National sports briefs

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith added another award Tuesday when he was named player of the year by Sporting News magazine, while Wake Forest’s Jim Grobe was named coach of the year.

Smith led Ohio State to a

12-0 regular-season record, a No. 1 ranking and a spot in the BCS championship game against Florida.

The St. Louis-based magazine also honored Grobe, who led the Demon Deacons

(11-2) through the most successful regular season in program history, including a surprising run to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship and a trip to the Orange Bowl.

Texas quarterback Colt McCoy was named as the top freshman.

The awards were chosen by Sporting News writers and editors.

UNC ASSISTANT

CHAPEL HILL — Newly hired North Carolina football coach Butch Davis hired another offensive assistant coach Tuesday, bringing in 22-year coaching veteran Charlie Williams.

Williams, 48, coached wide receivers with Davis at Miami and most recently held the same post at Arizona from 2004-2006. He also spent six season as receivers coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers under Tony Dungy beginning in 1996.

BASEBALL

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves decided against offering a contract to second baseman Marcus Giles in a cost-cutting move Tuesday.

In another move, the Braves decided not to tender a contract to former closer Chris Reitsma, who missed much of last season after elbow surgery.

* ARLINGTON, Texas — Reliever Eric Gagne and the Texas Rangers reached a preliminary agreement Tuesday on a one-year contract worth about $6 million.

* BOSTON — Red Sox outfielder Gabe Kapler retired Tuesday after nine major league seasons to start a managerial career with the team’s Class-A farm team in Greenville, S.C., a move he hopes will lead to big league job.

* WASHINGTON — Former Cardinals second baseman Tommy Herr was hired Tuesday by the Washington Nationals as the manager of Class A Hagerstown.

* HOUSTON — The Astros are getting Jason Jennings instead of Jon Garland to replace Andy Pettitte in their starting rotation.

Five days after a potential deal with the White Sox came apart, Houston acquired Jennings from the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday.

RACING

CHARLOTTE — Sam Hornish Jr. declined an invitation to replace Jimmie Johnson on Team USA’s entry in the Race of Champions Nations Cup in Paris.

Hornish, the Indy Racing League champion, was contacted by Team USA officials after Johnson broke his wrist in a fall from a golf cart during a celebrity tournament last weekend. The NASCAR star can’t drive for at least four weeks. But Hornish declined the invitation because of short notice.

GOLF

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Tiger Woods won PGA Tour player of the year on Tuesday for the eighth time, and the numbers looked familiar. He won multiple majors for the fourth time, and more tournaments than anyone else.

Woods, who won eight times, also won the Arnold Palmer Award for leading the money list at $9.9 million.

Jim Furyk won the Vardon Trophy from the PGA of America with an average of 68.86. That award requires at least 60 rounds.

Trevor Immelman was voted rookie of the year. Comeback player of the year went to Steve Stricker.

LACROSSE

DURHAM — A congressman asked the Justice Department on Tuesday to investigate whether the district attorney prosecuting three Duke University lacrosse players charged with rape has violated the athletes’ civil rights.

In a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Rep. Walter Jones also asked the Justice Department to review Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong’s actions for possible prosecutorial misconduct.

BARBARO UPDATE

KENNETT SQUARE, Pa. — Barbaro continues gaining strength in his right hind leg since having his cast removed last month, another encouraging sign for the Kentucky Derby winner.

Nearly seven months into his stay at the University of Pennsylvania, Barbaro’s veterinarians said Tuesday the colt continues to recover gradually.

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