Bengals' Lewis is AP's NFL Coach of the Year
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Marvin Lewis had much more than game plans to deal with this season.
Lewis won The Associated Press 2009 NFL Coach of the Year award for guiding the Cincinnati Bengals to the playoffs during a season marked by tragedy.
The Bengals won the AFC North with a 10-6 record, just their second division title since 1990, both under Lewis. They did so despite the deaths of wide receiver Chris Henry and Vikki Zimmer, the wife of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. Several players' families also were directly affected by the tsunami in the Samoan Islands.
For holding his team together under such circumstances and leading a turnaround from a 4-11-1 record in 2008, Lewis earned 20 1/2 votes yesterday from a nationwide panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters who cover the league. He beat Sean Payton of New Orleans (11 1/2), Norv Turner of San Diego (9) and Jim Caldwell of Indianapolis (7). Andy Reid of Philadelphia and Ken Whisenhunt of Arizona had a single vote each.
"I'm flattered," said Lewis, whose seventh season as Bengals coach ended with a 24-14 home loss to the Jets in the wild-card round. "I never took any credibility to it, that it could occur, but I am flattered. I would trade it to still be playing."
NEW DUO TOPS
Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett weren't even skating together two years ago. Now they're U.S. champions.
And on their way to the Vancouver Olympics.
Denney and Barrett skated a high-energy, action-packed program to "Sheherazade" yesterday that was not only worthy of the title at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Spokane, Wash., but also ought to make the rest of the world take note.
Denney and Barrett finished with 190.30 points, almost 17 points in front of their training mates, Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig. Both pairs were later selected for the Olympic team.
"Our free skate today was one of the best programs we've ever done," Denney said. "It was just so much fun, and I will remember that forever."
Former U.S. champs and 2006 Olympians Rena Inoue and John Baldwin were third after landing their signature throw triple axel.
ISNER WINS HEINEKEN
American John Isner defeated Frenchman Arnaud Clement, 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (2), yesterday to win the Heineken Open in Auckland, New Zealand for his first ATP Tour singles title.
The 6-foot-9 Isner had 22 aces and only two double-faults.
FOURTH TITLE FOR BAGHDATIS
Marcos Baghdatis warmed up for the first Grand Slam of the year with a 6-4, 7-6 (2) rain-delayed win over Frenchman Richard Gasquet in yesterday's Sydney International final in Australia.
Baghdatis had a 75-minute wait between sets during a rain storm at Sydney Olympic Park en route to his fourth career ATP singles title.
BONDARENKO IN UPSET WIN
Fourth-seeded Alona Bondarenko won the Hobart International in Australia yesterday for her second WTA Tour title, beating second-seeded Shahar Peer, 6-2, 6-4.
Bondarenko beat top-seeded Anabel Medina Garrigues in the semifinals Friday.
AND WHAT'S MORE ...
Ninth-ranked Fernando Verdasco beat Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 7-5, 6-3, to win the Kooyong Classic at Melbourne, an eight-man exhibition warmup for the Australian Open. ... Joannie Rochette used a strong free skate program to win her sixth consecutive women's singles title, while Bryce Davison and Jessica Dube captured the pairs event at the Canadian figure skating championships in London, Ontario.