Football Coach Resigns After Pleading Guilty

<i> From Staff and Wire Reports</i>

Football coach Gene McDowell of Central Florida resigned Tuesday in Orlando, Fla., after pleading guilty to lying to federal agents and a grand jury about how his players knew they were being investigated for cellular phone fraud.

McDowell tipped team captain Emory Green about a raid of the Golden Knight locker room by federal agents Oct. 28, according to the plea agreement filed in U.S. District Court in Orlando.

U.S. Secret Service agents were looking for illegal cellular phones and numbers in the locker room.


McDowell also told Green to tell the other players “to do whatever they had to do to correct the situation to make it right,” federal agents said.

McDowell told Green not to tell the agents that the coach had warned him about the raid.

When McDowell was called before a grand jury two days later, the coach testified that he didn’t know how the players had known of the impending raid. He told Secret Service agents that an unknown woman in a parking lot had told him about the cell-phone investigation.

McDowell, in fact, had been told about the investigation by David Smith, juvenile crime director for the Seminole County sheriff’s office at the time, according to the plea agreement.

Smith’s son, Maurice Smith, is a tailback on the team. His other son, Marquette Smith, was a star fullback for Central Florida and currently plays for the Carolina Panthers.

David Smith was charged Tuesday with making a false statement. He resigned Jan. 7.

In his resignation letter, McDowell said he was leaving to spare the university more embarrassment, and asked that his final day be June 30. He faces a maximum fine of $250,000 and possibly five years in prison.


Promoter Don King might not have been talking out of both sides of his mouth about an Evander Holyfield-Lennox Lewis fight, but he was talking differently on both sides of the Atlantic.


“I want to put Holyfield-versus-Lewis on this year in September after they have finished with their commitments,” King was quoted as saying in Tuesday’s Times of London.

By commitments, King presumably was referring to mandatory title defenses by Holyfield, the WBA-IBF heavyweight champion, and by WBC champion Lewis.

Later, by phone from his Florida headquarters, King said, “I would like to see it happen, but I don’t think it will happen by the end of the year.”

King was consistent, however, in saying that he thought Holyfield might fight Lewis before meeting Mike Tyson a third time.

“If Tyson gets his license back, I would expect he might have another fight before fighting Holyfield,” King said.

Tyson could be reinstated in July by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which revoked his license after Tyson was disqualified for biting Holyfield’s ears in their rematch June 28.


Mitch “Blood” Green, the heavyweight boxer who won a $45,000 courtroom decision over Tyson, was released without bail after his arraignment on a drug charge in New York.

Green, 41, was arrested Monday in the lobby of a Manhattan building by police officers who said they saw him throw a small bag of the hallucinogen “angel dust” or PCP to the floor as they approached him.

Judge William Mogulescu released him on his own recognizance and scheduled another court appearance Feb. 24.

Women’s Basketball

Jennifer Rizzotti made a three-point basket and three free throws in the final 38 seconds as the New England Blizzard (18-16) held on to beat the San Jose Lasers (17-17), 71-65, before 8,275 at Hartford, Conn.

Teresa Edwards scored 35 points at Atlanta as the Glory (13-19) jumped to an early lead and beat the Philadelphia Rage (11-21), 87-74, before 3,656. Dawn Staley scored 20 points for the Rage.

Shalonda Ennis scored 22 points as the Seattle Reign (11-23) held off the Colorado Xplosion (16-18), 89-81, before 3,136 at Seattle.



Paul Failla, a backup quarterback at Notre Dame for three seasons, will resume his football career at Indiana University of Pennsylvania after a four-year lapse.

Failla spent the last four seasons as an infielder in the Angel farm system but has ended his baseball career. He spent most of his minor league career in Class A.

Failla graduated from Notre Dame in 1995 but has one season of football eligibility remaining.

Five U.S. wrestlers will compete in an international meet in Tehran next month, the first time American athletes have been in Iran in almost two decades.

The trip to the Takhti Cup tournament Feb. 19-21 was approved Monday night by the executive board of USA Wrestling.

World champion Tommi Makinen of Finland lost control of his car, crashed and dropped out of the Monte Carlo Rally, allowing Spaniard Carlos Sainz to take over the lead at Monte Carlo, Monaco.


The U.S. soccer team will leave for the World Cup on June 4 and train in Trevoux, France, before its opener against Germany.

The U.S. team, which plays Scotland on May 30 at East Rutherford, N.J., in its final warmup, will arrive on June 5 and stay at Chateau de Pizay in Belleville, about 25 miles north of Lyon, under the tentative schedule released by the U.S. Soccer Federation.

The Americans will train at nearby Trevoux, near the River Saone, until leaving for Paris on June 13. The Americans open against European champion Germany at Parc des Princes in Paris on June 15.

East Carolina officials say they have not released Kentucky from a commitment to play a football game in Greenville, N.C., next fall, and are exploring legal remedies against the school.

The announcement came one day after Kentucky officials said they had decided to drop the Sept. 12 game for financial considerations and because they had only five home games scheduled.

Former University of Portland basketball coach and athletic director Al Negratti died of cancer at age 76 Monday in Green Bay, Wis.