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Police: Woman stole 1969 Preakness Cup from South Florida storage unit

The 1969 Preakness Cup trophy, the prize of a major thoroughbred horse race won by a stallion that nearly landed a Triple Crown, was among the items an alleged looter grabbed from a storage unit in South Florida, police said.

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Alicia Elaine Murphy, 59, of Boca Raton, faces several charges of burglary and grand theft. Investigators said she cut the locks on at least 12 storage units at a CubeSmart in Delray Beach and took electronics, household items, musical instruments and taxidermy.

And one storage unit had more than $300,000 worth of goods, including family heirlooms and memorabilia from the 1969 Preakness Stakes. Majestic Prince, a thoroughbred colt, won the race that year, two weeks after winning the Kentucky Derby.

Murphy sent the Preakness Cup, and other mementos including gilded horseshoes, to an auction house in New York that specializes in sports collectibles, police said.

The auction company had given Murphy a $15,000 advance on the cup before detectives arrested her Wednesday.

Police value Murphy’s total haul at between $350,000 and $400,000, the report says.

Murphy told detectives that she rented a storage unit at CubeSmart for 24-hour access, and routinely broke into other units using bolt cutters. She rented a large vehicle and hired laborers at Home Depot to help load trucks with stolen merchandise, according to the police report.

Murphy broke into the lockers at night when workers weren’t present, police said.

Murphy has been convicted of several felonies since the early 1990s, including cocaine possession, fraud, grand theft and forgery, according to state records. Most recently, Murphy served eight months in the state prison in 2005 on charges of grand theft and fraud.

The lucrative horse race memorabilia belonged to Francine McMahon, a Delray Beach resident whose father, Canadian industrialist Frank McMahon, owned Majestic Prince, according to news reports. Frank McMahon helped develop lucrative gas and crude oil pipelines in Canada.

Majestic Prince nearly won the Triple Crown, a rare feat in thoroughbred racing earned when a horse wins three prestigious races in a six-week span — Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Only twelve horses have won the Triple Crown, the last in 2015 by American Pharoah.

Majestic Prince was the first horse to enter the Belmont Stakes undefeated in 1969. But he had injured a ligament in his right front leg before the race, according to news reports. McMahon had wanted to rest “The Prince” as media called the champion thoroughbred, but changed his mind.

Majestic Prince finished second by 5½ lengths to Arts and Letters in the Belmont and never raced again.

Little Caesars honoring bracket-busting win with free pizza

If you’re crying in your beer after the University of Maryland-Baltimore County became the ultimate bracket buster in the NCAA Tournament on Friday night, take heart. There is a free pizza waiting to ease your sorrow.

Little Caesars is honoring UMBC’s 74-54 victory against Virginia -- the first time a No. 16 seed has defeated a No. 1 seed -- with a free lunch combo on Monday, April 2.

The $5 Hot-N-Ready Lunch Combo will include four slices of pepperoni pizza and one 20-ounce Pepsi product per family, the company said in its promotional release. Orders must be made between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. local time. An important point: the order must be placed by 1 p.m. The rules in the promotion state that even if you were in line at 1 p.m., if the order has not been placed it will not be honored. In other words, arrive early. 

Here are the details of the deal. You can read the full terms and conditions here.

Tom Crean: Georgia basketball is a ‘gold mine destination’

Tom Crean-Georgia basketball

ATHENS — Tom Crean instantly brings star power to the Georgia basketball program. Star power, but a reputation for winning that had lagged. It was clear from the moment when he was introduced as its coach on Friday – a moment that turned into a fillibuster of an opening statement – that Crean hopes to win big again, and do so at a program that hasn’t traditionally done that.

“The goal is to make this one of the most driven, energetic programs in the country,” Crean said. “That can compete and play for national championship. To play for conference championships. To compete for anything that’s put in front of it.”

This was Crean’s first time in Athens since 1990, when he came for a game as an assistant coach at Western Kentucky. Crean took the job sight unseen after an interview on Thursday.

Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity, introducing Crean, said the coach had referred to the job as a “gold mine destination.”

In his opening remarks, Crean said the “foundation” of success in Georgia basketball was there, based on the school itself and its success in other sports. he alluded to football, and the fact he’s married to the sister of Jim and John Harbaugh.

“It all falls under the umbrella of tremendous excellence that’s a part of this university,” Crean said. “I’ve paid attention from afar. I’ve been a fan from afar. When you’re a sports fan like I am, you’re spending a lot of attention on more than just basketball.”

Crean, who will turn 52 next week, was introduced one year to the day that he was let go as the coach at Indiana. Crean pointed that out in his opening statement, getting choked up as he discussed the impact it had on him and his family. Crean was there for nine years, after spending nine years at Marquette. He has a career winning percentage of .606, took Marquette to a Final Four and Indiana to three Sweet 16s.

