MONEY NOT NEUHEISEL'S MOTIVATION: Colorado coach Rick Neuheisel says he decided to take over the stumbling football program at Washington because of "high, lofty goals," rather than a seven-year contract at up to $1.5 million a year."It's a great tradition here," Neuheisel said Sunday evening in an impromptu meeting with reporters on the Huskies' basketball court.

He said he told his immediate predecessors, Don James and Jim Lambright, "I wanted to make sure. I told them I want to kiss the ring to make sure I'm allowed into this family. Both of them were extremely gracious and wished me well."

Neuheisel, 37, arrived earlier in the day after being lured away from Colorado, where he was earning $650,000 on a one-year contract.

He said the security of a seven-year deal was attractive but denied that the big money -- second among college coaches to Steve Spurrier, who earns $2 million a year at Florida -- made the difference.

"I'm not about money. This was not a monetary decision for me," Neuheisel said.

COLORADO SEARCH: Colorado athletic director Dick Tharp, stunned by the abrupt departure of football coach Rick Neuheisel, intends to have a successor on hand within the next three weeks in an effort to salvage the school's recruiting effort.

National letter-of-intent signing day is Feb. 3.

"I think it's both realistic and important to have identified the coach by Feb. 3," Tharp said. "I think it's inappropriate to ask someone to sign a binding letter-of-intent for what will be a significant portion of their lives and not know who will be in place to lead them."

Neuheisel recommended three current Colorado assistants to Tharp as possible successors: defensive coordinator A.J. Christoff, offensive coordinator Karl Dorrell and defensive ends coach Jon Embree.

Linebacker coach Brian Cabral, a holdover from the previous staff of Bill McCartney, has said he would apply for the position.


CHINA STEPS UP DRUG FIGHT: Stepping up its fight against performance-enhancing drugs, China will conduct blood tests on speed skaters, biathletes and cross-country skiers during the National Winter Games.

The Xinhua News Agency said today that the games, which opened Sunday in northeast Jilin province, mark that first use of blood tests in a national competition. Urine tests will be used for athletes in other sports.

Blood tests are considered more reliable and less open to tampering than urine tests, but are more expensive and rarely used internationally.

China, bidding for the 2008 Olympics, is campaigning to purge drug use after a series of embarrassing international scandals. In the 1994 Asian Games, 11 Chinese athletes tested positive.


SYDNEY INTERNATIONAL: Alex Corretja, chasing the top spot in the world rankings, beat German qualifier Hendrik Dreekmann 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 today in the first round of the Sydney International in Sydney, Australia.

Corretja, the Spanish star ranked No. 3 in the world and seeded No. 1 in the Australian Open tune-up event, spent two hours on the court in near 100-degree heat, then headed off to a park for a 30-minute run.

Corretja, a first-round loser last year to Dreekmann, joins Chile's Marcelo Rios and Australia's Pat Rafter with realistic chances of taking the top spot from Sampras.

-- In Doha, Qatar, Germany's Rainer Schuttler won his first ATP Tour title Sunday, beating Britain's Tim Henman 6-4, 5-7, 6-1 in the Qatar Open.

-- In Adelaide, Australia, Sweden's Thomas Enqvist won the Australian Men's Hardcourt, edging Australian teen-ager Lleyton Hewitt 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.

-- In Perth, Australia, Jelena Dokic beat Asa Carlsson 6-2, 7-6 (10-8) and Mark Philippoussis defeated Jonas Bjorkman 6-3, 7-6 (8-6) as Australia beat Sweden 2-1 to win the Hopman Cup.

-- In Gold Coast, Australia, Patty Schnyder of Switzerland beat Mary Pierce of France 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 in the Australian Women's Hardcourt. Also, France's Julie Halard-Decugis won the Auckland Classic, beating Belgium's Dominique Van Roost 6-4, 6-1.


UTES TAKE THIRD: The University of Utah ski team took third place in their first invitational of the year. At the Montana State University, the Utes fell 25 points shy of Colorado, with second-place Denver edging Utah by 19 points.

Top finishers for Utah included freshman Lene Pederson placing seventh in the 10-kilometer freestyle and 17th in the 5K classsic, her first collegiate events; twins Frode and Rune Kollerud finishing second and third in the men's cross country; and Liz Sherry placing second in the women's slalom.

Utah's season continues on Tuesday when the Utes host the Utah Invitational which will be held at Park City Ski Resort.