SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Jerry Sloan, who spent 23 years as coach of the Utah Jazz and took the team to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998, died Friday at 78. The team said that for four years he had Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia.
Sloan presided over the glory days of the John Stockton and Karl Malone pick-and-roll-to-perfection era in Salt Lake City. He is fourth on the NBA’s victory list.
Sloan was a two-time All-Star as a player with the Chicago Bulls, led his alma mater, Evansville, to a pair of NCAA college division national championships and was an assistant coach on the 1996 U.S. Olympic team that won a gold medal at the Atlanta Games. He fell in love with the game as a student in a one-room Illinois schoolhouse, never forgetting his roots.
Sloan often said numbers meant nothing to him. That’s a shame, because he has so many to marvel. Sloan had 1,221 NBA coaching wins, behind only Lenny Wilkens, Don Nelson and Gregg Popovich. And Sloan’s 23 seasons with the Jazz are the second-longest string with one team in NBA history; Popovich is in his 24th season with the San Antonio Spurs.
NEW YORK (AP) — The NHL Players’ Association’s executive committee authorized moving forward in talks with the league on returning to play from the coronavirus suspension, approving 24 teams making the playoffs with other aspects still to be negotiated
The NHLPA did not provide a breakdown of the vote of its 31 player representatives in making the announcement a day after the proposal was presented to the union’s executive board. In giving the format the green light, the NHLPA stressed several details still need to be negotiated before games can begin.
The proposal will now go to the NHL board of governors, which is expected to approve the plan in the next few days. Once approved, the proposal effectively ends the season of the league’s bottom seven teams.
Under the plan proposed by the NHL/NHLPA Return To Play committee, the top four teams in each conference would play each other in a mini-tournament for seeding while the remaining 16 teams face off in a best-of-five series play-in round to set the final 16 to compete for the Stanley Cup.
Though the approval is considered significant, the task of establishing a path to getting players back on the ice remains challenging.
Southeastern Conference schools will be able to bring athletes in all sports back to campus for voluntary activities starting June 8 at the discretion of each university, and the Big 12 plans to welcome football players back to campus a week later.
The announcements are the latest signs that a college football season will be launched in some form this fall. Other conferences are expected to follow, though decisions could be left to individual schools.
The move comes two days after the NCAA Division I Council voted to lift a moratorium on voluntary workouts on campus by football and basketball players, effective June 1. The NCAA updated that ruling Friday by saying voluntary activities would be allowed in all sports starting June 1.
The SEC initially announced voluntary in-person activities could resume June 8 on SEC campuses only for football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball. But after the NCAA issued its updated ruling, the SEC announced that June 8 date would apply to athletes in all sports.
Big 12 presidents and chancellors decided voluntary activities could begin June 15 for football, July 1 for other fall sports and July 15 for all other sports.
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NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Jets and quarterback Joe Flacco have agreed to terms on a one-year deal, the 2013 Super Bowl MVP’s agency announced on Twitter.
The move to bring in Flacco gives third-year starter Sam Darnold a veteran backup, but one who is also coming off a herniated disk that cut short his only season in Denver and required surgery to repair.
JL Sports, headed by agent Joe Linta, announced the agreement Friday. Financial terms were not immediately disclosed, but ESPN reported the deal is worth $1.5 million and could reach $4.5 million with incentives.
The 35-year-old Flacco spent his first 11 NFL seasons in Baltimore, where current Jets general manager Joe Douglas was a scout in 2008 — when the Ravens drafted the quarterback 18th overall out of Delaware. Flacco helped lead Baltimore to a Super Bowl victory to cap the 2012 season, beating Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers 34-31.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Georgetown basketball coach Patrick Ewing tested positive for COVID-19 and is being treated at a hospital.
The school said the 57-year-old Hall of Famer is the only member of its men’s program who has contracted the coronavirus.
As a player, the 7-foot Ewing helped Georgetown win the 1984 NCAA men’s basketball championship and reach two other title games. During Ewing’s four years playing for John Thompson Jr., Georgetown went 121-23, a winning percentage of .840.
He was taken with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1985 draft after the Knicks won the NBA’s first lottery. Ewing wound up leading New York to the 1994 NBA Finals, where they lost to Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets. Ewing played 17 seasons in the NBA, 15 with the Knicks.
After retiring as a player, he spent 15 years as an assistant or associate coach with four teams in the pros. In April 2017, he returned to Georgetown for his first job as a head coach at any level, replacing Thompson’s son in that job with the Hoyas.
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s Liga MX canceled the remainder of its spring season without crowning a champion for the first time, a decision caused by the new coronavirus pandemic.
Teams had played 10 of the Clausura’s 17 dates before suspending play March 15. The league said in a statement that restrictions caused by the health emergency made it impossible to continue without putting people at risk.
Some teams had begun testing players for COVID-19 as a step toward resuming the season, most likely in stadiums without fans. Twelve players from Santos Laguna in the northern city of Torreon tested positive this week.
Cruz Azul, seeking its first league title since 1997, finished with 22 points and a one-point lead over second-place León, which joined Cruz Azul in qualifying for the next CONCACAF Champions League. Santos Laguna and América were next with 17 points each.
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