Jim Sweeney, whose towel-waving showdown with Claude Gilbert in 1987 became the signature moment in the San Jose State-Fresno State football rivalry, has died. The former Bulldogs head coach was 83.
Sweeney coached Fresno State for 19 seasons and retired with a school-record 144 victories. He was a big reason the SJSU-FSU rivalry was as intense as any on the West Coast throughout the 1980s.
"Those were really great games," Sweeney told this newspaper in 2006. "They were always knock-down, drag-out battles. San Jose and Fresno State hated each other."
SJSU fans loved to hate Sweeney, and he embraced every minute of it. The rivalry really took off in 1986 when SJSU rallied for 14 points in the final 42 seconds for a victory in what Sports Illustrated called the college football game of the year. Then it reached a sublime level a year later during the Spartans' 20-16 victory.
Late in the third quarter, Sweeney began waving a white towel to rally his team. Gilbert didn't appreciated the antics and, after a Spartan player handed him a towel, the typically mild-mannered coach also began waving madly -- to the dismay and delight of 35,000 fans and a cable-television audience.
She wrote the family's exhaustive response to former FBI director Louis Freeh's report for the university on the Sandusky child sex abuse case. It'll be released to the public Sunday at 6 a.m. (PT) on paterno.com. Freeh in July accused Paterno and three school officials of covering up allegations against Sandusky, a retired assistant coach. Less than two weeks later, the NCAA levied unprecedented sanctions on the football program.
"When the Freeh report was released, I was as shocked as anyone by the findings and by Mr. Freeh's attack on Joe's character and integrity," Sue Paterno wrote. "I'm here to tell you as definitively and forcefully as I know how that Mr. Freeh could not have been more wrong in his assessment of Joe."
The family directed its attorney, Wick Sollers, to assemble experts to review Freeh's findings, Sue Paterno wrote. She did not offer details on findings "except to say that they unreservedly and forcefully confirm my beliefs about Joe's conduct."
Joe Paterno died in January 2012. He was 85.
Pitcher Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers share "a mutual interest" in a long-term extension, general manager Ned Colletti told the Los Angeles Times. Kershaw, who is under contract for $11 million this year, will be eligible for free agency after the 2014 season.
Former Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan interviewed with New Orleans for the same position. Saints coach Sean Payton fired defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo two days after returning from a yearlong suspension. Also, Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham withdrew from consideration for the job.