Nine years appears to be a theme: Mark Fox was fired last Saturday after nine years as Georgia’s coach, finishing with five straight winning seasons. But there were only two NCAA tournament trips, which proved to be the undoing for Fox.

This story will be updated.

The post Tom Crean: Georgia basketball is a ‘gold mine destination’ appeared first on DawgNation.

Augie Garrido, college baseball’s winningest coach, dead at 79

Augie Garrido, the whimsical coach with the small-ball philosophy who led Texas baseball to two national championships and won more games than any other coach in college baseball history, died Thursday morning in California. He was 79.

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Garrido had been hospitalized there since suffering a stroke last weekend.

Garrido ruled the Texas dugout from 1997 until 2016, having previously coached at Cal State Fullerton, Illinois, Cal Poly and San Francisco State. He amassed an 824-427-2 record with the Longhorns, leading Texas to national titles in 2002 and 2005. He won five championships in all, having won with Cal State Fullerton in 1979, 1984 and 1995.

With a career record of 1,975-951-9, Garrido is the all-time winningest coach in Division I baseball history.

“Augie was a giant in our game,” Texas head coach David Pierce said in a statement. “His impact on baseball, on the Forty Acres, and on me and so many others will live on forever. My thoughts are with Jeannie, his friends, his family, and all those who were lucky enough to have met him, played for him, or learned from him. His presence will be sorely missed but his legacy will never be forgotten.”

Response to Garrido’s passing from former players and coaching peers poured in from around the country.

“Pressure is a choice, the world treats winners different than losers, time is the ultimate game, passion will persuade reality,” former Texas pitcher Huston Street tweeted. “Coach you’ve been a genius for so many of us. A friend, our charming second Dad we all thought was just so cool. I love you forever.”

Said longtime Rice coach Wayne Graham: “It is a sad time because I don’t think anyone did more for college baseball and baseball in general than Augie Garrido. He knew the particulars of the game better than anyone.”

Said Oklahoma coach Skip Johnson, who spent 10 years as a Garrido assistant: “I couldn’t have had a better mentor in the game. We still talked at least once a week. When I got the head coaching job here at OU, I told him I wanted to carry on his legacy with all the things he taught me.”

Said former football coach Mack Brown: “He really made you think, made you laugh and always was so much fun to be around. He was truly a special man, one of a kind.”

Garrido set the career wins record in 2003 when Texas toppled top-ranked Florida State for his 1,428th win. Eleven years later, he broke the record for all collegiate coaches in a 5-1 win over Texas State. Florida State’s Mike Martin, who has coached the Seminoles since 1980, could break Garrido’s career record this season.

“College baseball and the world lost one of the finest men in our coaching profession,” Martin said in a statement. “Augie dedicated his life to making young men better people. He will be deeply missed by myself and many others.”

Texas basketball coach Shaka Smart, in Nashville for the Longhorns’ first-round game Friday against Nevada in the NCAA Tournament, called Garrido a mentor and said he was heartbroken.

“I don’t know what to say. I loved Augie,” Smart said. “He taught me so much in the time we were together. He taught me so much about the fact that what we were doing in our case is so much bigger than basketball, and in his case was so much bigger than baseball.”

While at Texas, Garrido coached 27 All-Americans and 102 players who went on to play professionally. Each of the 11 Longhorns that were selected in last year’s MLB draft were recruited by Garrido. In 2016, he told the Statesman that Street was the best Longhorn he had ever coached.

“What might seem exceptional for one person was very normal for him, to be able to perform and be successful in different environments,” Garrido said of Street, who has 324 saves in 13 MLB seasons. “His fearless approach to throwing to the mitt and trusting his teammates to do the rest — he came here with that.”

Texas won 18 of its last 20 games in 2002, with the final one being a 12-6 win over South Carolina to win the national championship at the College World Series. Led by pitchers Justin Simmons and Street as well as Tim Moss’ and Dustin Majewski’s All-American bats, the Longhorns went 57-15 and secured the school’s first baseball title since 1983.

Three years later, Garrido led UT back to the winner’s circle. Following a runner-up finish in 2004, Texas closed out its 2005 campaign with seven straight wins. The Longhorns (56-16) beat Florida 6-2 for the crown.

Texas relieved Garrido of his duties following the 2016 season. The Longhorns had reached the College World Series in 2014, but the program posted losing records in conference play the next two years. Texas went 25-32 in 2016; Garrido’s final game was an 8-2 loss to TCU at the Big 12 tournament.

