Final Audit: 1997 Was A Taxing Year For Phila. Fans

Posted: December 28, 1997

Another year, and time passes quickly, even if neither of the Eagles' top two quarterbacks ever did. There were no championships to celebrate in Philadelphia again in 1997, but one pro team came very close before losing, and the three others - well, they didn't.

People who touch our lives arrived and departed. Friendships were formed and disintegrated, and Derrick Coleman missed some time because of injury. All predictable, of course, but still worth remembering.

For instance:

JANUARY

1 - Penn State defeats Big Twelve champion Texas, 38-15, in the Fiesta Bowl to capture a fourth straight bowl victory and finish the season with an 11-2 record. ``I really liked this team. It was a very mature group, a very quiet group,'' coach Joe Paterno, 70, says of the team that will finish ranked seventh in both polls.

7 - Playing the best hockey in the NHL, the Flyers beat the Bruins, 7-3, to extend an unbeaten streak to 17 games (14-0-3).

7 - Rutgers-Camden wins against Bloomfield College, 77-72, to end a 117-game losing streak. ``We were creeping up on this night. We could have won before - some games we had been right there. . . . But the kids paid attention. They took something positive from every game,'' coach Ray Pace says.

8 - Derrick Coleman of the Sixers cuts the little finger of his left hand on the rim during a home loss to Dallas.

9 - The Phillies' Darren Daulton, who played just five games the previous season because of recurring knee problems, says he will report to spring training and try again. ``I'm going into camp, and I think I can play,'' Daulton says. ``And I'm going to try to catch. I don't know if I can yet, but that's what I'm going after.''

20 - Dick Vermeil, who took the Eagles to the Super Bowl for the only time in their history, ends his retirement from football to become coach and general manager of the St. Louis Rams. ``I feel like I've woken up in a dream,'' Vermeil says.

22 - Despite the absence of Coleman, the Sixers beat the Celtics, 127-125, in overtime to end a 13-game losing streak.

25 - Coleman, still out with the cut on his little finger, accompanies the Sixers to Detroit, his hometown, but neglects to attend the game against the Pistons. He is suspended for one game and fined $84,000.

31 - After playing one game, Coleman says that the finger needs more time to heal and announces that he will be out until after the all-star break. Coleman says his decision has nothing to do with the fine and suspension and shrugs when told that team physician Jack McPhilemy has given him medical clearance to play.

FEBRUARY

2 - St. Joseph's beats Rhode Island, 79-77, to improve to 12-5 and move into first place alone in the Atlantic Ten Conference. ``When you're halfway through the season, you know you're either a contender or a pretender,'' coach Phil Martelli says. ``I think we're a contender.''

3 - ``I'm overwhelmed,'' says Pete Carril, who is one of seven named to the Basketball Hall of Fame. In 29 years as coach at Princeton, Carril compiled a 525-273 record.

5 - Philly gym-rat extraordinaire Jim Lynam, 55, is fired as coach of the Washington Bullets. Lynam's NBA coaching record with the Clippers, Sixers and Bullets is 328-392.

8 - Can't we all just get along?

The Anti-Allen Iverson Movement reaches a shrill pitch during the NBA's all-star weekend.

It has already been a tough rookie season for Iverson, whose crossover dribble move was targeted early by league officials. With the 50 greatest players assembled for the all-star weekend, the old guard takes turns whipping the young, out-of-control Iverson.

``He plays like a runaway train,'' Elvin Hayes says.

Charles Barkley calls Iverson ``the playground rookie of the year.''

``The older players should just be patient,'' Iverson says, ``and let us learn like they learned when they came into the league.''

Introduced to the crowd in Cleveland's Gund Arena before the Rookie All-Star Game, Iverson is booed heartily. He piles up 19 points, nine assists, and a number of ovations before being named MVP of the game.

``I wish I wasn't singled out so much,'' Iverson says, ``but that's another obstacle I have to face.''

13 - After playing one game, Coleman is out again, with a contusion of the left hand and a strained right quadriceps in his leg.

15 - Daulton says he wants to play first base rather than catch. During the off-season, the Phils traded for 26-year-old first baseman Rico Brogna. ``Healthy competition is good,'' Brogna says.

