In his sleep on his 96th birthday, Johnny Longden, the only man to have both ridden and trained a Kentucky Derby winner. Born in England and raised in Canada, where he developed a push-pull style with the reins that earned him the nickname the Pumper, Longden rode Count Fleet to a Triple Crown in 1943. After retiring from riding in '66 with 6,032 wins—then the alltime record—Longden took up training and in '69 won the roses at Churchill Downs with Majestic Prince.
?Of a heart attack, Kid Gavilan, 77, a welterweight champ from 1951 to '54. Born Gerardo Gonz�lez in Camag�ey, Cuba, where he began fighting at age 10 for purses of bread and guava paste, Gavilan turned pro in '43 and went 107-30-6 over 15 years. Famous for his sambalike shuffling and bolo punch—a quasi uppercut that mimicked the movements of Cuba's sugarcane harvesters—the flashy fighter captivated U.S. fans. Gavilan even moved up in class to beat Jake LaMotta and win the middleweight title vacated by Ray Robinson. He retired to Havana in '58 but fled to Miami 10 years later after Fidel Castro, infuriated that Gavilan preached for Jehovah's Witnesses, seized his home. Plagued by memory loss, Gavilan spent the final years of his life in an assisted-care facility in Hialeah, Fla. He was, says boxing historian Bert Sugar, "one of the heroes in the golden era of Friday-night fights."
A motion for a new trial, hockey dad Thomas Junta, who in January 2002 was sentenced to six-to-10 years in prison for the fatal beating of another father during a dispute at their sons' hockey practice (SI, July 24, 2000). Junta, who's in a correctional institute in Concord, Mass., claims the prosecution failed to disclose that medical examiner Stanton C. Kessler, who testified against him, had said at a forensics conference that the injuries suffered by Michael Costin, the slain father, could have resulted from a minor scuffle. Junta's lawyers claim Kessler's testimony made Junta's attack appear more vicious than it was.
By Washington Huskies coach Rick Neuheisel, that he had repeatedly lied when denying that he'd interviewed for the 49ers' coaching job, which went to Dennis Erickson. Neuheisel, who said he had been honoring a confidentiality agreement with the 49ers, came clean after a Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist reported overhearing Neuheisel discussing the interview on his cellphone. The coach says he finally told the truth out of concern for his credibility—which his peers had questioned even before this incident. At its annual meeting last month the American Football Coaches Association censured Neuheisel and put him on one year's probation for "showing very little remorse" about the 51 recruiting violations that the NCAA found while he coached Colorado between 1995 and '98.
Steve Bechler 1979-2003
Of apparent multiple organ failure due to heatstroke, Orioles righthander Steve Bechler, 23. Bechler complained of dizziness and collapsed during a running drill on Sunday on a field in Fort Lauderdale, where the temperature was 81� and the humidity was 74%. He was given oxygen and intravenous fluids, then taken to a nearby medical center, where he was admitted into intensive care. He died on Monday morning; an autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday. Bechler, listed at 6'2", 239 pounds, had a 13.50 ERA and no record in three games with Baltimore last September.