Following his departure, Garrido had served as a special assistant to the athletic director. But he was occasionally still seen at Texas games. Last month, he and legendary LSU coach Skip Bertman threw out the ceremonial first pitches ahead of the two schools’ first meeting since the Tigers beat the Longhorns for the 2009 NCAA title.

“This is a very, very sad day,” UT athletic director Chris Del Conte said in a statement. “We lost one of the greatest coaches of all time, a truly special Longhorn Legend and college athletics icon. There will never be another Augie Garrido. He was a once-in-a-lifetime personality whose impact on Texas Athletics, collegiate baseball and the student-athletes he coached extended far beyond the playing field.”

He was born August Edmun Garrido, Jr. on Feb. 6, 1939, in Vallejo, Calif. Garrido’s first appearance in the College World Series was as a Fresno State outfielder in 1959. After three years with the Bulldogs, he spent six years in the Cleveland Indians’ farm system.

In 1966, Garrido landed his first coaching job at Sierra High School in Tollhouse, Calif. Three years later, his college coaching career began when he took over the program at San Francisco State University.

Garrido is survived by his wife, Jeannie, and daughter, Lisa.

'Gonzaga Grandma' celebration goes viral

March Madness has only just begun, and already there is an internet sensation: the Gonzaga Grandma.

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Fourth-seeded Gonzaga squeaked past UNC-Greensboro 68-64 Thursday afternoon and did not clinch the victory until freshman guard Zach Norvell Jr. hit a 3-point shot with 20.8 seconds remaining to snap a 64-64 tie.

After the basket, the TNT cameras caught an elderly woman in the Gonzaga cheering section celebrating by pointing her arms to the sky, mouthing the words “Thank you, Father.”

It was a heavenly way for the Bulldogs to avoid an upset. The Gonzaga Grandma’s reaction quickly went viral:

Family that found 7 rare Ty Cobb baseball cards find another one

The T206 baseball card set, issued from 1909 to 1911, has been called “the Monster” by collectors. Two years ago, a family in a rural Southern town discovered seven rare Ty Cobb cards from that set while cleaning their great-grandfather’s house and sold them for nearly $3 million.

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Now, that family has made another monster discovery.

An eighth card of the Detroit Tigers’ Hall of Famer was found in another part of the great-grandfather’s house, and the family has decided to keep this one, Sports Collectors Daily reported.

“The family’s intent is to keep this latest addition as a memento,” according to Rick Snyder, owner of MINT State in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Snyder initially reviewed all eight cards before sending them to be graded, according to a news release from Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA). “It’s a family heirloom that reminds them of an event that changed their lives forever.”

The rarity of the card, which was originally included with packs of cigarettes during the first decade of the 20th century, is determined by the advertisement on the back. It reads “Ty Cobb King of the Smoking Tobacco World,” and before the “Lucky 7 Find” find two years ago, only 15 of these cards were known to have existed.

Another Cobb card, called “The Matchbox Cobb,” was discovered last year by a Georgia family. The family was cleaning out their father’s sock drawer when they found the Cobb card in a matchbox. The card was graded PSA 1 and sold in an SCP Auctions sale on Nov. 4, for $100,000.

The latest Cobb card discovery brings the overall total to 24. Like the others, this card was sent to PSA, the Newport Beach, California-based grading company said in a statement. A grade of PSA 2, or good, was assigned to the card. The Lucky 7 cards ranged in grade from PSA 1.5 to PSA 4.5, Sports Collectors Daily reported.

The family, which still wants to remain anonymous, found the original seven cards as they were cleaning their great-grandfather’s home. They were at the bottom of a rumpled, torn paper bag that was on the floor. When the family inspected the bag, they found old postcards and the seven Cobb cards, lying face down, Sports Collectors Daily reported.

PSA said the eighth card was discovered between two books inside an old, dusty box. The card was among clothing, eyeglasses, makeup and several tobacco tins.

“The initial discovery, it was a real shock to them,” PSA President Joe Orlando told The Associated Press. “They put the cleaning on hold for a while.

“Later, they knew what they were looking for, and in a dusty box between two books, there was another one,” said Orlando, whose company verified the new card and put a $250,000 value on it. “It falls under the category of ‘you can’t make this stuff up.’”

The T206 set contains 525 different cards with 16 tobacco-brand advertisement backs. This also contains a Honus Wagner card that is recognized as the “Holy Grail” of baseball cards.

Family members released a statement through MINT State, calling the find “unbelievable.”

“We are incredibly blessed and grateful to have found another card,” the statement read. “This is unbelievable. We would have never thought this would happen once, much less twice. It is an incredible feeling.”

“This just goes to prove that buried treasure still exists in the collectibles world, even well above sea level,” Orlando said in a statement through PSA.

WATCH: Tom Brady beats Stephen Colbert in beer-chugging contest 

Whether it’s playing football or chugging beer, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is a competitive guy.

