UConn, Notre Dame in Women’s NCAA Basketball Final

By Rose Street

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/The Loop) — Women’s basketball came away a winner Sunday night. After a season-long buildup, the NCAA tournament will be decided by the perfect championship game.

The undefeated titans of the sport this season will meet Tuesday night in an historic championship game when UConn plays Notre Dame. It will mark the first time in NCAA basketball history that unbeaten teams will play for a title when the former Big East rivals face each other.

“It is pretty amazing,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw told The Associated Press after her team beat Maryland 87-61. “So many of the media and fans have been looking at this all season long. It’s great that we’ve made it this far.

“Both of us remaining undefeated. See who the best team is.”

Who’s Gonna Win?

Said UConn guard From Moriah Jefferson: “Now we can finally talk about it. That has been the talk of this whole tournament and I guess it is finally here.”

The teams didn’t play during the regular season this year for the first time since 1995 as Notre Dame moved to the ACC. That helped set up the championship showdown that will put the sport in the spotlight.

“It looked to me like as the season went on it almost looked like it was inevitable to happen,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “It was supposed to happen. Our sport doesn’t have enough significant moments. … To have the spotlight on Tuesday on two teams that one is going to lose for the first time this year, it’s pretty remarkable when you think how hard it’s to do for one team much less two.”

Notre Dame (37-0) is one of the rare teams that has had success against the Huskies in recent history, winning seven of the past nine meetings, including beating UConn twice in the national semifinals. McGraw drew attention to that fact during the tournament selection show.

The Huskies (39-0) won the last one though, topping Notre Dame in the Final Four last season en route to the school’s eighth national championship. A UConn victory Tuesday night will be a record ninth for Auriemma, breaking a tie with Pat Summitt for most all-time in the women’s game. It will also cap the fifth perfect season for the Huskies and make them only the second team ever to go 40-0, joining Baylor which did it two seasons ago.

Auriemma has never lost a championship game.

Notre Dame will be trying for its second national championship. The Irish have had chances lately to winwin their first title since 2001, advancing to the national semifinals in four straight seasons. They lost in the championship game twice during that span.

They advanced to Tuesday night’s game with a convincing 87-61 victory over Maryland behind 28 points from senior All-American Kayla McBride.

Notre Dame played without senior Natalie Achonwa, who suffered a torn ACL in the regional final victory over Baylor.

Even without their star forward, the Irish dominated the Terrapins on the boards, outrebounding them in record fashion. Notre Dame had a 50-21 rebounding advantage, including a 19-4 mark on the offensive end. It was the widest rebounding margin ever in a Final Four game, shattering the previous mark of 19 set by Louisiana Tech in 1989. Maryland broke the national semifinals record for fewest rebounds in a game of 25 set by Minnesota in 2004.

They’ll need a similar effort against UConn and its imposing front line of Breanna Stewart and Stefanie Dolson.

The Huskies got off to a sluggish start against Stanford before taking control in the second half in a 75-56 victory. They probably can’t afford the same thing to happen for a fourth straight game if they hope to winwin that record title.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Welcome to our humble A’Bode: Breakdown after the Bronze

By: Kelli, Alex and Ariel

SOCHI, RUSSIA – (UTC/TheLoop) — Olympic Medalist gets emotional after winning Bronze

How far is too far? Bode Miller’s moment in the spotlight at the Sochi Olympics took a turn for the uncomfortable when a reporter, NBC’s Christin Cooper, brought him to tears with repeated questions about his brother Chelone, who died of an apparent seizure in April 2013.

Miller was already emotional when he walked over to talk with Cooper after winning bronze at the men’s super-G event on Sunday, Feb. 16. Speaking about the significance of these Olympics compared with others in which he’d competed, the 36-year-old athlete said he wanted to come back and do right by his brother.