17 - Nets win, Nets win, Nets win. The New Jersey Nets trade former 76ers center Shawn Bradley, along with Robert Pack, Khalid Reeves and Ed O'Bannon, to the Dallas Mavericks for Jimmy Jackson, Sam Cassell, Chris Gatling, George McCloud and Eric Montross.

18 - Coleman, whom the Sixers took in trade for Bradley, returns, but the Sixers lose for the 31st time in 36 games.

19 - Sixers coach Johnny Davis, accurately seeing the future, lashes out for the first time. ``You can keep changing the guy in the hot seat, but at some point you have to look down the whole bench. You've got to address the problem for what it is,'' the rookie coach says.

19 - Lenny Dykstra reports to spring training, saying, ``I'll tell you this, dude. I'm not done.''

20 - Sixers team president Pat Croce and general manager Brad Greenberg preside over a heated pregame gripe session with season-ticket holders. ``You've got to clean house because you have got a dirty, stinking house,'' a fan tells Croce.

24 - With former coaches Harry Litwack and Don Casey in attendance, Temple closes McGonigle Hall for men's hoops with a 69-53 win over Fordham. Coach John Chaney's record in the cozy hall, which opened in 1969, is 121-21.

25 - Free-agent outfielder Danny Tartabull stops waiting for a $5 million deal and signs with the Phillies for $2.3 million. He had 27 home runs and 101 RBIs for Chicago in 1996. ``I'd say 100 RBIs and 25 to 35 home runs. That's what I'm shooting for,'' he says.

MARCH

3 - Actually, he was over at Terry Murray's having milk and cookies.

Responding to a report on WIP-AM (610) that Eric Lindros sat out a Feb. 15 game against Pittsburgh with a hangover, Flyers chairman Ed Snider says he will pursue legal action against the station that broadcasts the team's games.

Snider adds that he will try to break the contract that ties the Flyers to the station. This is just the latest disagreement between Snider and WIP. The previous year, the club considered filing suit against host Mike Missanelli for an item in the Fan magazine that linked Lindros with reputed Philadelphia organized-crime figure ``Skinny'' Joey Merlino.

The hangover issue fuels that flame again. Stories of Lindros' actual whereabouts the night before the Penguins game vary.

According to Carl Lindros, the center's father, Eric rented a movie. ``He still has the receipt,'' Lindros says.

``You know where Eric was the night before that Pittsburgh game?'' general manager Bob Clarke says. ``He was sitting in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber with our trainer.''

5 - The Eagles sign free-agent center Steve Everitt from the Baltimore Ravens for $11.5 million over five years. Coach Ray Rhodes says he must have his own players. ``You don't want to go to war with somebody else's soldiers,'' Rhodes says.

8 - St. Joe's wins the Atlantic Ten title by beating Rhode Island, 61-56. Villanova loses the Big East final to Boston College, 70-58.

15 - St. Joe's wins its second NCAA tournament game, 81-77, over Boston College to reach the Sweet 16. Villanova is dismissed by California, 75-68. The next day, Temple is bounced out by Minnesota, 76-57.

17 - Contract talks between the Phillies and pitcher Curt Schilling collapse. ``It's over with,'' the 30-year-old Schilling says. ``They made a business decision, but I don't think it's a good one.''

20 - With an 83-68 loss to Kentucky, St. Joe's season ends at 26-7. ``What they've done, no one will ever forget,'' Martelli says. ``We didn't want to be just another cute story - you know, kids that couldn't play catching lightning in a bottle. This is about 13 tough kids doing what they were asked to do.''

28 - Drexel coach Bill Herrion turns down a $350,000-a-year offer from Rutgers. ``It was not an easy decision, but I made it from my gut, from my heart,'' Herrion says. ``Obviously, I'm not going to make the money I'd make as a Big East coach, but the money has never been the motivation for me.''

29 - Phillies rookie manager Terry Francona says Brogna will start the season at first base and Daulton will be on the bench. He confirms that five pitchers - Edgar Ramos, Tyler Green, Mark Portugal, Mike Grace and Ken Ryan - will start the season on the disabled list, not a good sign.

APRIL

1 - Still without a contract extension, Schilling allows two hits in eight innings as the Phils open their season with a 3-0 win at Dodgers Stadium. Tartabull has to leave the game after fouling a ball off his left foot.

