Sports Briefs

University of Miami president Dr. Donna Shalala and UM athletic director Paul Dee announced Monday that head football coach Larry Coker has signed a contract extension through the 2006 football season.
Coker led the Hurricanes to the National Championship in 2001, capping an undefeated season with a 37-14 victory over Nebraska in the Rose Bowl. The Hurricanes’ 12-0 season also made Coker the first rookie college head coach to lead his team to a national football title since Michigan’s Bennie Oosterbahn in 1948. In recognition of Coker’s efforts he earned the Bear Bryant Award as National Coach of the Year by the National Sportswriters and Sportswriters Association and shared National Coach of the Year honors by the American Football Coaches Association. The 2002 season will be Coker’s eighth on the football staff at Miami as he was an assistant coach for six seasons before being named head football coach on Feb. 3, 2001. Coker, 53, just completed his 32nd year as a college coach, including 22 seasons as an assistant at the collegiate level. Miami is scheduled to open the 2002 football season on Saturday, August 31, at the Orange Bowl against Florida A&M.

W Virginia – 64
Syracuse – 76
Josh Pace scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half Monday night as the Orangemen (18-6, 7-3 Big East) survived a scare by beating the Mountaineers 76-64 on Monday night. Pace and Kueth Duany sparked the decisive 12-3 run in the closing minutes that helped Syracuse end a two-game skid. Syracuse had nine steals and forced 17 turnovers in building a 38-21 halftime lead, and a rout seemed to be in the making.The Mountaineers refused to fold, pulling even at 58-58 in the second half on a follow shot by Chris Moss with 6:32 to go. But Duany and Pace combined to seal their fate, each hitting two baskets in less than two minutes. A follow shot by Billy Celuck finished the run, giving the Orangemen a 70-61 edge with just over a minute remaining. Moss had 13 and 10 rebounds, Schifino had 11 points, and Briggs 10 for West Virginia. Duany had 17 points and Williams 13 for Syracuse, which was just 7-for-28 on 3-pointers and shot 38.5 percent from the floor.

Providence – 56
Connecticut – 67
Caron Butler scored 16 points and matched a career high with 13 rebounds Tuesday night to lead Connecticut to a 67-56 win over Providence to snap a two-game losing streak. The Huskies (15-5, 7-2 Big East) remain a half game in front of Miami in the Eastern division of the Big East. Johnnie Selvie and Ben Gordon scored 14 points apiece for UConn, which has beaten the Friars (13-11, 4-6) seven of the last eight games. The Huskies built a 33-11 lead at the break, holding the Friars to the lowest point total for a half in the Big East’s 22-year history. UConn finished with a 43-40 rebounding edge, getting 31 on the defensive end.