Sunday, July 25, 2021

Sports Digest: Hall of Fame Coach Bowden has terminal medical condition


COLLEGES

Hall of Fame college football coach Bobby Bowden announced Wednesday he has been diagnosed with a terminal medical condition.

“I’ve always tried to serve God’s purpose for my life, on and off the field, and I am prepared for what is to come,” Bowden said in a statement released to news outlets, including The Associated Press. “My wife Ann and our family have been life’s greatest blessing. I am at peace.”

The 91-year-old Bowden was hospitalized last October after he tested positive for COVID-19. The positive test came a few days after returning to his Tallahassee home from a lengthy hospital stay for an infection in his leg. He did not disclose his condition in his statement.

During his 34 years coaching Florida State, Bowden amassed a 315-98-4 record and built the Seminoles into a national power, winning 12 Atlantic Coast Conference championships and national titles in 1993 and 1999. He won 357 games during his 40 years in college coaching and was selected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

“Coach Bowden built a football dynasty and raised the national profile of Florida State University, and he did it with dignity, class and a sense of humor,” Florida State President John Thrasher said in a statement. “Although his accomplishments on the field are unmatched, his legacy will go far beyond football. His faith and family have always come first, and he is an incredible role model for his players and fans alike. He is beloved by the FSU family.”

Bowden retired following the 2009 season with a Gator Bowl win over West Virginia in Florida State’s 28th straight postseason appearance.

Bowden had wanted to coach another season to continue this pursuit of 400 wins, but Florida State officials did not renew his contract. He was replaced by then-offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher.

BASKETBALL

NBA: The first increment of the $1.5 billion sale of the Minnesota Timberwolves to e-commerce mogul Marc Lore and retired baseball star Alex Rodriguez has been formally approved by the NBA.

The Timberwolves issued a statement confirming the transaction and welcoming Lore and Rodriguez to the organization. The deal, which also includes the WNBA franchise Minnesota Lynx, was first reached between current owner Glen Taylor and Lore and Rodriguez this spring and was structured to begin with an initial transfer of a 20% stake in the club this year.

Lore and Rodriguez will then have the right to purchase an additional 20% share in 2022 and an additional 40% share in 2023, when they would become controlling owners of the basketball teams.

MEDIA

OBIT: Stephan Nasstrom, who spent nearly 40 years covering sports for The Associated Press, has died. He was 70.

Nasstrom’s family confirmed that he died Tuesday in Lima, Peru, where he lived after retiring in 2010 from the AP.

Based in Stockholm, Nasstrom covered eight Olympics and numerous World Cups during his career. His specialties were skiing, soccer, tennis and track and field. But he also wrote about a variety of other sports, including Olympic wrestling, which he once said “reminds me of what the original Olympics in Greece must have looked like.”

ESPN: Maria Taylor, the ESPN journalist at the center of a controversy over diversity at the Walt Disney Co.-owned unit, announced she is leaving the company.

Taylor, 34, who has been an analyst and reporter at ESPN since 2014 and served as host of “NBA Countdown,” is expected to join NBC Sports, where she will be part of the network’s Olympics coverage.

Taylor’s departure was expected as soon as she was finished handling ESPN’s coverage of the NBA finals. She had been in contract negotiations with ESPN over the past year, and the two sides were reportedly far apart on salary as the network has been reigning in the cost of on-air talent salaries.

Taylor, a rising star at ESPN, became the center of a damaging story about diversity inside the company after a July 6 report in the New York Times revealed a private 2020 call between the network’s NBA analyst, Rachel Nichols, and an associate. Nichols, who is white, was heard complaining that ESPN selected Taylor, who is Black, over her to host an NBA playoffs pregame show in 2020 because of her race.

The call was made while Nichols was working inside the “bubble” in Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fllorida, where the NBA held its playoffs last year during the COVID-19 pandemic and picked up by a company video link in her hotel room.

Nichols, who hosts ESPN’s daily NBA program “The Jump,” was not disciplined or suspended by ESPN. But the network did remove her from the sideline coverage of this year’s NBA finals, replacing her with Malika Andrews.

Nichols, 47, apologized to Taylor and ESPN viewers.

TENNIS

U.S. OPEN: Roger Federer, who withdrew from the Olympics because a knee injury, and Naomi Osaka, who skipped Wimbledon and withdrew from the French Open because of mental issues, are both in the singles fields for the U.S. Open.

The USTA announced the fields Wednesday for the tournament that runs from Aug. 30-Sept. 12 in New York. The entry lists include players who make the field automatically. Players still can withdraw from the tournament.

Federer lost in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. Osaka has not played a match withdrawing after the first round in Paris.

Top-ranked Novak Djokovic, who won the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon, will be seeking to become the third man to win all four Grand Slam singles titles in the same year. Don Budge in 1938 and Rod Laver in 1969 are the others. Djokovic is also playing at the Tokyo Olympics and could become the first man to complete a “Golden Slam.” Steffi Graf did it in 1988.

Wimbledon champion and No. 1-ranked Ash Barty headlines the women’s field. Osaka, the defending U.S. Open champion, is ranked second ahead of Aryna Sabalenka, a Wimbledon semifinalist, and Sofia Kenin, the 2020 Australian Open champion.

BOXING

ROLAND GARROS: The home of the French Open tennis championship will host boxing matches in September, 75 years after French great Marcel Cerdan fought and won there.

The French Tennis Federation said Wednesday that French boxer Tony Yoka and other boxers will fight on Court Philippe-Chatrier at Roland Garros on a Friday night card on Sept. 10. Roland Garros last hosted fights in 1973.

Yoka won Olympic gold in the super heavyweight category in Rio de Janeiro five years ago and has won his 10 professional bouts so far as a heavyweight. He will face Croatian Petar Milas, who has won his 15 pro fights.


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