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Sports briefs


TAMPA BAY FIRES CRISP: Concerned by listless play that showed no sign of ending, the Tampa Bay Lightning fired Terry Crisp, the only coach they ever had, and replaced him with assistant Rick Paterson. Crisp's six-year tenure with the team was the longest of any current NHL coach.


RANKIN SMITH DIES AT 72: Rankin Smith, praised when he brought NFL football to Atlanta three decades ago but derided when the Falcons failed to become a winner, died Sunday in Atlanta. He was 72. Smith, owner and chairman of the board of the Falcons, died of heart failure at Piedmont Hospital, where he was admitted Friday night.

BOSTON U. DROPPING FOOTBALL: Without a single administrator there to answer their questions or hear their concerns, Boston University football players were stunned Saturday and angered by the news the football program is being eliminated at the end of this season.

"We feel robbed," said Brian Hashkowitz, an offensive tackle from New Hyde Park, N.Y.

Auto racing

EUROPEAN GRAND PRIX: Canadian Jacques Villeneuve won his first world drivers' championship in the European Grand Prix in Jerez, Spain, after German Michael Schumacher - who led from the start - ricocheted off the track when he collided with the challenger.

Mika Hakkinen in a McLaren Mercedes picked up his first career Formula One victory in the race. Teammate David Coulthard was second, with Villeneuve third.

ACDELCO 200: Mark Martin's fourth consecutive victory at North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham, N.C., the ACDelco 200 made him the winningest driver in NASCAR's Busch Grand National Series history.

Martin took the lead from Ricky Craven 13 laps from the end, then pulled away to record his 32nd Busch Series win.

Sunday's ACDelco 400 was postponed by rain until Monday.


D.C. UNITED REPEATS: In a steady, daylong shower reminiscent of last year's inaugural Major League Soccer title game, D.C. United repeated as champions Sunday with a 2-1 victory over the Colorado Rapids in MLS Cup '97.


WORLD CUP OPENER: At Tignes, France, world champion Michael Von Gruenigen of Switzerland took the opening men's giant slalom of the season Sunday, his 12th World Cup victory.

Deborah Compagnoni won Saturday's women's giant slalom, her sixth consecutive victory. Leile Piccard took the parallel race.


LAS VEGAS INVITATIONAL: Bill Glasson parred the last two holes to win the $1.8 million Las Vegas Invitational.

Glasson capped his first win in three years by two-putting from 35 feet for par on the last hole for a final-round 6-under-par 66 and 20-under 340 total in the last regular tournament of the PGA Tour season.

Billy Mayfair (67) and David Edwards (66) finished second, a stroke back. Glasson began two shots behind leader Duffy Waldorf, who bogeyed the last two holes for a 71 to finish tied for third at 343 with Mark Calcavecchia .

The win was worth $324,000 and put Glasson in next week's Tour Championship. Defending champion Tiger Woods shot a 3-over 75 to finish 15 back.

GOLD RUSH CLASSIC: At El Dorado Hills, Calif., Bob Eastwood shot a 4-under-par 68 for a two-stroke victory in the Raley's Senior Gold Rush Classic, his second victory of the year.

Eastwood, 51, had a 12-under 204 total. Rick Acton also closed with a 68 to finish second, while John Jacobs (67) and Jim Dent (70) followed at 8-under 208. Jerry McGee (69) and Jimmy Powell (70) tied for fifth at 6-under 210.