College football: Gus Malzahn’s quick work of transforming a demoralized Auburn program into Southeastern Conference champion has made him The Associated Press national coach of the year.
With the Tigers coming off the worst season in decades, the coach known for his fast play quickly led the team to a No. 2 ranking and a spot in the national championship game against Florida State on Jan. 6 in his first season.
Malzahn received 33 votes from AP Top 25 college football poll voters to beat out Duke’s David Cutcliffe. Cutcliffe received 17 votes after leading Duke (10-3) to its first 10-win season. Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher and Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio each received three votes.
• Winston earns AP Player of the Year honor: The Winter of Winston continues for Florida State’s redshirt freshman quarterback.
Jameis Winston is The AP national player of the year, adding to his cadre of postseason accolades. He has also won the Heisman Trophy, the Walter Camp national player of the year, the Davey O’Brien quarterback of the year and the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year.
• Schweigert hired as North Dakota coach: Southern Illinois assistant Kyle “Bubba” Schweigert was hired as the new coach at North Dakota, returning to the school where he was the defensive coordinator when it won the 2001 NCAA Division II national title.
• Army tabs Monken as new coach: Intent on ending its long losing streak against its archrival, Army hired former Navy assistant Jeff Monken as its new head coach. Monken spent the past four seasons as the head coach at Georgia Southern, going 38-16 while helping the school transition to the FBS from the FCS ranks.
• Desir wins inaugural Cliff Harris award: Pierre Desir, a defensive back from Lindenwood University in Missouri, was selected from more than 5,000 athletes from 500 schools for the inaugural Cliff Harris Award. The award is named for the safety who helped lead the Dallas Cowboys to five Super Bowl appearances. The award honors the top defensive player from D-II, D-III and NAIA schools.
• Florida snags Duke’s Roper: Kurt Roper agreed to leave Duke to become the offensive coordinator for Florida, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Anthony a game-time decision
NBA: After spraining his left ankle in New York’s win over Orlando on Monday, Knicks star Carmelo Anthony will be a game-time decision for their matchup today with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
• Grizzlies add Curry from D-League: The Memphis Grizzlies signed guard Seth Curry, who had been playing with the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Developmental League.
The 6-foot-1 brother of Golden State star Stephen Curry averaged 21.3 points and 7.8 assists in 37.3 minutes in 12 games for Santa Cruz.
• Nets’ Pierce garners fine: Brooklyn Nets forward Paul Pierce has been fined $15,000 for his flagrant foul on the Pacers’ George Hill Monday night, which resulted in his ejection.
Thornton suspension upheld
Miscellany: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman upheld the 15-game suspension of Boston Bruins forward Shawn Thornton.
Thornton appealed the ban last week after he was sanctioned for punching and injuring an unsuspecting opponent against Pittsburgh on Dec. 7. He knocked Brooks Orpik’s feet from under him and landed gloved punches to his head. Orpik was knocked unconscious and suffered a concussion.
Under terms of the collective bargaining agreement, Thornton will forfeit $84,615.45.
• Dodgers improve bullpen: The L.A. Dodgers bolstered their bullpen, announcing deals with J.P. Howell, Chris Perez and Jamey Wright. They also brought back third baseman Juan Uribe.
Howell received a two-year contract that includes a third-year vesting option; Perez was given a one-year deal; Wright was also given a one-year deal and Uribe signed for two years.