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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Stoops unanimous choice

Oklahoma coach voted best in Big 12

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— In a season of turmoil, Bob Stoops was still able to mold a championship-caliber team at Oklahoma.

Even after the dismissal of their starting quarterback and an injury to their record-setting running back, the Sooners managed to go 10-2, 7-1 in the Big 12. It was good enough for Oklahoma to win its fifth Big 12 South title and a berth in the conference championship game Saturday - and, Tuesday, Stoops was named with the Associated Press' Big 12 coach of the year.

Stoops was a unanimous choice for the honor, which he also won in 2000 and 2003. He becomes the first three-time winner in the conference's 11-year history.

Only former Colorado coach Gary Barnett has won twice. Stoops is the second straight unanimous selection, following Texas' Mack Brown.

Stoops has had to deal with the nasty business of dismissing two players, including starting quarterback Rhett Bomar, who broke NCAA rules by taking more money than he earned at a Norman car dealership.

The program is still under investigation by the NCAA, which has said Bomar took $7,400 more than he earned, while offensive lineman J.D. Quinn took $8,100 in extra benefits.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Peterson out for title game

Norman, Okla. - No. 8 Oklahoma will be without tailback Adrian Peterson when it faces No. 19 Nebraska in the Big 12 championship game Saturday.

Peterson, the 2004 Heisman runner-up, has missed six weeks after breaking his collarbone Oct. 14 on a touchdown run against Iowa State.

"Adrian is not going to play," Sooners coach Bob Stoops said Tuesday at his weekly news conference. "Without being too technical, he's close. He could be cleared to play, but each week that passes the likelihood of it reoccurring is less and less."

Peterson, the nation's No. 2 rusher at the time of his injury, initially was expected to miss six weeks.

Tulane coach fired

New Orleans - Tulane fired head football coach Chris Scelfo on Tuesday after eight years and only two winning seasons. Scelfo's overall record was 37-57 with only one postseason bowl appearance.

Big 12 coaches tap Taylor

Lincoln, Neb. - Nebraska quarterback Zac Taylor was named Big 12 offensive player of the year Tuesday by coaches in the conference. Nebraska defensive end Adam Carriker was named defensive lineman of the year by coaches.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops was named coach of the year, and Sooners linebacker Rufus Alexander was selected as defensive player of the year.

The Associated Press will announce its players of the year today and its all-conference team on Thursday. The AP honors are decided by a panel of 20 sports writers who regularly cover the league for newspapers throughout the league's seven states.

BASEBALL

Royals send Murphy to A's

Kansas City, Mo. - The Kansas City Royals traded infielder Donnie Murphy to Oakland on Tuesday for cash. The Royals designated Murphy for assignment on Nov. 20. He spent last season at Double-A Wichita. In 39 major-league games in 2004-05 with the Royals, he hit .163 with one home run and 11 RBIs. Murphy was Kansas City's fifth-round pick in the 2002 amateur draft.

Wolf, Dodgers finalize pact

Los Angeles - Randy Wolf and the Los Angeles Dodgers finalized an $8 million, one-year contract on Tuesday. Wolf gets $7.5 million next year, and the Dodgers have a $9 million option for 2008 with a $500,000 buyout.

Cards sign Kennedy, Wells

St. Louis - The Cardinals made their first big moves since winning the World Series, agreeing Tuesday to a $10 million, three-year contract with second baseman Adam Kennedy and a $4 million, one-year deal with right-hander Kip Wells.

Yankees win rights to Igawa

New York - The New York Yankees won the bidding for Japanese pitcher Kei Igawa when the Hanshin Tigers accepted their offer of just more than $26 million Tuesday. New York has until midnight at the end of Dec. 28 to work out a contract with the pitcher's agent, Arn Tellem.

La Russa backs McGwire

New York - Tony La Russa will defend Mark McGwire until the end: To him, Big Mac is a Hall of Famer.

"I've believed in him from day one. I still believe in him," the St. Louis Cardinals manager said Tuesday in a telephone interview with the Associated Press.

McGwire is appearing on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time, and an AP survey of 125 baseball writers who are eligible to vote - about 20 percent of the total - showed that only one in four who gave an opinion planned to vote for McGwire.

"It would be two in five then. I'd make it two in five," La Russa said.

Zaun sticks with Blue Jays

Toronto - Catcher Gregg Zaun stayed with the Blue Jays by agreeing to a $7.25 million, two-year contract Tuesday, a day after catcher Rod Barajas backed out of an apparent deal.

NFL

McNabb has knee surgery

Philadelphia - Donovan McNabb could miss as much as a year after having surgery on Tuesday to repair a torn knee ligament. McNabb, a five-time Pro Bowl quarterback, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the second quarter of the Eagles' loss to Tennessee last week. It was his third season-ending injury in mid-November in the last five years.

Bettis' father dies

West Bloomfield Township, Mich. - Johnnie Bettis, the father of retired NFL running back Jerome Bettis, died Tuesday at a suburban Detroit hospital of an apparent heart attack, police said. Johnnie Bettis, 61, of Detroit, was stricken while driving in a suburb north of the city around noon, police Lt. Carl Fuhs said.

HOCKEY

Hockey may return to Topeka

Topeka - A managing partner in a junior hockey team says Topeka, which already has lost several teams, soon might have another franchise. Jon MacWilliams, president of the Tucson Tilt of the Western States Hockey League, recently visited Topeka to examine the Kansas Expocentre, the city and its residents.

MacWilliams said "the ball is rolling" to bring the Junior B team to Topeka.

MacWilliams said the team's ownership group - led by professional poker players Gavin Smith and Daniel Negreanu - was undeterred by the city's checkered hockey history.

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