| DIED |
At age 72, a year and a half after his idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis required a lung transplant, former college basketball coach Charlie Spoonhour. Spoonhour (above), who used such colorful expressions as hickory nut head to criticize players, had a 373--202 record in 19 seasons as a Division I coach. He began his career in 1983 with Missouri State, and took the Bears to the NCAA tournament five times. In '92 he took over a Saint Louis team that had won five games the year before, and in '93--94 he led the Billikens to their first tournament in 27 years. Spoonhour retired briefly in '99, then spent three years at UNLV and twice led the Runnin' Rebels to the NIT. After retiring due to health problems in 2004, he worked as a TV analyst for the Missouri Valley Conference.
| DENIED |
By brothers Marty and Murray Howe, reports that their father, 83-year-old Red Wings legend Gordie Howe, has dementia. The Canadian Press reported last Thursday that Gordie (below) was suffering from dementia similar to the Pick's disease that killed his wife, Colleen, in 2009. "Both as his son and as a physician, I wouldn't call it dementia," Murray, a radiologist, told The New York Times. "It's a very focal, very modest decline—no more than anyone else who's [his age]." Gordie Howe, whose 801 goals and 1,049 assists were once NHL records, now spends much of his time appearing at pro-am hockey tournaments to raise money for the Gordie and Colleen Howe Fund for Alzheimer's.
| DIED |
At age 21 of undetermined causes, Louisiana Tech sophomore running back Tyrone Duplessis. Medics responded to his off-campus apartment after he awoke with chest pain and his roommate made an emergency call. Duplessis, who played for the Bulldogs as a true freshman before a knee injury sidelined him last year and for all but two games this season, was an all-state running back at O. Perry Walker High, in New Orleans. As a Tech freshman in 2009, he had 70 carries for 277 yards, including a 14-carry, 75-yard performance in a nationally televised 27--6 win over Hawaii.
| ANNOUNCED |
By UConn men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun, that he would take an indefinite leave of absence due to back problems. The Hall of Fame coach was diagnosed last summer with spinal stenosis, a very painful narrowing of the spinal canal that limits mobility. According to Calhoun, the pain became overwhelming during the Huskies' road trip to Georgetown on Feb. 1, and he was bedridden for two days afterward. The coach, 69, who has led UConn to three national titles in 25 years, and who is sixth on the alltime wins list with 867, elected not to retire after last season's national championship because he wished to see his program through NCAA sanctions imposed last year for a failure to maintain an "atmosphere of compliance." Calhoun sat out three games earlier this season as part of the punishment. Associate head coach George Blaney will take over in his absence.
| CLOSED |
By the U.S. Attorney's office, the nearly two-year federal investigation into allegations that seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong (right) used and distributed performance-enhancing drugs while he was the leader of the U.S. Postal Service team from 1999 to 2005. The office gave no reason for ending the investigation, which began because of accusations by Armstrong's former teammate Floyd Landis in April '10. Another teammate, Tyler Hamilton, made similar allegations on 60 Minutes a few days later. "It is the right decision," Armstrong said in a statement. "I look forward to continuing my life as a father, a competitor, and an advocate in the fight against cancer without this distraction." The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which has also been looking into the case, says that its investigation remains open.