MCI-Nokomis faculty challenge basketball game set

PITTSFIELD, Maine – To help a neighboring school community, Maine Central Institute Key Club students are sponsoring an MCI vs. Nokomis faculty challenge basketball game on Nov. 30 at 6:30 p.m. in the Nokomis Regional High School gymnasium in Newport.

Admission is $3 for children/students, $5 for adults, and $12 for a family of four or more.

There will be games and activities for kids between quarters and at halftime as well as a raffle for tickets to a Boston Celtics game.

Fans can sponsor a favorite faculty member for the points that he or she scores during the game. All proceeds will go to Nokomis athletics/clubs and activities.

Michigan fan set to watch 500th straight game

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A 67-year-old retired engineer has plans to watch Michigan’s 20th-ranked football team play in person for the 500th straight time Saturday at No. 4 Ohio State.

Bob MacLean said he has attended every game the Wolverines have played from their 1971 game against rival Ohio State through their last one against Iowa.

“I missed the next-to-last game in 1971 for a wedding and haven’t missed one since,” he told The Associated Press.

MacLean said he had dinner plans Friday night in Columbus, Ohio, before getting a night of rest for the milestone matchup.

The dedicated fan said there’s a standing joke that his friend, Mike Truax, would get him out of the hospital to keep the streak alive even if he was in a coma and had to be strapped to a board.

“I’ve been lucky, though, that I haven’t had an illness that has kept me from a game,” MacLean said. “There were one or two games that I was sick enough that I wouldn’t have gone to work, but I still went to the game.”

He said when Michigan has had games far away from his home in Ann Arbor, such as two in Hawaii, he simply planned a vacation around the game.

“Expenses were never a problem,” said MacLean, who earned an MBA and undergraduate degree from Michigan. “More than half of the games have been at home and most of the road games have been in the Big Ten.”

His wife, Marilyn, usually joined him to watch the Wolverines.

“I’ve skipped some along the way, so I don’t have the streak,” she said.

Morehead State suspends Sean Woods for 1 game

Morehead State suspended coach Sean Woods Friday for one game after he pushed an Eagles player during Wednesday’s loss at No. 8 Kentucky.

Woods will sit out Monday night’s home game against Norfolk State.

Morehead State athletic director Brian Hutchinson suspended Woods Friday after meeting with the coach.

“This will allow Coach Woods to consider his action and behavior, and allow him time to contemplate the appropriate way to conduct himself with his players and on the sideline,” Hutchinson said in statement released by the university that

The first-year Eagles’ coach pushed Morehead State’s Devon Atkinson in the back as the senior point guard walked toward the bench after fouling out with 5:51 remaining.

Woods said in a statement that the situation “will not happen again.”

“My behavior during Wednesday night’s game was inappropriate and unacceptable,” Woods said in the statement. “I am truly sorry.”

The former Kentucky guard rarely stood still during the 81-70 loss to his alma mater, pacing the sidelines and getting in Eagles players’ faces. Morehead State responded with a physical game in which the Eagles held the lead against Kentucky in both halves.

After the game, Woods defended his coaching style, saying he wanted his team to reflect his passion for the game.

“How did they look tonight? They look just like me, right?” Woods said. “They see me every day and that’s how we’re going to be every day. We’re going to fight. …

“Every day we step out in practice and in games, we have got to have a chip on our shoulders that we have something to prove.”

But Woods crossed the line against Kentucky.

It was his second intense sideline encounter with a player this season. During a 67-45 loss at Maryland on Nov. 12, Woods was seen yelling in the face of Chad Posthumus while the junior center was sitting on the bench.

Eagles junior forward Drew Kelly said that Woods’ behavior doesn’t make the team uncomfortable.

“We can handle it and it makes us better,” Kelly said after the Kentucky game.

Friday’s statement was Woods’ second apology this week.

On Monday he criticized some of the current Wildcats’ attitude and for their limited knowledge of Kentucky basketball history. It bothered him that Wildcats freshman center Willie Cauley-Stein was unaware of Christian Laettner or “The Shot” that beat Kentucky in the 1992 NCAA East Regional final.

“They don’t get it,” said Woods, a point guard on that Kentucky team and whose jersey hangs from the Rupp Arena rafters.