2 - Coleman sits out because of a calf bruise that will keep him sidelined for the final 11 games of the season. Of a possible 152 games since being acquired on Nov. 30, 1995, from the Nets, Coleman finishes the season having played 68.

3 - Schilling signs a three-year extension with a guarantee of $15.45 million. ``I'm excited. I'm proud. I'm relieved,'' he says.

7 - But I did have a lot of line-drive outs.

Former Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt says that rookie Scott Rolen should be given time to adjust. ``If he compares his first year to my first year, that's all he's got to do,'' Schmidt says. ``I guarantee he'll be ahead of me.'' Schmidt hit .196 as a rookie.

11 - With Tartabull on the disabled list and Rex Hudler hurt, Daulton volunteers to play right field. ``It might not be a picnic, but I think I can do it,'' Daulton says.

14 - With the Sixers trailing by more than 20 points, Davis calls three time-outs in the final minute of a game against Washington so Iverson can reach 40 points for the fifth straight time. The Bullets opt to simply stand around on the Sixers' final possession, making no attempt to stop Iverson. ``If they wanted it that bad, I thought we should let them have it,'' Washington coach Bernie Bickerstaff says. Davis is booed by fans at the CoreStates Center.

17 - Tim Thomas of Villanova announces he'll enter the NBA draft after just one season of college ball.

17 - The Flyers open the NHL playoffs with a 5-1 win over the Penguins.

19 - The Sixers finish 22-60 under Davis.

19 - Then, I looked out the window, and it was Ed McMahon with a big cardboard check.

Rhodes conducts his first NFL draft since wresting away most player-personnel control from the front office. With the 25th pick in the draft, he selects defensive end Jon Harris of Virginia.

``I don't care what anybody else thinks,'' says Rhodes, after hearing a firestorm of criticism about Harris. ``We did a lot of research on this kid. We feel very positive about this young man.''

Sitting at home, Harris, who is projected as a second- or third-round pick, doesn't pay attention to the opening selections. When the phone rings and Rhodes tells Harris he's been drafted by the Eagles, the young player blurts out, ``In the first round?''

Harris isn't activated for the first six weeks of the season and, by the end of the year, is widely regarded as a busted pick.

20 - Croce fires Davis and Greenberg, perhaps the only NBA general manager who never made a trade. ``I've made mistakes before,'' Croce says. ``Some got me in a little trouble. Some got me in big trouble. This one got me in big trouble.'' Says Davis, ``I had to work with what was provided.''

25 - Ricky Watters fails to report for the Eagles' mandatory minicamp and is fined.

26 - The Flyers beat the Penguins, 6-3, to win their first-round playoff series in five games.

30 - Hours after resigning from the Indiana Pacers, Larry Brown interviews in Philadelphia with Croce.

30 - The Phillies finish April at 8-16. Bright spot? Daulton is batting .319 while playing right field.

MAY

1 - Iverson edges out Stephon Marbury for NBA rookie of the year. He averaged 23.5 points, 7.4 assists and 4.4 turnovers, and shot 41.6 from the floor. ``I have a long way to go,'' Iverson says. ``The only way I can get there is through a strong coach.''

4 - The Sixers hire Brown. ``I know the right way to play, and I'm not afraid to tell them that,'' Brown says. ``I really believe players want discipline as long as you're fair.''

6 - Eagles second-round pick James Darling, a linebacker from Washington State, is arrested and charged with burglary and assault in connection with a dispute over a former girlfriend. ``There was a girl involved,'' Rhodes says. ``You know how things get when a girl is involved.''

10 - He'll play himself in the movie, naturally.

With two outs in the 10th inning and a run down, Daulton delivers a two-run home run to beat the Colorado Rockies, 5-4. Daulton, who has had nine knee surgeries, comes out for a curtain call delivered by the 17,629 who showed up. ``Managers kill for guys like this,'' Francona says.

11 - The Flyers beat the Sabres, 6-3, to oust Buffalo in five games in the second round of the playoffs. Ron Hextall finishes the series in goal. Garth Snow played the first nine games of the postseason.

