Originally created 11/29/00

Overtime



The first two recruits for the fledging Augusta State University women's golf team are from Michigan and Kentucky.

Augusta State coach Shannon Hanson announced Tuesday that she has signed Kelly McGurk of Spring Lake, Mich., and Casey Manion of Glasgow, Ky. The NCAA Division I Lady Jaguars will begin their first season in the fall of 2001.

McGurk is a three-time all-conference selection at Grand Haven High. She has also qualified for the national Independent Insurance Agents tournament twice and played in the World Junior Championship in July.

Manion won a Kentucky AAU tournament in June and is a seven-time winner on the Baker-Geary Dunnes junior golf tour.

"My first priority when I took this job was to attract quality student-athletes to our team," Hanson said. "By signing Kelly and Casey, I feel we have done just that. Both are excited about their futures at Augusta State and for the opportunity to be a pioneer for this program."

AUTO RACING:

Dodge won't only be back on the track next year, it'll be in the race name at NASCAR's oldest superspeedway.

Darlington Raceway said Tuesday that it signed a three-year agreement with the Carolina Dodge Dealers Association that will bring the group on as title sponsor of the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400.

The race will be run at the 1.366-mile track in Darlington, S.C., on March 18.

Bill France Jr. stepped down Tuesday as president of NASCAR, the racing circuit his father founded in the backwoods of the South that has grown into a multibillion-dollar industry.

The 67-year-old France, who is recovering from cancer, will be succeeded by Mike Helton, NASCAR's senior vice president and chief operating officer. Helton was picked two years ago by France to oversee its day-to-day operations.

France's father, Bill France Sr., founded NASCAR in 1947. Under the younger France, NASCAR grew from the tiny dirt tracks of the rural South to a sport that is now worth $2.8 billion in TV rights.

TENNIS:

Pete Sampras returned to tennis after more than two months away, promptly losing 7-5, 6-0 to Lleyton Hewitt on the opening day of the Masters Cup in Lisbon, Portugal.

Marat Safin, seeking to become the youngest player to finish the year at No. 1, had a more success in his round-robin match Tuesday, rallying past Alex Corretja 6-7 (6), 7-5, 6-3.

Safin's victory means Sampras no longer holds even a mathematical chance of finishing the year at No. 1, a feat he accomplished a record six straight times from 1993-98. Safin increased his lead over Kuerten to 95 points.

An appearance in the final of the $3.7 million event will secure the No. 1 spot for the 20-year-old Russian no matter what Kuerten does.

Sampras, a five-time champion in the season-ending tournament, had not played since losing to Safin in the final of the U.S. Open in early September. During the break he got married and promised to get in better shape.

GOLF:

Loss of cabin pressure and failure to obtain oxygen incapacitated the crew of Payne Stewart's plane, leading to the crash last year that killed all six aboard the chartered Learjet.

But while the National Transportation Safety Board reached that conclusion Tuesday, it was unable to say why the plane lost pressure.

The yearlong investigation was hampered by the plane's extensive damage, its lack of a flight data recorder and the short half-hour duration of the cockpit voice recorder, Board Chairman Jim Hall said.

"All of us wish we had more answers than we have out of this report," Hall said at the end of a four-hour session in which board members questioned investigators about what they had been able to learn.

The accident happened Oct. 25, 1999 after Stewart's chartered Learjet 35 left Orlando, Fla., headed for Dallas.

HORSES:

Kirk Fichtner won the senior beginner novice division in the Thanksgiving Horse Trials at Pine Top Farm in Thomson, Ga. The division included three disciplines - dressage, stadium jumping and cross country.

FOOTBALL:

Airport High School football coach and athletic director Les Evans says that after 25 years at the West Columbia, S.C., school, it's time to move on.

Evans said he began considering retiring after surgery in April to repair a heart valve.

"You want to have the energy and enthusiasm to do it right," he said.

But Evans said it wasn't it health that prompted him to step down.

"I just decided it was time to move to another phase of my life," Evans said. "It's time for Airport High to try something new, some new ideas."

Evans was 158-138 with the Eagles, where he has been head coach since 1976.