Memphis St. Coach Denies Offering to Pay Lee

Dana Kirk, basketball coach at Memphis State, denied a published report Friday that he offered $10,000 to get All-American Keith Lee to play for his team four years ago.

“We do not and have not paid any players and will not in the future,” Kirk said. The Memphis Commercial Appeal quoted an unnamed source, identified as Lee’s “personal adviser,” as saying Lee was unaware of the offer, and that his family received no money.

A federal grand jury is investigating Memphis sports gambling reportedly linked to the university’s athletic program.

A Memphis State booster, who asked not to be named, said he gave players cash and bought tickets assigned to team members. One former player told the newspaper, “Everything around you was free.”


Calling the reported violation of NCAA regulations “terribly false,” Kirk said, “It’s hard to conceive of anyone pointing a finger at a guy, a young man, like Keith Lee. . . . He’s a very religious person. The guy has never been talked about. He has never been offered any money, and that is not in his vocabulary.”

Free-agent center Joe Barry Carroll, who played in Italy last season rather than re-sign with the Golden State Warriors, signed an offer sheet with the Milwaukee Bucks.

The 7-foot Carroll was offered a five-year deal that the Milwaukee Journal said was thought to be for between $1.2 million and $1.5 million annually, with a one-year no-trade clause.

Ending several days of speculation, New Jersey Nets Coach Stan Albeck reportedly said he has “agreed in principle” to become the coach of the Chicago Bulls.


According to the New York Times, the proposed contract was believed to be for three years and worth a total of $900,000.

Manager Billy Martin said Friday that he did not intend criticism of the New York Yankees’ spring training camp to be a personal attack on former Manager Yogi Berra.

“All I meant by that,” Martin said, “is that Yogi and I have different ways. . . . I’m not saying it was Yogi’s fault. Yogi is a successful manager. . . . Yankees don’t talk about other Yankees. It’s not our way.”

Ken Patera, a former Olympic weightlifter, and fellow professional wrestler Masanori Saito were each sentenced to two years in prison in connection with the assault last year on several police officers at a Waukesha, Wis., hotel.


Former New York Ranger Jean Ratelle, former Montreal Canadien Bert Olmstead and former Boston Bruin goaltender Gerry Cheevers were elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. The three will be inducted Sept. 12 at Toronto.

Former light-heavyweight boxing champion Matthew Saad Muhammad, who once earned $650,000 for a bout, is bankrupt and owes the federal government $239,076 in taxes, according to court documents in Philadelphia.

A Detroit Lions official said Friday that a federal appeals court has upheld the validity of the team’s contract with running back Billy Sims.

The USFL’s Houston Gamblers had appealed a 1984 ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert DeMascio that Sims’ December 1983 contract with the NFL’s Lions was valid and that his earlier contract with the Gamblers was invalid.


Names in the News

Willie Stargell, 44, who spent 21 years with the Pittsburgh Pirates was named first base coach of the last-place club.

Mario Soto, Cincinnati Reds right-hander, was cleared of a charge that he hit a nightclub waiter in Atlanta, the judge finding that the scuffle was “a mutual confrontation.”