Rick Majerus, the jovial coach who led Utah to the 1998 NCAA final and had only one losing season in 25 years with four schools, died Saturday of heart failure in a Los Angeles hospital. He was 64. Majerus had been hospitalized there for several months. Saint Louis, Majerus’s final coaching stop, announced Nov. 19 that he wouldn’t return because of the heart condition. He ended the school’s 12-year NCAA tournament drought last season with a team that won its opening game and took top regional seed Michigan State to the wire. The Billikens were ranked for the first time since 1994-95. Majerus was 95-69 in five seasons at Saint Louis and finished with a career mark of 517-216. He had his most success at Utah, going 323-95 from 1989-2004. He also coached at Marquette (1983-86) and Ball State (1987-89).
Doeren to replace O’Brien at N.C. State
Dave Doeren is leaving Northern Illinois after two straight championship seasons to take over at North Carolina State. N.C. State announced Doeren’s hiring less than 24 hours after he guided the 19th-ranked Huskies to their second consecutive Mid-American Conference title, and just six days after firing Tom O’Brien. Doeren claimed a MAC title both years he was at NIU and is 23-4 since taking over the Huskies, with a 17-1 record in conference play. Doeren replaces O’Brien, the former Boston College coach who was fired following six inconsistent seasons and no Atlantic Coast Conference championship game appearances at a school that hasn’t won the ACC since 1979. O’Brien, 40-35 in six seasons in Raleigh, won’t coach the Wolfpack in their bowl game and will receive a $1.2 million buyout.
McDowell has lead at World Challenge
Graeme McDowell rolled in two long putts early and kept bogeys off his card to keep the lead in the World Challenge in Thousand Oaks, Calif. McDowell, trying to win at Sherwood for the second time in three years, had a 4-under-par 68 for a three-round total of 13-under 203 and a two-shot lead over Keegan Bradley (67—205). Tiger Woods, the tournament host and defending champion, stayed in the hunt with a 69. He was five shots behind at 208, along with Bo Van Pelt (70). McDowell hasn’t won anywhere since he beat Woods in a playoff at the World Challenge in 2010 . . . Martin Kaymer rolled in a tricky 10-foot par putt on the last hole for a 2-under 70 and a three-round total of 5-under 211 to take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City, South Africa. Louis Oosthuizen (69) is second at 4-under 212, while fellow South African Charl Schwartzel (70) is two back from Kaymer at 213. Lee Westwood made a late move for an unprecedented third straight Nedbank title by shooting a 70 to sit three off the lead at 214 . . . Bernhard Langer won the Nedbank Champions Challenge seniors tournament in Sun City by two strokes despite closing with a 2-over 74. Langer had a three-round total of 7-under 209. Jay Haas was the runner-up.
Vonn takes World Cup downhill race
Lindsey Vonn raced to her 13th World Cup victory at Lake Louise, Alberta, leading another 1-2 US sweep in the second downhill at the Canadian resort. Vonn finished in 1 minute, 52.9 seconds to edge Stacey Cook by 0.52 seconds. On Friday in the season-opening downhill, Vonn also beat Cook. Vonn tied Switzerland’s Vreni Schneider for second place on the World Cup victory list with 55. Austria’s Annamarie Moser-Proell is the leader with 62 . . . Matteo Marsaglia of Italy captured his first super-G World Cup victory in Beaver Creek, Colo., edging Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway. Austria’s Hannes Reichelt was third and American Ted Ligety fourth . . . Jason Lamy Chappuis of France took the lead in the Nordic combined World Cup event by winning the 10-kilometer race in Kuusamo, Finland.
Cubs sign Japanese closer for 2 years
Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa and the Cubs reached agreement on a two-year contract for $9.5 million, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press. Fujikawa, 32, had 220 saves in 12 seasons for Hanshin and became an unrestricted free agent last month . . . The Rays traded righthander Burke Badenhop to the Brewers for minor league outfielder Raul Mondesi Jr. . . . AustinTrout (26-0) won a 12-round unanimous decision over MiguelCotto (37-4) in New York to retain his share of the 154-pound title. Cotto lost his second straight fight after dropping a piece of the 154-pound title to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May . . . Olympian Missy Franklin won the 200-yard backstroke and Kevin Cordes set an American record (1:50.73) in winning the 200 breaststroke at the Winter Nationals in Austin, Texas . . . Alex Morgan scored 44 seconds into the game and assisted on Megan Rapinoe’s goal as the US women’s soccer team beat Ireland, 2-0, in an exhibition in Glendale, Ariz.