“Bode, you’re showing so much emotion down here. What’s going through your mind?” Cooper asked, according to a transcript from USA Today.
“A lot, obviously,” he replied. “A long struggle coming in here. And, uh, just a tough year.”
“I know you wanted to be here with Chilly experiencing these games. How much does it meant to you to come up with a great performance for him?” Cooper said. “And was it for him?”
“I mean, I don’t know if it’s really for him. But I wanted to come here and, uh, I don’t know, I guess, make myself proud,” Miller answered, wiping away tears.

Cooper then asked yet another follow-up question about Chelone, which proved to be too much for Miller to take. “When you’re looking up in the sky at the start,” she began, “we see you there, and it just looks like you’re talking to somebody. What’s going on there?”
At that, Miller broke down and dropped his head, unable to continue the interview. Cooper apologized, but viewers skewered her on Twitter, saying she’d gone too far and should have been more sensitive.

@bodemiller

@bodemiller

Miller, for his part, defended her tactics. “I appreciate everyone sticking up for me. Please be gentle w/ Christin Cooper, it was crazy emotional and not all her fault,” he tweeted on Sunday. “My emotions were very raw, she asked the questions that every interviewer would have. Pushing is part of it, she wasn’t trying to cause pain.”
Addressing the incident further on the Today show on Monday, Feb. 17, he told Matt Lauer that he had no hard feelings toward Cooper. “I have known Christin a long time, and she’s a sweetheart of a person,” he said. “I know she didn’t mean to push. I don’t think she really anticipated what my reaction was going to be, and I think by the time she realized it, it was too late. I don’t blame her at all.”

He continued: “I feel terrible that she’s taking the heat for that because it really was just a heat-of-the-moment kind of circumstance. I don’t think there was any harm intended. It was just a lot of emotion for me…You sometimes don’t realize how much you can contain that stuff until the dam breaks, and then it’s just a real outpouring.”

 

 

http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/bode-miller-breaks-down-over-brothers-death-in-olympics-interview-defends-reporter-against-backlash-2014172

 

 

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Leave the Biebs Alone, that’s somebody’s daughter.

 

By: Alex Givens
Miami, Florida (AP/Theloop) – MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Justin Bieber’s mug shot hints at the boy-next-door image he’s carefully crafted over the past several years, with a glistening smile and professionally upswept hair.
But the red jail jumpsuit also visible in the photo tells a different story, one about the singer’s recent troubles and emergence as a bad boy. The 19-year-old pop star is facing possible jail time after his arrest in Florida on charges of driving under the influence, resisting arrest and driving with an expired license.

Still, as he has been so many times since achieving stardom at age 15, Bieber was swarmed by crowds of news media and screaming young girls as he left jail Thursday afternoon. He popped through a window of his black SUV in a black hoodie and sunglasses to wave back.

Police said they arrested a bleary-eyed Bieber — smelling of alcohol — after officers saw him drag-racing before dawn Thursday on a palm-lined residential street in Miami Beach, his yellow Lamborghini traveling at nearly twice the speed limit.

He was arrested early Thursday with R&B singer Khalil Amir Sharieff, after police saw them racing two luxury vehicles down the street at 4:09 a.m., with two other vehicles apparently being used to block off the area.

The 19-year-old singer later admitted smoking marijuana, drinking and taking a prescription medication, police said.

Police Chief Ray Martinez said the singer was initially not cooperative when the officer pulled him over. Martinez said the singer also had an expired Georgia driver’s license.

Police said Bieber was driving the Lamborghini and Sharieff was driving a Ferrari. Both cars were towed. Police say Bieber was clocked at nearly double the area’s 30-mph speed limit near a high school, youth center, golf course, city firehouse and small apartment buildings.

According to the arrest report, Bieber “had slow deliberate movements” and appeared to be in a stupor when the officer ordered him to exit his vehicle. Bieber was arrested after repeatedly refusing to put his hands on his vehicle so the officer could pat him down to look for weapons, the report said. It says he cursed several times at the officer and demanded to know why he was being arrested. At one point, Bieber said to an officer: “What the f— did I do, why did you stop me?”

The Biebs resisting arrest.

The Biebs resisting arrest.

