HOCKEY

Kevin Dineen, who coached the AHL Portland Pirates for six seasons, was named the coach of Utica Comets, the New Jersey Devils’ new AHL affiliate.

In his six seasons in Portland (2005-06 to 2010-11) , the Pirates made the playoffs five times.

Dineen left the Pirates to become head coach of the NHL Florida Panthers, who fired him during his third season.

Dineen, 57, spent the last two seasons serving as coach of San Diego (AHL) in the Anaheim Ducks’ organization. Before San Diego, he was an assistant for five years with the Chicago Blackhawks, winning a Stanley Cup in his first year on Joel Quenneville’s staff.

The Devils also signed free-agent forward Tomas Tatar to a two-year, $9 million contract and re-signed restricted free-agent forward Yegor Sharangovich to a two-year $4 million deal.

BASEBALL

SEA DOGS: Tanner Nishioka flied out to left on an 0-2 pitch to end the game with the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position as the Portland Sea Dogs lost to the Rumble Ponies 4-3 at Binghamton, New York.

Binghamton, which has won three of the first four games of this seven-game series, held a 4-0 lead after seven innings.

The Dogs scored twice in the eighth on a double by Nishioka, who later scored on an error. In the ninth, Wil Dalton drove in a run with a single. Pinch runner Ricardo Cubillan was on third and Dalton on second when Nishioka flied out to end the game.

TENNIS

CITI OPEN: If Rafael Nadal was hoping to ease his painful left foot back into action after nearly two months off tour, that’s hardly what happened in his Citi Open debut, which ended after just two matches.

A night after needing three sets and more than three hours to get by, Nadal was eliminated 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 by 50th-ranked Lloyd Harris of South Africa.

Harris hit 16 aces and took advantage of Nadal’s admittedly problematic serve.

The match ended when Nadal got broken for the second time, with Harris dropping his racket in disbelief after delivering a lob winner.

SIDELINED: Roger Federer pulled out of the upcoming hard-court tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati on Thursday, citing lingering issues with his surgically repaired knee and shedding doubt on his status for the U.S. Open.

The withdrawals by Federer, who turns 40 on Sunday, were announced separately by the two events. This news follows the 20-time Grand Slam champion’s decision to sit out the Tokyo Olympics after he said he “experienced a setback” with his knee during the grass-court season. Federer has not competed since losing in the Wimbledon quarterfinals to Hubert Hurkacz on July 8.

Play begins at Toronto on Monday, and at Cincinnati on Aug. 16. They traditionally are the two primary tuneups ahead of the U.S. Open, the year’s last Grand Slam tournament and scheduled to begin Aug. 30 in New York.

Federer is a seven-time champion in Cincinnati and has won two titles in Canada.

Federer had two operations on his right knee in 2020 and went more than a full year between matches. He returned to Grand Slam action at the French Open in late May and then pulled out of that tournament after three victories, saying he wanted to be rested and ready for the grass circuit – especially Wimbledon.

GOLF

INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF PGA TOURS: Harris English shot an 8-under 62 to match his lowest PGA Tour score and take the first-round lead in the FedEx St. Jude Invitational at Memphis, Tennessee.

The 2013 winner at TPC Southwind, English had a two-stroke lead over Jim Herman, Carlos Ortiz, Ian Poulter and Matthew Wolff, with Bryson DeChambeau, Scottie Scheffler and Marc Leishman another shot back at 65.

DeChambeau returned to competition after missing the Tokyo Olympics because of a positive test for COVID-19.

He birdied the first four holes – making a 27-foot putt on the par-4 second – and added birdies on Nos. 6, 7 and 9 to match the course front-nine mark of 7-under 28.

Ahead by two strokes after nine holes, he encountered difficulty to the start the back nine. He bogeyed Nos. 10 and 12 to fall out of the lead. But he recovered on the final few holes. He closed with birdies at 15, 16 and 18. He hit his approach at 18 inside 5 feet and sank the putt.

PGA: Joel Dahmen scored 16 points with eight birdies in a bogey-free round to take the first-round lead in the Barracuda Championship, the only PGA Tour event that uses the modified Stableford scoring system.

Players receive 8 points for an albatross, 5 for eagle, 2 for birdie and 0 for par. A point is subtracted for a bogey, and 3 points are taken away for a double bogey or worse.

Stephan Jaeger of Germany was second with 14 points.

EUROPEAN TOUR: Scotland’s Calum Hill took full advantage of favorable conditions to shoot a 9-under 63 and take a one-shot lead after the first round of the Hero Open at St. Andrews, Scotland.

Hill was among the early starters and had a flawless round, with strong winds making scoring difficult later in the day. Northern Ireland’s Jonathan Caldwell was a stroke back in second place, with the trio of Ross Fisher, Chase Hanna and Robin Sciot-Siegrist a further shot behind.

