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In Brief


Sprint Cup champ Johnson
wins Driver of Year award

Five-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson beat out NHRA Funny Car champion John Force for the Driver of the Year award on Wednesday.

It’s the fourth time Johnson has received the honor, tying him with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon for most wins in the award’s 44-year history.

“It’s an honor to win the award again,” Johnson said. “Among such tough competition, with the voting panel, who it is and how well versed they are in motor sports, it’s a huge, huge honor.”

Journalists and broadcasters from across the country vote for Driver of the Year, which is eligible to any driver from any series that competes on four wheels in the United States. Past winners include Mario Andretti, Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt and Bobby Rahal.

Johnson received 10 votes to beat Force, who received seven votes. NASCAR driver and Las Vegas native Kyle Busch received one vote.


West Virginia tabs Holgorsen as
eventual successor to Stewart

Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen was hired for the same position at West Virginia next season, and the Mountaineers plan to make him head coach in 2012.

In the deal, Holgorsen will replace Jeff Mullen as offensive coordinator and become “head coach in waiting” in 2011.

He will replace head coach Bill Stewart for the 2012 season. The university said Stewart will take an administrative role after the 2011 season.

Also: Pittsburgh is expected to introduce Miami (Ohio) coach Michael Haywood as Dave Wannstedt’s successor at a news conference today.

Formerly the offensive coordinator at Notre Dame, Haywood was 1-11 in his first season at Miami in 2009 before going 9-4 this season and beating Northern Illinois 26-21 in the Mid-American Conference championship game.

Former NFL coaches Wade Phillips and Dan Reeves will coach opposite each other in the East-West Shrine Game at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando on Jan. 22.

The 86th annual contest is the longest running college football all-star game in the country.

Memphis starting quarterback Cannon Smith was arrested on charges of public intoxication and disorderly conduct.

Shelby County, Tenn., Sheriff’s Office spokesman Chip Washington said the 23-year-old Smith was booked into the county jail after being arrested at about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday. Smith is the son of FedEx founder and CEO Frederick Smith.


Grizzlies’ fast start too much
for Wranglers to overcome

The Wranglers dug themselves into a 3-0 hole just 3½ minutes into the second period and couldn’t climb out, losing 4-2 to the Utah Grizzlies in an ECHL game in West Valley City, Utah.

Utah’s Kevin Deeth scored twice in the first period, with the second coming on a power play, and Deeth assisted on Tim Crowder’s goal early in the second period on what proved to be the game winner.

Barry Goers scored for Las Vegas (13-5-2) later in the second period, and Sean McMonagle’s goal early in the third made it 3-2. Utah put it away on Michael Gergen’s goal midway through the third.

Also: New York Rangers forward Ryan Callahan broke his left hand while blocking a shot by Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang and is expected to be out for six weeks.

Callahan was struck early in the first period of the Rangers’ 4-1 victory. Callahan is second on the team with 23 points, including 10 goals, and is first with 128 hits. He scored two goals on Sunday in the Rangers’ 7-0 home victory over the Washington Capitals.

Arizona State’s baseball team must vacate 44 of its wins from 2007, including its Pac-10 title and College World Series games, and is banned from the postseason in 2011 under sanctions announced by the NCAA.

The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions ruled former coach Pat Murphy failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance and committed numerous recruiting and other violations from 2004 to 2008.

The penalties, many self-imposed by the university, include reduction of two scholarships by 2011-12, recruiting restrictions and limitations on coaching activity during practice.

Arizona State said it will appeal the report because it disagrees with the characterization of some infractions as major rather than secondary.

Missouri point guard Michael Dixon was suspended indefinitely for an unspecified violation of team rules. The sophomore starter won’t play tonight when the 13th-ranked Tigers host Oral Roberts. Dixon is averaging 10.7 points and a team-leading 4.3 assists.

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