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Gophers' Mbakwe out for season

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota has an unfortunate habit of losing important players to injuries and off-the-court issues since coach Tubby Smith took over.

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This hit to their NCAA tournament hopes was the most devastating of all: Star power forward Trevor Mbakwe will miss the rest of the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, robbing the Gophers of their top scorer, rebounder and leader.

Mbakwe’s knee bent awkwardly when he was fighting for rebound position in Sunday’s loss to Dayton during the championship game of the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla. Mbakwe left the arena in tears and on crutches, and on Monday the university confirmed the worst-case diagnosis from team Dr. Brad Nelson.

Mbakwe, a senior, will have surgery to repair the injury sometime in the next few weeks.

Arizona State fires Erickson

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona State has fired coach Dennis Erickson after a fourth straight season of failing to live up to expectations.

Athletic director Lisa Love made the announcement on Monday after meeting with the 64-year-old coach. Erickson will be allowed to coach the Sun Devils in their bowl game, which will be determined on Sunday.

Neuheisel fired at UCLA

LOS ANGELES (AP) — UCLA fired coach Rick Neuheisel on Monday after four disappointing seasons in charge of his alma mater.

Neuheisel will be allowed to coach the Bruins (6-6, 5-4 Pac-12) in Friday’s Pac-12 title game at Oregon, athletic director Dan Guerrero announced. Offensive coordinator Mike Johnson will be the Bruins’ interim coach if they receive a bowl berth.

Neuheisel is 21-28 since taking over the program in December 2007, never building the momentum he needed to reach his goal of challenging Southern California for city supremacy. Guerrero fired Neuheisel two days after UCLA’s 50-0 loss to No. 9 USC, the Bruins’ largest loss since 1930 in their crosstown rivalry game.

Capitals send Boudreau packing

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — Tuned out by his players, coach Bruce Boudreau was fired by the Washington Capitals on Monday after winning 200 games faster than any coach in modern NHL history but stumbling regularly in the playoffs despite a talent-laden lineup featuring two-time league MVP Alex Ovechkin.

Boudreau was replaced by former Capitals captain Dale Hunter, who was greeted by loud cheers from more than 100 fans when he skated onto the ice at Monday’s practice. Hunter, never before a coach in the NHL, will make his debut behind the bench Tuesday night when Washington hosts the St. Louis Blues to begin a three-game homestand.

Divorce for Minnesota skier Vonn

ASPEN, Colo. (AP) — After four years of marriage, Lindsey Vonn is splitting with Thomas Vonn, who also serves as her chief adviser and assists as a coach.

The Olympic gold medalist skier, formerly of St. Paul, confirmed Sunday night the couple has started divorce proceedings.

“This is an extremely difficult time in my personal life and I hope the media and my fans can respect my need for privacy on this matter,” she said in a statement to The Associated Press. Thomas Vonn said in an email to the AP he filed for divorce last Monday.

Lindsey Vonn was known as Lindsey Kildow before marrying Sept. 29, 2007. It’s unclear whether she will keep her name or go back to Kildow. The U.S. Ski Team did not have an answer and emails left for Vonn’s representatives were not returned.

Meyer to coach Ohio State after all

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — If Ohio State did not come calling, Urban Meyer says he was planning to stay away from coaching for at least another year.

Meyer, the former Florida coach and native Buckeye, was officially hired Monday by Ohio State, a program with a glittering past that has suffered through a difficult year of NCAA violations.

“If not for the coaching position at Ohio State, I would not have coached this year,’ he said.

Meyer resigned as Gators coach after last season, citing health concerns and a desire to spend more time with his family.

Meyer will become one of the highest paid coaches in college football, along with Alabama’s Nick Saban and Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops, and Texas’ Mack Brown. The school says he will receive a six-year contract that pays $4 million annually, plus another $2.4 million total in “retention payments.”

Boeheim keeping low profile at Syracuse

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Syracuse men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim ran a closed practice Monday as sex abuse victims’ advocates questioned whether he should still coach following the firing of longtime assistant Bernie Fine, who has been accused of molestation by three men.

As criticism swirled about Boeheim’s initial support of Fine and his verbal attacks on the accusers, the coach kept a low profile, seeking refuge in his office on the second floor of the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center.

Boeheim, who had been sharply critical of the accusers, has softened his stance 10 days after an impassioned defense of Fine, who spent 35 seasons on the bench next to Boeheim and was fired Sunday.

The Rev. Robert Hoatson, president of Road to Recovery, a group that supports victims of sexual abuse, said the dismissal of Bernie Fine was appropriate but didn’t go far enough.

“I think Jim Boeheim should be fired or resign as well,” Hoatson said Monday. “

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