Originally created 01/06/01


New Georgia football coach Mark Richt added two more coaches to his staff Friday, naming Jon Fabris to handle defensive ends and putting Willie Martinez in charge of the secondary.

The 43-year-old Fabris was an assistant with the NFL's Cleveland Browns this past season and previously worked as a college coach at South Carolina, Kansas State, Notre Dame, Iowa State and Washington State.

"Jon has a wealth of experience," said Richt, who replaced the fired Jim Donnan. "He has enjoyed great success, especially on special teams, and I'm confident he'll bring a lot to our overall defensive scheme as well."

Martinez, 37, was the assistant head coach and secondary coach at Central Michigan. A native of Coral Gables, Fla., he was a teammate of Richt's at the University of Miami and also coached with Central Florida and Central Michigan.

Richt came to Georgia after serving as offensive coordinator at Florida State. His final duties with the Seminoles came Wednesday night in a 13-2 loss to Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.

Richt previously announced he was retaining defensive coach and recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner from Donnan's staff.

Minnesota has given Ohio State permission to talk to Golden Gophers football coach Glen Mason about the Buckeyes' coaching position.

The Buckeyes fired John Cooper on Tuesday, one day after the Buckeyes' 27-7 loss to South Carolina in the Outback Bowl.

Mason recently signed a seven-year contract with Minnesota worth about $1 million a year. His contract has no buyout clause, but if he leaves before the end of the deal he would forfeit an incentive package worth about $2 million.

Freddie Mitchell, one of the nation's top wide receivers, will forgo his final year of eligibility at UCLA to make himself available for the NFL draft.

One of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award as the country's top receiver, Mitchell had 77 receptions - second-most in UCLA history - for a school-record 1,494 yards and nine touchdowns this season. He caught nine passes for a Sun Bowl-record 180 yards and one TD in UCLA's 21-20 loss, and was named the game's MVP.

HIGH SCHOOLS: Franklin County High School football coach Jeff Davis, who has coached the team 19 years and guided it to the second round of the Class AAA state playoffs in 2000, is stepping down.

Davis, 44, said he made the decision before the season because he wants to spend more time with his family. He will remain the school's athletic director and will continue to coach its tennis teams.

Franklin County, in Carnesville, Ga., compiled a 109-96-1 record in 19 seasons under Davis. He coached the 1985 team to the school's first playoff berth.

The Lions were eliminated from the 2000 playoffs by Carrollton in a second-round game Nov. 24.

BASEBALL: After losing Shawon Dunston and Eric Davis, the St. Louis Cardinals shored up their bench Friday by signing four free agents, including Bobby Bonilla, who played as a reserve for the Atlanta Braves last season.

Bonilla, once among baseball's most feared hitters, agreed to a $900,000, one-year contract. St. Louis also agreed to minor league contracts with outfielder Bernard Gilkey and outfielder/first baseman John Mabry - who both came up to the majors with the Cardinals - and third baseman Shane Andrews.

Bonilla, a six-time All-Star, can earn an additional $2 million in performance bonus.

New York Yankees outfielder David Justice had surgery Friday to repair a double hernia and is expected to be ready for the start of spring training late next month.

Dr. Joseph Diaco operated at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, Fla.

Justice, 34, was the MVP of the AL championship series against Seattle. He hit .286 with a career-high 41 homers and 118 RBI for Cleveland and the Yankees, who acquired him June 29 for outfielder Ricky Ledee and two players to be named. Justice had 20 homers and 60 RBIs for New York.

Juan Gonzalez, who has destroyed Cleveland pitching as a visitor to Jacobs Field, is reportedly close to signing a one-year with the Cleveland Indians worth about $12 million.

Gonzalez, a two-time American League MVP, said in Friday's editions of El Nuevo Dia in Puerto Rico that he chose the Indians because he likes to hit at the Jake, and because of his close relationships with Cleveland All-Star second baseman Roberto Alomar and outfielder Wil Cordero.

The 31-year-old Gonzalez hit .289 with 22 homers and 67 RBI last season in his first year with the Tigers. He missed a large portion of the season with a disc problem.

HOCKEY: Longtime NHL coach Roger Neilson, battling bone marrow cancer for the past year, has been diagnosed with a serious form of skin cancer.

Neilson, 66, now an assistant coach with the Ottawa Senators, has a malignant melanoma, Dr. Isadore Brodsky, chief of oncology at Philadelphia's Hahnemann University Hospital, said Friday.

Brodsky said a mole behind Neilson's right knee, present for a dozen years, suddenly began to change in the past month. Doctors removed the mole Friday and found a depth of melanoma of 4.1 millimeters; a good prognosis is anything under 1.5, Brodsky said.

Free agent left wing Benoit Hogue, who played for Dallas during the 1999 Stanley Cup championship run, rejoined the Stars for a third time Friday.

Hogue, a 14-year NHL veteran, hasn't played this season after finishing 1999-2000 with Phoenix.

HORSE RACING: Jim McKay, who broadcasts races for ABC and also owns and breeds horses, is the winner of the Eclipse Award of Merit for lifetime achievement in thoroughbred racing.

McKay was a unanimous selection by a committee that included representatives from of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, the Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers Association.


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