Originally created 01/01/02

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Pro Football

Chargers fire Riley after three seasons

Mike Riley was fired as coach of the San Diego Chargers on Monday after ending the season with a nine-game losing streak that left him 14-34 in three seasons.

Riley, who never held an NFL job before being hired by then-general manager Bobby Beathard in January 1999, was fired by GM John Butler hours after the Chargers lost 25-22 to Seattle, finishing with a 5-11 record. San Diego's season is finished because it has a bye the final week.

Riley has two years left on his $750,000-a-year contract. He had a six-game losing streak in his rookie season of 1999 and an 11-game losing streak to open 2000, when the Chargers were 1-15.

The Chargers will be searching for their fourth head coach since the popular and successful Bobby Ross was forced out following the 1996 season in a power struggle with Beathard.

Pro Basketball

Coleman receives suspension, fine

Derrick Coleman of the Philadelphia 76ers was suspended for one game without pay and fined $7,500 on Monday for throwing a punch at Karl Malone.

Philadelphia coach Larry Brown, who complained about the officiating, also was fined $7,500 by the NBA.

Coleman will miss the 76ers' game Wednesday at Phoenix.

The suspension and fines stemmed from Saturday's game at Utah - an 89-81 victory by the Jazz - and were announced by NBA vice president of operations Stu Jackson.

Malone grabbed a rebound near Philadelphia's basket with 6:41 remaining in the third quarter and got tangled with Coleman. Malone threw an elbow and the two bumped.

The play was ruled a double technical until Coleman punched Malone in the arm. Coleman immediately was whistled for another technical and thrown out by referee Bennie Adams.

Hockey

Lemieux practices with Penguins

Mario Lemieux rejoined the Pittsburgh Penguins' practice in Canonsburg, Pa., Monday, his first official practice with the team since Nov. 12.

Lemieux, who has missed the past 19 games because of a sore hip, avoided contact drills and didn't play in an intrasquad scrimmage. He went full speed for 50 minutes through most of the drills, however, and did not experience any difficulties, coach Rick Kehoe said.

Lemieux is aiming for a return to the lineup Jan. 8 at Mellon Arena against the Boston Bruins, Kehoe said.

Lemieux was not available for comment Monday. He skated Thursday for the first time since a brief test Nov. 24.

Asked if Lemieux might be ready to play this Saturday against the New York Rangers, Kehoe said, "You never know, but I'd be shocked if he plays."

"I'm not looking at him to play, but then, there were a lot of times in the past we thought he wasn't going to play, and he came back and played early. But I think this time we have to be a little more cautious than we were in the past."

Tennis

Rusedski, Enqvist win their openers

Greg Rusedski of Britain and Thomas Enqvist of Sweden won opening-round matches Monday at the $357,000 AAPT Championships in Adelaide, Australia.

The sixth-seeded Rusedski beat Jacobo Diaz of Spain 6-3, 7-6 (7-4). The third-seeded Enqvist defeated Marcelo Rios of Chile 6-0, 6-3.

Australia's Richard Fromberg advanced to the main draw with a 6-4, 6-4 victory against France's Gregory Carraz.

Fromberg will play top-seeded Tim Henman of Britain on Tuesday, and second-seeded Pete Sampras will meet Todd Martin. Australia's Mark Philippoussis will play France's Julien Boutter.

  • Both intent on avoiding injuries this season, Monica Seles and Jan-Michael Gambill led the United States to a 3-0 victory over France in its opening match Monday at the Hopman Cup.
  • Seles defeated Virginie Razzano 6-3, 6-4. Gambill beat Arnaud Clement 6-4, 6-4 before Seles and Gambill won doubles 6-1, 6-4.

    The top-seeded United States is in Group A in the mixed-team event, a tuneup for the Australian Open.