Cooper Hopes To Add Spark

Posted: October 15, 1999

Michael Cooper, the former Los Angeles Lakers star who was a WNBA assistant last season, was hired yesterday as coach of the Los Angeles Sparks.

Cooper succeeds Orlando Woolridge, who left Sept. 30 because of differences with team president and acting general manager Johnny Buss.

Cooper signed a multiyear contract. Terms were not disclosed.

He was in charge of the Sparks' defense last season. Los Angeles was 11th in the 12-team league in points allowed, but it was second in rebounding and held opponents to the second-lowest shooting percentage.

The Sparks made the playoffs last season with a 20-12 record, second-best in the league. They lost to Houston in the Western Conference finals.

During his 12-year NBA career, Cooper was on the league's all-defensive first-team five times and was defensive player of the year in 1987.

In other WNBA news:

* The Miami Heat's WNBA expansion franchise received 6,190 season-ticket deposits, exceeding the league requirement and ensuring that the team will begin play next year.

TENNIS

* No. 1-ranked Martina Hingis defeated Corina Morariu, 7-5, 6-2, at the European Indoor championships in Zurich, Switzerland, in a match played under heightened security as officials monitored the movements of an obsessed fan who may be stalking Hingis. The Women's Tennis Association confirmed that Zurich police had questioned and tournament officials photographed a 42-year-old Yugoslav man, who they believed had been sending disturbing faxes to Hingis and persistently telephoning her. The pictures were then distributed to security staff at the event, who identified the man when he entered the arena.

COLLEGES

* A custodian who invited former Michigan State defensive end Dimitrius Underwood to his church says Michigan State violated his religious rights by moving his duties out of the school's football training building after Underwood tried to kill himself. Doyle Norwood, 50, of Lansing has filed a lawsuit in Ingham Circuit Court charging the university with religious discrimination, his lawyers said. Underwood, a member of the Miami Dolphins, currently is in a mental-health clinic.

* Alabama assistant football coach Ronnie Cottrell was suspended for tomorrow's game against No. 22 Mississippi as part of a ticket-fixing investigation, while wide receiver Shamari Buchanan was cleared to return. Cottrell received the one-game suspension for helping Buchanan with a speeding ticket.

* Basketball Hall of Famer K.C. Jones, who starred for and later coached the Boston Celtics to two NBA titles, was hired by the University of Rhode Island as an assistant for the women's team.

GOLF

* Colin Montgomerie said he will cut his playing schedule in the United States next year because of the insults directed at him during last month's Ryder Cup in Brookline, Mass.

* Harrison Frazar shot a 10-under 62 for a one-shot lead over Vijay Singh and Fred Couples after two rounds at the Las Vegas Invitational. Tommy Armour III shot a 12-under 60.

* Karrie Webb had four consecutive birdies on the way to an opening-round 66 and a one-stroke lead over Cindy Figg-Currier in the LPGA Tournament of Champions in Mobile, Ala.

* Spain's Sergio Garcia, frustrated when he slipped hitting a tee shot, angrily threw his shoe into the crowd at the World Match Play championship in Virginia Water, England, and went on to lose 2 and 1 to South African Retief Gooosen.

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