“They play basketball, but they don’t know what basketball really is. And they’re very, very fortunate. We live in a microwave society now, and it’s a shame that kids don’t know the history.”

Woods later apologized for those comments via Twitter.

French tennis coach convicted of raping players

PARIS — A former tennis coach in France was convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison Friday for raping young students at his academy, ending a seven-year legal case that began when a former ranked player published a book describing years of abuse at his hands.

The court in Lyon also barred 70-year-old Regis de Camaret from working in tennis for life.

The case against Camaret began in 2005 with accusations from former ranked player Isabelle Demongeot, who wrote a book describing years of abuse. Several other women later came forward with accusations that Camaret raped or sexually abused them when they trained in the 1980s and 1990s. The statute of limitations had run out for most of the accusers, but he was tried based on complaints by two former players.

Camaret has denied all the accusations against him, insisting that the atmosphere at his academy was “conducive to flings,” the Sipa news agency reported. Former No. 3-ranked player Nathalie Tauziat testified on his behalf at the trial.

Tears flowed among some former trainees after the verdict came down.

“Well, finally, tonight, he’s in prison,” said an emotional Isabelle Demongeot, who was once ranked No. 2 within France, and whose case was beyond the statute of limitations. “We are all very moved, and drained.”

Karine Pomares and Stephanie Carrouget — the two civil parties to the state’s case and who testified — exchanged long hugs, crying.

“We didn’t let it all out for nothing,” Carrouget said, according to Sipa. The Associated Press doesn’t generally identify accusers in sexual assault cases unless they agree to be named or identify themselves publicly.

Defense lawyer Emmanuel Daoud said that the case amounted to “a trial by proxy” and argued that critics had wanted Camaret to pay for crimes beyond the statute of limitations: “I don’t call that justice.”

However, Daoud never rejected the accusations filed against his client, saying to Camaret — who cried repeatedly — during the proceedings: “Regis, you failed your moral obligations.”

The court showed clemency compared to the prosecutors’ request for a 10- to 12-year prison sentence. The defense team wanted the case dismissed, arguing that Camaret should be given the benefit of the doubt. Investigating judges had initially tried to throw out the case for a lack of evidence — before state prosecutors appealed that decision.

Brazil coach Mano Menezes fired

SAO PAULO — The Brazil football federation fired coach Mano Menezes on Friday, a controversial move that pleased many Brazilians who had been calling for his dismissal but worried others who believe the change comes too close to the 2014 World Cup.

Federation director Andres Sanchez, who made it clear that he didn’t agree with the decision to fire Menezes, said the decision was made by president Jose Maria Marin after a meeting in Sao Paulo on Friday.

“The president believes that the national team needs to go in a different direction and for that he needs a new coach,” Sanchez said. “The president wants new methods and new planning for the national team next year.”

World Cup-winning coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, who is without a job, is one of the names touted to replace Menezes, but Sanchez said he doesn’t think negotiations for a new coach are under way just yet.

Sanchez, as the federation director, is in charge of the national team. Though he disagreed with the firing, Sanchez said the president was being “brave” and called it a “bold” move to make the change.

“He is looking forward and we have to respect it,” Sanchez said. “The president feels that this is not the national team that he wants.”

The 80-year-old Marin took over the football federation earlier this year after former president Ricardo Teixeira left his post amid widespread allegations of wrongdoing. Marin had not publicly criticized Menezes’ methods, but he always stopped short of guaranteeing the coach would be in charge for next year’s Confederations Cup and the World Cup that Brazil will host.

Sanchez said he personally talked to Menezes and the coach “obviously didn’t like to hear” that he was being fired.

“Nobody wants to hear that, but he will move on and is ready to coach another club or a national team,” Sanchez said.

The director said Menezes wasn’t dismissed because of poor results.

“Mano did a good job,” Sanchez said. “He faced difficulties but the work being done was improving. If the problem was the lack of good results he would have been fired earlier. He was winning recently.”

The news came two days after Brazil beat Argentina on penalties to win the Superclassic of the Americas, a two-leg series in which the South American rivals use players from local clubs. It was Brazil’s final match of the year.

