Nuggets Coach George Karl addresses the media Wednesday in Denver. (David Zalubowski / Associated…)
George Karl led the Denver Nuggets to a team-record 57 wins without a big name on his roster.
For that endeavor, Karl earned the NBA's Coach of the Year award on Wednesday.
He received 62 first-place votes, followed by Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat with 24 votes from a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. New York's Mike Woodson finished third and San Antonio's Gregg Popovich, who won the award last season, was fourth.
The Nuggets were 57-25 -- the league's fourth-best record -- and captured the No. 3 seeding in the Western Conference. But the Nuggets were eliminated by the Golden State Warriors, 92-88, in Game 6 last week.
Ferguson confirms he's stepping down
Sir Alex Ferguson, the most successful coach in English soccer history, confirmed that he is stepping down from his post at Manchester United after this season. In 26 years with United, Ferguson, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1999, won 13 English Premier League titles, two Champions League crowns, five FA Cups and four League Cups.
In all Ferguson, 71, who will manage his 1,500th and final game for United on May 19 at West Bromwich Albion, won 38 trophies with the club, including a historic achievement in 1999 when the team captured the Premier League, the Champions League and FA Cup in the same season.
There has been no announcement of a successor to Ferguson, but Everton Coach David Moyes is widely considered the front-runner for the job.
Three-time All-Pro Ronde Barber is retiring after a 16-year career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that included a Super Bowl title and five Pro Bowl appearances.
The Buccaneers announced that the 38-year-old twin brother of former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber will not return to play on a defense overhauled since the end of last season. Tampa Bay acquired Darrelle Revis, Dashon Goldson and second-round draft pick Johnthan Banks for its secondary.
The University of Michigan's 10-year dissociation from basketball players Chris Webber, Maurice Taylor and Louis Bullock is over.
The former Wolverines can formally reconnect with the school after one of the biggest scandals in NCAA history. Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon said the door is open.
The NCAA forced Michigan to dissociate from Webber, Taylor, Bullock and the late Robert Traylor for a decade — until May 8, 2013 — because a federal investigation revealed now-deceased booster Ed Martin gave them more than $600,000 when they were student-athletes.
As of Wednesday, Webber, Taylor and Bullock have the option of renewing their relationship with the school — if they choose. Brandon declined to say whether each would have to apologize for what he was accused of doing.
Larry Kehres, who turned Mount Union into a Division III football powerhouse while stockpiling 11 national titles, is stepping down.
Kehres, 63, had a remarkable 332-24-3 record in his 27 seasons with the Purple Raiders. His teams were unbeaten in the regular season 21 times. The national championships came in 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008 and last season.
His .929 winning percentage in all games is the best ever at the college level.
Victoria Azarenka lost her temper, broke her racket and argued with the chair umpire in an exit from the Madrid Open, where she has been runner-up the last two years.
Losing to Ekaterina Makarova of Russia, 1-6, 6-2, 6-3, in the second round ended Azarenka's 18-match winning streak to start the season.
Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal spoiled Benoit Paire's 24th birthday by sweeping past the Frenchman, 6-3, 6-4. The fifth-ranked Nadal's hopes of returning to the top four in time for the French Open were boosted by Novak Djokovic's loss on Tuesday.
Craig Smith had a hat trick and teenager John Gibson was stellar in net to lead the United States over host Finland, 4-1, in the ice hockey world championship at Helsinki, Finland.
Gibson, who finished with 31 saves, was a bold choice that paid off for the Americans, who moved above Finland in their group — second to Russia.
The U.S. women's national volleyball team will host Japan in three matches this summer in the inaugural USA Volleyball Cup, a new effort to bring elite volleyball to the United States.
The matches will be played at UC San Diego on July 10, at Long Beach State on July 12 and at JSerra High in San Juan Capistrano on July 13. It is hoped that the event will grow into a series of matches that include the U.S. men's national team and venues outside of Southern California.
The U.S. is ranked No. 1 in the world by the FIVB, the international federation that oversees the sport, and Japan is ranked No. 3.