Howard University is dancing once again

Howard Bison head coach Kenny Blakeney celebrates with the net after defeating the Norfolk State Spartans to win the 2023 MEAC Men’s Basketball Tournament Championship.

Colorado, you can have Deion Sanders. I hope he enjoys Boulder which he claims has “no crime,” and I hope the university enjoys him until he moves on to a job with more money and prestige and says that he was instructed by God to do so. I also hope that Jackson State continues to thrive sans the man with the gold whistle who doesn’t allow earrings in meetings. Another HBCU — Howard University — is seeing a surge in athletic success. It has been pursued away from the spotlight, but recent success has been plentiful.

Howard is a university with a history of producing stars. Sure I’m a biased alumnus who is high on school pride with the Bison in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament for the second time in the program’s history, but facts are facts. Howard produces Academy Award winners, MacArthur Genius Grant recipients, civil rights leaders like Kwame Ture a.k.a Stokely Carmichael who stood with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. but also challenged him on certain topics, the current vice president of the United States of America, and many more highly respected individuals.

Sports stars few and far between at Howard

Of course, sports are expensive, and as an HBCU Howard doesn’t have the athletic budget of a Power 5 university. However, even when the majority of star Black athletes played at Howard, they struggled athletically. Jackson State has four Pro Football Hall of Famers, but per Sports Reference the only player from Howard to make a Pro Bowl is Antoine Bethea. (He made three to be exact.) Howard Men’s Basketball coach Kenny Blakeney (pictured) is from Washington and said that he couldn’t name five players in the history of the program during his introductory press conference in 2019.

Turning its athletics program around

In recent years, Howard has been slowly but surely turning its athletics program around. A major move took place in 2015 with the hiring of Ty Grace as head coach of the women’s basketball team. Before the start of that season, Kery Davis was hired as athletic director.

Last season Grace’s squad won the MEAC tournament — Howard’s first conference title in two decades — and was also victorious in a First-Four game. This season they advanced to the MEAC title game again and almost pulled off a spectacular comeback against Norfolk State.

Howard is the only HBCU with swimming and diving teams. In February the men took home the Northeast Conference Championship for the first time in three decades, breaking 16 records in the process. The women finished fourth but still broke 15 records. Miles Simon from the men’s side won Most Outstanding Swimmer and Jordan Walker from the women won Most Outstanding Diver.

Last spring the softball team took home a MEAC Championship. Stephen Curry helped get the golf team back to Division I competition in 2021 and the program won a conference championship in its first season. The football team also tied for a conference championship in the fall. It was their first conference title since 1993.

And on Thursday at 2 p.m. EST, Blakeney’s Bison men will take on Kansas in a first-round tournament matchup. Howard’s last appearance was in 1992 when Blakeney won a National Championship as a freshman at Duke. In his fourth season as head coach, Howard finished 11-3 in conference play and 21-11 on the season. The Bison defeated back-to-back MEAC Champion Norfolk State on Saturday in a 65-64 thriller.

Their 3-point shooting had failed them most of the day, but Marcus Dockery sent a rainbow through the net while double-covered to keep hopes alive with 13 seconds remaining in the game. A Norfolk State turnover and two clutch free throws from Jelani Willams — a transfer from Penn — later and Howard punched its ticket for the first time since before tickets largely went digital. The program even received some love before the tournament from the NBA when the Milwaukee Bucks were in town to play the Washington Wizards.

A school that has almost always been more likely to produce a Stan Verrett than a Bethea has reached one of college sports’ most prolific events. It didn’t need a Pro Football Hall of Famer filming a documentary for Amazon Prime while coaching either. Just some new blood that was committed to taking the daily steps to turn the program around.

So for all of the classic literature, impactful advocates, talented artists, and world leaders that Howard produces, it’s now known for something else.

Howard has proved that it can be a sports school too.

What in the actual hell are the Las Vegas Raiders smoking?

Darren Waller

Finding advantages other teams don’t have is a key to success in the NFL. If it’s a rare every-down running back, keep him and pay him. Could you imagine one of the NFL teams with an elite quarterback shipping them away no matter what assets they receive in return? Then you have what the Las Vegas Raiders reportedly did on Tuesday, sending former Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller to the New York Giants for only a third-round pick (No. 100 overall) in this year’s draft. A clear advantage pushed from coast to coast so you can select someone on Day 2 of the NFL Draft? Pass whatever weed you have to me because that logic is mind-numbing.

