Digest for 01-22-14


REGIONAL

Valley hires former Jackson State coach Comegy

ITTA BENA, Miss. — Rick Comegy was officially introduced as Mississippi Valley State’s head football coach during a Tuesday press conference.

Comegy spent the past eight seasons at in-state SWAC rival Jackson State, where he went 48-31 with a conference championship in 2007 and appearances in the past SWAC title games, losing to Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Southern. Jackson State, in a surprising move, fired Comegy after the most recent SWAC title-game loss to Southern.

Comegy also has coached at Tuskegee (Ala.), where he went 90-26 in 10 seasons, including a 12-0, national black college championship season in 2000.

He replaces Karl Morgan, whose contract was not renewed after four seasons at the helm. Valley went 2-9 this past season.

NATIONAL

Wawrinka ousts Djokovic in Aussie quarters

MELBOURNE, Australia — Stan Wawrinka put an end to Novak Djokovic’s three-year reign at the Australian Open on Tuesday.

There will be no Down Under four-peat for Djokovic, as the eighth-seeded Swiss slugger Wawrinka outlasted the second seed 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7 at Melbourne Park’s Rod Laver Arena in yet another five-set thriller in their burgeoning rivalry.

The intense affair was tied at 5-5 in the fifth set when a rain shower started to fall, forcing a brief stoppage.

When the players returned to the court, with Wawrinka serving at 40-15 in the 11th game of the stanza, the sturdy Swiss swatted his 17th ace to grab a 6-5 edge.

Five games later, the former world No. 1 Djokovic was serving to stay in the match, but his Swiss counterpart recorded the biggest break of the fortnight on the men’s side when Djokovic misfired wide with one final forehand, sending Wawrinka into his first-ever Aussie Open semi and second career major final four. He also appeared in last year’s U.S. Open semis, only to lose to Djokovic.

Tuesday’s big-hitting bout was completed in four hours, including a 79-minute, 16-game final set. Wawrinka broke Djokovic five times, while the Serb settled for four breaks in the tough setback. Djokovic actually won eight more points than Wawrinka (161-153), but one more break of serve was the difference on Day 9.

“I tried everything. He’s an amazing champion. He never gives up. I’m really, really, really, really, really, really happy,” Wawrinka said.

Radwanska, Cibulkova advance to semis

MELBOURNE, AustraliaThe women will also have a new winner at the 2014 Australian Open.

Fifth-seeded Pole Agnieszka Radwanska took down two-time defending champion Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 5-7, 6-0 to set up a semifinal match with Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia.

Buccaneers name Licht new GM

TAMPA BAY, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Tuesday named Jason Licht as their new general manager.

Licht had been with the Arizona Cardinals the last two seasons, serving as vice president of player personnel this past season. He will be introduced at a press conference on Thursday afternoon.

The Bucs fired coach Greg Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik one day after the team finished a 4-12 season. Lovie Smith was hired as Tampa Bay’s new coach earlier this month.

Licht has nearly two decades of scouting and player personnel experience in the NFL and has worked alongside six head coaches who have led a team to a Super Bowl.

TE Gonzalez named to 14th Pro Bowl

NEW YORK — Tight end Tony Gonzalez, who has already announced his retirement following 17 stellar seasons, has one more game left to play.

Gonzalez will suit up one more time to represent the Atlanta Falcons at the Pro Bowl on Sunday. He was named as a replacement for San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis.

This is the 14th Pro Bowl selection for Gonzalez, who was named to the squad for a fourth consecutive season. He had 83 receptions for 859 yards and eight touchdowns in 16 games this past season.

In 2013, Gonzalez (210) joined Jerry Rice (274) as the only players in NFL history to catch at least one pass in 200 straight games. He also joined Rice as the only players in NFL history with 16 50-catch seasons.

Originally a 13th-round pick of the Chiefs back in 1997, Gonzalez made his debut for Kansas City later that year. He departed following the 2008 campaign having totaled team records of 916 catches, 10,940 yards and 76 touchdowns, along with 26 games of at least 100 yards receiving. The California product exits the game as the lone tight end in NFL annals to produce four 1,000-yard receiving seasons.