Hawaii candidate hired by Columbia
Columbia hired Saint Mary's assistant Kyle Smith as its men's basketball coach yesterday.
The 40-year-old Smith replaced Joe Jones, who left to become a Boston College assistant. Smith was a candidate for the University of Hawai'i coaching position that went to former USC assistant Gib Arnold.
"I am very excited to be the next head men's basketball coach at Columbia, one of the nation's premier universities," Smith said in a statement.
Smith was an associate head coach on a St. Mary's team that reached the regional semifinals of this season's NCAA tournament. The 10th-seeded Gaels of California upset Richmond and second-seeded Villanova before losing to Baylor. It was the school's first NCAA tournament victory since 1959.
When Smith first arrived at Saint Mary's in 2001, the team had won only two games in the previous season. Over the past three years, the Gaels have won 81 games — the 10th most in the nation over that span.
Jones was 86-108 overall and 39-59 in the Ivy League in seven years at Columbia. This season, the Lions went 11-17, including 5-9 in the Ivy League. Columbia's only Ivy League basketball title was in 1967-68.
The Lions return their leading scorer Noruwa Agho, who averaged 16.3 points this season.
SCHUMACHER WINS NHRA MIDWEST
Tony Schumacher raced to his second Top Fuel victory of the season yesterday, beating Doug Kalitta in the NHRA Midwest Nationals final with a 3.849-second-run at 317.97 mph.
Robert Hight (Funny Car), Warren Johnson (Pro Stock) and Michael Phillips (Pro Stock Motorcycles) also won their divisions at Gateway International Raceway at Madison, Ill. Johnson raced to his Pro Stock-record 151st victory and first since 2007.
Hight beat Jack Beckman in the final, finishing in 4.149 seconds at 304.25 in his Ford Mustang, Johnson topped Jeg Coughlin, and Phillips edged LE Tonglet.
SUPER SAVER TO RUN AT PREAKNESS
Calvin Borel boldly predicted he's going to win the Triple Crown after Super Saver sloshed to a 2 1/2-length victory in the Kentucky Derby.
Ever-cautious trainer Todd Pletcher is caught up in the idea, too.
He says Super Saver came out of Saturday's race in good shape, and will stay at Churchill Downs to train for the May 15 Preakness in Baltimore.
AND WHAT'S MORE ...
Olympic beach volleyball champions Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser won the AVP Nivea Tour's Santa Barbara Open for the third straight time yesterday, beating Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal, 21-13, 21-14, at Santa Barbara, Calif. Jenny Johnson Jordan and Annett Davis won the women's title beating Dianne DeNeccochea and Brittany Hochevar, 24-22, 21-16, in the final. ... Johnny Sauter made a miraculous save after a late-race bump and held off hard-charging Ron Hornaday Jr. to win a wild, rain-delayed NASCAR Trucks race at Kansas Speedway yesterday.