Tuberville steps down as Auburn coach
Tommy Tuberville stepped down yesterday after 10 years as coach of Auburn. Tuberville went 85-40 with Auburn, including a 13-0 season in 2004 when the Tigers finished No. 2 in the nation and won the Southeastern Conference title for the first time in 15 years. But Auburn went 5-7 this year, and the Tigers' worst season in 10 years ended Saturday with a 36-0 loss to No. 1 Alabama. "The last 10 years have been a great time in my life, both professionally and personally," Tuberville said in a statement. "It's been a great place to coach and live, and we've had a lot of success along the way." Tuberville signed a two-year contract extension through 2013 after last season that was worth about $3.3 million annually. It also included a $6 million buyout if he was fired after this season. Auburn's statement said the buyout will be paid.
Notre Dame: : Coach Charlie Weis will return for a fifth year despite posting his second straight disappointing season. The Irish have lost 15 games the past two seasons, the most by Notre Dame in a two-year span.
Et cetera:: Texas Tech athletic director Gerald Myers said the school is negotiating a contract extension with Mike Leach, amid reports the coach has met with Washington about the Huskies' top job. ... No. 15 Georgia Tech accepted an invitation to the Chick-fil-A Bowl. ... Southern Mississippi accepted an invitation to play in the New Orleans Bowl. ... Clemson was invited to the Gator Bowl, where it appears the Tigers will play Nebraska.
Judge blocks suspension of two Vikings players
A Minnesota judge temporarily blocked the NFL's suspension of Vikings stars Kevin Williams and Pat Williams for violating the league's anti-doping policy, but the players' status for Sunday's game at Detroit remained uncertain. Hennepin County District Judge Gary Larson issued the temporary restraining order at the players' request, saying he wanted more time to hear arguments in the case. No further hearing date was set. The defensive tackles were among six players suspended for four games for testing positive for a diuretic that can be used as a masking agent for steroids. ESPN.com reported that the NFL Players Association will file a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis today, seeking to overturn the six suspensions.
Giants: : Coach Tom Coughlin expects Antonio Pierce to play Sunday against the Eagles while the team gathers information on the linebacker's involvement in a shooting that led to the season-ending suspension of star wide receiver Plaxico Burress.
Et cetera: : The Patriots shored up their injury-riddled linebacker corps by signing veteran free agent Rosevelt Colvin. ... The Bengals signed veteran linebacker Victor Hobson to bolster their injury-hampered defense. ... Browns quarterback Brady Quinn had two pins surgically inserted into his broken right index finger and said he hopes to begin throwing once they are removed next month.
American League Most Valuable Player Dustin Pedroia and the Boston Red Sox agreed to a six-year, $40.5 million contract. The deal includes a club option for 2015. Pedroia would not have been eligible for free agency until after the 2012 season. Pedroia batted .326 with 17 home runs, 83 RBIs and 20 steals last season to become the first AL second baseman to win the MVP award since Nellie Fox in 1959 with the Chicago White Sox.
Orioles: : The team added two exhibition games against the Nationals. The teams will play at Harbor Park, home of the Norfolk Tides, on April 3 at 3:30 p.m. They will play again April 4 at Nationals Park at 6:05 p.m.
Et cetera: : The Giants agreed to a one-year, $2.75 million contract with free-agent reliever Bob Howry. ... Rays closer Troy Percival had back surgery this week and is expected to be ready to return before Opening Day. ... Free-agent infielder Russell Branyan and the Mariners agreed to a one-year, $1.4 million contract. ... Oft-injured left-hander Mike Hampton finalized a one-year, $2 million deal with the Astros.
'Canes fire Laviolette, bring back Maurice
The Carolina Hurricanes fired Peter Laviolette and put Paul Maurice, the winningest coach in franchise history, back behind the bench. They also moved Hall of Famer Ron Francis from the front office to associate coach. Laviolette, who replaced Maurice five years ago, led the team to its only Stanley Cup in 2005-06. He is the winningest American-born coach in NHL history (244 victories). Carolina (12-11-2) has lost four of five the past 1 1/2 weeks.
More NHL: : Commissioner Gary Bettman summoned Sean Avery to New York for a hearing today on "inappropriate" remarks that resulted in the indefinite suspension of the Stars' instigator. Avery apologized yesterday for comments about his former girlfriends. ... Avalanche captain Joe Sakic will be out at least six weeks while receiving treatment for a herniated disc. ... Flyers center Danny Briere will be sidelined four to five weeks with a severe groin strain.
Golf: : Seve Ballesteros was released from intensive care at Madrid's La Paz hospital, a day after the five-time major winner underwent his fourth brain surgery to deal with a cancerous tumor. ... Michelle Wie rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt on the final hole in Daytona Beach, Fla., for a 3-under-par 69, giving her a solid start in the 90-hole qualifying tournament as she tries to earn an LPGA Tour card.