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Jets fire offensive coordinator Tony Sparano

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Jets fire offensive coordinator Tony Sparano

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) The New York Jets' housecleaning will bring three new coordinators in 2013.

Tony Sparano was fired Tuesday as offensive coordinator after one season in which the offense ranked among the league's worst.

Sparano was hired last March to replace Brian Schottenheimer and take over an offense that struggled mightily. Instead, the former Miami Dolphins head coach wasn't able to jumpstart the running game or figure out a way to use Tim Tebow consistently as the Jets finished 30th in the NFL in total offense.

Also gone is defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, whose contract expired. Coach Rex Ryan, who worked with Pettine the last 10 years, said Pettine was interviewing for the same job in Buffalo.

The contract of quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh also was not renewed. Ben Kotwica replaces the retired Mike Westhoff as special teams coordinator.

And the Jets are looking for a new general manager after Mike Tannenbaum was fired last week.

Sparano was expected to use Tebow as a major part of the Jets' wildcat-style offense, but the popular backup quarterback was mostly a nonfactor, failing to get into the end zone during his first and likely only season in New York.

Ryan admitted that Sparano had unusual circumstances to deal with, particularly when receiver Santonio Holmes and tight end Dustin Keller got hurt.

``From a personnel standpoint, this was not the team we thought we'd have all season,'' Ryan said while also praising Sparano for his diligence.

``I want to be more of an unpredictable offense. As hard as we are to attack defensively, I want to be offensively.''

Ryan believes Pettine will be some team's defensive coordinator next season. He said there are viable candidates among his defensive assistants to replace Pettine, but did not guarantee anyone would be elevated.

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Former Washington Mystics All-Star Alana Beard retires after 14 seasons

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Former Washington Mystics All-Star Alana Beard retires after 14 seasons

One of the Washington Mystics' first stars is hanging up her shoes.

Alana Beard, who spent the first seven seasons of her professional career with the Mystics after Washington drafted her No. 2 overall in 2004, announced her retirement from the sport on Wednesday.

During her time in Washington, Beard made the All-Star team four times. Her best season with the Mystics was in 2006, where she averaged a career-high 19.1 points per game and won the Defensive Player of the Year award.

After missing nearly two years with multiple injuries, Beard signed with the Los Angeles Sparks during free agency in 2012, and spent the rest of her career out west. She won her first WNBA championship in 2016 with the Sparks, highlighted by her game-winning three-pointer in Game 1 of the Finals.

Congratulations on a great career, Alana!

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Virginia Tech sends North Carolina to 5th straight loss in double overtime

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Virginia Tech sends North Carolina to 5th straight loss in double overtime

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Tyrece Radford made a short jumper with 0.4 seconds left in the second overtime and Virginia Tech sent North Carolina to its fifth consecutive loss, 79-77, on Wednesday night.

Radford got the ball with the clock winding down after the Tar Heels tied it with 9.7 seconds left, drove into the lane and made his only field goal of the game from in front of the basket for the Hokies (14-5, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference).

Landers Nolley scored 22 points and Jalen Cone 18 for the Hokies.

Garrison Brooks scored 28 points and Justin Pierce had 15 for the Tar Heels (8-10, 1-6), who lost their sixth consecutive conference game for the first time in program history. They also kept coach Roy Williams tied with former UNC coach Dean Smith at 879 victories, tied for fourth among Division 1 head coaches.

The Tar Heels, without top scorer Cole Anthony (19.1 ppg) since early December, also played without No. 3 scorer Brandon Robinson (12.1), who the school said continues to suffer from persistent neck pain after a car accident on Jan. 11.

North Carolina had a chance to win it in regulation, but Brooks' turnaround jumper from just inside the free throw line hit the back rim and missed. They also came up empty at the end of the first overtime with the score at 67-all.

BIG PICTURE

North Carolina: It was an especially difficult night for guard Andrew Platek, who was jeered whenever he touched the ball with chants of "Airball. Airball" after a poor shot early and seemed somewhat affected. The junior had at least two more airballs to the delight of the crowd and then had a rushed attempt to beat the shot clock rejected by the 6-foot-1 Radford in the second half. Platek finished 2 for 11 from the field.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies didn't have an especially good night from 3-point range, one of their bread and butters plays this year, except for freshman Cone. He hit two 30 seconds apart in the final minutes to pull Tech within 59-58 and was 6 for 11 on the night. The rest of the Hokies were 8 for 26. The 5-10 guard is now 40 for 72 (55.5%) for the season.

UP NEXT

The Tar Heels return home to face Miami on Saturday.

Virginia Tech heads on the road to face Boston College on Saturday.