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The Sports Report: Anyone who would like to coach UCLA, please raise your hand

Rick Barnes
Rick Barnes
(Tony Dejak / AP)

Howdy everyone, my name is Houston Mitchell, proprietor of this here newsletter. Let’s get right to the news.

UCLA men’s basketball

Remember when UCLA used to be a destination spot for college basketball coaches? When coach’s from schools like, oh, let’s say Tennessee would accept an offer to coach there before the AD finished speaking his sentence offering it to him?

Those days are gone.

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Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said no thanks to UCLA on Monday. He’s just fine at Tennessee.

“The last few days have been interesting, to say the least,” Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer said in a statement after Barnes declined a reported five-year contract from the Bruins. “One of the nation’s most tradition-rich college basketball programs identified what we here at Tennessee already knew — that Rick Barnes is one the game’s elite coaches and a program-changer.

“The University of Tennessee and East Tennessee as a whole have developed an enhanced love and appreciation for our men’s basketball program and its culture under Rick’s leadership, and I’m thrilled that he will remain a part of our Tennessee Athletics family.”

The Bruins will now have to reassess their options after initially wanting to have a coach in place by this week.

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Hey Bruins, our church league basketball team has a good coach that maybe you can lure away, though he does answer to a higher power.

NCAA men’s basketball tournament

Led by De’Andre Hunter, Virginia won the national championship Monday night with an 85-77 overtime victory over a tough Texas Tech team.

A season after becoming the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16, the Cavaliers watched a 10-point lead turn into a 3-point deficit before Hunter came to the rescue. The sophomore made the tying three with 12.1 seconds left in regulation, then made another with just over two minutes left in the extra period to give the Cavaliers the lead for good.

Hunter finished with a career-high 27 points.

“Surreal,” Hunter said. “It’s a goal we started out with at the beginning of the season. We knew we were going to bounce back from last year. We achieved our dreams.”

“Every time I thought we had it, they made a shot or made a play,” Texas Tech’s Matt Mooney said. “It was a battle. We threw a punch, they threw a punch. They came right back at us every time.”

Angels

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Mike DiGiovanna, who covered the Angels for several season for the Times, looks back at the death of Nick Adenhart, which happened 10 years ago today.

“Tuesday marks the 10th anniversary of one of the darkest days in franchise history. Nick Adenhart, just hours after pitching six scoreless innings against the Oakland Athletics in his fourth major league start, was killed when the car in which he was riding was broadsided by a minivan a few miles north of Angel Stadium shortly after midnight.

“Adenhart, the small-town kid from Williamsport, Md., who overcame major elbow surgery in high school, was the organization’s top pitching prospect, a lean-and-lanky 6-foot-3, 185-pound right-hander.

“Adenhart and three friends were headed to a dance club in Fullerton to celebrate his 2009 debut when their Mitsubishi Eclipse was struck by a Toyota Sienna that blew through a red light at 65 mph at the intersection of Orangethorpe Avenue and Lemon Street.

“The driver of the Eclipse, Courtney Stewart, 20, a Cal State Fullerton student and aspiring broadcast journalist, and another passenger, Henry Pearson, 25, a law school student and aspiring sports agent, also were killed.

“A fourth passenger, former Cal State Fullerton catcher Jon Wilhite, survived despite suffering an internal decapitation — the impact of the crash separated his spine from his skull — an injury that is often fatal.

“It took years for Wilhite, who also suffered collapsed lungs, broken ribs, a fractured scapula and brain shearing, to recover. Now 34, Wilhite was married in Temecula last fall and remains close to the Angels, serving as a guest instructor in spring training in recent years.

“He’s a walking miracle,” said Tim Mead, the Angels vice president of communications. “Jon is doing so well.”

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“The driver of the minivan, 22-year-old Andrew Thomas Gallo of San Gabriel, had a blood-alcohol content of more than twice the legal limit more than two hours after the crash. He was driving on a suspended license because of a 2006 drunk-driving conviction.

“Gallo was convicted of three second-degree murder charges and sentenced to 51 years to life in prison. Currently an inmate at the Ironwood State Prison in Blythe, Gallo will be eligible for his first parole hearing in 2028.

“I took three lives when I was 22 and seriously injured another,” Gallo, now 32, said in a written response to questions sent to him in prison. “I took Nick Adenhart, Courtney Stewart and Henry Pearson’s lives and severely impacted Jonathan Wilhite’s life in many ways. I not only took their lives, but I also destroyed all those who loved and cared for them.

“They were all so young, lives cut short through my irresponsible actions. I took life for granted and never weighed the consequences for my selfish, reckless ways. They had so much to live for, so much of a great future ahead of them. That’s something I have to live with.”

Read the rest of this story by clicking here.

Odds and Ends

Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu suffers strained groin in loss to Cardinals…. Clayton Kershaw on track to make Dodgers season debut on Sunday or Monday…. Angels reliever Justin Anderson demoted despite five dominant appearances…. The Angels defeated the Brewers, 5-2…. Building a $1-million poker game for ‘Live at the Bike’…. Clippers’ Danilo Gallinari isn’t ready to forgive the doubters who forgot about him…. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‘s play a showcase for Lakers — and other teams…. Kings’ coaching search at the top of GM Rob Blake’s offseason to-do list…. Kings hope ‘lucky’ Luc Robitaille delivers them the No. 1 pick in NHL draft lottery…. One house is still parked next to Augusta National despite club’s attempts to buy it…. Alvaro Ortiz will be first Mexican to play in Masters since Victor Regalado in 1979…. California Horse Racing Board meeting to discuss Santa Anita is postponed…. Lakers’ Lonzo Ball selects CAA to represent him…. Warriors will soon play in San Francisco, but they’re not abandoning Oakland

Today’s local major sports schedule (all times Pacific)

Portland at Lakers, 7:30 p.m. Spectrum Sportsnet, AM 710 ESPN

Dodgers at St. Louis, 4:45 p.m., Sportsnet LA, AM 570

Milwaukee at Angels, 7 p.m., FSW, KLAA 830

Born on this date

1898: NFL coach Curly Lambeau

1957: Golfer Seve Ballesteros

1965: Golfer Helen Alfredsson

Died on this date

2001: Baseball player Willie Stargell, 61

2009: Baseball player Nick Adenhart, 22

And finally

That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email me here. If you want to subscribe, click here.


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