14 - Just days after losing Mark Portugal for three months to arm surgery, the Phils waive Bobby Munoz, creating another opening in an increasingly shaky rotation.

16 - The Flyers open the conference finals with a 3-1 win over the Rangers. Coach Terry Murray, after signals to the contrary, goes back to Snow in goal.

18 - Snow gives up five goals on 10 shots as the Rangers tie the series and Hextall comes in during the second period.

18 - The Sixers are awarded the second pick in the draft during the NBA lottery.

20 - With Hextall in goal, the Flyers beat the Rangers, 6-3.

22 - The NBA announces that Philadelphia will host the 1999 all-star weekend.

23 - Lindros scores with 6.8 seconds to play as the Flyers beat the Rangers, 3-2, at Madison Square Garden to take a three-games-to-one lead in the series.

25 - The Flyers reach the Stanley Cup finals for the seventh time in franchise history, and the first time since 1987, with a 4-2 win over the Rangers. They are now 12-3 in the postseason.

27 - Murray, whose contract expires after the playoffs, says he wants to remain as coach of the Flyers. Says Clarke, ``If he wants to be back, yeah, he'll be back.''

31 - The Flyers lose Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals to Detroit, 4-2.

JUNE

2 - Gregg Jefferies, who makes $5 million per season, is benched to make room for Ricky Otero by the 19-35 Phils.

3 - Murray benches Hextall in favor of Snow, but the Flyers lose again, 4-2.

3 - Despite misgivings about his agent and potential contract demands, the Phillies use their second pick of the amateur draft to select J. D. Drew, a Florida State outfielder who hit .435, with 31 home runs, 100 RBIs, and 32 stolen bases in 67 games for the Seminoles. ``I'm not going to go crazy,'' team president Bill Giles says. ``I'm not going to be part of making the industry worse off financially than it already is.''

5 - Back to Hextall, but the Flyers lose Game 3 to the Red Wings, 6-1.

6 - And it's hard to swallow with your shoes in your mouth.

Asked what has happened to the Flyers, Murray says, ``Basically, it's a choking situation.''

That's more than Lindros says between games. The star center ducks out of an interview session, leaving his coach and teammates to explain the collapse.

Says Rod Brind'Amour of Murray's comments: ``He's right. You see a basketball player miss a free throw, his confidence is shot, he's tentative. He's choking. He's not playing his game. Isn't that what we've been doing?''

Other Flyers refuse to comment, and Lindros is reportedly extremely upset.

Murray shrugs. ``This time of year, the spotlight becomes a heat lamp,'' he says.

7 - With Hextall still in goal, the Flyers are swept by the Red Wings, 2-1.

13 - Clarke fires Murray. ``The problems that existed between the players and coach were problems that I did not feel could be fixed,'' Clarke says.

17 - So, who asked?

Mike Keenan declares himself a candidate for the coaching job, but he hasn't been able to reach Clarke yet. ``I'm very interested,'' Keenan says.

20 - Giles, the Phillies' president since Oct. 28, 1981, steps aside in favor of Dave Montgomery. Giles says he will concentrate on getting a new ballpark for the Phils. Says Montgomery, a native Philadelphian, ``We will make every effort to improve our fortunes on the field and win the fans back.''

23 - Claiming he didn't receive a contract offer from the Phillies within 15 days of the draft, Drew petitions to become a free agent.

24 - Radja fails a team physical and the Sixers' trade with Boston is nullified.

25 - The Sixers draft Keith Van Horn of Utah, then agree to a trade that will send Cage and Van Horn to New Jersey in exchange for Tim Thomas, the seventh pick; Anthony Parker, the 21st; Eric Montross and Jim Jackson. Locally, Marc Jackson of Temple and Jason Lawson and Alvin Williams of Villanova are taken in the second round.

JULY

3 - Drew signs a contract to play with the St. Paul Saints in the independent Northern League.

5 - Without fanfare, the name ``John E. du Pont'' is removed from the multipurpose sports Pavilion at Villanova. The millionaire is serving 13 to 30 years after being found guilty of third-degree murder but mentally ill in the Jan. 26, 1996, shooting of Olympic wrestler David Schultz in Newtown Square.

7 - The Flyers introduce Wayne Cashman, 52, as their new head coach. ``Commitment is not something I'm going to ask for,'' Cashman says. ``It's something I expect.''

