Doctor: Olson had stroke in the past year
Lute Olson's doctor said yesterday that the former Arizona men's basketball coach had had a stroke within the past year and he had advised him to retire. The comments by Dr. Steven Knope at a news conference called by Olson's family offer the first explanation for Olson's sudden retirement last week, two days after he appeared at the Wildcats' media day. Olson, 74, said at the time he was energized and looking forward to his 25th season with Arizona. Knope said magnetic resonance imaging confirmed the stroke in the frontal part of Olson's brain, which left the Hall of Famer with severe depression and impaired judgment. Knope said Olson is resting at home and is on a blood thinner, and he's optimistic Olson will recover. The announcement ended almost a year of speculation about Olson's health. Rumors began to circulate when he took a leave of absence last season for what he later termed a "medical condition that was not life-threatening." Over the past few weeks, Knope said, he had talked to Olson about retiring because Olson was struggling to handle his workload as preseason practice opened. Knope said he ordered the MRI on Monday after Olson did not respond to recent treatment for depression. The MRI revealed a stroke.
Federer to play against U.S. in Davis Cup
Roger Federer ended speculation over his Davis Cup plans and announced that he will play for Switzerland against the United States in March. It will be the first time in five years the 13-time Grand Slam singles winner has broken up his early-season schedule for the Davis Cup. The World Group first-round series will be played March 6-8 in the U.S. at a venue to be chosen by the United States Tennis Association.
The Los Angeles Angels will exercise their 2009 options on outfielder Vladimir Guerrero and pitcher John Lackey but will decline their option on outfielder Garret Anderson. Guerrero, 32, an eight-time All-Star who batted .303 with 27 homers and 91 RBIs this season, will earn $15 million next year. Lackey, who was 12-5 with a 3.75 ERA this season, will earn $9 million in 2009. Anderson, 36, whose option price was $14 million, will receive a $3 million buyout and become eligible for free agency. Anderson, who has spent his entire career with the Angels, hit .293 with 15 homers and 84 RBIs in 145 games this season. An Angels spokeswoman said the club intends to discuss a free-agent contract with Anderson.
Et cetera: : Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik has started his remodeling of the franchise, removing Bob Fontaine as vice president of scouting. ... The Pirates hired Jim Benedict, a former Indians and Yankees scout, as a special assistant to general manager Neal Huntington.
Michael Nylander scored the pivotal goal in a shootout, and the host Washington Capitals generated enough firepower to overcome the absence of Alex Ovechkin and beat the Nashville Predators, 4-3. Alexander Semin scored as Washington's second shooter before Ville Koistinen tied it on Nashville's third try at Jose Theodore. Nylander then beat Dan Ellis, and Theodore denied Martin Erat. Ovechkin, the NHL leading scorer and Most Valuable Player last season, left for Russia on Monday to be with his ailing grandfather. The slick-shooting left wing had played in 203 consecutive games and 253 of 254 in his career.
Colleges: : Texas A&M; agreed to pay $2.1 million to settle a lawsuit over the collapse of a bonfire tower that killed 12 people and injured dozens more nearly a decade ago. The families of four students killed and several of those who were injured sued the university and construction contractors hired to help build the 59-foot-tall tower of logs that fell apart in November 1999. ... Indiana University named Fred Glass as the school's athletic director, choosing the Indianapolis attorney to take over a department tainted by allegations that it failed to properly monitor the men's basketball program.
College football:: Fifteen North Texas players failed drug tests conducted this fall at the request of coach Todd Dodge. Eighty-six players tested from Sept. 24 to Oct. 15 were chosen by the coaching staff and were considered regular contributors to the team. Dodge said at his weekly news conference that he couldn't specify the types of drugs but later referred to them generally as "street drugs." ... Purdue quarterback Curtis Painter had what coach Joe Tiller called a slight-to-moderate right shoulder separation against Minnesota last weekend, putting his nation-leading streak of 40 consecutive starts in jeopardy. ... Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer spent a lot of time defending himself and dismissing speculation about his job security. Fulmer said most of the talk about his job being on the line has been "misinformation," though he said he doesn't bother paying attention to much of it.
Olympics: : The World Anti-Doping Agency said it has received the results of the 300 drug tests from the Beijing Olympics that it had previously reported as missing. The International Olympic Committee said the mix-up was caused by a "communication problem" between the Beijing lab and the observers and that all the results had been traced and later sent to the WADA team. All those tests were negative.
Cycling: : Alberto Contador won't race in the 2009 Giro d'Italia and might miss the Spanish Vuelta to focus on winning the Tour de France. The Spaniard has claimed a sweep of cycling's three major races, including the 2007 Tour.
Soccer: : Diego Maradona was offered a chance to coach Argentina's team but declined to say whether he accepted. "We have to keep talking," Maradona said. "There are some things to resolve. This is just beginning."