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Timberwolves, Spurs Hire Head Coaches

From Staff and Wire Reports

Bill Blair, a longtime NBA assistant coach with a reputation as a defensive strategist, on Monday became the Minnesota Timberwolves’ fourth coach in their five-year history.

Blair, 52, who was with Larry Brown at Indiana last season after working at Chicago, New Jersey and Washington, signed a three-year contract with Minnesota. He replaces Sidney Lowe, who was fired Aug. 17 after Glen Taylor became the team’s new owner.

Blair inherits a franchise that has compiled the worst NBA record over the past five years, including last season’s 20-62 mark.

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The San Antonio Spurs hired Orlando Magic assistant Bob Hill for his third NBA head coaching job. Hill coached the New York Knicks in 1986-87 and the Indiana Pacers from 1990-1993. He is 133-154.

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The Cleveland Cavaliers re-signed forward Tyrone Hill to a multiyear contract, a team official said. . . . The Portland Trail Blazers re-signed unrestricted free agent center Chris Dudley.

Hockey

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The Mighty Ducks continued to revamp their defense, trading offensive-minded defenseman Bill Houlder to the St. Louis Blues for minor leaguer Jason Marshall.

Marshall, 23, joins veterans Robert Dirk and Tom Kurvers and rookies Nikolai Tsulygin and Oleg Tverdovsky as newcomers in the Duck defense.

Marshall, 6 foot 2 and 195 pounds, was the Blues’ first-round pick and ninth overall in the 1989 draft, but his only NHL experience came in 1991-92, when he scored one goal in two games with St. Louis.

Defenseman Mark Howe, 39, signed a one-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings. Howe, 39, is the second-highest scoring defenseman in hockey history, trailing only teammate Paul Coffey.

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Golf

CBS Sports has dropped analyst Gary McCord from its 1995 Masters coverage at the request of the Augusta National Golf Club.

“In prior years we had expressed concern to CBS about the appropriateness of some of Mr. McCord’s commentary,” Masters chairman J.T. Stephens said in a statement.

“In spite of assurances to the contrary, Mr. McCord’s remarks in 1994 were even more distasteful and conflicted directly with our goals. We therefore felt compelled to seek a change for 1995.”

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McCord upset Masters officials this year when he said Augusta National’s greens were so fast that it looked like “they used bikini wax” and that the bumpy terrain “looks suspiciously like body bags.”

McCord, who joined CBS in 1985, was unavailable for comment.

John Daly, who was involved in a fight with the father of another golfer after he finished playing Sunday in the World Series of Golf in Akron, Ohio, reinjured his back in the scuffle and has pulled out of this week’s Swiss Open.

Witnesses said Daly, 28, was grabbed from behind by Bob Roth, 62, after the two apparently exchanged words near the pro shop. Roth was upset because Daly had twice hit balls into the group ahead of him that included Roth’s son Jeff.

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Jay Haas, bumped from an automatic spot on the U.S. Presidents Cup golf team by captain Hale Irwin, was added to the squad as a wild card along with Phil Mickelson.

Jurisprudence

The man accused of firing the shot that wounded LPGA golfer Kim Williams was convicted of disorderly conduct and ordered to pay a $25 fine.

Gary Swaney, 35, of Howland, Ohio, pleaded no contest to the charge and was convicted by Niles Municipal Judge Thomas Townley. Swaney originally was charged with negligent assault.

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Indiana Pacer forward Kenny Williams received a one-year suspended sentence after pleading guilty to drunken driving in Carmel, Ind.

Names in the News

British diver Tony Ali has been suspended for six months by the International Swimming Federation for refusing to take a random drug test. . . . Canadian weightlifter Jim Dan Corbett was forced to return the three bronze medals he won at the Commonwealth Games after a drug test revealed he had taken banned stimulants. . . . Nigel Mansell, the 1993 PPG Cup Indy-car champion, has secured his release from Newman-Haas Racing and reportedly will return to the Formula One circuit at the end of this season. . . . Scott Pruett said he has signed to drive for the U.E. Patrick Racing team for the 1995 PPG Indy Car World Series. . . . Two-time Olympic gold medalist Karch Kiraly was voted most valuable player of the Assn. of Volleyball Professionals Tour. Jackie Silva was voted MVP of the women’s tour.

Miscellany

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Gerry St. Cyr scored three goals and the Portland Rage scored six second-half goals on the way to a 10-7 victory over the Anaheim Bullfrogs in Game 1 of the Western Conference final of the Roller Hockey International playoffs in Portland. . . . The King County Council agreed to pay $4.1 million to the Seattle Mariners for 15 home games they lost due to the Kingdome’s closure.


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