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National Sports Briefs

Associated Press
RIFFA, Bahrain ó Sergio Garcia says his love of golf has been restored after long periods away from the game to clear his head last year.
Garcia has been mired in a slump in which he hasn’t won since the 2008 HSBC Champions in China. His ranking has fallen from No. 2 to 80.
The Spanish star took two months off after missing the cut at last year’s PGA Championship. He had another eight-week break going into this week’s new Volvo Golf Champions at the Royal Golf Club.
He’s ready to take on the 2011 season, he said Tuesday.
“I want to get my game back to where we know we can get it,” Garcia said.
NASCAR
CHARLOTTE ó ESPN and Rusty Wallace has a contract extension.
Wallace is the lead studio analyst for ESPNís NASCAR coverage. His new contract runs through 2014.
Wallace joined ESPN after retiring from driving following the 2005 season. He won 55 races and was the 1989 NASCAR champion.
Wallace also contributes NASCAR analysis to SportsCenter, First Take and ESPNEWS. He also announces from the booth during select Nationwide Series races.
COLLEGE
BOILING SPRINGS ó Gardner-Webb hired Mississippi assistant Ron Dickerson Jr. on Wednesday to run the struggling Runnin’ Bulldogs’ football program.
The 39-year-old Dickerson replaces coach Steve Patton, who was fired last month after 14 seasons.
Dickerson has spent the past three years as receivers coach under Houston Nutt at Ole Miss, where he helped develop NFL receivers Mike Wallace, Dexter McCluster and Shay Hodge.
IOWA CITY, Iowa ó The University of Iowa will put in safeguards to better protect the health of students after 12 football players were hospitalized following grueling offseason workouts, a school official said.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. ó Former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez will be a guest analyst for CBS Sports during coverage of national signing day next week.
The network announced the move Tuesday.
Rodriguez and former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer will join CBS College Sports Network hosts Adam Zucker and Molly Qerim in the studio on Feb. 2.
Rodriguez has kept a low profile since he was fired by Michigan after three seasons.

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