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Sports briefs


STARZZ COACH TO SPEAK: Utah Starzz coach Denise Taylor will be the speaker April 10 at 7 p.m. in Weber State University's Project Link lecture series in the main lobby of Promontory Tower.

Taylor's free lecture, "Achieving one's goals through persistence and dedication," is open to the public.


AGGIE TRAINER INDUCTED: Head athletic trainer and associate professor Dale Mildenberger of Utah State University was one of two people recently inducted into the Rocky Mountain Trainer's Association at the group's annual meeting in St. George.

The RMTA includes trainers at all levels from Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona and New Mexico. Mildenberger has been USU's trainer for 23 years.


REEBOK ANNOUNCES NEW DEAL: Reebok Internation Ltd. has licensed its Above the Rim Hoopwear apparel collection to Cape Athletic, in a four-year agreement, scheduled to be announced Tuesday.

Reebok acquired the Above the Rim brand name from Cape Athletic president Bob Capener - a former BYU basketball player - in 1992. Since then it has been part of Reebok's basketball collection. Capener said Above the Rim apparel will be re-launched by Cape Athletic, with a new collection coming available in Spring 1999.

"We are putting Above the Rim back into the hands of the brand's creator, and we are very much looking forward to a successful partnership," said Marty Winnick Blue, director of licensing for Reebok.

The new collection will include jackets, warmups, pants, sweat-shirts, t-shirts, shorts and accessories, ranging from $16 to $120.


CHARGE AGAINST SMITH DISMISSED: A judge dismissed a drunken driving charge Monday against Buffalo Bills defensive end Bruce Smith but upheld a charge that Smith refused to take a blood-alcohol test.

Circuit Judge Frederick B. Lowe suspended Smith's driver's license for 12 months for refusing to take the blood test last July when he was found passed out in the driver's seat of his car at an intersection.

The conviction will not affect Smith's driving record, said his attorney, Larry Cardon.


AGGIES TO NAME NEW COACH: Melvin Watkins, who led North Carolina-Charlotte into the second round of the NCAA tournament, will become the new coach at Texas A&M on Wednesday, The Associated Press learned Monday.

Watkins, whose 49ers won 20 games in each of his two seasons at the school, will replace Tony Barone, who resigned after the Aggies went 7-20 this season.

Two sources close to Texas A&M, who spoke on the condition they not be identified, said Watkins will meet with 49ers athletic director Judy Rose and then his players on Tuesday before attending a news conference Wednesday at College Station to officially announce his hiring.

The Dallas Morning News, quoting unidentified sources, reported Monday on its Web site that Watkins agreed to a five-year guaranteed contract at $550,000 per year.

Alan Cannon, a Texas A&M spokesman, said only that Wednesday's news conference would be "regarding the Aggies' men's basketball program and the appointment of a new head coach."


CAPRIATI LOSES TO MCNEIL: Jennifer Capriati, playing in only her second match of the year, again lost in the first round, when Lori McNeil beat her Monday in the Family Circle Cup at Sea Pines Racquet Club.

Capriati, a former top 10 player sidelined for a two months by elbow and shoulder injuries, was beaten 6-7 (7-4), 6-4, 6-4, but it was better than the last time.

She played her first of the year on March 19 at the Lipton Championships. There, she lost to Magdalena Grzybowska in straight sets in the first round.

On Monday, Capriati hit several nice cross-court forehand winners but also made several unforced errors against McNeil, who at No. 148 is three spots ahead of Capriati. She lost 6-7, (7-4), 6-4, 6-4.


HOLYFIELD PONDERS TYSON REMATCH: Evander Holyfield's next opponent may be Henry Akinwande, but that's not the boxer who concerns him most.

At a news conference Monday announcing the Holyfield-Akinwande title fight on June 6 at Madison Square Garden, Holyfield spent more time discussing a unification bout with Lennox Lewis or a rematch with Mike Tyson.

A heavyweight unification fight was thwarted this winter when Holyfield and HBO could not agree on the financial figures. With that fight on the back burner, Lewis went on to face Shannon Briggs, whom he beat Saturday, and Holyfield will take on Akinwande.

"Lennox got surprised, but the most important thing is he won the fight," Holyfield said. "Sometimes when you fight a bad fighter you can look bad. But regardless of who you fight, you have to weather the storm."

After the fight, Lewis suggested that all the talk about Holyfield contributed to a slow start against Briggs. While Holyfield was preoccupied with Lewis on Monday, he said that won't hinder his preparation for Akinwande.

"I think that is a sorry excuse," Holyfield said. "You choose who you talk about. We are both professional enough to talk about someone and prepare for a fight."