Waller recently got married this month too. His wife, Las Vegas Aces star Kelsey Plum, can now celebrate her first weeks as Mrs. Waller sorting through the crazy real-estate market of New York City, well, East Rutherford, New Jersey. Maybe that’ll make things easier so you don’t pay $5000 a month in rent for a 700 sq. ft. apartment with a private bathroom across from an old man who lets his cat pee in the hallway. Now that’s what I call luxury. Waller’s entrance to the Giants confirms that the NFC East is the best division in football. The Super Bowl runner-up, an always-solid Cowboys’ squad, the Commanders, who’ve had a great offseason by bringing Eric Bieniemy into the fold as offensive coordinator, and now New York makes a big splash to keep last year’s momentum going.

As far as what Waller leaves behind in Las Vegas, it’s far from paradise. The Broncos were the NFL’s most disappointing team last season but they won’t stay down for long with Sean Payton at the helm. And how do Raiders fans think they can compete with the Chargers or Chiefs? They’re light years better than y’all. One of the only foundational pieces Las Vegas had to build for a better future will now play his home games across the street from the second biggest mall in America. Why would Josh Jacobs commit his future to Sin City? To get handed the ball by Jimmy Garoppolo? To receive blocking from a shoddy offensive line? To finish fourth in the AFC West for the foreseeable future? Sounds like a blast!

It’s so much easier in the NFL to crumble than to build. Look at how the Commanders have fared over the last three decades, never making it past the NFC Divisional Round since a Super Bowl win 31 years ago with their Grampa Simpson rotation of quarterbacks. By trading away Waller, Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler admits he’s not interested in having Las Vegas win anything, anytime soon. The pick the Raiders received for Waller was the exact one the Giants got, along with a sixth-round selection, by trading away 2021 first-round pick Kadarius Toney to the Chiefs last October. It makes New York look a little less stupid for making that deal five months ago to pretty much acquire Waller in place of the now-Super Bowl champion. The Raiders however need to put down that blunt and actually try to compete.

We’re committed to covering news about the Raiders, as well as all of the NFL. For more about Las Vegas and others, check out our Raiders team page.

Get ready to hate the 49ers’ defense again in 2023

The image choices for this story were pretty much just a collection of photos of Javon Hargrave laying on top of all your favorite quarterbacks. Except for this one.

The San Francisco 49ers hit the jackpot, reportedly agreeing on a deal with Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave. Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, this deal is worth $84 million over four years. That’s a nice pay increase for the Pro Bowler while the rich get richer in San Francisco.

Hargrave was a huge piece to the Eagles’ Super Bowl puzzle last season, recording 11 sacks (tied for second on the team), 10 tackles for loss, and 60 total tackles. He was selected to his first Pro Bowl in 2021 with 7.5 sacks. With Hargrave helping to anchor the middle, Philly had one of the best defenses in the league.


How will Hargrave impact the 49ers’ defense?

Now Hargrave goes from one of the best to the best defense in many major statistical categories last year for the Niners. It’s funny how the former third-round pick has elected to join the team his Eagles beat in the NFC title game a couple of months ago. Had the 49ers not had so many issues at the quarterback position, that game may have played out much differently.


San Francisco and Philadelphia ranked No. 1 & 2 in the NFL in total yards allowed last year. The Niners finished the year ranked first in points allowed at just over 16 per game. Philly was eighth in this category. SF went on a hellacious run over the second half of the season, winning 10 in a row to end the ‘22 campaign. Including the postseason, the 49ers reeled off 12 straight victories before falling to the Eagles in Philly for the NFC championship.

Acquiring Mr. Hargrave is like a cherry on top of your ice cream sundae. You might have been fine without the cherry, but you’re happy to have it once it’s there. San Francisco’s defense was great last year, and now they should be even better. And now that the Jimmy Garoppolo saga is over, with him reportedly signing to the Las Vegas Raiders, the team can finally move on, offensively. There could be a legit QB battle in 49ers training camp between Brock Purdy and Trey Lance, with both returning from injury. Plus, the offense is losing tackle Mike McGlinchey to Denver, but they’ll surely find an adequate replacement.


