Here’s what’s happening in the world of sports….
- University of Pittsburgh Hires New Athletic Director-One month after Scott Barnes departed the school for Oregon State, Pitt announced that they finally hired his replacement as Athletic Director in the person of Kathy Lyke, who has an exemplary record of 22 years in increasingly high-level roles in collegiate athletics administration, and was previously the AD at Eastern Michigan. She also makes history as the first female AD in Pitt’s 106-year history.
- NCAA Tournament-And now, there are 16. To no surprise, College Basketball’s biggest stage has decreased from 68 teams to 16 in the span of 2 weeks. Also to no surprise is the fact that there are three #1 seeds remaining (North Carolina, Gonzaga, Kansas) along with #2 Seeds Kentucky, Arizona, #3 Seeds Baylor and Oregon, UCLA, #4 Seeds West Virginia, Butler, Purdue and Florida, #7 Seeds South Carolina and Michigan, #8 Seed Wisconsin and #11 seed Xavier. These teams will fight for the right to advance to the Elite Eight. The ‘Dancing’ continues Thursday night.
- #1 Overall Seed Villanova and #2 Seed Duke are out-As usual, the NCAA Tournament has it’s share of surprises, and this time it includes the early exit of #1 overall seed and defending national champion Villanova falling to Wisconsin 65-62, and Duke falling to South Carolina 88-81. You can also include the upset of #3 Florida State as they fell to #11 Xavier 91-66. This is what ‘March Madness’ is all about.
- Syracuse gives HC Boeheim contract extension beyond 2017-18-According to Syracuse’s legendary Head Coach, his plan was to call it a career after next season that is, before the news that his top assistant and one-time heir apparent landed a head coaching job himself. Mike Hopkins, who was expected to succeed Boeheim accepted his first HC job at the University of Washington, which led to Syracuse extending Boeheim’s contract because they knew the best man to fill that position was already in place.
National Football League
- Steelers Free Agency-Two weeks after they had been criticized for being passive, the Pittsburgh Steelers have now started to get pretty aggressive as they signed three free agents in the span of 2 days, and get this…not any of their own. On Monday, the Steelers signed RB Knile Davis and CB Coty Sensabaugh, and on Tuesday, they signed DE Tyson Alualu. All 3 figure to strengthen the Steelers depth at each position with Davis possibly being the team’s new kickoff returner. It may also be a sign that the Steelers may be saying goodbye to veteran RB DeAngelo Williams, who is also a free agent. Williams had backed up All-Pro Le’Veon Bell, but it appears Davis may be the man for that role, as he backed up Jamaal Charles during his days in Kansas City.
- NFL Free Agency-Not much else has happened with the rest of the NFL during this free agent period as the Miami Dolphins re-signed LB Kiko Alonzo to a 4-year deal, the NY Jets signed former Cleveland QB Josh McCown to a 1-year deal, and the New Orleans Saints signed LB Manati Te’o to a contract.
- Beast Mode Returning?-One year after the Seattle Seahawks decided to retire from football, Marshawn Lynch states that he now misses the sport and apparently, the Oakland Raiders want him on their team. Lynch’s agent is downplaying the news and says although Lynch does miss football, which the media is taking this news too far. And also, if the Raiders do want Lynch, they will have to pry him from the Seahawks because they still own his rights despite being retired.
- Cam Newton will have rotator cuff surgery-The Carolina Panthers will have surgery on March 30 to repair a partially torn rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder, the team announced Tuesday. Newton had hurt the shoulder in Week 14 vs. the San Diego (now Los Angeles) Chargers. The 2015 NFL MVP is expected to be ready for Training Camp in July.
National Basketball Association
- Adam Silver sends message to league regarding resting star players-More NBA teams have begun to rest star players, and the commissioner isn’t too happy about it, so Adam Silver has spoken up about it in a memo sent to each team that said the issue will be a prime topic of discussion at the next NBA board of governors meeting April 6 in New York and warned of ”significant penalties” for teams that don’t abide by the league’s standing rules for providing ”notice to the league office, their opponent, and the media immediately upon a determination that a player will not participate in a game due to rest.” The King has spoken.
- Former Chicago Bulls GM Jerry Krause passes away at age 77-The man was the architect of the Dynasty that won 6 NBA Championships in the 1990’s which included HC Phil Jackson, and Hall of Famers Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman. He was also named NBA Executive of the Year twice
Major League Baseball
- Pirates improve to 16-7 in Grapefruit League Action-Although it’s just exhibition play, the Pittsburgh Pirates are playing with a ‘spring’ in their step that hasn’t been seen since their 2013 season in which they were a win away from the National League Championship Series. The Pirates beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-4 as they continue to prepare themselves for the start of the MLB season a little over a week from now when they travel to Boston to take on the White Sox.
- Barry Bonds rejoins the Giants as adviser-A year after being dismissed as hitting coach by the Miami Marlins, MLB’s Home Run King rejoins the team in which he set the HR records as a special adviser, the team announced Monday. Bonds set Major League Baseball records for home runs in a season (73 in 2001) and career homers (762) as part of his 15-year tenure in San Francisco. The Slugger said that San Francisco has ‘always been home to me.’
National Hockey League
- Sid The Kid gets honored-In the wake of his 3-goal game, Pittsburgh Penguins C Sidney Crosby earned Star Honors for the week. Cosby, along with Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand, Calgary Flames goaltender Brian Elliott have been named the Three Stars for the week ending March 19.
Please e-mail Ray at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow me @urbanmediaRay on Twitter