Texas coach Mack Brown says no plans to retire


Texas coach Mack Brown says no plans to retire

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Two days after another whipping at the hands of rival Oklahoma, Texas coach Mack Brown dismissed any suggestions he may be ready to retire, saying he's still got energy and the backing of the school and its big boosters.

Brown said Monday that several prominent boosters told him keep his head up and keep fighting after the 63-21 blowout, the third time in Brown's tenure the Sooners have hung more than 60 points on the Longhorns.

Texas' second consecutive loss dropped the Longhorns (4-2, 0-2 Big 12) to 17-14 overall under Brown since 2010, and raised new speculation that the 61-year-old who led Texas to the 2005 national championship may consider retiring.

Brown is under contract under 2020. At more than $5 million per year, he is one of the highest-paid coaches in the country.

``I have my energy. I'm moving forward,'' Brown said. ``I know I've got time to fix it and I know I can.''

Brown would not say which boosters reached out to him, but added that he heard the same positive message from many former Texas players.

``I'm way too competitive and (have) way too much pride to leave something bad,'' Brown said, adding he still thinks Texas can win 10 games this season

Brown has heard rumblings about his job before but nothing truly serious. From 2000-2004, his teams lost five in a row to Oklahoma, but those teams still won at least nine games every year. Texas ended the losing streak the season the Longhorns won the national title and the dissension melted away.

The strongest speculation about his possible retirement came in 2009-2010.

Texas had a coach-in-waiting in defensive coordinator Will Muschamp in 2009, the season Texas lost in the BCS title game. Some thought had Texas won that game, Brown would retire with his second championship.

Texas fell hard to 5-7 the following season and Muschamp bolted for the head coaching job at Florida. Brown said he met with school President Bill Powers and athletic director DeLoss Dodds after that season.

``When I decided to come back, I told them it was going to take some time,'' Brown said. ``We sat down and had hard discussions. They were 100 percent in their support. They said, `We want you to stay and we'll give you the time and money to do it.' That's not an issue.''

Brown said he doesn't face the constant pressure coaches do at other schools.

``I've got great bosses. This job isn't like the others,'' Brown said. ``I'm the luckiest guy in the world.''

Texas gave Brown his initial $5 million-per year deal in December 2009 after a 12-0 regular season but before the BCS game loss. The contract was extended it four years in January 2012 after Texas rebounded from the losing season to go 8-5 in 2011.

After Saturday's loss to Oklahoma, when the television cameras often caught Brown looking frustrated on the sideline, the coach clearly expected his team to hear speculation about his future. He told his players he wasn't going anywhere.

``He told us he wasn't going to quit and didn't want to see any quit in us, either,'' offensive lineman Mason Walters said.

Brown also had a message on Monday for his top assistant coaches, offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin and defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, whose unit is on pace to be statistically the worst in school history. The Longhorns surrendered nearly 700 yards against Oklahoma and have given up at least 31 points in four consecutive games.

``At this school you will be really criticized for not doing well in a ball game. You take it and man up to it it's the reason you get paid a lot. It's part of the deal here,'' Brown said. ``You guys want to be head coaches, learn now, because you are going to get some questions later.''

Brown got a bit of good news after the loss when quarterback David Ash was cleared to return to practice despite an injured wrist on his left, non-throwing arm.

Ash left the game in the fourth quarter after taking a hit and team doctors initially worried the arm was broken because of the severe swelling. X-rays showed no fractures and Ash was taking snaps from center on Sunday.

Ash said Monday he'll play this week against Baylor (3-2, 0-2).

Any criticism of Brown and speculation about his job should ``stop,'' Ash said.

``He's a winner. He's a competitor. He wants to stay positive,'' Ash said.

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Soto makes debut in Nationals loss to Dodgers


Soto makes debut in Nationals loss to Dodgers

WASHINGTON  -- Kike Hernandez and Yasiel Puig each hit two-run homers, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 7-2 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

Hernandez's blast off Stephen Strasburg in the fifth inning put the Dodgers up 3-2. Yasmani Grandal also homered off Strasburg (5-4), who allowed three runs and five hits over 6 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts.