Defensively, the Niners look like they’ll be ranked toward the top of the league and likely will be one of the best once again. Even in losing DeMeco Ryans to a head coaching position in Houston and bringing Steve Wilkes on to replace him was a sneaky good move. Wilkes proved in Carolina that he deserved another shot as head coach, but that didn’t happen. He’ll slide into the DC role in SF, and they shouldn’t miss a beat. San Francisco is set up and ready to win now, especially on defense. If they can keep one QB on the field, there isn’t any reason why they can’t represent the NFC in Super Bowl LVIII.

For all the latest on the 49ers and Eagles, check out our team pages.

The sports figures we’ve lost in 2023

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Here is where we look at some of the athletes and sports figures we’ve lost in 2023. That includes hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Hull, Heisman Trophy winner Charles White, former MLB catcher and broadcaster Tim McCarver, former Minnesota Vikings coach Bud Grant, soccer legend Just Fontaine, college basketball announcer Billy Packer, pro wrestlers Jay Briscoe and Lanny Poffo, former Boston Celtic Chris Ford, and A’s infielder Sal Bando.

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Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Bud Grant died, the Minnesota Vikings, who he guided to four Super Bowl appearances, announced Saturday. He was 95.

Grant was the 1969 NFL Coach of the Year after leading the Vikings to a 27-7 win over the Cleveland Browns in the final championship game before the NFL-AFL merger. He became the first coach to lose four Super Bowls.

Before joining Minnesota, he coached the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL, after playing for the team for three seasons. Grant won four Gray Cups, was the 1965 CFL Coach of the Year, and was later inducted into the Canadian Football HoF.

Grant was drafted by both the Philadelphia Eagles and the then-Minneapolis Lakers, in the 1950 NFL and NBA drafts, respectively. He was a reserve on the Lakers’ 1950 championship team, and spent two seasons with the Eagles. He played defensive end his first year before switching to wide receiver.

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Former NFL player and scout Dick Haley died Friday. He was 85.

“We lost an amazing football mind and a better man with the passing of Dick Haley,” Steelers President Art Rooney II said. “He was a valuable part of this franchise for 23 years, the first 4 of those as a player and the final 19 as a member of the Player Personnel Department.

“Dick played an instrumental role in our unprecedented success in the 1970s during the second part of his career,” added Rooney. “He developed a unique eye for talent, and he ultimately helped identify and draft many of the players that allowed us to win four Super Bowls during that decade. My condolences go out to the entire Haley family during this difficult time.”

Haley was drafted in the ninth round of the 1959 NFL Draft. He played cornerback for Washington, Minnesota, and Pittsburgh. Haley recorded 14 interceptions and scored two TDs.

During his tenure as the Steelers’ director of player personnel — from 1971 to 1990 — Pittsburgh won four Super Bowls (IX, X, XIII, and XIV). Haley is in the franchise’s Hall of Fame.

His son, Todd, was a longtime NFL coach.

Len Dawson (l.) and Otis Taylor

Former Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Otis Taylor died Thursday. He was 80.

Taylor was a two-time AFL champ (1966 and 1969), and one-time Super Bowl champ (IV). A three-time Pro Bowler, he racked up 7,306 yards and 57 TDs in his career. Taylor had two 1,000-yard seasons.

He died seven months after his former QB and friend Len Dawson.

“My family and I would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to Otis’ wife Regina, his sister Odell and the entire Taylor family as we mourn his passing,” Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said in a statement. “He was one of the most dynamic receivers of his era, and he helped revolutionize the position. Off the field, he was kind and dedicated to his community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. Otis’ legacy will live forever.”

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French footballer Just Fontaine died at 89, his former club Stade de Reims announced on Wednesday. The striker scored 13 goals for France in the 1958 World Cup.

Fontaine scored 21 total goals in 30 appearances for Les Blues — whom he later managed in 1967 — and more than 200 club goals for USM Casablanca, Nice, and Reims. In his post-playing days, Fontaine also managed the famed French club PSG for three seasons between 1973-76, and Morocco — where he was born — from 1979-81.

