Sports

New IU coach hopes to keep focus on football

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Bill Lynch has no plans to break out a win-one-for-the-Hepper speech.

The new Indiana football coach would rather use his businesslike style and Terry Hoeppner's vision to send the Hoosiers a message: Just play football.

"People who are not involved with the program think the motivation is going to carry you," Lynch told The Associated Press on Tuesday, one week after Hoeppner died from complications of a brain tumor. "But about five minutes into the first game, you'll realize the other team has players, too. We have a good football team and the makings of the team Hep wanted, but we've got to get better."

Lynch isn't new to the head coaching circuit.

In 14 seasons at Division I-AA Butler, Ball State of the Mid-American Conference and DePauw, a Division III school, Lynch went 81-67-3. He also stepped in for two games last season when Hoeppner had his second brain surgery and again this spring when Hoeppner took his third medical leave.

But this is new territory, even for a coaching veteran of nearly 30 years.

Lynch's promotion came four days before his longtime colleague and friend died, and most coaching manuals do not include how-to chapters about replacing community icons or helping dozens of 18- to 22-year-old students cope with death.

"These are young guys who have had a traumatic event take place in their life," Lynch said. "I'm sure it will take time. It's not something you figure out in a week. We've got professional people around, people who they can rely on for advice."

Sailing

n Kiwis rally to beat Swiss: In a classic duel on high seas, the challenger from New Zealand prevailed in a race with eight lead changes Tuesday to beat defending champion Alinghi and pull ahead 2-1 in the America's Cup in Valencia, Spain..

Emirates Team New Zealand, which nearly had a crew member fall overboard, won a bow-to-bow contest to the finish for a 25-second win in the best-of-nine series.

New Zealand conceded the early lead to guard its right hand advantage in the windy conditions. The move paid off as the Kiwis took a 300-meter lead up the first upwind lap. But a poor spinnaker set around the second marker almost threw bowman Richard Meacham over the side and allowed the Swiss back into the race up the third leg.

Hockey

n Thrashers send Tkachuk back to St. Louis: The Thrashers sent the rights to free agent center Keith Tkachuk back to St. Louis on Tuesday, reacquiring the conditional first-round pick they traded to the Blues in a deadline deal that helped Atlanta reach the playoffs for the first time.

The Thrashers gave up winger Glen Metropolit and their first-round pick in last week's draft to acquire Tkachuk in a Feb. 25 trade. He had seven goals and eight assists in 18 regular-season games for Atlanta, which won the Southeast Division but was swept in the opening round of the playoffs.

To land the highly coveted Tkachuk, the Thrashers also gave up a third-round choice in last week's draft and a second-round pick next year. In addition, St. Louis would have received a first-round pick in 2008 if Tkachuk had re-signed with Atlanta.

Now, the Thrashers will keep their first-rounder and could even re-sign Tkachuk if he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1, though that reacquisition is considered highly unlikely. The trade allows the Blues to deal exclusively with Tkachuk for the rest of the week.

Courts

n Four Italy soccer players accused of illegal betting: The Italian soccer federation summoned Italy forward David Di Michele and three other players for questioning Tuesday over their alleged involvement in an illegal betting ring.

Palermo's Di Michele, Atalanta's Thomas Manfredini, Vicenza's Massimo Margiotta and Mantova's Vincenzo Sommesse are accused of having placed bets "directly or through a third party, on the results relative to official soccer matches organized by the Italian soccer federation," the federation said in a statement.

They were among 21 players linked by federation investigators last year to bets totaling more than $14 million from 1998-2005.

  Comments