Former USC, Arizona coach Smith dead at 68

Larry Smith, the coach who led Southern California to the Rose Bowl three times and won 143 games with Tulane, Arizona, USC and Missouri, died Monday after a long bout with chronic lymphatic leukemia. He was 68.

Smith died in a Tucson, Ariz., hospital, the University of Arizona confirmed.

His 24-year head coaching career began at Tulane, included seven years at Arizona and ended in 2000 at Missouri. Smith was 143-126-7 and his teams were 3-6-1 in bowl games.

Smith coached USC for six years, finishing 44-25-3, before he was fired on New Year’s Day of 1993, his departure hastened by a 24-7 loss in the Freedom Bowl to Fresno State.

Also: University of Illinois linebacker Erique Robertson pleaded not guilty to felony charges for allegedly firing a gun at a Champaign, Ill., bar early Sunday morning.

The 19-year-old freshman is charged with reckless discharge of a firearm and two counts of aggravated unlawful use of weapons.


UNLV men stand third at Arizona tournament

The UNLV men’s golf team finished in third place on the first day of the PING Arizona Intercollegiate, which was halted in the second round in Tucson because of darkness.

The Rebels were shooting 2-over par in the round at Arizona National Golf Club, and are at 4 under for the tournament through 29 holes. Tennessee leads at 15 under, followed by Arizona at 8 under.

Freshman Ji Moon leads UNLV at 5 under and is tied for second, two shots behind leader Kevin Chappell of UCLA.

Also: Michelle Wie accepted a sponsor’s exemption to play in the LPGA Tour’s Fields Open in Kapolei, Hawaii.

Wie, an 18-year-old freshman at Stanford, has started her season at the PGA Tour’s Sony Open the last four years.

The Fields Open is scheduled for Feb. 21-23.


Jockey Baze closes in on 10,000 victories

Russell Baze rode two winners at Golden Gate Fields in Albany, Calif., leaving him three victories from becoming the first thoroughbred jockey to win 10,000 races.

Baze won the first race aboard Cassiar and the third aboard Troy Fan, giving him 9,997 victories. He was winless with four other mounts.

The Hall of Famer is already thoroughbred racing’s winningest jockey. He surpassed Laffit Pincay Jr.’s record of 9,530 in December 2006 at Bay Meadows.

Baze races next when Golden Gate reopens Thursday.

Also: Santa Anita canceled racing for the seventh time this month because of heavy rain that created drainage problems for its troubled synthetic surface.

The Arcadia, Calif., track will be closed today and Wednesday, its regular days off, before reopening Thursday.

The track plans to be open Thursday through Sunday, then cancel racing Feb. 4, when it will begin mixing a stabilizing binder into the synthetic surface to allow rainwater to drain through the Cushion Track that lies atop a porous asphalt base.

Teemu Selanne returned to the Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks after missing the first half of the season while contemplating retirement.

The unrestricted free agent signed a one-year deal.

Selanne, 37, had 48 goals and 46 assists last season.

Missouri senior guard Stefhon Hannah was released from the hospital one day after his jaw was broken in a brawl outside a Columbia, Mo., nightclub.

The Tigers’ leading scorer is expected to miss at least four to six weeks and could be out for the rest of the season.


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