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The Carolina Panthers announced that former owner Jerry Richardson died Wednesday at 86. Richardson was awarded the team in 1993. He owned the franchise from its inaugural season in 1995 until 2018 when he sold the team after an investigation by the NFL found him guilty of workplace misconduct, which included sexual harassment and the use of a racial slur.

David Tepper, who bought the team in 2018 for $2.27 billion, said in a statement, “Jerry Richardson’s contributions to professional football in the Carolinas are historic. With the arrival of the Panthers in 1995, he changed the landscape of sports in the region and gave the NFL fans here a team to call their own. …”

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Former Baltimore Colts defensive lineman Fred Miller died Sunday at the age of 82. He spent his entire career with the team, who drafted him out of LSU in the 7th round of the NFL Draft. The three-time Pro Bowler was a member of Baltimore’s 1968 NFL title and Super Bowl V-winning squads.

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The world received some very sad news when we learned that legendary English football commentator John Motson, whose career spanned decades (and included very long stints in video games), had passed away at the age of 77.

Even the most casual English-speaking football fan will know his work, regardless of whether they knew his name or not. Motson was one of the most endearing commentators in the sport, beginning his career on radio in the 1960s before moving to TV shortly after. He didn’t retire until 2018, having covered 10 World Cups, 10 European Championships and, incredibly, over 2,500 games in total, on both TV and radio, domestically and internationally.

-Luke Plunkett, Kotaku

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Billie Joe “Red” McCombs, a Texas businessman who once owned the San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets, and Minnesota Vikings, died Sunday, his family announced.

“Red was a visionary entrepreneur who touched many lives and impacted our community in immeasurable ways,” the statement from the family says. “But to us he was always, first and foremost, ‘Dad’ or ‘Poppop.’ We mourn the loss of a Texas icon.”

McCombs bought the Dallas Chaparrals of the ABA, relocated the franchise to San Antonio — becoming the Spurs — and helped get the team into the NBA during the 1976 ABA-NBA merger.

He owned the Nuggets for a short period in the 1980s, and owned the Vikings from 1998-2005.

McCombs, a co-founder of Clear Channel Communications (later iHeartCommunications), was 95.

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Former EPL forward Christian Atsu died in Turkey during the recent earthquake.

“Atsu’s lifeless body was found under the rubble. At the moment, his belongings are still being removed,” his manager Murat Uzunmehmet told private news agency DHA.

At the club level, Atsu played for Chelsea, Newcastle, and most recently Hatayspor, and internationally with Ghana. He was 31.

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Former MLB All-Star and two-time World Series champion Tim McCarver died, according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

McCarver spent 21 years in the bigs, which included 12 years with the Red Birds, and stints with the Phillies, Expos, and Red Sox. A left-handed hitting catcher, he finished second in the MVP voting in 1967 after batting .295/.369/.452 with 14 home runs and 69 RBI. He won his second ring with the club that year; the first was in 1964.

After retiring from baseball in 1980, McCarver became an Emmy Award-winning broadcaster who called 24 World Series.

The St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer was 81.

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Former professional wrestler and promoter Jerry Jarrett died Tuesday. The father of WWE Hall of Famer Jeff Jarrett, was 80. The cause of death is unknown. The elder Jarrett, along with Jerry “The King” Lawler, created the Continental Wrestling Association, which later became the USWA after a merger with World Class Championship Wrestling. Jerry and Jeff co-founded TNA in 2002.

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Former NFL lineman Conrad Dobler died Monday. The 10-year pro was dubbed “football’s dirtiest player” — accused of punching, spitting on, and kicking opposing players. Dobler was a three-time Pro Bowler. The 6-foot-3, 234-pound guard played for the Cardinals — who drafted him out of Wyoming in the 1972 NFL Draft — Saints, and Bills.

“He was the kind of tough, physical and fierce player that you love to line up with as a teammate and hate to line up against as an opponent. On the field, Conrad was a big reason for the success of the Cardiac Cards of the 1970s,’’ Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill said in a statement.

Dobler was 72.

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Washington Nationals owner Ted Lerner died Feb. 12, the team announced. Lerner, a billionaire real estate developer, was 97. His family purchased the team from MLB in 2006 for $450 million. The Nationals won a World Series in 2019.