8 - At the all-star break, the Phillies are 24-61. ``You're seeing a bright shade of bad right now,'' Daulton says of the team.

8 - The Eagles' Darling begins serving a 35-day sentence after accepting a second-degree burglary conviction as part of a plea bargain. He will serve three days, then the rest after the football season.

13 - It never seemed to bother Steve Carlton.

Mark Leiter, labeling the Philadelphia media ``mean and negative,'' says it is impossible to pitch well for the Phillies. A free-agent bust who signed a two-year, $4.3 million contract, Leiter was 4-9 with a 5.89 ERA at the break.

16 - The Eagles open training camp in Bethlehem, Pa. ``We have two playoff-quality quarterbacks,'' Rhodes says. ``That's a good position to be in.''

21 - Daulton is traded to the Florida Marlins for outfield prospect Billy McMillon. ``I don't want to leave,'' Daulton says. ``But I know it's time to leave.''

21 - The American Basketball League announces that its Richmond Rage franchise will move to Philadelphia.

27 - According to a complaint filed with Allentown, Pa., police, Eagles defensive end Mike Mamula pulled down his shorts at the Sterling Hotel bar and exposed himself to female bouncer Sherri Happaney.

30 - Mamula issues a statement, part of which reads, ``If I have done anything to offend Ms. Happaney, I am truly sorry and offer my sincere apologies.''

30 - Baseball's executive council denies Drew's request for free agency, which was based on a change-of-address ploy too tiresome to recount here.

AUGUST

3 - Norristown native Tom Lasorda is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

3 - Obviously, another very explainable misunderstanding.

Iverson is a passenger in a car stopped on Interstate 64 near Richmond, Va., for going 93 miles per hour in a 65-m.p.h. zone. The state trooper smells marijuana, and a search of the car turns up two joints, one under Iverson's seat, and a loaded .45-caliber handgun. Iverson is arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, both misdemeanors.

14 - Marvin Webster Jr., a 6-foot-11 Temple basketball recruit, dies of a heart attack in his hometown of Greensboro, N.C. ``He was really our kind of kid,'' a tearful Chaney says. ``The kind who takes a couple of years to grow as a player.''

14 - Rhodes chooses Ty Detmer to open the season at quarterback, ahead of Rodney Peete. ``Bobby Hoying had a great camp,'' Rhodes says of his No. 3 QB. ``He's got a great future in this business. He's going to get an opportunity at some point.''

18 - The Phillies hit two grand slams in a 12-3 rout of the Giants. Since their low point of 30-72 on July 27, the Phils have gone 15-4.

20 - After weeks of wrangling, the Flyers construct a trade that lands free-agent forward Chris Gratton from the Florida Panthers. Mikael Renberg and Karl Dykuis are sent to Florida.

27 - We couldn't get the secret wrist radios synchronized, and then Scott kept forgetting his off-the-cuff, unrehearsed lines.

Montgomery scuttles a proposed clandestine trip to Sioux City, Iowa, in which he, Francona and Rolen would casually drop in on the unsigned Drew before a game between St. Paul and the Sioux City Explorers.

Rolen, according to the heart of the plan, would get Drew alone and tell him how important the outfielder was in the Phillies' future.

Montgomery kills the idea at the last minute, thinking better of the ploy to circumvent agent Scott Boras, who is still looking for a $10 million offer while the Phillies have put only $2 million on the table.

27 - Mayer Brandschain, a dignified chronicler who worked the margins of Philadelphia sports for nearly 70 years, mostly as a free-lancer for The Inquirer, dies at 88.

31 - The Eagles open the season with a 31-17 loss to the New York Giants. ``I'm going to look at the film and find out who wants to play,'' Rhodes says.

SEPTEMBER

1 - Schilling strikes out 16 in a Veterans Stadium showdown with Hideki Irabu of the New York Yankees. There are 50,869 real people in the stands to see Schilling win his 14th game.

6 - Penn State, ranked No. 1 in the nation, opens its season with a 34-17 win over Pittsburgh. ``I hope our kids are smart enough to realize it doesn't mean a thing right now,'' Paterno says of the ranking.

