DIED Of a heart attack, Yinka Dare, 32, the Nets' first-round
pick in 1994. Four days after an American scout spied the 7'1"
Dare eating a bowl of food on a bench in Lagos, in 1991, a George
Washington assistant coach was in Nigeria to meet him. Though
Dare spoke no English and had never played basketball, he moved
to the U.S., spent one year in prep school and then enrolled at
GWU, leading the Colonials to two NCAA bids before turning pro.
In four NBA seasons Dare averaged 2.1 points; he didn't get his
first assist until his third year in the league.
UNRETIRED Righthander Roger Clemens, 41, who agreed on Monday to
a one-year, $5 million contract with the Astros. Clemens, whose
staggering resume includes 310 wins, 4,099 strikeouts and six Cy
Young Awards, had consistently indicated that the '03 season with
the Yankees would be his last. "They're ready for me to come
home," Clemens said of his family last June, "and I'm ready."
Home, however, is Houston, which is also where Clemens's workout
partner and close friend, Andy Pettitte, signed in December.
"Everything was kicked off and put in high motion when Andy came
here to pitch," Clemens said on Monday. "I feel I still have a
lot to give."
BROKE With a 41-year tradition of hiring a head football coach
from within the program, Nebraska athletic director Steve
Pederson. Spurning counsel from a legendary Huskers coach--"He
made it quite clear," says Tom Osborne, "that this was a one-man
operation"--and ignoring the pleas of fans to promote defensive
coordinator Bo Pelini, Pederson hired recently fired Raiders
coach Bill Callahan after three candidates withdrew their names
following their interviews. A former college assistant, Callahan
will install the West Coast offense to replace Nebraska's
trademark option. "I'm not one to huddle in the corner and hope
that things stay just O.K.," says Pederson, 46, who has
eliminated more than 20 positions in the athletic department and
cut more than $2.5 million from the budget since coming to
Lincoln from Pitt in December 2002. "You really have to stay
ahead of it."
RELEASED The contact information for more than 700 sports
figures, by the Associated Press. After an employee accidentally
sent an internal phone list to media organizations, the list was
circulating on the Internet within days. "I got at least a
hundred instant messages in one night," says major league
reliever Mike Venafro. "And I'm not Hank Aaron or Pete Rose."
COMPETED In the National Scholastic Surfing Association meet, 10
weeks after losing her left arm in a shark attack, 13-year-old
Bethany Hamilton. One of the top amateur surfers in the U.S., she
returned to the water on Thanksgiving, but last weekend's meet at
Banyans in Hawaii was her first competition since the Oct. 31
attack. Though paddling and getting onto her feet proved
difficult, Bethany declined offers from tournament officials for
more time between runs and to be placed in a more favorable heat.
After finishing fifth out of 24 in her age group, she said, "It
was definitely a good start."
COLOR PHOTO: MANNY MILLAN (DARE)
COLOR PHOTO: MICHAEL DARDEN-WEST HAWAII TODAY/AP (HAMILTON)