Hired Former Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine has been hired as the athletics director at Sacred Heart University. The university in Fairfield, Conn., said Friday that Valentine’s appointment will be formally announced on Tuesday. He is a native of Stamford, Conn. Valentine was fired in October after just one season in Boston, when the Red Sox went 69-93. A one-time Pacific Coast League MVP when he played for the Spokane Indians, Valentine managed the Texas Rangers from 1985-92 and the Mets from 1996-2002, leading New York to the 2000 World Series. After managing in Japan, he joined ESPN as an analyst. Last month he signed on to be the part-time co-host of a weekday talk show for NBC Sports Radio that debuts in April. Sacred Heart fields 31 varsity teams – 17 for women and 14 for men. The Pioneers upgraded their varsity programs to NCAA Division I status in September 1999.
Daytona 500 Retired NFL linebacker Ray Lewis will serve as honorary starter for the Daytona 500 on Sunday. Oscar-nominated actor James Franco will serve as grand marshal and give the command to “start your engines.” Mark Reuss, president of General Motors North America, will drive the honorary pace car.
Retiring Veteran offensive lineman Matt Birk is retiring after 15 seasons in the NFL, the last winning a Super Bowl title with the Baltimore Ravens. Birk announced his retirement Friday at Battle Grove Elementary School in Baltimore. Ravens coach John Harbaugh has often said the 36-year-old center played the best of his four seasons in Baltimore this past year when the Ravens won the Super Bowl.
Waived Oft-injured goalie Rick DiPietro has been placed on waivers by the New York Islanders and will likely be headed to the minors once he clears, as expected. The 31-year-old DiPietro has played in only three games this season while serving as the backup to Evgeni Nabokov. He is 0-3 with a 4.09 goals-against average. The Islanders acquired suspended goalie Tim Thomas from Boston earlier this season, but it is unclear if he will ever play for New York, as he has elected to sit out this season.
Interment Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss was buried in a private ceremony on Friday. The team said Buss was buried in front of family and close friends at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills. He died Monday at 80 after an 18-month struggle with cancer. An invitation-only memorial service was held Thursday. Through the Lakers, the Buss family thanked the public for their “tremendous outpouring of love and support over the past several days.”