Bieber failed a field sobriety test and was taken to the Miami Beach police station for a Breathalyzer, police said. Results haven’t been released.

“I think this case will proceed hopefully as any other case would proceed,” said Bieber’s attorney, Roy Black, whose other celebrity clients have included Rush Limbaugh and William Kennedy Smith.

Under Florida law, people under the age of 21 are considered to be driving under the influence if they have a blood-alcohol content of 0.02 percent or more — a level the 5-foot-9, 140-pound star could reach with one drink.

For a first DUI offense, there is no minimum jail sentence and a maximum of six months, a fine of $250 to $500, and 50 hours of community service. For anyone under 21, there is an automatic six-month license suspension.

A Miami-Dade County judge set Bieber’s bond at $2,500 Thursday afternoon. Sharieff’s bond was set at $1,000 for a DUI charge.

Bieber reportedly spent far more money at a Miami strip club Monday night, when the King of Diamonds club tweeted that Bieber ordered $75,000 in dollar bills. The club’s operator later acknowledged that was an exaggeration and that the singer only stayed about an hour.

Bieber and his large entourage were escorted to a closed-off section of the club. They enjoyed the dancers and ordered a large amount of bottled water, but no alcoholic beverages were sold to them, said Ricky “Disco Rick” Taylor in a statement.

“He had a lot of fun,” Taylor said. “We hope he returns again.”

The Canadian-born Bieber was only 15 when his platinum-selling debut “My World” was released. His brand was clean-cut and charming, earning him an invitation to sing for President Barack Obama and his family at Christmas. But his image tarnished as he got older.

Bieber has been accused of wrongdoing in California but has never been arrested or charged. He is currently under investigation in a felony vandalism case after a neighbor reported the pop star threw eggs at his house and caused thousands of dollars of damage.

A neighbor had previously accused Bieber of spitting in his face, and a paparazzo called deputies after he said Bieber kicked him, but prosecutors declined to file charges in either instance. He was also accused of reckless driving in his neighborhood, but in October prosecutors refused to seek charges because it was unclear whether Bieber was driving.

His arrest in Miami is unlikely to affect the egg-throwing investigation, which included nearly a dozen detectives searching Bieber’s home last week searching for video surveillance and other evidence that could be used to pursue a vandalism charge.

Bieber is also being sued by a former bodyguard who says the singer repeatedly berated him, hit him in the chest and owes him more than $420,000 in overtime and other wages. The case is scheduled to go to trial in Los Angeles next month.

Bieber’s arrival in Florida earlier this week also is under investigation. Authorities in the suburban Miami city of Opa-locka are investigating whether the singer was given a police escort when he landed Monday at the Opa-locka Executive Airport.

Police escorts from the airport are not uncommon, but they must follow procedure because they involve city vehicles, Assistant City Manager David Chiverton said. Administrators had not authorized any escort for Bieber in this case.

Despite all his legal troubles, the charges against Bieber likely won’t put him at risk of being deported or denied entry into the U.S. According to U.S. immigration law, authorities generally do not revoke an individual’s visa unless the person has been convicted of a violent crime or has been sentenced to more than one year imprisonment.

___

Kay reported from Miami. Associated Press writers Suzette Laboy and Laura Wides-Munoz in Miami, Tony Winton in Miami Beach, Fla., and Anthony McCartney in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Southern Baptist Leaders To Host Nashville Sex Summit

By: Kelli Findlay

Nashville, Tennessee (AP/Theloop) – Southern Baptist Convention leaders are hosting a summit in Nashville that will focus on sex. The topics will range from pornography, teen sex, homosexuality and how pastors can talk to their congregations about human sexuality. Russell Moore, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission president for the Southern Baptist Convention, said the summit’s theme is a timely one. “So many of the questions that pastors grapple with today deal with situations that would not even have been possible a generation ago,” Moore said in a press statement.

Convention being held April 2014

Convention about sex and pornography being held April 2014

“As technology advances and the culture changes, the questions that we have to grapple with are often increasingly complex.”

