home with Milwaukee.
Lohse and the Brewers completed a three-year contract worth $33 million, a big boost to their suspect rotation exactly a week before the season opener at home against Colorado.
Lohse enjoyed his best season in the majors last year, going 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA and helping the St. Louis Cardinals earn an NL wild-card spot.
Lightning hire new coach
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Lightning hired Jon Cooper as their new coach.
Cooper had been coaching Syracuse of the AHL, Tampa Bay’s top minor league affiliate. He is replacing Guy Boucher, who was fired Sunday after 2ﾽ years with the team.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Alexander Semin has signed a five-year contract extension with the Carolina Hurricanes that will pay him $7 million per season and keep him with the Hurricanes through 2017-18.
Two schools to join Sun Belt
UNDATED — Appalachian State and Georgia Southern are taking their programs to the next level. The two schools who’ve won a combined nine FCS championships in football are leaving the Southern Conference for the Sun Belt Conference.
Appalachian State and Georgia Southern will join the Sun Belt in every sport except football beginning in 2014. The football programs will join in 2015, making the transition from the FCS to the FBS.
The additions will give the Sun Belt 10 football members in 2015. Arkansas State, Georgia State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, South Alabama, Texas State, Troy and Western Kentucky are the others.
Arkansas-Little Rock and Texas-Arlington help make up the 12 teams participating in basketball beginning in 2014.
Baseball great Trucks dies at 95
DETROIT (AP) — Virgil Trucks, who pitched two no-hitters in 1952 for the Detroit Tigers, has died. He was 95.
The two-time All-Star died Saturday near Birmingham, Ala. He pitched in the major leagues from 1941-58, helping the Tigers win the World Series in 1945.
“Fire” Trucks is one of five pitchers to throw two no-hitters in a season, according to STATS. He did it in a year the Tigers lost 104 games. Trucks went 5-19 with a 3.97 ERA in 1952, but he held Washington without a hit on May 15 and did the same to the New York Yankees on Aug. 25.
Trucks pitched 12 seasons for the Tigers and also had stints with the St. Louis Browns, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Athletics and Yankees.
FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — George Mason athletic director Tom O’Connor says it’s “bittersweet” to be leaving the Colonial Athletic Association for the Atlantic 10.
GMU announced Monday it is switching conferences as of July 1.
GMU was one of the founding members of the CAA, but O’Connor said the changing landscape of college sports prompted the move. Two of Mason’s regional rivals — Virginia Commonwealth and Richmond — previously departed for the A-10, and the switch also sets up a subway conference rivalry with nearby George Washington.