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Names In The Game

October 29, 1993

POMONA, Calif. (AP) _ Drag racing star Don ″The Snake″ Prudhomme said Thursday he will retire from driving after the 1994 season.

Prudhomme, from Granada Hills, Calif., will end his 29-year career in the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series after the 1994 Winston Finals at Pomona, Calif.

″I gave it a lot of thought, and it’s a decision my family and I thought would be best,″ the 52-year-old Prudhomme said. ″I am thankful for the racing memories throughout the years, although I’m really looking forward to 1994 to give my competition one final strike before I leave.″

Prudhomme set many records during his career in Funny Car and Top Fuel competition.

He won NHRA Funny Car championships four consecutive years (1975-78) and has 46 overall wins, second on the all-time list. He had a record 35 wins in a Funny Car.

Prudhomme is the only driver to win at least one NHRA national event in four decades (1960s, ’70s, ’80s, 90s).

Prudhomme’s final year of competition in his Skoal Bandit Racing Top Fuel Dragster will be known as the ″Final Strike″ Tour. He will act as a consultant for U.S. Tobacco Motorsports after his retirement.

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Two Big Eight Conference defensive backs are among nine semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award presented annually to the best defensive back in college football.

A committee of the Football Writers Association of America will choose three finalists. The winner will be announced Dec. 10 with the award presented Jan. 17 in Oklahoma City.

Chris Hudson of Colorado and Jaimie Mendez of Kansas State are the two semifinalists from the Big Eight.

The others are Aaron Glenn of Texas A&M, Marvin Goodman of UCLA, Antonio Langham of Alabama, Corey Sawyer of Florida State, Dexter Seigler of Miami, Bobby Taylor of Notre Dame and Bracey Walker of North Carolina.

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CHICAGO (AP) - Michael Jordan, enjoying the freedom to sleep late and play golf whenever he wants, is warning fans not to await his return to the Chicago Bulls.

″I can’t say never, but right now I’m very happy,″ Jordan told Oprah Winfrey, on a show that was scheduled to air Friday in most cities.

Jordan, the world’s most popular athlete, called it quits three weeks ago after leading the Bulls to three straight NBA titles.

Appearing on Monday for the taping of the show, Jordan shook his head vigorously each time as Winfrey asked him if he might return after one, two or three years of retirement.

″I have the freedom to do what I want to do every day,″ he said. ″If I want to get up and play golf, I do. If I want to go down to the office and answer fan mail, I do that. If I want to stay at home and stay in bed, I do.″

Jordan also shot down rumors he might buy a team in Europe and play there, saying he didn’t have that much money and was barred under his Bulls contract from retiring to play elsewhere.

Jordan, 30, said he retired because he had done everything he wanted to accomplish.

″I was getting a little bit bored,″ he said.

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LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. (AP) - Dick Leach, coach of Southern Cal’s men’s tennis team and the father of professional player Rick Leach, lost his home in the wildfires that consumed this seaside community.

Leach and his wife, Sandy, live in Emerald Bay and their block was leveled except for one house still standing. Mrs. Leach spent Wednesday night at an evacuation center, while her husband stayed with another son in Los Angeles.

″We lost everything, especially all our wonderful photo albums and Ricky’s Grand Slam trophies,″ Dick Leach said Thursday. ″All I have left is a pair of jogging shorts. The most important thing is that everybody’s fine.″

Rick Leach is ranked 11th in doubles on the ATP tour, and has won several Grand Slam doubles titles.

Rick and his sister, Tammy, both live in the same area and their houses were untouched, Dick Leach said.

The elder Leach coached the Trojans to NCAA championships in 1991 and ’93.