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Knicks President Donnie Walsh will step down

Donnie Walsh will not return as president of the New York Knicks, who must find someone else to continue the building job he started.

The Knicks announced in a statement Friday that Walsh and Madison Square Garden Chairman James Dolan mutually agreed that Walsh will not return when his contract expires at the end of June.

Walsh’s departure is a major loss for the Knicks and opens questions about whether Coach Mike D’Antoni will return for the final year of his contract.

Walsh spent three seasons in New York, leading a massive rebuilding effort that got the team back into the playoffs this season following the acquisitions of Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony.

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But Dolan didn’t pick up his option for next season, and the two couldn’t agree on terms of an extension.

The Knicks said Walsh will be a consultant next season. Senior vice president Glen Grunwald will serve as interim general manager.

Seven weeks after the Minnesota Timberwolves’ season ended, Kurt Rambis has not been told whether he will be back for a third year as head coach.

Rambis said Friday that he still sees himself as the coach of the Timberwolves until he is told otherwise, but admitted to being irked by the lack of communication with team President David Kahn.

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Kahn was traveling and not immediately available for comment. Assistant GM Tony Ronzone said he could not comment.

Rambis has two years left on the contract he signed in 2009. He has won just 32 games in his first two seasons as coach in Minnesota, a period of upheaval in the roster that left him with the youngest team in the league this season.

GOLF

Stricker has hole-in-one and the lead at Memorial

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Steve Stricker had a hole-in-one on his 17th hole Friday in the Memorial at Dublin, Ohio, to break out of a big pack and build a three-shot lead going into the weekend.

Stricker hit a six-iron from 188 yards on the eighth hole for the second ace of his career. He finished with a birdie for a five-under 67 and was at nine-under 135.

Rory McIlroy (72), Ricky Barnes (70), Jonathan Byrd (67) and Rod Pampling (66) were in a group tied for second.

Luke Donald, in his debut as the No. 1 player in the world, finished with back-to-back birdies for a 69 that left him at five-under 139.

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Mark Brooks battled through hot, breezy conditions Friday to shoot a six-under par 65 for a two-stroke lead over Mark Calcavecchia and Peter Senior in the Principal Charity Classic at West Des Moines, Iowa.

Defending champion Nick Price and money leader Tom Lehman led a group at three-under 68. Joey Sindelar, Rod Spittle, Jeff Hart and Bobby Wadkins also came in at 3 under, as did Bob Gilder, who won this tournament in 2002.

Third-ranked Jiyai Shin of South Korea shot a five-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead over playing partner Sandra Gal of Germany after the wind-whipped opening round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic at Galloway Township, N.J.

Defending champion Augusta State will face top-ranked Oklahoma State in the NCAA Men’s Golf Championships semifinals in a rematch of the title match last year. Augusta State beat Georgia Tech 3-2, and Oklahoma State advanced with a 3-1-1 victory over Ohio State on the Cowboys’ home course at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

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Duke will play Georgia in the other semifinal. The Blue Devils upset stroke-play winner UCLA 3-1-1, and Georgia topped Illinois, also 3-1-1.

ETC.

Accidental overdose killed Michael Baze

Jockey Michael Baze, who won nearly 1,000 horse races in a nine-year career, died from an accidental overdose of cocaine and a prescription pain medication before his body was found at Churchill Downs last month, the coroner’s office in Louisville, Ky., said Friday.

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The 24-year-old Baze was pronounced dead May 10 in his vehicle near the stables at the Louisville track.

Penn State tabbed Boston University’s Pat Chambers to take over the Nittany Lions basketball program, capping a coaching search after the surprise departure of Ed DeChellis.

Forward Drew Stafford agreed to a four-year contract with the Buffalo Sabres. The Buffalo News reported that the contract is worth $16 million.


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