Pistons hire Monty Williams
The Detroit Pistons have reached an agreement to hire former Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams, according to two people familiar with the situation. One of the people, speaking on condition of anonymity because the agreement had not been announced, told The Associated Press on Wednesday night that Williams agreed to a six-year contract. Williams, 51, would become the 37th coach in franchise history. Williams led the Suns to the NBA Finals in 2021, but was fired by the organization on May 13, shortly after they were eliminated from the Western Conference semifinal round of the playoffs for the second consecutive season. New Suns owner and United Wholesale Mortgage CEO Mat Ishbia reportedly led the charge in Williams' dismissal. The Athletic reports that the deal that Pistons agreed to with Williams is for 6 years, $72 million, which would instantly make him one of the highest-paid coaches in the NBA.
Newton returns to UConn
Connecticut's reign as NCAA champion will begin with multiple starters having left for the NBA Draft and one returning after flirting with doing the same. As for Kentucky, star big man Oscar Tshiebwe is sticking with his pro pursuit. UConn guard Tristen Newton announced that he is withdrawing his name from the draft Wednesday, the NCAA's deadline for players who declared as early entrants to the draft to withdraw and retain their college eligibility. But Tshiebwe announced late in the afternoon that he would remain in the draft after a college career that included being named The Associated Press men's national player of the year in 2022. The list of players facing decisions include another big who was voted AP player of the year in Purdue's Zach Edey. The 7-4 Edey was last season's winner after guiding the Boilermakers to a No. 1 seed in the NCAAs.
Stewart-Haas penalized again
NASCAR issued its second massive penalty in as many days by levying huge fines Wednesday against Stewart-Haas Racing for a "counterfeit part" found on Chase Briscoe's car in a secondary inspection after the Coca-Cola 600. SHR's No. 14 team was docked 120 points in both the owner standings and Briscoe's driver standings, and he also was stripped of 25 playoff points. John Klausmeier, the crew chief, is suspended six races and was fined $250,000. The penalties are the harshest NASCAR can impose under its written deterrence system. It comes a day after superstar Chase Elliott was suspended one race for deliberately wrecking Denny Hamlin on Monday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The penalties against SHR fall under rules that prohibit counterfeiting a Next Gen single source vendor-supplied part. SHR is accused of using an illegal part in an attempt to create more downforce on Briscoe's Ford.
Indy fan receives new car
An Indianapolis 500 fan whose vehicle was damaged when a tire flew off a racecar and out of the track during the race will receive a new car, an Indianapolis Motor Speedway spokesman said. The spokesman told The Indianapolis Star that Penske Entertainment will provide fan Robin Matthews, who is from Indianapolis, with a new car following the incident. "I didn't see it come down," she said. "I came down and they said, 'Robin, it's your car!' I thought, 'No.' I thought somebody was pranking me. It's a car. It's fine." The wheel came off with less than 20 laps to go in Sunday's race when Felix Rosenqvist and Kyle Kirkwood collided. Kirkwood's left rear tire bounced off the track and over the fence and the corner of the grandstand in the second turn before landing in a parking lot. It traveled about 350 yards before crashing into the front of Matthews' parked Chevrolet.
Holiday Bowl sues Pac-12
The organization that runs the Holiday Bowl is suing the Pac-12 Conference and the University of California Regents because UCLA backed out of the 2021 game citing covid concerns. The San Diego Bowl Game Association is seeking a minimum of $3 million in compensatory damages in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in California Superior Court in San Diego County. UCLA announced less than five hours before it was supposed to kick off against North Carolina State on Dec. 28, 2021, that it was pulling out of the game after three defensive linemen tested positive for covid. The 10-page filing comes more than 17 months after negotiations between the bowl organization and the Pac-12 failed to come to a resolution.
Kraken GM gets extension
Ron Francis was initially approached about extending his stay as the general manager of the Seattle Kraken back in the winter, but putting finality to the decision took longer than expected. The Kraken kept winning and pushed what was mostly a formality to a secondary need until after Seattle's unexpected playoff run finally ended. "At that point it was kind of verbally done, just kind of a few little small details. And then we get into the playoffs and busy and it kind of got put on the back burner and I didn't want it to be a distraction with the team and where they were at," Francis said. That finality came on Wednesday when the Kraken announced Francis had signed a three-year extension through the 2026-27 season. Francis originally signed a five-year deal when he became the first GM in franchise history back in 2019 and the new contract will kick in starting with the 2024-25 season. Seattle reached the second round of the NHL playoffs in its second year of existence, following a challenging first year where it underachieved and was among the worst teams in the league.