Panel topics include discussions on the gospel and homosexuality and the gospel and ministry in a sex-saturated world. The sessions will also focus on how the “gospel shapes a person’s sexual identity, redeems sexual desire and sets free people held captive by sin.”

The summit will be held from April 21-23. The event’s main sessions will be streamed live on the Web for people who cannot attend.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Latest Trends from Fashion Week in Milan

By: Kelli Findlay

MILAN (AP/UTC The Loop) -MILAN (AP) — Italian fashion trumpeted its roots during the third day of Milan Fashion Week on Monday.

Milan designers emphasized what they do best, showing off tailored silhouettes, highlighting advanced textiles that elevate the looks and putting the spotlight on the artisanal work behind their exclusive wares.

Etro, the Milan-based fashion house famed for its paisley prints, went one step further, parading out the men and women who create their garments at a factory in the southern region of Apulia to the strains of local folk music.

The focus on Made in Italy provides an antidote to recent moves by foreign conglomerates to snatch up some of Italy’s prized family-run companies, many in the throes of generational change and seeking to secure their futures.

___

GUCCI

Gucci’s mod mariner cuts a boxy figure in loose-fitting short jackets and generous sweatshirts paired with slim trousers and solidly soled shoes. The peacoat that anchors the collection sports a rich, knotty texture achieved by working a traditional Tuscan fabric with neoprene.

Creative director Frida Giannini’s palate of dusty pastels creates a mood of a just-calmed storm and lends smoky contrast to the perfect black that permeates the collection.

Ready to set sail, the Gucci mariner tucks an oversized duffel or folded shopper with bamboo handles under his arm, dons his seafarer’s cap, in cloth or leather with a smart leather braid around the crow, and sets off, un-squinting, into the sunrise behind his round Gucci sunglasses.

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EMPORIO ARMANI

Italy’s fashion titan Giorgio Armani’s Emporio Armani menswear collection for next fall and winter stood out for its use of soft fabrics so lustrous they almost seemed lit from within.

From first to last, the collection was a masterful compendium of modern good taste. Armani made his name with the artfully deconstructed men’s jacket, and the narrow silhouette at Emporio looked fresh. Slim pants ended at the ankle over chunky oxfords. Jackets were tight, with three or four buttons, and had small, high collars.

The somewhat prim vibe of the jackets was counteracted by the quiet but deep luxury of fabrics. Fur was everywhere, either peeking out of hoods in flashes, or sleekly fashioned into soft overcoats and jackets. There also were sweaters with fake fur inserts, while wool was worked to look like astrakhan.

____

ETRO

Etro put its Made in Italy ethos in evidence by sending its tailors and seamstresses down the runway alongside models wearing their creations.

So a pattern-cutter named Flavio Cardilla marched down the catwalk to lively Italian folk music alongside a model wearing a closely fitted hound’s-tooth suit, one of the many artisans joining in the parade.

“This show is dedicated to our tailors,” said Kean Etro, who designs the menswear collection. “After all, we’re together day in, day out.”

The fashion house that has made paisley a way of life devised this collection out of a jangle of contrasting checks and plaids. The silhouette was slim and tight, layered with waistcoats and topped with a wildly printed paisley wool scarf for a look that is pure 21st-century dandy. Briefcases and suitcases in matching patterns completed the look.

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Big Mike Mic Describes A City Without Tears

By Tia Kalmon

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) – Gangs and crime are a problem for Chattanooga, but one local rapper is trying to stop the violence through his organization, City Without Tears.

This organization was founded by Michael Kelly a year and a half ago. It now consists of a documentary, music video, a six-song EP album and a poem.

This is the postcard for City Without Tears.

This is the postcard for City Without Tears.

“I want to bring awareness, awareness of the numbness for the violence and injustice that’s been going on in the community and how people need to self-reflect,” Kelly said. “Actually the song in the project came from me actually self-reflecting and seeing what I can do, because I knew a lot of things had been going on and I didn’t want to be one of those people that was saying ‘that’s what you should do,’ or just being someone who talked. Since I’m an artist, music is so powerful, words just came out and that was the birth of City Without Tears.”