Menezes was heavily criticized earlier this year because of the team’s lackluster play, but good results recently had helped ease the complaints from fans and local media.

He coached Brazil for 33 matches, leading it to 21 victories, six losses and six draws. The main complaint against Menezes was that his team struggled in games against top teams and only beat the weaker sides.

He revamped the national team, replacing former stars such as Ronaldinho and Robinho by young promising players such as Neymar, Oscar and Lucas.

“The team was about 85 percent set, but what happens now will depend on the new coach,” Sanchez said. “I respect the president’s decision, but it interrupts the work that was under way and I don’t think it came at a right moment.”

The calls for Menezes’ firing increased significantly after he failed to lead Brazil to the 2012 Olympic gold medal despite having most of his top players available at the under-23 tournament in London. Brazil lost the final to Mexico at Wembley.

Menezes was jeered by fans in Sao Paulo when Brazil struggled in a 1-0 win over South Africa in a friendly in September.

Pele and Romario have been among Menezes’ critics.

“Today is a historic day, Brazil needs to celebrate,” Romario said on his Facebook page. “Finally the federation did something good for Brazilian football. It took a while to happen, but it did.”

Romario called for Scolari’s return to the national team.

Scolari, who led Brazil to the 2002 World Cup title in South Korea and Japan, never ruled out coaching Brazil again, but he was tied with Brazilian club Palmeiras until earlier this year.

His contract with Palmeiras ended after he failed to improve the team’s situation in the Brazilian league, and fans immediately called for his return to the national squad even though he accepted some of the responsibility for Palmeiras’ recent relegation. The team had won the Brazilian Cup under Scolari this year.

When Brazil struggled in a recent match against Argentina, fans chanted “Goodbye, Mano,” and “Come back Scolari.”

Menezes took over after Brazil’s elimination at the 2010 World Cup, when Dunga’s team fell to the Netherlands in the quarterfinals.

Muricy Ramalho was the first choice at the time, but the four-time Brazilian league champion turned down the job because of his contract with Fluminense.

Menezes had coached Gremio and Corinthians in Brazil but had no previous international experience.

Ramalho, now with Santos, is also touted to replace Menezes, as is current Corinthians coach Tite and Gremio manager Vanderlei Luxemburgo, who previously had a brief spell as Brazil coach.

Forsberg, Sundin named to IIHF Hall of Fame class

ZURICH — Sweden greats Peter Forsberg and Mats Sundin have been named to the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Hall of Fame class for 2013.

The IIHF says the former Olympic and world champions will be inducted in Stockholm in May when their home country hosts the world championship.

Two Canadians will also be inducted: Paul Henderson, star of the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union, and Danielle Goyette, a two-time Olympic champion.

Teppo Numminen of Finland, a three-time Olympic medalist, was the fifth player chosen.

The governing body also selected its former general secretary, Jan-Ake Edvinsson of Sweden, and Canadian broadcaster Gord Miller for induction.

The IIHF is also dedicating a special award to the Soviet Union team which won the inaugural world championship in 1954.

IOC threatens to suspend India and Kuwait

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — The IOC is threatening to suspend the national Olympic committees of India and Kuwait because of government interference.

The International Olympic Committee said on Friday it will consider imposing the sanctions at its executive board meeting in Lausanne on Dec. 4-5 unless the situations are resolved.

Suspension would mean the national bodies would no longer receive IOC funding and its officials would be banned from attending Olympic meetings and events. The countries’ athletes would also be barred from competing in the Olympics under their national flags, although the IOC could allow them to do so under the Olympic flag.

In a statement, the IOC said it has expressed “severe concerns” for more than two years about interference in elections for the Indian Olympic Association.

The Indian body has been torn by confusion and wrangling over elections to replace Suresh Kalmadi, who was jailed for corruption involving the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

The vote, originally scheduled for Sunday, has been postponed to Dec. 5 following the resignation of election commission chairman S Y Quraishi.

The IOC also cited concerns that the elections would take place based on government regulations rather than the Indian body’s constitution and the Olympic Charter.