Lanny Poffo (l.) with The Nasty Boys

“The Genius” has passed. Professional wrestler Lanny Poffo died on Thursday at 68 due to unknown causes. Longtime friend “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan announced Poffo’s passing on social media. Poffo was the real-life younger brother of “The Macho Man” Randy Savage, who died in 2011. Poffo’s last appearance in professional wrestling came at the 2018 event “All In” while his final showing with the WWE was to posthumously induct Savage into its Hall of Fame. Outside of wrestling, Poffo published two books and was a motivational speaker.

“Arriving in WWE in 1985 alongside his brother, “Leaping” Lanny Poffo was one of the first high-flyers in WWE. While he achieved some success as a fan favorite reading his own poetry and throwing Frisbees to the crowd, he reached new heights as The Genius while managing Mr. Perfect,” WWE wrote on its website.

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Bobby Beathard, an exec who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a contributor in 2018, died on Monday. His son Casey told The Washington Post that his father, 86, died from complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

He was part of the front office for four Super Bowl-winning teams — two in Miami, and two in Washington.

After serving as a scout for the Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons, Beathard was director of player personnel for the Miami Dolphins from 1972 — when the team went undefeated — until 1977. He was the GM of the then-Redskins from 1978-88, hiring coach Joe Gibbs, and drafting Hall of Famers Art Monk, Russ Grimm, and Darrell Green.

He also selected notorious draft bust Ryan Leaf as the Chargers’ GM.

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Bobby Hull, the hockey Hall of Famer known as “The Golden Jet” died, his former team the Chicago Blackhawks announced on Monday.

The winger, whose NHL career lasted from 1958 until 1980, was 84.

Hull played in 1,063 games for the Blackhawks, Winnipeg Jets, and Hartford Whalers, tallying 1,170 points A 12-time All-star, he won a Stanley Cup in 1961. Hull is Chicago’s all-time leading goal scorer with 604, including 98 game-winners.

Hull was inducted into hockey’s Hall of Fame in 1983. His son, Brett, was enshrined in 2009. They are the only father-and-son duo to each win the Hart Trophy.

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College basketball announcer Billy Packer died Thursday, according to a tweet from his son, Mark. He was 82.

During his broadcast career, Packer worked 34 Final Fours for both NBC and CBS. He was a color analyst or play-by-play guy for each tournament between 1975-2008.

Mark told The Associated Press that his dad had been hospitalized in Charlotte for the past three weeks and had several medical issues, and ultimately succumbed to kidney failure.

“He really enjoyed doing the Final Fours,” Mark Packer told AP. “He timed it right. Everything in life is about timing. The ability to get involved in something that, frankly, he was going to watch anyway, was a joy to him. And then college basketball just sort of took off with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird and that became, I think, the catalyst for college basketball fans to just go crazy with March Madness.”

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Longtime Portland Trailblazers play-by-play announcer Bill Schonely died Saturday. He was 93.

Schonely served as the team’s play-by-play guy from its inaugural season in 1970 until 1998. Known as “The Schwonz,” he coined the term “Rip City.”

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Former MLB infielder and executive Sal Bando died Friday after a battle with cancer. Bando spent 16 years in the majors, including 11 in Oakland, winning three World Series trophies with the A’s in the early ‘70s.

The four-time All-Star finished his career with the Brewers, later serving as Milwaukee’s GM from 1991-99.

“It is with a heavy heart, the Bando family is sad to announce the passing of its beloved husband and father, Sal, who last night lost his battle with cancer that began over five years ago,” the Bando family said in a statement on Saturday. “Sandy, Sal’s wife of 54 years, and sons Sal Jr., Sonny and Stef, send their love to family, friends and fans who mourn the loss of a humble and faithful man.”

Bando batted .254, slugged 242 home runs, and is a member of the A’s Hall of Fame. Outside of baseball, he had a cameo on a 2006 episode of “The Simpsons.” He was 78.

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MLS defender Anton Walkes died in a boating accident Thursday. He was 25.

Walkes was a member of Charlotte FC, who drafted him in the 2021 MLS Expansion Draft. The England native previously played for Tottenham, Portsmouth, and Atlanta United.

