St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports

Weather | Sports | Forums | Comics | Classifieds | Calendar | Movies

In brief

AD blames firing on Kansas coach

By Times staff and wire reports

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 10, 2003


LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Kansas fired athletic director Al Bohl on Wednesday, and he said basketball coach Roy Williams was behind it.

"He held me in his hand like a dove," Bohl said. "He could either choose to let me fly or crush me, and he chose to crush me."

Bohl has had numerous clashes with the popular Williams, whose Jayhawks lost to Syracuse in the national championship Monday night. Bohl was hired in 2001 to replace longtime AD Bob Frederick, a close friend of Williams.

Williams is expected to be a leading contender for the vacant coaching position at North Carolina, his alma mater. Kansas Chancellor Robert Hemenway denied that he fired Bohl to convince Williams to stay.

But Bohl is convinced the decision to remove him was made by Williams, not Hemenway.

"It is bad when a basketball coach can have the ability to hire and fire someone," Bohl said. "There's no question I have been beaten up maliciously."

Williams said Bohl tried "extremely hard," but also acknowledged they had their differences.

Hemenway appointed A. Drue Jennings, a Kansas graduate, former football player and the former CEO of Kansas City Power & Light, as interim AD. He also said North Carolina athletic director Dick Baddour contacted him about speaking with Williams.

ARENA FOOTBALL: Jay Gruden returns for Orlando

Quarterback Jay Gruden will start Orlando's game Friday against Buffalo. Gruden, the younger brother of Bucs coach Jon Gruden, was sidelined six weeks after tearing ankle ligaments and severely bruising a bone in his shin in a 70-42 victory over Carolina on Feb.21. He was off to the best start of his eight-year career, throwing 974 yards and 20 TDs with zero interceptions while leading Orlando to a 4-0 start. The Predators went 2-4 in his absence. Also, the Storm activated offensive/defensive lineman Kelvin Kinney from injured reserve and placed fullback/linebacker Darion Conner on the list. Defensive specialist Corey Sawyer, who is attending a tryout with the Bills, was placed on the exempt list. Defensive specialist Jonathan Ordway was signed from the practice squad.

TENNIS: WTA Tour acknowledges Serena Slam

Serena Williams picked up a trophy without winning the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, S.C. After defeating Dally Randriantefy 6-3, 6-0 to move to the third round, the WTA Tour presented Williams with a trophy in honor of the "Serena Slam." Williams has won the past four Grand Slam tournaments, but like Tiger Woods, she has been denied the official Grand Slam because the wins were not in the same calendar year. Also, Anna Kournikova withdrew from her first-round match against Conchita Martinez with an injured thigh muscle.

DAVIS CUP: The United States will play at Slovakia in the Davis Cup World Group playoffs Sept.19-21. The winner advances to next year's 16-team World Group.

WILD-CARD SAMPRAS: Pete Sampras, 31, asked for a wild card for the Wimbledon warmup tournament at Queen's Club in London on June9-15. He hasn't played since winning the U.S. Open in September.

ET CETERA

COLLEGE BASEBALL: Ohio State right-hander Greg Prenger pitched a perfect game, retiring 21 batters in a 2-0 victory over Oakland. Officials said it's believed to be the school's first perfect game.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: South Florida held its final practice before Saturday's spring game. The 1 p.m. Green and Gold game will be at Raymond James Stadium. Sophomore receiver Joe Bain is among several who will not participate because of injury. Bain of Pasco High had shoulder surgery Tuesday. He is expected to be at full speed for fall drills.

PREP BASKETBALL: A judge dismissed LeBron James' lawsuit and ruled that Ohio high school officials cannot strip the star and his school of its state championship. Summit County Common Pleas Judge James R. Williams said the Ohio High School Athletic Association cannot force Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary to forfeit any victories. Williams dismissed a lawsuit filed by James challenging the OHSAA's ruling that he broke eligibility rules. OHSAA commissioner Clair Muscaro said the association will not challenge.

RUNNING: Three-time Olympic gold medalist Marion Jones has told friends she and training partner Tim Montgomery are having a baby and she won't compete this year, the Daily Telegraph reported.

-- FRANK PASTOR, PETE YOUNG and Times wires

© Copyright, St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.