National Sports Briefs

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Associated Press
ANN ARBOR, Mich. ó Michigan has hired Greg Robinson as its defensive coordinator.
The former coach at Syracuse, fired in November after going 10-37 in four seasons, replaces Scott Shafer.
Shafer resigned in mid-December after his first season with the Wolverines. He coordinated a defense that gave up 347 points, the most in school history.
The team finished 3-9 in 2008, Rich Rodriguez’s first year as Michigan’s head coach.
– OKLAHOMA CITY ó Oklahoma State hired Bill Young to be its defensive coordinator, luring him back to his alma mater from Miami.
Young played at Oklahoma State from 1965-67 and has had two previous stints on the coaching staff.Young, 62, had told a Miami newspaper earlier this week that deciding between coaching with the Hurricanes or Cowboys left him “very torn.”
NEW YORK ó New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro is out for the season after playing only five games because of persistent problems with his surgically repaired left knee.
The Islanders cited persistent swelling and took precautionary action because they are not in playoff contention.
The Islanders (12-29-5) will enter this weekend’s All-Star break with the fewest wins and points in the 30-team NHL.
– SAN JOSE, Calif. ó The San Jose Sharks recalled 43-year-old forward Claude Lemieux from their AHL affiliate, adding a four-time Stanley Cup winner to a team already tied for the overall league lead.
Lemieux is returning to the NHL after a six-year retirement.
Lemieux once was hockey’s archetypal agitating forward during parts of 20 seasons with five NHL clubs. He also was among the best playoff performers of his generation, with 80 postseason goals that are still ninth-most in league history.
He won titles with Montreal (1986), New Jersey (1995, 2000) and Colorado (1996), earning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP for the Devils in 1995.
ADELAIDE, Australia ó Riding in 103-degree heat and in wind that felt like a blast furnace, Lance Armstrong returned to professional cycling and was a long way from his champagne-sipping triumphs in Paris.
The seven-time Tour de France champion finished 120th of 133 riders Tuesday in the six-day Tour Down Under, his first road stage in three years.
Still, Armstrong said he felt “pretty good, pretty strong” for his first day back at work, although he thought officials were kidding when they told him the opening day of the race was also the easiest.
NEW YORK ó Major League Soccer and ESPN are moving games from a regular Thursday night time slot to different days of the week in hopes of boosting ratings.
The average audience on ESPN2 decreased 12 percent from 288,800 viewers in 2007 to 253,000 in 2008.
The league and network are entering the third year of an eight-year contract.
– CARSON, Calif. ó As it prepares to play its first game of the year, the United States men’s soccer team faces unexpected tests of its depth.
Seven members of the original roster for Saturday’s exhibition against Sweden in Carson have left camp due to injuries, overseas tryouts or other reasons.BOXING
FRANKFURT, Germany ó Vitaly Klitschko’s mandatory WBC heavyweight title defense against Juan Carlos Gomez of Cuba on March 21 will be held in Stuttgart.
The Ukrainian had been hoping to fight David Haye in June in London, but will instead take on the No. 1-ranked challenger by the WBC.
Gomez, a former cruiserweight champion, has lost only one of 46 fights. Klitschko has a 36-2 record.
NEW YORK ó The biggest fight for the mixed martial arts industry will not take place in any arena this year.
Instead, it’ll be in Albany, as lobbyists and industry executives try to persuade the Legislature to legalize the popular sport in New York state.
Victory for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the sport’s biggest name, means staging a lucrative fight in Madison Square Garden, one of the most important venues in the country in a key market.
“Let me say how important New York is to our company,” said Lawrence Epstein, UFC’s general counsel. “New York is the world media center. When you do events in New York you get more attention.”
Mixed martial arts is currently banned in New York.