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Former Brazil Coach Joins MLS

December 31, 1996|From Staff and Wire Reports

Carlos Alberto Parreira, who coached Brazil to the 1994 World Cup title, is the new coach of the New York-New Jersey MetroStars of Major League Soccer.

He signed a two-year contract in becoming the team's third coach, following Eddie Firmani and Carlos Queiroz.

Parreira has been pursued by many teams, including the U.S. national team in 1995. He has a natural fan base in the Newark area, which has a sizable Brazilian and Portuguese population.

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The Cyprus parliament ordered an investigation into allegations that players on the national soccer team won thousands of dollars by betting that their team would lose a World Cup qualifying match.

Press reports alleged that some players purposely lost a match against Bulgaria earlier this month to win $220,000 in bets against the national team.

Names in the News

Michael Johnson, the man with the golden shoes and the Olympic medals to match, dominated track and field in 1996 by sprinting to an unprecedented double at the Atlanta Games and obliterating the sport's oldest record.

That dominance earned Johnson honors as Male Athlete of the Year in an Associated Press poll. Johnson received 300 points in the annual balloting by AP print and broadcast members. Golfer Tiger Woods was second with 200 points, though he received 11 more first-place votes than Johnson.

Baseball

Gene Brabender, a former pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Pilots and Milwaukee Brewers, died at age 55 after collapsing on his farm near Madison, Wis.

Outfielder Brett Butler of the Dodgers has won the Branch Rickey Award, which is given to the major league baseball player who personifies "service above self." Butler will receive the award in Denver on Jan. 15.

Miscellany

Mikael Tillstrom of Sweden upset two-time champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov, 6-2, 6-2, in the first round of the $328,000 Australian Hardcourt tennis championships at Adelaide. Tillstrom, ranked 47th in the world, broke Kafelnikov's serve twice in the first set to establish a grip he never relinquished. The match lasted only 49 minutes.

Second-seeded Thomas Enqvist of Sweden lost in the first round of the $635,000 Qatar Open at Doha, 6-4, 7-5, to countryman Magnus Larsson.

Wayne Ferreira and Amanda Coetzer both had impressive singles victories as South African swept Germany, 3-0, in its first match of the Hopman Cup mixed teams tennis championship at Perth, Australia.

Connecticut, Old Dominion and Stanford remained the top three teams in the Associated Press women's college basketball poll while Tennessee (No. 8) fell to its lowest ranking in six years.

Boxing

Mel Greb, once one of the world's top matchmakers who put together the second Sonny Liston-Floyd Patterson heavyweight championship fight, died at a Las Vegas hospital. He was 73.

He had been admitted after suffering a stroke on Saturday.

Greb, who worked for Top Rank Boxing for much of his matchmaker career, was credited with arranging some 60 world championship fights.

The favorite among the many fights he pieced together was the July 1963 rematch between Liston and Patterson. That fight established Las Vegas as a boxing capital.

Jurisprudence

Cleveland Indian pitcher Jose Mesa told Dominican Republic television he is innocent of a felony charge of sexual harassment.

"I want to tell the Dominican people that I am a man of irreproachable conduct and, as a public figure who has succeeded in the United States, they want to sully my reputation," Mesa said in a television interview Sunday.

The 30-year-old Cleveland reliever and a friend were charged Friday with fondling a woman and released on $5,000 bond. They are scheduled to appear in Lakewood (Ohio) Municipal Court on Jan. 7.

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