He wants this to be on the biggest scale possible, raising $20,000 to give back to the community to stop the violence. Kelly wants to take City Without Tears into the community to meet people, to make an impression on them, and to change the statistics to stop the crime.

“What drives me is the shape of the community and my own insecurities and ways that I want to be better because I’m not where I want to be as an individual,” Kelly said.

Kelly began City Without Tears when he saw loved ones in his life disappear because of violence in the city. It hit close to home for Kelly and now he has found inspiration in the mist of danger.

“Life is about your own journey and what you find in yourself and what you were put on this earth to do, to find your purpose,” Kelly said. “That’s a journey through ups and downs. It’s hard sometimes but I feel like that’s what inspires me so my music is real personal.”

Kelly goes by Big Mike Mic when he performs. Big Mike Mic performed at the Barking Legs Theater Friday, February 28th. He began his performance by making a juice out of only organic products, because he wanted to give the audience “an organic performance.”

Big Mike Mic performing at the Barking Legs Theater March 1.

Big Mike Mic performing at the Barking Legs Theater March 1.

“Everything is like an infection, if you don’t do something it’s going to get bigger and bigger,” Brian Kelly, Manager for Big Mike Mic, said. “And why be reactive when we can be more proactive.”

If you would like to donate to City Without Tears you can visit Kickstarter.com and search “City Without Tears.” For more information you can e-mail Brian Kelley at bdotkelly@gmail.com or call, 423-903-4293.

Check out the video of the interview with Big Mike Mic uploaded to the Mocs News YouTube page!

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Perfect for Baylor

DOUG FEINBERG,AP Basketball Writer

DENVER (AP) — Brittney Griner’s place in women’s basketball history is secure.

Blocking layups, snagging rebounds, hitting shots over two and three helpless defenders, she towered over the competition all season long to earn player of the year and outstanding player of the NCAA tournament honors.

She was simply dominant in adding national champion to her resume on Tuesday night.

Griner had 26 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks to lead Baylor to an 80-61 victory over Notre Dame in the NCAA women’s basketball championship, capping an unparalleled 40-0 season for the Lady Bears.

“Brittney Griner, whether she won today or not, will go down in the history of the women’s game as, if not the greatest post player, one of the greatest,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “I’m so glad she has that ring now.”

When the buzzer sounded, Griner finally celebrated, hamming it up as she helped take down the nets and dancing with Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III.

Then she lifted coach Kim Mulkey up on her shoulders briefly, just the way she has done for the Lady Bears during this long season.

“It meant everything for us to get it for coach,” said Griner, referring to Mulkey’s struggle with Bell’s palsy during the tournament. “She felt like she wasn’t there for us, but we told her every second that we could hear her loud and clear, everything she was saying.”

Baylor became the seventh women’s team to run through a season unbeaten and the first in NCAA history to win 40 games. It was the second national championship for Baylor, which also won a title in 2005.

“Looking back when we get older, I’m always going to remember this moment, always going to remember confetti falling and being here with my team,” Griner said.

Baylor did it in a nearly wire-to-wire victory, finishing with a flourish when anything less than bringing a title back to Waco would have been a huge disappointment.

The 6-foot-8 Griner was right at the center of the action as the Lady Bears took control. Every time Notre Dame made a run in the second half to cut into the deficit, Griner had an answer. She showed a wide array of post moves, hitting turnaround jumpers and hooks that the Irish had no way to stop — even when they collapsed around her.

“Brittney Griner comes to work every day,” Mulkey said. “A lot of great players think they’re all that and they half go through drills and they come to practice and they dog it. That child comes to work and brings her work pail every day.”

Notre Dame fell short in the title game for the second straight season, having lost to Texas A&M by six points last year.

Coach Muffet McGraw’s senior-heavy crew did finish the season with a decided edge over rival Connecticut — the Irish won the Big East regular-season title and defeated the Huskies in three of four meetings, including the national semifinal.