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One-half of the best professional wrestling tag team of all-time to never get a chance in a major promotion died Tuesday night. Jay Briscoe was involved in a fatal car crash in Laurel, Delaware. Briscoe, whose real name was Jamin Pugh, was 38.

Delaware State Police were investigating the fatal two-car crash where a 27-year-old female driver veered into oncoming traffic and collided head-on with Briscoe’s truck. The female driver of the other vehicle was wearing her seatbelt, while Briscoe was not. Both were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Briscoe’s 12- and 9-year-old daughters were in the truck at the time of the crash and both wearing their seatbelts. Both were admitted to a local hospital in critical condition.

Briscoe was most widely known for his work alongside his brother, Mark Briscoe (real name Mark Pugh), as two of the founding fathers of Ring of Honor. The Briscoe Brothers were 13-time ROH World Tag Team Champions.

(Read more here.)

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Former NBA player and coach Chris Ford died, his family announced through his former team, the Boston Celtics.

Ford was a member of the C’s 1981 NBA championship squad. He is credited with recording the sport’s first-ever 3-pointer.

He is one of four former Celtics to have won championships as both a player and coach, joining Bill Russell, Tom Heinsohn, and K.C. Jones. Ford was 74.

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Former three-time All-Star Frank Thomas, who was with the New York Mets for their inaugural season, died on Monday, the team announced. He was 93.

For his career, Thomas batted .266 with 286 home runs. The OF/3B also played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs, the then-Milwaukee Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, and Houston Astros.

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Former Heisman Trophy winner Charles White died Wednesday. The star USC running back, who rushed for a still-standing school record 6,245 yards, was 64. The cause of death was cancer, according to the school.

White was Rose Bowl MVP in 1979 — the year he won the Heisman, and several other awards — and 1980. He was a key member of USC’s 1978 national title-winning squad.

White played nine seasons in the NFL with the Browns and Rams, leading the league in rushing in 1987.

A College Football Hall of Famer, White told Sports Illustrated that he smoked marijuana “almost daily” while at Southern Cal and tried cocaine a few weeks prior to the 1977 Rose Bowl. He dealt with drug and alcohol abuse and eventually sold his Heisman. 

“Charles White was one of the all-time great Trojans,” USC athletic director Mike Bohn said.

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Former striker for Chelsea, Juventus, and Italy’s men’s national team, Gianluca Vialli died Friday after a battle with cancer. He was 58.

“I know that I probably will not die of old age, I hope to live as long as possible, but I feel much more fragile than before,” Vialli had said in a Netflix documentary.

He scored 167 career club goals, and 16 with Gli Azzurri. Vialli was on the Italy squad that finished third at the 1990 World Cup.

Vialli also spent time as manager of Chelsea, and Watford, and as an assistant with the Italian national team. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017.

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Nate Colbert, the San Diego Padres’ all-time home runs leader, died on Jan. 5. He was 76.

The slugging first baseman joined the then-expansion squad in 1969, and was a three-time All-Star with the club.

During his time with San Diego, Colbert hit 163 of his career 173 round trippers.

Colbert spent 12 seasons in the majors with the Houston Astros, Padres, Detroit Tigers, Montreal Expos, and Oakland A’s, and also spent time in left field.

He finished eighth in MVP voting in 1972.

“An original member of the Padres in 1969, Nate was a trailblazer in the San Diego sports community. He was a three-time National League All-Star in brown and gold and became the Padres’ all-time home run king (163), a record that still stands today,” team chairman Peter Seidler said. 

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Former Texas Longhorns baseball coach Cliff Gustafson died on Jan. 2 at 91.

He guided the Longhorns to two College World Series titles in 1975 and 1983. Gustafson compiled a 1,466–377–2 record with Texas, and won 11 Southwestern Conference tournament titles. He was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Several of his players went on to the majors, most notably Roger Clemens.

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Dubbed the “Father of Instant Replay,” former NFL official Art McNally died on Jan. 1. The Pro Football Hall of Famer — the first official inducted — was 97. He was a field judge for the 1959 season before becoming a referee for the next eight years.

McNally was the NFL’s Supervisor of Officials from 1968 until his 1991 retirement. He introduced instant replay to the league.