BEAMER STAYING: Frank Beamer will return for a 15th season as coach of Virginia Tech's No. 6 Hokies, ending a frantic 1 1/2 days that included an interview at North Carolina and a reported job offer from the Tar Heels for as much as $1.4 million. Virginia Tech boosted Beamer's salary by 25 percent, to more than $1 million plus bonuses. He also will receive a $200,000 bonus if the Hokies earn a Bowl Championship Series berth, $100,000 for any other bowl invitation.

HACKETT FIRED: Paul Hackett was fired as Southern California's football coach, two days after the Trojans completed their first losing season since 1991 and just their third in the past 39 years.

UCLA TO SUN BOWL: UCLA has accepted an invitation to play in the Sun Bowl against Wisconsin in El Paso, Texas, on Dec. 29.


WESTPHAL FIRED: Paul Westphal was fired as coach of the struggling Seattle SuperSonics 15 games into a season marked by discord and losses. Seattle was expected to be stronger this season with the acquisition of Patrick Ewing, but the team is 6-9. The dismissal comes days after an on-court shouting match between Westphal and guard Gary Payton during a game in Dallas. Nate McMillan, an assistant under Westphal, was made interim head coach.

BIOPSY FOR NELSON: Mavericks coach and general manager Don Nelson will have a biopsy of his swollen prostate and will miss Thursday's game at Portland. He told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that assistant coach Del Harris will coach the team that night. The 60-year-old Nelson plans to join the team in time for Saturday's game at Golden State.

CARTER INJURED: Vince Carter, the NBA's No. 2 scorer, will miss at least two games because of an injured tendon in his left knee.


TAILORED DEAL: Colorado Rockies pitcher Bobby Chouinard, who pleaded guilty to aggravated assault for abusing his wife, will serve a year in jail under an agreement approved by a judge.

Chouinard will serve his time in Colorado during baseball's offseason — in four three-month increments spread out over four years — and will be allowed to train under the supervision of the Rockies five hours a day, six days a week.

RANGERS PURSUE AROD: Tom Hicks, who has won a Stanley Cup as owner of the Dallas Stars, has a plan to find success with his other team — the Texas Rangers.

A crucial part of that plan is the pursuit of free agent Alex Rodriguez, the 25-year-old all-star shortstop who is looking for a long-term home.

While Rodriguez insists there are no front-runners, and that he's only in the early stages of what could be a lengthy process, he seemed impressed Monday after two days of meetings with Hicks and other Texas officials.

Meanwhile, Rangers GM Doug Melvin had dinner — and a second meeting — on Monday night with free-agent third baseman Ken Caminiti. Texas was also expected to talk Tuesday with free-agent pitcher Mike Hampton.

Rodriguez has also talked to Atlanta, but his agent, Scott Boras, said there were also six other teams in the mix.

Boras didn't identify other possibilities, but they appear to be the Dodgers, Rockies, White Sox, Orioles and even the Mets and Mariners.


LINDROS CLEARED: Eric Lindros has been cleared to play again by his doctor, six months after being knocked out of the Stanley Cup playoffs with his latest concussion.


FIGHT: Nine players and a coach were arrested following a brawl involving Uruguay's top two soccer teams. The melee took place moments after the referee signaled the end of Sunday's game between Penarol and Nacional. Within seconds, 16 people were fighting. Four players from Uruguay's national team, a defender from Brazil's national team and Penarol coach Julio Ribas were among those arrested.