“Should this be the case, and as previously warned, the results of such elections would not be recognized by the IOC,” the statement said. “The IOC’s position has been expressed to all parties concerned on numerous occasions. However, the IOA has been unable to resolve these pending issues satisfactorily.

“The IOA has also failed to keep the IOC informed in a timely manner or ensure close coordination. For these reasons, the IOA is now at risk of suspension by the IOC.”

Kalmadi, who headed the IOA for 16 years, recently bowed to pressure and decided not to seek re-election. He spent nine months in jail for graft charges related to the Commonwealth Games. Another veteran administrator, Vijay Kumar Malhotra, has been running the association as acting president.

Meanwhile, the IOC also said it’s prepared to impose a new suspension on Kuwait.

The Kuwaiti body was suspended for more than two years until July following guarantees that new sports legislation would be passed to end government interference in the Olympic committee’s affairs.

But the IOC said Kuwait failed to enact the new laws by Thursday’s deadline.

“The relevant authorities of the state of Kuwait bear all responsibility for this regrettable situation, which is dramatically affecting the country’s sporting family,” the IOC said.

Redknapp hopes to become QPR coach Friday

LONDON — Former Tottenham coach Harry Redknapp said Friday he expects to take over as manager of struggling Queens Park Rangers, just hours after the club fired his predecessor Mark Hughes.

Having sacked Hughes earlier in the day, QPR opened discussions with Redknapp about him taking over a side which is in last place in the Premier League and without a win this season, having earned only four points from 12 games.

Late Friday night, Redknapp told British television channel Sky Sports News that he was keen to become QPR’s new manager and that “hopefully we can get it done tonight. There shouldn’t be any problems.

“If everything gets sorted, and I’m sure it will, I’ll be in Sunday morning, will have the team in training on Monday, then fly up to Sunderland.” QPR faces Sunderland on Tuesday in what would be his first match in charge.

Redknapp said he planned to go to watch QPR’s match at Manchester United on Saturday. He also said he hoped to bring his two longstanding coaching assistants — Kevin Bond and Joe Jordan — with him to the west London club.

“I’m looking forward to it. It’s a big challenge and a tough job to take on — but I’m up for the challenge,” said the 65-year-old Redknapp.

Though widely acknowledged as a shrewd mover in the transfer market, he ruled out any major splashes when the transfer window opens in January, despite the very real threat of relegation.

“I don’t think too much will happen in January,” he said. “There is a big staff there and you can’t keep bringing players in. The players have got to start performing. If they do that we’ve got a chance.”

He said the team had to “find a way to pick up points, be hard to beat and win some matches. It’s all about the players.”

Redknapp took charge of Tottenham in 2008 when the team was last in the Premier League with only two points from eight games. He turned their fortunes around, guiding them into the Champions League for the first time in 2010.

He was fired in June despite Tottenham finishing in fourth place last season, and has since taken on a non-paid advisory role at third-tier Bournemouth and become a television pundit with the BBC.

Hughes was dismissed after failing to turn around a dismal run of results.

“Mark has shown integrity and professionalism throughout his time here, but ultimately the circumstances we find ourselves in have left the board of directors with very little choice but to make a change,” QPR said in a statement.

Fans turned on Hughes — and the QPR players — after the loss to Southampton, which left the team five points from safety with nearly a third of the season gone.

“Maybe it’s a watershed moment because we can’t get any lower,” said a despondent Hughes, who had 1 1/2 years left on his contract.

Tellingly, QPR owner Tony Fernandes refused to defend Hughes last weekend, as he has done in recent weeks. Only last Friday, Fernandes posted a Twitter message responding to calls for Hughes’ departure, saying: “Won’t be happening. For the one millionth time. Hahaha. Stability.”

That changed this Friday.

“This decision has been taken after careful consideration by the board of directors, following numerous meetings over the last few days,” QPR said.

Assistant coaches Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki will take charge of QPR’s match at United.

Hughes managed to keep QPR in England’s lucrative top league thanks to a strong finish last season and attempted to revitalize the squad by signing 11 players in the offseason, including Park Ji-sung from Manchester United, Jose Bosingwa from Chelsea and Julio Cesar from Inter Milan.

Getting so many new players to gel has been his major problem, while the team has struggled to score and also has one of its leakiest defenses.