Originally created 12/23/01



Park, Texas agree on five-year deal

The pitching-poor Texas Rangers grabbed the best arm in the free agent market, agreeing Saturday to a $65 million, five-year contract with Chan Ho Park.

Park, a 28-year-old right-hander, went 15-11 with a 3.50 ERA last season for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He joins a Texas team that had a major league-worst 5.71 ERA and was last in the AL West.

Texas, which went 73-89 and finished 43 games behind division champion Seattle, has been busy in the offseason.

New general manager John Hart has added pitchers John Rocker, Dave Burba, Todd Van Poppel and Jay Powell, traded starter Darren Oliver to Boston for outfielder Carl Everett and let go of former 20-game winner Rick Helling.

Park figures to earn even more during the contract. He could opt out of the deal after next season and become a free agent once again, but Texas can eliminate that right by agreeing before next Nov. 10 to make an additional $6 million payment.

College Football

Vanderbilt to name new coach today

Furman football coach Bobby Johnson visited Vanderbilt on Saturday, a day after the Paladins' loss to Montana in the NCAA Division I-AA championship game.

Vanderbilt scheduled a news conference today to announce its new coach, but would not confirm that Johnson was the choice to replace Woody Widenhofer.

The Tennessean reported Saturday that South Carolina defensive coordinator Charlie Strong was told by Vanderbilt athletic director Todd Turner that Johnson would be hired.

Vanderbilt finished the season 2-9 and was winless in Southeastern Conference play. Widenhofer resigned Nov. 8.


Girard beats Koon for vacant title

Bruno Girard of France stopped a bloodied Robert Koon of the United States in the 11th round Saturday to win the vacant WBA light heavyweight title.

The referee ended the bout after Girard hit his opponent with a left-right combination. Koon had been pinned to the ropes much of the last four rounds. In the final two, he swayed, with his nose bleeding.

Girard, a former WBA super middleweight champion, improved his record to 32-3-2. Koon of Mobile, Ala., is 29-9-1.

The light heavyweight title had been vacated because Roy Jones Jr. was promoted to WBA super world champion. He held the WBA, WBC and IBF titles in the division.

Prep Basketball

High school player dies after collapse

A 17-year-old basketball player with a heart problem died after collapsing during a high school game in Milwaukee, Wis.

Ervin Killiebrew had an abnormal heart rhythm caused by an enlarged heart, according to autopsy results released Saturday. The Custer High School student was pronounced dead at a hospital Friday night, police said.

Killiebrew's condition is a muscle problem that would not typically be caught by a routine physical or electrocardiogram, Medical Examiner Jeffrey Jentzen said.

Jentzen said it could take several weeks to determine the exact cause of the abnormality.

Killiebrew was not in the game at the time but had been playing earlier, said Janis Doleschal, commissioner of athletics for Milwaukee Public Schools.

He was lying on the floor near the Custer bench, had no pulse and was not breathing when rescue personnel arrived, said Lt. Carter Hunnicutt of the Milwaukee Fire Department. He died at St. Michael Hospital.

The game was called off and the gym was cleared of about 100 fans, Doleschal said. Also canceled was Saturday night's Custer varsity game at Waukesha West High School.


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