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National Sports Briefs

Associated Press
SAN DIEGO ó Charlie Jones, the deep-voiced sportscaster whose career as a play-by-play announcer dated to the beginning of the American Football League in 1960, has died. He was 77.
Jones died of a heart attack Thursday at his home in the La Jolla district of San Diego, his longtime agent, Martin Mandel, told The Associated Press.
NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol called Jones “one of the great pioneers of NBC Sports. His work in particular on the NFL, golf and the Olympics left a lasting legacy.”
Jones worked for ABC and NBC in a career spanning 38 years.
He started at ABC in 1960, the year the American Football League made its debut. He moved to NBC in 1965, remainining with that network until 1997.
Jones announced 28 different sports, while with NBC, from golf to tennis, baseball to figure skating. He called events at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
DUKE FOOTBALL
DURHAM ó Don’t laugh. First-year Duke coach David Cutcliffe is signing up football season-ticket holders in Knoxville, Tenn.
Cutcliffe recruited 22 fans to buy season tickets during a May 22 visit to his old hometown.
Was the former Tennessee assistant trying to turn orange Volunteers fans into Blue Devils?
“Absolutely,” a confident Cutcliffe said. “Is that awesome? Isn’t that great? We’re going to set a record for season ticket sales. If you don’t get on this year, you’re really going to be out of luck next year.”
Cutcliffe has crisscrossed the region on a Duke athletics tour to sell Duke football to jaded Duke boosters and curious non-Duke fans eager to meet the coach who shaped Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning in college. Duke last had a winning season in 1994.
Cutcliffe pitched the four-ticket family pack ó seven Duke home games for $199 ó as “cheaper than going to the movies.”
It’s going over big. Sales picked up after each speech. Duke also sold 52 more season tickets to event-goers in Charlotte, 58 in Atlanta, 44 in Greensboro, and 65 in Wilmington.
NASCARCHARLOTTE ó Two officials named in a $225 million racial discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit against NASCAR have been placed on administrative leave for violating company policy.
The officials, who were not immediately identified, were sent home from Kentucky Speedway on Friday evening, a person familiar with the NASCAR investigation told the AP. The person requested anonymity because NASCAR’s investigation is ongoing.
Mauricia Grant filed her suit Tuesday, alleging 23 specific incidents of sexual harassment and 34 specific incidents of racial and gender discrimination during her time as a technical inspector for NASCAR’s second-tier Nationwide Series.
Grant, who is black, claims her October 2007 firing was retaliation for complaining about the way she was treated on the job from her January 2005 hiring.
NFL
CINCINNATI ó Former Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry has been suspended indefinitely by the NFL. The Bengals released Henry on April 3 after he was arrested for the fifth time.
– NORFOLK, Va. ó Former Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick was arrested early Friday and charged with driving under the influence and eluding police.
Vick, the brother of former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, signed as a free agent receiver with the Miami Dolphins after a troubled career at Virginia Tech. He was released by the Dolphins in 2007.
NHL
TORONTO ó Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals star forward won the Lester B. Pearson Award, given by the NHL Players’ Association to the league’s player of the year.
Ovechkin, who led the NHL with 65 goals and 112 points, edged finalists Jarome Iginla of the Calgary Flames and Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the honor.
– PITTSBURGH ó The Penguins made certain goalie Marc-Andre Fleury won’t become a restricted free agent July 1, choosing to offer salary arbitration to one of the key players of their Stanley Cup playoffs run.
TENNIS
LONDON ó Rafael Nadal overcame Ivo Karlovic’s powerful serve to reach the Queen’s Club semifinals, where he will face defending champion Andy Roddick.
The top-seeded Nadal defeated Karlovic 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4) on Friday. Roddick, seeded third, advanced without picking up a racket when Andy Murray withdrew.
– HALLE, Germany ó Roger Federer extended his grasscourt streak to 57 matches with a 6-4, 6-4 win Friday over Marcos Baghdatis and reached the semifinals of the Gerry Weber Open.
COLLEGE BASEBALL
INDIANAPOLIS ó The NCAA will keep the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., through 2035 under an unprecedented 25-year contract extension.The baseball championship has been in Omaha each year since 1950.

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