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Neuheisel Leaves Colorado to Take Washington Job

From Staff and Wire Reports

Rick Neuheisel, who led Colorado to three bowl victories in four seasons, left the school Saturday to become one of the nation’s highest-paid football coaches at the University of Washington.

Washington confirmed that Neuheisel will replace Jim Lambright, fired after the Huskies’ first non-winning season in 22 years.

“There were a lot of reasons for me to say yes,” Neuheisel told KCNC-TV in Denver.

“Washington is a program with great prestige and tradition. I currently had a job with great prestige and tradition, which is what made this so difficult.”

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Washington offered Neuheisel a seven-year deal worth about $1.5 million a year, KCNC reported. He was making $650,000 a season at Colorado.

“Rick is an extremely bright, innovative, creative and talented coach and we are fortunate to welcome him to our program,” Washington Athletic Director Barbara Hedges said.

Neuheisel, a former UCLA quarterback and assistant coach, was 33-14 in four years with the Buffaloes. Colorado was 8-4 last season and beat No. 21 Oregon, 51-43, in the Aloha Bowl.

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Al Borges and Nick Aliotti, two UCLA assistants, have emerged as candidates for the head coaching job at Oregon State.

Borges, the Bruin offensive coordinator, and Aliotti, the defensive coordinator, have roots in the Pacific Northwest and California from past jobs, an important factor because it means both would have a recruiting base in place.

The Oregon State job became vacant when Mike Riley left for the San Diego Chargers.

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NCAA President Cedric Dempsey says no specific group is pushing for a Division I-A football playoff--except the media.

“You either have athletic directors, presidents, coaches and faculty representatives advancing a particular issue,” Dempsey said during a luncheon with reporters in San Antonio as the NCAA began its 93rd annual convention. “But right now there is not one group out there advocating a football playoff.”

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Alabama Coach Mike DuBose was given a two-year contract extension that extends through February 2003. . . . Louisville running back Leroy Collins, who as a junior last season ran for 1,228 yards and scored a school-record 22 touchdowns, announced that he is leaving school early to make himself available for the NFL draft.

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Tennis

A player boycott of the Australian Open because of the presence of defending champion Petr Korda is not likely, the head of the Australian tennis federation said.

Several players, including Lindsay Davenport, Jim Courier and Sweden’s Jonas Bjorkman, have criticized the light penalty given Korda, who tested positive for the steroid Nandrolone at Wimbledon last year.

The players are scheduled to meet in Melbourne this Saturday and are expected to discuss the Czech player’s intention to play in the Open, which starts Jan. 18, after avoiding an automatic one-year suspension provided under ITF, ATP and WTA anti-doping rules.

However, Tennis Australia President Geoff Pollard said he was confident that players will not pull out of the first Grand Slam tournament of the year.

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Steffi Graf of Germany, suffering from an upset stomach, retired after becoming ill in the first set against Venus Williams in the final of the Super-Power Challenge Cup at Hong Kong. . . . Lleyton Hewitt, a 17-year-old Australian, defeated countryman Jason Stoltenberg, 6-1, 6-2, to advance to today’s final in the Australian men’s hardcourt championships at Adelaide, where he will play second-seeded Thomas Enqvist of Sweden, a 6-3, 7-5 winner over Australian Scott Draper. . . . Teenager Jelena Dokic beat Asa Carlsson, 6-2, 7-6 (10-8), and Mark Philippoussis defeated Jonas Bjorkman, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6), to lead Australia to a 2-1 victory over Sweden in the final of the Hopman Cup at Perth, Australia.

Miscellany

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The ball that Mark McGwire hit for his record-setting 70th home run, caught by research scientist Philip Ozersky, could fetch more than $1 million Tuesday during an auction at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Darryl Strawberry of the New York Yankees had surgery to relieve pain caused by scar tissue from his October operation for colon cancer. He was expected to make a full recovery and be ready for spring training. . . . The last two NCAA women’s gymnastics champions will compete tonight when defending champion UCLA hosts Georgia at 6 in its home opener. . . . The weather wiped out thoroughbred racing from New York to Kentucky, when Aqueduct (fog), Philadelphia Park (snow) and Turfway Park (snow, sleet) canceled their programs.

Hermann Maier of Austria, the Olympic champion in the event, raced down an icy course at Schladming, Austria, for his third consecutive super-G victory. . . . Bjorn Daehlie of Norway, winner of a record eight Winter Olympic gold medals and five World Cup titles, equaled the record for World Cup cross-country victories at 45 by taking the men’s 15-kilometer classical event at Nove Mesto Na Morave, Czech Republic.

* Diane Pucin is on assignment.


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