But like every other team this year, Notre Dame couldn’t solve Baylor and its superstar.

“I think she’s one of a kind,” McGraw said. “There’s so many things she can do. There have been some guards that have had some skill like that. But as a post player, she’s the best I’ve seen.”

Griner, selected The Associated Press player of the year, also was named most outstanding player of the tournament.

“We wouldn’t be here without my team,” the junior said. “All the awards — none of that means anything. If I don’t have my team here, we can’t get this.”

All-American point guard Skylar Diggins did all she could to keep the Irish (36-4) in the game, scoring 20 points. But senior Natalie Novosel had just five points, going 0 for 11 from the field. Devereaux Peters, also playing in her final game, was saddled with foul trouble because of Griner. She scored seven points.

Diggins “played a great game,” McGraw said. “She’s just a big-time player and she didn’t get a lot of help today.”

Like Griner, Diggins has pledged to return for her senior year — both could join the WNBA draft — for a third run at the title.

Notre Dame had an early 9-8 lead before Baylor took over with a 12-2 spurt. The Irish were down by 14 in the first half before cutting their deficit to 34-28 at the break. They got as close as 42-39 and had the ball, but Griner asserted herself, scoring nine of the next 19 points for Baylor to seal the victory.

“They went on a run there,” Diggins said. “I just remember we cut it down to three and they went on a run. I saw 10, 12, 14, 16, 19. We couldn’t get rebounds when they missed shots.”

Odyssey Sims added 19 points and Destiny Williams had 12 for the Lady Bears, who outrebounded Notre Dame 46-27 and now have the third unbeaten season in women’s basketball in the last four years. UConn, which has gone undefeated four times, did it in 2009 and 2010. Texas and Tennessee also have unbeaten seasons.

Baylor’s victory also gave President Barack Obama some bragging rights. He correctly picked Baylor to beat Notre Dame in the title game.

With 1:04 left and the game well in hand, Mulkey took out Griner and the two shared a long hug. The fiery coach then went down the bench and hugged each of her players while holding back tears.

“I’m just so happy,” Mulkey said. “That old saying, ‘you’re so happy you cry.’ I can’t quit crying.'”

Mulkey, who did her net cutting with daughter Mackenzie — a freshman on the team — and son Kramer, has now won a title as a player (at Louisiana Tech), an Olympic gold medal (in 1984) and two titles as a coach. Only five women’s coaches have more than one championship at the top level of NCAA competition.

Mulkey has downplayed the 40 wins, noting that her former coach and mentor at Louisiana Tech Leon Barmore won 40 games in 1980. That was before women’s basketball was governed by the NCAA, which didn’t begin keeping records until the 1982 season.

It was the second meeting between the teams this season. Baylor also won the first one, by 13 in Waco on Nov. 17. That win gave the Lady Bears the preseason WNIT title.

As usual, Griner put on a show in warm-ups, thrilling the crowd with a series of impressive dunks — including a one-handed throw down, a double-pump slam and another in which she hung on rim. She dunked twice in the tournament, matching Candace Parker for most dunks by a woman in NCAA tournament play and during a college career (seven).

She couldn’t catch one against the Irish.

The Lady Bears had a strong cheering section that included Griffin — dancing in his seat at the end of the game — and country music star Trace Adkins. He was a freshman walk-on football player at Louisiana Tech in the early 1980s when Mulkey was a senior there.

Notre Dame had its own star fan in former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who earned a graduate degree at the school. The Irish were wearing their green uniforms for the first time since last season’s title loss.

It didn’t help. On this night, nothing could stop Griner.

 

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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49’ers serious contender in Peyton Pursuit

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Jim Harbaugh coaching Peyton Manning. In the Bay Area, they’re beginning to think about the possibility and believe it truly might happen.

A former NFL quarterback, Harbaugh worked wonders with Alex Smith in a matter of months for the NFC West champions, and now all signs point to the 49ers being a serious player in the Manning sweepstakes. Smith, who had a three-year offer on the table to return, traveled to Miami on Sunday to meet with the Dolphins.

