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Arkansas hires John L. Smith as its football coach

The former assistant, who left to coach Weber State, signs a one-year, $850,000 contract.

April 23, 2012|Staff and wire reports
  • Former Michigan State and Weber State coach John L. Smith will take over at Arkansas as a one-year replacement for fired Bobby Petrino.
Former Michigan State and Weber State coach John L. Smith will take over… (Al Goldis / Associated Press )

Eager to move on from the Bobby Petrino scandal, Arkansas announced Monday that popular former assistant John L. Smith will return as head coach of the Razorbacks next season.

Smith, who left the Razorbacks after last season to become the head coach at Weber State, will be formally introduced Tuesday. The school said Smith signed a one-year, $850,000 contract and will also be eligible for other incentives.

Smith's return caps a whirlwind three weeks for an Arkansas program reeling from revelations of an affair by Petrino with a woman, Jessica Dorrell, he later hired as his assistant. Petrino also once gave Dorrell $20,000 in gifts — all which was revealed after an April 1 motorcycle crash on a rural road southwest of Fayetteville. Dorrell has since resigned.

Hiring Smith allows Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long to take his time to find a permanent head coach. Petrino's firing came during spring practice for much of the college football world, a time when few coaches were willing to leave their current positions for the unknown.

ETC.

Virginia Tech fires Greenberg

Seth Greenberg was fired as the men's basketball coach at Virginia Tech, a decision Athletic Director Jim Weaver said he and basketball administrator Tom Gabbard arrived at last week as they assessed the state of the program.

The discussion came after a second assistant coach in two weeks, and sixth in four years, announced he was leaving Greenberg's staff, this time to take an assistant's job at Atlantic Coast Conference rival Clemson. Associate head coach James Johnson, a five-year member of Greenberg's staff, was offered a salary matching the one he was to receive at Clemson but still declined.

Last week, Rob Ehsan left to become an assistant at Alabama Birmingham, and was accompanied by director of basketball operations Jeff Wulbrun, who got an assistant's position at UAB.

Greenberg was the head coach at Long Beach State from 1990-96.

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Tickets went on sale Monday for a June 2 boxing card at the Home Depot Center featuring two promising young fighters meeting respected veteran former champions.

In the main event, Lateef Kayode (18-0, 14 knockouts) meets former light-heavyweight world champion Antonio Tarver (29-6, 20 KOs) in a cruiserweight bout scheduled for 12 rounds. Kayode is trained by Freddie Roach.

Also, Peter Quillin (26-0, 20 KOs) meets Winky Wright (51-5-1, 25 KOs) in the Showtime-televised card that begins at 6p.m. and also features a World Boxing Assn. bout between champion Austin Trout (24-0, 14 KOs) and Delvin Rodriguez (26-5-3, 14 KOs).

Lance Pugmire

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Veteran safety Brian Dawkins is retiring from the NFL after 16 seasons.

Dawkins posted the news on his Twitter account, thanking the teams he played for, his coaches and teammates, and fans. Dawkins spent his first 13 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and his last three with the Denver Broncos.

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The Green Bay Packers released veteran left tackle Chad Clifton.

Packers General Manager Ted Thompson called Clifton an "integral part of our success over the past 12 seasons," thanking him for his time with the team. It was not immediately clear whether Clifton will retire.

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LeRoy Walker, the first African American to lead the U.S. Olympic Committee and the first black man to coach an American Olympic team, died Monday. He was 93.

Walker's death was confirmed by Scarborough & Hargett Funeral Home in Durham, N.C., but no cause of death was given.

The grandson of slaves raised in the segregated South before he moved to Harlem, Walker led the U.S. Olympic Committee from 1992 to 1996, shepherding the Summer Games staged in Atlanta and leading the group when the 2002 Winter Olympics were awarded to Salt Lake City.

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