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Kentucky Catholics: Pitino should stay on

Rick Pitino’s personal failings should be forgiven and he should remain as basketball coach at Louisville, some Catholics in Kentucky said Sunday.

Some anti-abortion groups have called for the state-supported, public university to fire Pitino because a woman with whom he admitted having extramarital sex had an abortion soon after.

But some attending Mass said the high-profile coach, who is Roman Catholic, should be given another chance.

Pitino’s moral shortcomings are between the coach and God, despite the Catholic church’s opposition to abortion, said a member of a Louisville church that Pitino has attended.

“I still think he’s a great man, he just put himself in a bad position, and it’s a terrible blemish on his character,” said Arnold Brown, who attended an early Mass at St. Frances of Rome.

Brown, 69, said he is a Kentucky fan but “loves Rick Pitino,” who coached the Wildcats in the 1990s, leading them to the national championship in 1996.

“I think he’s led a good life and been very charitable and kind,” Brown said.

Pitino said last week he intends to stay on as coach.


Pedregon claims third Funny Car win of year

Tony Pedregon raced to his third Funny Car victory of the season at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minn.

Pedregon, who replaced longtime crew chief Dickie Venables with Tony Shortall earlier in the week, powered his Chevy Impala to a 4.149-second run at 295.59 mph to hold off championship challenger Ron Capps in the final. Capps’ Dodge Charger lost traction after the start and finished in 6.613 at 99.35 mph.

Morgan Lucas (Top Fuel), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won their categories at the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event.

Also: Donny Schatz drove his way to a fourth straight victory in the rain-delayed Knoxville (Iowa) Nationals sprint car race.

Schatz passed Joey Saldana for the lead on the 35th lap and held on through the final five to collect the $150,000 first prize in the richest, most prestigious race on the sprint car circuit.


USOC postpones plans for its own TV network

The U.S. Olympic Committee has postponed plans for its own television network in the face of objections from international Olympic officials.

USOC chairman Larry Probst said he decided to delay further development of the TV project until all issues have been resolved with the International Olympic Committee.

Probst said the USOC will “secure the full support and cooperation” of the IOC before moving ahead with the network.

Also: Professional wrestler and Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle was arrested on charges of possessing a human growth hormone and violating an order of protection in suburban Pittsburgh.

Angle, 40, was arrested about 7:50 a.m. Saturday in a Robinson Township strip mall parking lot. His girlfriend, who said she obtained a protection order about 11/2 hours earlier after the two fought Friday night, alleged that he had circled the lot staring at her as she sat in a coffee shop, according to a police affidavit.

Police said they found the human growth hormone Hygetropin in Angle’s car, and the wrestler told them he had a prescription for the drug.

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