“It’s crazy,” said 49ers running back Frank Gore, who has long been a big supporter of Smith. “I’m going to sit back and let them do their job. I’m sitting back and waiting for it to happen.”

Everybody is eagerly anticipating decision day, likely this week.

If San Francisco doesn’t sign Manning, the 49ers will have some serious relationship-building to do with Smith even after he developed a close relationship with Harbaugh. The Niners might even need to bump him up from the $24 million he has reportedly been offered.

And there could be similar fallout in Tennessee and Denver if those teams don’t land Manning, who turns 36 on Saturday. The four-time NFL MVP sat out the 2011 season and is trying to come back after he was released by Indianapolis following a string of neck surgeries.

For Smith, his visit to South Florida also could be a move by the 2005 No. 1 overall draft pick to protect himself with a possible backup plan. He and Manning are both represented by agent Tom Condon of CAA Sports.

“This is the NFL. I guess nothing surprises me anymore,” Smith told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel upon arriving at the airport Sunday. “I never thought a year ago (Peyton) Manning would be a free agent either. I’m never surprised by anything.”

Harbaugh watched Manning work out last Tuesday at Duke, and now the former Colts star has held sessions for all three of the franchises believed to be the finalists to sign the biggest free agent of 2012. Only the 49ers are yet to publicly acknowledge their interest.

Manning worked out for Tennessee on Saturday in Knoxville, one day after he showed his skills to Hall of Famer John Elway and the Broncos at Duke.

While Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman saw Manning last week and San Francisco emerged as a surprise contender to sign the 2007 Super Bowl-winning quarterback, it seems 49ers CEO Jed York and general manager Trent Baalke certainly would want to make their pitch to Manning in person, too.

Pulling off this one would be the second major splash by the 49ers’ brass in as many offseasons.

In January 2011, York and Baalke wooed Harbaugh away from nearby Stanford on a $25 million, five-year deal. And what a job Harbaugh did: San Francisco went 13-3 and ended an eight-year stretch without a playoff berth or winning record, losing 20-17 in overtime of the NFC title game to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

If Smith leaves and Manning doesn’t sign or were to get hurt, the 49ers would be left with unproven second-year pro Colin Kaepernick, but this is a team that isn’t afraid to take chances when the reward could be huge. Just look at a two-day span for San Francisco last week. The 49ers signed Randy Moss on Monday and a day later cornerback Perrish Cox, who was acquitted earlier this month on sexual assault charges in Colorado.

Harbaugh has a knack for coaching anybody into a winner with his “Who’s got it better than us? Nobody!” chants and other unorthodox motivational tactics — some of which he learned from his coaching father, Jack, and big brother and Baltimore Ravens coach John.

The NFL coach of the year last season, Harbaugh has to believe he’ll have no problem coaching a veteran quarterback like Manning. The former Colt is among the greatest ever to play with 54,828 yards passing, 4,682 completions and 399 touchdown passes.

“He’s a Hall of Famer, first ballot, that’s all I got to say,” Gore said of Manning. “He’s one of the best ever to play the game. I’m going to sit back and let them do what they think is best.”

If winning is more of a priority for Manning than a big payday, the 49ers have put things in place over the past week. They signed Moss to a one-year deal, then brought back Pro Bowl cornerback Carlos Rogers on a $31.3 million, four-year contract to give San Francisco 11 returning starters on Vic Fangio’s talented defense. The 49ers then agreed to terms on a two-year contract with former Giants wideout Mario Manningham late Saturday.

“I know coach Harbaugh and Trent Baalke feel good about what they’re doing,” Gore said. “They know what they’re doing.”

Perhaps all of that is enough to attract Manning, despite the thought he would prefer to stay in the AFC and not have to regularly face off with his younger brother, Eli.

This year marks Manning’s 15th in the NFL — the same number of seasons Harbaugh spent in the league with the Bears, Colts, Ravens, Chargers and Panthers. A first-round draft pick taken 26th overall by Chicago in 1987, Harbaugh completed 2,305 of 3,918 passes for 26,288 career yards and 129 touchdowns in the NFL. He also ran for 18 TDs.

