Today in sports: Pat Summitt calls it a career, Larry Brown prepares to unretire once more, and the NHL playoffs are getting chippier by the night.
University of Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summit is stepping down. Summitt, college basketball's winningest coach, was diagnosed with early onset dementia last August but coached the Lady Vols to the Elite 8 this past season. She'll be replaced by longtime assistant Holly Warlick and take the title of "head coach emeritus." [ESPN]
Well-coiffed, well-travelled basketball samurai Larry Brown is nearing a deal to become the next men's basketball coach at Southern Methodist University. It's not exactly clear why Brown, 71, is so interested in the job since he hasn't coached in college since winning a national title with the University of Kansas in 1988. In 39 years as a head coach, Brown's coached two ABA teams, nine NBA franchises, UCLA, Kansas, and Davidson, but only for a month in the summer before he left. Classic Larry Brown. [AP]
Despite a thorough public scolding by The New York Times yesterday, goon hockey prevailed once again during Tuesday's NHL playoff games. A very scary hit by Phoenix's Raffi Torres on Chicago's Marian Hossa prompted The Grey Lady to bemoan the "brain-bashing thuggery" and "head-shots-run-amok culture" that have taken over this postseason. AP sports columnist Jim Litke agrees, writing that professional hockey "has never been more popular, nor seemed so out of control" as it has this spring. To wit: the cover of today's Philadelphia Daily News just in time for game 4 of the Flyers-Penguins series. The two sides combined for a mind-boggling 158 penalty minutes Sunday in Game 3, culminating -- per The Times -- in a third period of "fight-filled madness," including several featuring oft-concussed Penguins star Sidney Crosby, which is why he's in the sheep's clothing. [The New York Times]
More than 1,000 NFL players have sued the league, claiming they were not adequately protected from or informed about head injuries. About to start his 12 NFL season, Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola knows firsthand the toll football takes on a body, and he's familiar with the literature about what a life in football can do to longterm brain function, not to mention the game's impact on hips, knees, and back. He doesn't object to former players suing the league, instead offering a counterargument that's at best guileless and at worst short-sighted. “It’s worth it. It’s totally worth it,” Raiola . “This is the best job in the world. I’d never trade it for anything, so I don’t know if I could justify suing the league when I’m done, because it’s given me up to this point, 11 years... Whatever happens is going to happen, whether it be short-term memory loss. Those are all the rigors of this job. That’s why it’s not for everybody. It takes a unique individual to play this.” Ultimately, this may become the rallying cry of young athletes who continue to play football: I know the risks, I know the rewards, and I've concluded the benefits -- material and less tangible ones -- are worth it for me. [Detroit Free Press]
Jessica Dorrell, the mistress of former Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino and the team's "student-athlete development coordinator" has predictably resigned from that position. Petrino hired her for last month over 158 other applicants he didn't have a relationship with, which became public after their motorcycle crash on April 1. Per the AP, Dorrell will be paid about $14,000 to settle what the school calls "all matters between the parties." Officials also said Dorrell ""agreed she would not attempt to sell or profit from her affiliation with Razorback athletics," a classic case of closing the barn door after the horse has escaped. [AP]