9 - Richie Ashburn, whose folksy, dry commentary and absentminded genius gave voice to the Phillies for more than 30 years, dies at 70 in the team's midtown New York hotel.

Ashburn was a centerfielder on the 1950 Whiz Kids championship team and a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. His true calling was as the city's favorite uncle - irascible, witty, self-deprecating, and with a perspective on baseball and life that few have.

``Someone once told me that he felt as if I were right there in his own living room, telling him about the game in a casual sort of way,'' Ashburn once said. ``I can't think of a better compliment.''

More than 20,000 stand in line to attend a public viewing. At the funeral, longtime partner Harry Kalas delivers the eulogy, and Giles tells this story:

``I have a 92-year-old neighbor who is blind, and she told me her definition of eternity is the time between the last game Harry and Richie broadcast and the first game of spring training.''

21 - Schilling passes Carlton as the Phillies' single-season strikeout leader, breaking Carlton's 25-year-old record of 310 Ks.

28 - The Eagles fall to 1-3 after a 28-19 loss in Minneapolis during which Detmer and Watters get in each other's face on the sideline after Watters short-arms a very bad Detmer pass over the middle.

28 - The Phils finish the season at 68-94. Since their low point, they are 38-22. More troubling, the home attendance of 1,490,638 is the lowest for a full season since 1973. Montgomery says he expects general manager Lee Thomas to be back for the 1998 season, but he won't guarantee it. ``If it comes to a point any of us aren't doing the job in order to improve, people or process won't get in the way,'' Montgomery says.

OCTOBER

1 - The Sixers begin training camp. Of Coleman, Brown says: ``I expect him to come in and play like one of the top five players in the league. That's what he told me he is, so that's what I'm expecting. Who knows? I could be surprised.''

9 - No, $20 million doesn't buy what it used to.

Brown does not accompany the Sixers to their first exhibition game, in Uniondale, Long Island, opting to remain in Chapel Hill, N.C., and be with former mentor Dean Smith, who announces his retirement from the University of North Carolina.

15 - Rhodes says Peete will start for the 2-4 Eagles as they host Arizona.

18 - No. 1-ranked Penn State barely survives a 16-15 win over Minnesota.

19 - Dawn Staley has 20 points and 12 assists as the Rage make their home debut in a 107-80 win over the Atlanta Glory before 5,312 fans at the Palestra.

26 - The Florida Marlins win the World Series, putting a championship ring on the finger of Daulton, who hit .389 and appeared in all seven games. ``A year ago, I thought I was ready to retire,'' he says. ``But the baseball inside of me wanted to come back. If I came back [again], I'd want to play every day, and I'm just not sure I'm capable of that.''

31 - With Iverson sitting out a one-game NBA suspension, the Sixers begin the Larry Brown era with a 103-88 loss. Iverson was suspended after accepting three years of probation rather than face prosecution on the charges in Virginia.

NOVEMBER

1 - Penn State remains undefeated, but is scared again, this time in a 30-27 win over Northwestern.

3 - John LeClair and Joel Otto of the Flyers are chosen for the U.S. Olympic hockey team.

4 - As usual, Schmitty was right.

Rolen wins National League rookie-of-the-year honors. Previous top rookies for Philadelphia pro teams were Harry Byrd (Athletics, 1952); Jack Sanford (Phillies, 1957); Dick Allen (Phillies, 1964); Woody Sauldsberry (Warriors, 1958); Wilt Chamberlain (Warriors, 1960); Charlie Young (Eagles, 1973); Paul McFadden (Eagles, 1984); Keith Jackson (Eagles, 1988); and Allen Iverson (Sixers, 1997). Rolen, a 22-year-old third baseman, hit 21 home runs and drove in 92 runs.

4 - The Eagles' Everitt, after attending a wrestling show at the CoreStates Spectrum, is arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated and possession of what Mount Laurel police term a ``marijuana pipe.'' Earlier in the evening, Everitt, with teammates Barrett Brooks and Kevin Turner, traded insults and obscene gestures with irate Eagles fans at the Spectrum. ``I didn't go to the wrestling match, so I didn't see those things,'' says Rhodes, who adds that Everitt will play the next game.

5 - Rhodes chooses Detmer to return as the starter for a Monday night showdown against the San Francisco 49ers.

