Died at age 72, nomadic NBA coach Cotton Fitzsimmons (right), of
complications from lung cancer. The two-time Coach of the Year,
who ranks 10th in league history with 832 victories, began his
career in Phoenix in 1970 and made stops in Atlanta, Buffalo,
Kansas City and San Antonio before taking a Suns front office job
in 1987. The native of Hannibal, Mo.--Mark Twain's hometown--was
known for his Midwestern drawl, lack of height (he was 5'6") and
for being a reclamation specialist. All six of his teams had
losing records before he arrived; he led five to .500 marks or
better in his first season. "I'm the Red Adair of the NBA, always
putting out fires," he said. From 1988 to '92 he coached the Suns
to four straight 50-win seasons, then was an executive vice
president, broadcaster and franchise ambassador for 12 years.
Stolen two of the nine highway signs welcoming motorists to
Akron, Ohio--HOME OF LEBRON JAMES 2003-2004 NBA ROOKIE OF THE
YEAR. The signs, which cost $100 each, began disappearing shortly
after James won the award in June. Said Tom Bennett, Akron's
traffic operations supervisor, "I've been keeping an eye out on
Lost by physicist Stephen Hawking, a wager with particle
physicist John Preskill. In 1997 Hawking bet Preskill an
encyclopedia "from which information could be recovered at will"
that "information swallowed by a black hole is forever hidden
from the outside universe." Last week Hawking conceded his theory
was wrong and agreed to buy Preskill a copy of Total Baseball.
Resigned following rape allegations involving La Salle basketball
players, the school's men's and women's coaches, Billy Hahn and
John Miller. Two players from the men's team, Michael Cleaves and
Gary Neal, were charged on July 8 with sexually assaulting a
University of New Haven women's player at Miller's summer camp.
(The accused players, who are no longer enrolled at the school,
turned themselves in and were released on bail.) Following those
arrests a former La Salle women's player alleged that she was
raped by a men's player in April 2003 but was dissuaded from
filing charges by the coaches. Hahn and Miller resigned last
Saturday. Hahn did not comment, but Miller claimed his former
player asked him to keep the incident confidential.
Preheated so he's ready for the 90° Athens heat, Rusty, German
Olympic equestrienne Ulla Salzgeber's mount. The world's
top-ranked dressage rider booked her 16-year-old Lativian for 30
days at a solarium, a large, glass-enclosed tanning bed for
humans. "I want to make sure he doesn't get a sunburn," she said.
COLOR PHOTO: ERIC DROTTER/AP (FITZSIMMONS)
COLOR PHOTO: CITY OF AKRON, OHIO (SIGN)