College football FSU assistant Amato leaves Seminoles...

Sports Digest

January 07, 2000

College football

FSU assistant Amato leaves Seminoles to take over N.C. State

Giving a passionate acceptance speech former boss Bobby Bowden would be proud of, Chuck Amato left national champion Florida State yesterday to take the coaching job at North Carolina State.

Amato, 53, admitted during a noon news conference that he had slept only six hours the past two days. But the assistant to Bowden for the past 18 seasons had an overflow crowd of 300 Wolfpack alumni and supporters on the edge of their seats during his emotional, inspirational return to his alma mater.

"Nothing is easy," said Amato, the former Wolfpack linebacker who replaced Mike O'Cain. "We have to roll our sleeves up. We're not afraid of that. It [winning] can happen if we all get together."

Amato, who inherits a 6-6 team, was given a five-year contract with a base salary of $185,000 a season.

Amato was an assistant at N.C. State from 1972-80, then spent two years at Arizona as defensive coordinator. He joined Florida State as an assistant in 1982 and has been linebackers coach since 1996.

NFL draft: As expected, Miami tight end Bubba Franks will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft. Franks, 6 feet 6, 260 pounds, is regarded as a first-round pick.

Others to announce they would be skipping their senior seasons were Texas receiver Kwame Cavil, UAB cornerback Rodregis Brooks and Colorado cornerback and return specialist Ben Kelly. Also, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Georgia Tech junior wide receiver Dez White has decided to enter the NFL draft.

Honor: Former Navy quarterback Roger Staubach has been named to the Walter Camp Football Foundation All-Century college team, a collection of 83 players selected by current and retired college coaches, sports information directors and several members of the media. The 1963 Heisman Trophy winner was joined in the backfield by three-time Walter Camp All-American Red Grange, two-time Walter Camp player of the year O. J. Simpson and Herschel Walker.

Baseball

Astros sign Gooden to minor-league contract

Dwight Gooden, once the ace of the New York Mets, agreed to a minor-league contract with the Houston Astros in what might be his final chance to pitch in the majors.

"I don't hold any illusions of grandeur out that, at 35 years old, we're going to see the Doc Gooden of 26 or 28 years old," Astros general manager Gerry Hunsicker said. "But knowing Doc, I'll take my chances while he's on the mound."

Gooden was 3-4 with a 6.41 ERA last year in 22 starts with the Cleveland Indians. Hampered by a shoulder strain, he was dropped from Cleveland's postseason roster.

Umpires: Richie Phillips' Major League Umpires Association completed its appeal of the National Labor Relations Board election it lost, and the hearing officer hopes to make a decision later this month.

Obituary: John Milner, a member of National League championship teams with the New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1970s, died of cancer in East Point, Ga. He was 50.

Auto racing

IRL driver Schmidt injured in practice crash

Indy Racing League driver Sam Schmidt was in critical condition after crashing during practice at Walt Disney World Speedway in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Schmidt, 35, was coming out of a turn when he lost control and the left rear of his car hit the wall, said IRL spokesman Eric Powell. Schmidt, who got his first career victory last year, was practicing for the season-opening Indy 200.

He was airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center and was being evaluated for a spinal injury after losing some sensation in his legs, a hospital spokesman said.

Et cetera

Rafter set to return, will start with doubles

Pat Rafter will return to competition at the adidas International on Sunday in Sydney, where he plans to partner with Wayne Arthurs in the doubles.

The former No. 1 player has been out of action since pulling out of the U.S. Open last August with a shoulder injury.

College basketball: George Washington forward Patrick Ngongba will miss the rest of the season with a broken finger on his shooting hand, the team said. The 6-foot-8 junior from Calvert Hall was averaging 3.4 points and almost four rebounds a game.

Soccer: David Beckham was ejected for violent play in the 42nd minute as European champion Manchester United was surprisingly tied, 1-1, by Mexico's Necaxa in Rio de Janeiro in the first FIFA World Club Championship. In the second game of the Group B doubleheader, Brazil's Vasco da Gama beat Australia's South Melbourne, 2-0.

Field hockey: Carey Fetting-Smith, a Bryn Mawr junior, has been named to the U.S. Field Hockey Association's Under-21 and Under-19 national teams. Also named to the Under-21 team were four players from Maryland's NCAA champion team -- All-America forward Keli Smith, goalie Ashley Hohnstine, forward Dina Rizzo and defender Autumn Welsh.

The quiz

Royal flush

The Kansas City Royals' Jose Rosado, who got a $5.5 million, two-year contract last month, had a 3.85 ERA last season, fifth best in the AL among pitchers with at least 162 innings. Who were ahead of him? (Answer, 7D)

Quiz answer

The Boston Red Sox's Pedro Martinez ( 2.07), New York Yankee's David Cone (3.44), Orioles' Mike Mussina (3.50) and Minnesota Twins' Brad Radke (3.75).

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