Originally created 08/11/00

Overtime: Clippers sign Gentry



The Los Angeles Clippers finally gave their highly touted rookie class a leader. Alvin Gentry was introduced Thursday as coach of the franchise loaded with young talent and burdened with a checkered history.

The Clippers signed Gentry, 45, to a four-year deal and terms of the contract were not disclosed.

He had accepted a job as an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs on June 16, and turned down a similar offer from the Atlanta Hawks three days earlier.

Gentry compiled an 88-93 record during parts of four seasons as a head coach, most recently with Detroit, where he was 28-30 last season and 73-72 overall before being fired on March 6.

In other basketball news:

Pacers free agent point guard Mark Jackson has agreed to a three-year, $15 million contract with the Raptors, a Toronto radio station reported. The deal was to be announced today, according to the report.

Free agent forward Danny Ferry signed with the San Antonio Spurs. The 6-foot-10 Ferry, 33, played all 10 of his seasons in the NBA with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He has appeared in 723 regular season games, averaging 7.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 20.8 minutes. He shot 44.7 percent from the field, 38.5 percent from 3-point range and 84.1 percent from the free throw line.

BOXING: John Ruiz is one fighter who has lived up to his nickname. He'll find out Saturday night against Evander Holyfield whether he can live up to his expectations.

The "Quiet Man" finally gets a chance to make some noise when he meets Holyfield for a vacated piece of the heavyweight title.

He can only hope it goes better than the 19-second loss he suffered to David Tua three years ago that has defined his boxing career.

Ruiz brings an 11-fight winning streak and the WBA's No. 1 ranking into the scheduled 12-round fight against a fighter who is trying to make history as a four-time heavyweight champion.

He's still quiet, though seemingly not overwhelmed by the opportunity. But he's a 4-1 underdog to a 37-year-old Holyfield who is a step up in class from the opponents Ruiz built a 36-3 record on.

MISCELLANEOUS: Citing use of the Confederate battle symbol in the Georgia state flag, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference asked the NCAA to move three Final Four tournaments out of Atlanta.

SCLC president Martin Luther King III sent a letter to NCAA president Cedric Dempsey, urging that the men's Final Four tournaments in 2002 and 2007 and the women's tournament in 2003 be shifted from Atlanta unless the Georgia flag is changed by March 31, 2001.

King set that date so the change would be completed by April 4, the anniversary of his father's 1968 assassination.

The Georgia Legislature is out of session until the second week of January. Past legislative efforts to change the flag have failed, most recently in 1993.

King said the NCAA events should be moved because "the Confederate emblem represents the most reprehensible aspects of American history, not only for people of African ancestry but for people of every background who know and understand the destructive horrors created by slavery."