>> Read more trending newsBrady was a guest on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" on Monday night, and when challenged by Colbert to slamming down a pint of beer, he did not hesitate.

Colbert was asking Brady what foods he missed eating as he maintains a strict, healthy diet, and he mentioned, “cheeseburgers, pizza, beer, things like that.”

“You don’t drink beer?” Colbert asked.

“Rarely,” Brady said.

But when Colbert pulled out two glasses of beer, the contest was real.

“I was a pretty good beer-chugger back in the day,” Brady said. “Are we competing?”

“I don’t know if you’re a competitive guy,” Colbert said.

He was. Brady dusted the talk show host easily.

O.J. Simpson's 'hypothetical’ confession causes social media furor

Nearly 24 years after the murder of O.J. Simpson’s ex-wife and her friend, the public continues to be alternately fascinated and revolted by the former NFL star-turned-actor’s actions on the night of June 12, 1994.

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Sunday night, Fox aired an interview that had been shelved since 2006. In the two-hour special, “O.J. Simpson: The Lost Confession?” Simpson “hypothetically” walks publisher Judith Regan through the events that culminated with the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

After a contentious and controversial trial, Simpson was acquitted of both murders on Oct. 3, 1995. On Sunday, an interview was aired in which he revealed details from what he called a hypothetical scenario that he also laid out in his book “If I Did It.”

The show caused a great deal of buzz on social media as posters used the hashtag #DidOJConfess during the broadcast, Fox reported.

“The interview was a narcissist cesspool,” JRM tweeted.

“Congress should pass legislation to exclude murder and other violent crimes from our double jeopardy laws and call it ‘Nicole's Law’ after Nicole Brown Simpson,” Aaron Clark tweeted.. 

Others remained convinced of Simpson’s innocence.

“OJ Simpson was innocent… the gloves didn’t fit,” Twitter poster Don Corleone wrote.

“Can they let this man Live please!” Sluweekay wrote.

Years later, the Simpson case remains a polarizing one. The audacity of the interview, even one that is now a dozen years old, remains stunning.

Here is the verdict from the trial, read by the jury foreman on Oct. 3, 1995:

Greek officials vow action after soccer team owner enters pitch with gun 

Sports officials in Greece are investigating the actions of one team owner, who apparently was carrying a gun when he charged onto the pitch to protest a disputed goal at the end of Sunday’s Greek Super League match, Reuters reported.

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Greece’s sports minister said Monday he was considering sanctions against Ivan Savvides, the owner of soccer team PAOK and one of the country’s richest men. Photographs and video footage showed Savvides, with what appeared to be revolver strapped to a holster on his waist, trying to intervene in the closing moments of a home match against rival AEK of Athens, Reuters reported.

After Fernando Varela scored from a header in the 89th minute, putting PAOK ahead 1-0, the referee signaled a score but then disallowed it for offside, ESPN reported. Savvides walked onto the pitch twice to protest the call. The first time he was wearing an overcoat; the second time, his coat was off and his holster was in plain view, Reuters reported. Savvides did not draw a weapon from the holster.

The goal was eventually allowed to stand and PAOK was awarded a 1-0 win, ESPN reported.

AEK officials claimed Savvidis threatened the referee during his trip onto the pitch.

"We suddenly saw a man on the pitch with bodyguards and everyone started saying it was the PAOK president and he went first to the referee and then to our bench and started threatening everyone," AEK Athens coach Manolo Jimenez told Radio Marca.

"We didn't fear for our lives initially, but then, when I saw the photographs of the gun, you think to yourself, 'What if he does something crazy and pulls it out?' It's true that initially we didn't know that he had a gun on his belt, but that could be a small thing as he could have authorization to carry one, but what isn't normal is that a president jumps onto the pitch to protest and threatens a referee.”

Images of “persons entering sports grounds armed” harm PAOK and soccer in general, Greek Deputy Culture and Sports Minister Georgios Vassiliadis said in a written statement Monday.

“Such extreme phenomena call for bold decisions,” Vassiliadis said.

Selection Sunday -- What to know

March Madness is upon us, and there will be a few new wrinkles when the 68-team field is announced Sunday evening.

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The “March Madness Selection Show” will begin at 6 p.m. ET, and for the first time in many years it will not be broadcast by CBS. TBS will get the honors this year, and also will televise the Final Four for the first time.

Some of the drama will end early. For the first time, teams that made the field will be announced in alphabetical order. That means that if your team is on the bubble and is not announced, then you can skip the rest of the show unless you are interested in the entire bracket and the seedings.

This is a departure from going through every bracket and listing the teams at an agonizingly slow pace.

Bracket seedings will follow, so get out your pens and put on your bracketology caps.

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