Elway, of course, also has quite the pedigree.

Perhaps Elway’s pursuit of Manning might mean he doesn’t have faith in Tim Tebow as the Broncos’ QB for the future. Denver squeaked into the playoffs as AFC West champions on the final day of the regular season last year.

Titans owner Bud Adams declared earlier this month he wanted Manning and considers him the missing piece to a championship team. That might not sit too well with Matt Hasselbeck, who signed to a three-year contract last July with Tennessee.

The pursuit of Manning has kept the Titans from addressing their defensive line early in free agency, one of their top needs. Mario Williams signed with Buffalo, John Abraham re-signed with Atlanta and Jason Jones left Tennessee for Seattle.

Other teams also might be behind in building their rosters because of the chase for No. 18.

The Dolphins and Arizona fell out of the running, and the Cardinals are moving ahead with quarterback Kevin Kolb.

Gore, who spends his offseason in Miami each year, isn’t going to begin to guess what might happen next in the Manning story — and what it might mean for him next season.

“I don’t know, man,” he said. “I don’t know.”

____

AP Sports Writers Steven Wine in Miami, Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tenn., and Pat Graham in Denver contributed to this story.

 

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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New Pool In The ARC

By Hannah Abu-Asaba

qnh117@mocs.utc.edu

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) -UTC gets to experience a new pool in the Aquatic Recreation Center for the first time this year.

The Universities campus website said that the ARC service satisfies the outdoor and indoor activities that are now available to all current students.

Click here to listen to Miles Ledford talk about the pool in the ARC

“I do think UTC has spent money wisely building the new pool that gives us another way to exercise in a state of the art pool facility,” Ashley Freeman, Chattanooga, Tenn., senior, said.

Freeman said that she enjoys what the campus has to offer students in between classes.

“Aquatic center of the ARC has a lazy river with a kayak plunge, thirty person bubble bench, a five lap line swim area, a two story high slide that is a hundred feet long, a water basketball court, and a water volley ball court, and its open Monday through Friday eleven to one lap swim only, and free swim from one till closing time.” Kaila Gunter, Chattanooga, Tenn., arc control, said.

With all the features the pool provides students have a new opportunity to have fun wile exercising.

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University offers several activities for students to “catch” a break

By Taylor Sims

nht863@mocs.utc.edu

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., (UTC/The Loop) – Campus recreation allows students, as well as faculty and staff, the opportunity for fun competition, meeting new people, and staying in shape.

The university’s Club Sports program currently offers 21 different sports and activities. Just a few of these include baseball, fencing, ladies lacrosse, and paintball.

The Club Sports website states that its goal is to “produce ‘student-lead, student-run’ organizations that enhance participants teamwork and leadership abilities while also maintaining a safe, fun, and friendly environment for all.”

A few of the Intramural Sports at UTC include horseshoes, Frisbee golf, and racquetball. These activities are open to any student, faculty, or staff member as long as they have a valid Mocs card.

Senior Stephen Mitchell participates in an intramural co-ed basketball team every year.

“I had fun with intramurals because I got to play my favorite sports after high school,” said Mitchell. “I got to hangout with my friends and meet new people as well as stay in shape, be healthy, be active, and relax my mind instead of studying all night long.”

Junior Gaby Dixon is one of the co-captains the ladies lacrosse club team. She said that while she enjoys playing the sport, organization and funding are difficult.

“It’s hard to get everyone in the same place at the same time,” said Dixon. “Plus it’s hard for us to get good practice schedules because there are so many club teams.”

Club and intramural sports provide students with much needed breaks from the everyday stresses of class and study time.

The new ARC, including the brand new aquatic center, along with other facilities such as intramural fields, Maclellan gym, and the racquet center are used for the several sports and activities offered.

Students who wish to get involved in club or intramural sports can stop by the Club Sports/Intramurals offices or visit the university website.

Click here to hear about intramural and club sports at UTC

 

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