Sports Briefs

Posted: Thursday, November 07, 2002

After 46 years and 1,274 wins, coach calls it quits

HYATTSVILLE, Md. -- After winning more games than any high school basketball coach and sending a dozen players to the NBA, Morgan Wootten will put down his whistle and end a career that spanned 46 years.

Wootten, 71, announced his retirement Wednesday at a news conference at DeMatha High School, where he compiled a 1,274-192 record since taking the job in 1956.

''I just finally got that gut feeling that now is the time,'' Wootten said. ''I thought about it all summer long. And then, in early September, there was no question in my mind. I wanted to do it the right way.''

Two years ago, Wootten became just the third prep coach to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. He never had a losing season, and last year's squad closed with an 18-game winning streak to finish at 32-3.

A-Rod marries longtime girlfriend

DALLAS -- A-Rod is off the market. Texas Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez married longtime girlfriend Cynthia Scurtis last weekend, The Dallas Morning News reported in Wednesday editions.

Rodriguez, 27, and Scurtis were married Saturday in a small ceremony in Dallas, the Rangers said. A reception was conducted at his home in Highland Park, an upscale Dallas suburb. Among the guests were former Baltimore star Cal Ripken Jr., Rodriguez's boyhood idol.

Martinez, M's work into the night on possible deal

SEATTLE -- The Seattle Mariners decided Wednesday night to decline their one-year option on designated hitter Edgar Martinez, leaving the immediate future unclear for one of the team's most popular players.

The Mariners had a $10 million option and had to decide by midnight whether to use it. General manager Pat Gillick said he's not certain what course Martinez will choose next.

''We couldn't reach an agreement on another contract,'' Gillick said. ''We'll just wait and see what happens.''

Willie Sanchez, who represents Martinez, didn't return messages seeking comment.

NCAA places Texas baseball team on probation

AUSTIN, Texas -- College World Series champion Texas was put on two years' probation by the NCAA on Wednesday for illegal job benefits given to a former volunteer assistant coach.

The NCAA determined that assistant Richard Couch took a $40,000-a year marketing job at a beer distributorship owned by former university regent Lowell Lebermann but never did any work. Instead, Couch spent all his time working on activities related to the baseball team, especially recruiting. NCAA rules prohibit volunteer coaches from being on an athletic department's payroll or receiving preferential treatment in an outside job arranged by the department.

Holliday out two to five weeks

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Green Bay Packers defensive end Vonnie Holliday, who just returned from a torn chest muscle that sidelined him for six weeks, needs arthroscopic knee surgery. Holliday will undergo the procedure Thursday to repair torn cartilage in his right knee and will be out two-to-five weeks, coach Mike Sherman said.

''He actually didn't even want to have the surgery initially, but we talked him into it because I believe it's the best thing for him,'' Sherman said after a late practice Wednesday evening.

Holliday returned to the lineup this week for the first time since tearing a pectoral muscle against Detroit on Sept. 22. He hurt his knee on a reverse early in the second half of Green Bay's 24-10 victory over Miami on Monday night when his body torqued, but he stayed in and finished the game.

He didn't realize he'd hurt his knee until he awoke Tuesday with swelling, Sherman said.

Holliday, who called off talks on a lucrative long-term extension just before his first injury in September, didn't discuss his latest setback.

When he saw reporters waiting by his locker, he spun around and didn't return.

Approached by a team spokesman to come back and chat with reporters, Holliday smiled and said: ''No, no, no, no!''

''He's had multiple injuries this year that's affecting his playing time, so it's disappointing,'' Sherman said. ''But he's not discouraged. He told me he'd be back as soon as possible.''

The Packers signed defensive lineman Jarod Tomich, whom they waived in August, to fill in. He took a roster spot that had been vacant even before Holliday's injury.

Rookie Aaron Kampman will once again take Holliday's starting spot.

''It's hard to deal with a loss of a player like Vonnie, but we have experienced some games without him obviously and done OK,'' Sherman said. ''The emergence of Aaron Kampman has helped us deal with this.''

Defensive tackle Cletidus Hunt also got hurt against the Dolphins, spraining a knee. He is questionable for the Lions.

The loss of Holliday and Hunt would hurt the Packers' run defense, which limited Ricky Williams to 47 yards on 14 carries.

''Vonnie's one of the best run defenders in the NFL at that position,'' Sherman said. ''He really holds the point very well, taking nothing away from Aaron Kampman, who's done a very nice job for us in his absence. But Vonnie is definitely a physical presence with his size and his strength and with his experience.''

Sherman initially said during his Wednesday news conference that surgery wasn't planned for Holliday, but he changed his mind after receiving results of an MRI in the afternoon.

Sherman said he's confident Holliday will return for the stretch run.

''This is not a major knee surgery. It's just a scope,'' he said. ''Vonnie's a fast healer.''

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