U.S. WOMEN’S AMATEUR: NCAA champion Rachel Heck of Stanford rallied to beat Arkansas’ Brooke Matthews in 19 holes to advance to the U.S. Women’s Amateur quarterfinals at Harrison, New York.

Heck, from Memphis, Tennessee, overcame a two-hole deficit with two to play. She won the par-4 17th with a par, pulled even with a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th and won with a two-putt par on the par-3 19th.

Heck will face Kan Bunnabodee of Thailand, the Purdue player who had a 6-and-5 victory over Kailie Vongsaga of Diamond Bar, California. In the morning in the Round of 32, Heck beat Grace Kim of Australia 7 and 6.

In the other lower-bracket quarterfinal, Jensen Castle of West Columbia, South Carolina, will play Emily Mahar of Australia.

Castle, who plays at Kentucky, beat Jenny Bae of Suwanee, Georgia, 4 and 2. Mahar, a rising senior at Virginia Tech, edged Rianne Mikhaela Malixi of the Philippines 1 up.

In the upper bracket, Valentina Rossi of Argentina will face Brooke Seay of San Diego, and 15-year-old Cara Heisterkamp of Westlake, Ohio, will play Hou Yu-Chiang of Taiwan.

Rossi outlasted Hailey Borja of Lake Forest, California, in 20 holes; Seay beat Katie Cranston of Canada 2 and 1; Heisterkamp routed Aline Krauter of Germany 7 and 5; and Hou topped Emma McMyler of San Antonio 3 and 2.

OBIT: Jocelyne Bourassa, a star Canadian golfer and the LPGA Tour’s Rookie of the Year in 1972, has died. She was 74.

Her death was announced Thursday by Golf Canada, which did not give details.

After her star rookie season on the LPGA Tour she was honored as the year’s best female athlete by The Canadian Press. She was also named to the Order of Canada in 1972.

COLLEGES

FOOTBALL: Notre Dame and Navy will play their 2024 football game at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands sports complex.

The schools announced the agreement Thursday for the Oct. 26 game. This will mark the eighth time the sports complex has hosted a Navy-Notre Dame game and the first since 2010, when Navy defeated the Irish 35-17. The Navy-Notre Dame series was the longest continuous intersectional rivalry in college football – 93 consecutive years – before COVID-19 forced a cancellation in 2020. The two schools will play on Nov. 6 in South Bend, Indiana.

• The Southeastern Conference extended the contract of Commissioner Greg Sankey, whose league is set to grab even more prominence and wealth with the addition of Oklahoma and Texas. The league announced the extension through 2026 on Thursday, five days after the two traditional football powers accepted invitations to join the SEC starting in 2025, if not earlier.

The league’s presidents and chancellors approved the extension for the 57-year-old Sankey, who became the SEC’s eighth commissioner in 2015. His previous deal was through 2023. The league didn’t disclose financial terms.

• Robert Griffin III has not totally shut the door on his NFL career but he is taking the next step toward his future beyond the playing field.

The Heisman Trophy winner and former Pro Bowl quarterback has signed a multiyear deal with ESPN to be a college football and NFL analyst. Griffin will be in the booth for a college football game on either ESPN or ABC and will also contribute to ESPN’s studio coverage, including during the College Football Playoff and Super Bowl.

The deal allows Griffin to seek a playing opportunity with a team if one arises.

Griffin was a guest analyst on “NFL Live” in 2017, a year when he didn’t play. He signed with Baltimore in 2018 and was there for three seasons after previous stops in Washington (2012-15) and Cleveland (2016). He had successful auditions with ESPN and Fox this spring and was sought by both networks. Griffin acknowledged the past couple of months have been crazy between deciding his future and keeping an eye on NFL free agency moves.

SOCCER

RACISM ARRESTS: British police said they have made 11 arrests in connection with the online racial abuse of England soccer players following their team’s loss to Italy in the final of the European Championship last month. Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka endured a barrage of abuse after they missed penalties in England’s shootout defeat at London’s Wembley Stadium on July 11.

The U.K. Football Policing Unit said it has requested data from social media companies to advance its investigation and has passed on information to local police forces, which so far have arrested 11 people on suspicion of a number of offenses, including malicious communications.

“There are people out there who believe they can hide behind a social media profile and get away with posting such abhorrent comments,” Cheshire Chief Constable Mark Roberts, who leads soccer policing for the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said. “They need to think again.”

The unit said that of the 207 criminal social media posts identified, 123 accounts belong to individuals outside the U.K. and their details are being shared with the relevant countries. It added that it is waiting for information on another 50 account holders.

PREMIER LEAGUE: Premier League champion Manchester City broke the British transfer fee record to sign midfielder Jack Grealish from Aston Villa.

City paid a fee of 100 million pounds ($139 million), Villa chief executive Christian Purslow confirmed. That’s the most ever paid by a Premier League club.

The 25-year-old Grealish signed a six-year contract with Manager Pep Guardiola’s squad.


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