At age 72, nomadic NBA coach Cotton Fitzsimmons (right), of complications from lung cancer. The two-time Coach of the Year, who ranks 10th in league history with 832 victories, began his career in Phoenix in 1970 and made stops in Atlanta, Buffalo, Kansas City and San Antonio before taking a Suns front office job in 1987. The native of Hannibal, Mo.—Mark Twain's hometown—was known for his Midwestern drawl, lack of height (he was 5'6") and for being a reclamation specialist. All six of his teams had losing records before he arrived; he led five to .500 marks or better in his first season. "I'm the Red Adair of the NBA, always putting out fires," he said. From 1988 to '92 he coached the Suns to four straight 50-win seasons, then was an executive vice president, broadcaster and franchise ambassador for 12 years.
Two of the nine highway signs welcoming motorists to Akron, Ohio—HOME OF LEBRON JAMES 2003-2004 NBA ROOKIE OF THE YEAR. The signs, which cost $100 each, began disappearing shortly after James won the award in June. Said Tom Bennett, Akron's traffic operations supervisor, "I've been keeping an eye out on eBay."
By physicist Stephen Hawking, a wager with particle physicist John Preskill. In 1997 Hawking bet Preskill an encyclopedia "from which information could be recovered at will" that "information swallowed by a black hole is forever hidden from the outside universe." Last week Hawking conceded his theory was wrong and agreed to buy Preskill a copy of Total Baseball.
Following rape allegations involving La Salle basketball players, the school's men's and women's coaches, Billy Hahn and John Miller. Two players from the men's team, Michael Cleaves and Gary Neal, were charged on July 8 with sexually assaulting a University of New Haven women's player at Miller's summer camp. (The accused players, who are no longer enrolled at the school, turned themselves in and were released on bail.) Following those arrests a former La Salle women's player alleged that she was raped by a men's player in April 2003 but was dissuaded from filing charges by the coaches. Hahn and Miller resigned last Saturday. Hahn did not comment, but Miller claimed his former player asked him to keep the incident confidential.
So he's ready for the 90� Athens heat, Rusty, German Olympic equestrienne Ulla Salzgeber's mount. The world's top-ranked dressage rider booked her 16-year-old Lativian for 30 days at a solarium, a large, glass-enclosed tanning bed for humans. "I want to make sure he doesn't get a sunburn," she said.