Alex Wood (1-4) pitched six innings, allowing just three hits and two earned runs. Wood came out to start the seventh, but returned to the clubhouse after showing some discomfort during his warm-up tosses.

Trea Turner homered for Washington, which swept Arizona last weekend and then went five days without playing a full game because of rain before getting swept by the Dodgers.

Los Angeles, after losing six consecutive games, has now won four straight overall and five of six over Washington this season.

Washington's Juan Soto, at 19 the youngest active player in the majors, made his debut in the eighth as a pinch-hitter and struck out against Erik Goeddel.

The Dodgers added two runs in the ninth. Josh Fields recorded the final four outs for his second save of the season.


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George McPhee's Vegas Golden Knights advance to Stanley Cup Final


George McPhee's Vegas Golden Knights advance to Stanley Cup Final

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Ryan Reaves scored the winning goal, Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves and the Vegas Golden Knights pushed their remarkable expansion season into the Stanley Cup Final, beating the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 on Sunday in Game 5 of the Western Conference final.

Alex Tuch also scored for the Knights. They lost Game 1 in Winnipeg before winning four straight to become the first expansion team since the 1968 St. Louis Blues -- when the six initial expansion teams were put alone in the West -- to get to the final.

Vegas will meet the Tampa Bay Lightning or the Washington Capitals in the final. Tampa Bay leads the Eastern Conference final 3-2, with Game 6 set for Monday night in Washington.

Josh Morrissey scored for the Jets, and Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves.

Reaves, the bruising Winnipeg native acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins before to the trade deadline in February, snapped a 1-1 tie with 6:39 left in the second period when he tipped Luca Sbisa's point shot past Hellebuyck for his first goal of the playoffs.

Winnipeg got a power play early in the third, but couldn't muster much of anything. The Knights smothered much of the Jets' attack for the next 10 minutes, with Hellebuyck having to come up with big stops on William Karlsson and Eric Haula to keep his team within one.

The Jets pressed with under 4 minutes to go, with Fleury stopping captain Blake Wheeler on the doorstep, but it wasn't nearly enough as the Knights closed out their third straight series on the road.

The Jets beat the Knights 4-2 in Game 1, but Vegas snatched home ice with a 3-1 victory in Game 2 before picking up 4-2 and 3-2 wins at T-Mobile Arena.

The Knights, whose jaw-dropping inaugural 109-point campaign included a Pacific Division crown, swept the Los Angeles Kings in the first round, and knocked out the San Jose Sharks in six games.

The Jets had the NHL's second-best record with 114 points in the regular season. They advanced to the first conference final in city's history with a five-game victory over the Minnesota Wild in the opening round before topping the Presidents' Trophy-winning Nashville Predators in Game 7 on the road.

The usual raucous, white-clad crowd at Bell MTS Place -- not to mention the thousands of fans outside the arena attending a street party on a sun-drenched spring afternoon -- were silenced just 5:11 into Game 5 when Tuch jumped on Morrissey's turnover and fired his sixth past Hellebuyck.

The Jets were tentative to start and it got worse after the opener as Vegas dominated the next couple of shifts, forcing some good saves from Hellebuyck before Winnipeg got its feet moving.

After being outshot 7-1 in the first 7 minutes, the Jets finally pushed back and turned the tide with the next nine attempts on goal, culminating with Morrissey making amends for his early gaffe with 2:46 left in the period.

Bryan Little won a faceoff in the offensive zone straight back to second-year defenseman, who blasted his first career playoff goal past Fleury's glove.

One of Winnipeg's downfalls in the series through four games was an inability to maintain momentum. The Knights scored within 1:28 of a Jets' goal in each of the first four games -- a crushing 12 seconds after Winnipeg tied Game 3, and an equally gut-wrenching 43 seconds after the Jets knotted Game 4 -- but they managed to take the game to the locker rooms tied 1-1.

Both teams had chances in the second period before Reaves made it 2-1, with Jets center Mathieu Perrault just missing on a pass from Little that had too much speed.

Right after Reaves scored the second playoff goal of his career -- and first since 2015 with St. Louis -- Winnipeg's Nikolaj Ehlers rang a shot off the post on Fleury.