8 - Before a record crowd of 97,498 at Beaver Stadium, Penn State suffers the most lopsided home loss in Paterno's tenure, 34-8 to Michigan, effectively ending any hope for a national title. ``They shut us down like we were nothing,'' center Kevin Conlin says.

10 - The Eagles come up empty in their biggest game of the year, losing by 24-12 to the 49ers. Just as ugly is the conduct in the stands, leading to the institution of a makeshift Veterans Stadium courtroom for the remainder of the season.

11 - Rhodes says he will go with Hoying at quarterback for the rest of the season.

12 - After opening with five losses, the Sixers beat the Rockets, 114-100, to record their first win.

16 - Game 1 of the Bobby Hoying Era ends in a 10-10 tie with Baltimore.

18 - The Phillies trade quiet shortstop Kevin Stocker, a rookie on the 1993 championship team, to Houston for outfielder Bobby Abreu, making room in the lineup for prospect Desi Relaford.

19 - Temple football coach Ron Dickerson resigns after a five-year tenure that produced an 8-47 record.

19 - No comment.

Doctors say Coleman has an irregular heartbeat and will be out for at least two weeks as he is treated for the non-life-threatening condition.

23 - Villanova finishes its football season a perfect 11-0 with a typically explosive 49-35 win over Northeastern.

29 - Lindros is named captain of the Canadian Olympic team by Clarke, who selected the squad. Clarke also placed Brind'Amour and Eric Desjardins of the Flyers on Canada's team, but he left off Mark Messier.

30 - Hoying passes for more than 300 yards in a scintillating duel with Boomer Esiason as the Eagles earn a wild 44-42 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

DECEMBER

6 - In the second round of the Division I-AA playoffs, Villanova finally loses, 37-34, to Youngstown State, finishing the season at 12-1.

7 - Penn State accepts an invitation to play Florida in the Citrus Bowl.

9 - The Apollo of Temple, a new 10,000-seat arena on Broad Street that cost $107 million, opens with the Owls' 76-61 win over Fresno State.

9 - Montgomery fires Thomas as general manager of the Phillies, replacing him with Ed Wade, a former Temple baseball player who began his career in sports administration as a public-relations assistant with the Phils. Wade's appointment is an interim move, according to Montgomery, but could become permanent.

11 - Paul Kariya of Anaheim ends a holdout by signing a contract with the Disney-owned Mighty Ducks that will pay him $8.5 million next season. Lindros, trying to negotiate his own contract extension, marks the occasion by scoring a hat trick. In the previous 13 games, he had just one goal.

14 - What would Terry Murray say at a time like this?

The Eagles are eliminated from the playoffs after a 20-17 loss to Atlanta.

``I'm tired of losing. I'm tired of getting beat,'' Rhodes says.

For the first time, the coach says he would not fight the hiring of a true general manager to oversee team operations.

``I've never been opposed to a general manager here,'' Rhodes says. ``I've never been opposed to that, and I never will be opposed to that. I just want to coach and do what I have to do.''

Says Mike Zordich, one of several players unable to tackle the Falcons' Harold Green on the play that broke the Eagles for good: ``This was not the season that any of us expected. Expectations were high. I don't know what to say. We'll have to sit back and figure this out.''

15 - One day after missing practice and a team meeting, Iverson is benched for one game and fined $2,500. However, he is not suspended, or docked a day's pay. ``I made a mistake. I was punished for it,'' he says.

16 - Coleman is medically cleared to return, but opts not to play against the Minnesota Timberwolves the next evening.

17 - Lindros signs a contract extension that gives him almost a $4 million raise this season and $8.5 million next season.

18 - The Sixers trade Jerry Stackhouse, a former third pick in the draft, and Montross to the Detroit Pistons for Theo Ratliff and former Temple Owl Aaron McKie.

21 - The Eagles lose to the Redskins, 35-32, to finish their season with a 6-9-1 record.

23 - Penn State running back Curtis Enis admits that he accepted a gift from an agent and is declared ineligible for the Citrus Bowl game.

23 - The Phillies trade second baseman Mickey Morandini to the Chicago Cubs for outfielder Doug Glanville and sign infielder Mark Lewis as a free agent.

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