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Monday Sports in Brief

March 29, 2022 GMT

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

The field for the women’s NCAA Tournament Final Four is set.

UConn and Louisville on Monday joined South Carolina and Stanford as national semifinalists as the tournament shifts for Minneapolis.

UConn defeated North Carolina State 91-87 in double-overtime, and Louisville beat Michigan, 62-50.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Felisha Legette-Jack was introduced Monday as the women’s basketball coach at Syracuse after a decade at Buffalo of the Mid-American Conference.

She replaces Vonn Read, who guided the Orange through a difficult season after his predecessor, Quentin Hillsman, resigned amid allegations he mistreated players.

The 55-year-old Legette-Jack is the fourth woman to lead the program. She started her coaching career as an assistant at Boston College in 1991 and was an assistant with the Orange under the previous woman who held the job, Marianna Freeman.

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MLB

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Albert Pujols has returned to the St. Louis Cardinals, finding a home in the place where he became one of baseball’s most powerful sluggers.

Pujols reached a one-year deal with the Cardinals over the weekend and gives them an option at designated hitter.

The 42-year-old Pujols emerged from beyond the right field wall at the Cardinals’ spring training complex between the first and second innings of an exhibition game against Houston on Monday. Pujols drew a standing ovation from the crowd and was greeted with hugs in the St. Louis dugout.

Pujols was a three-time MVP and helped the Cardinals win two World Series titles.

He signed with the Los Angeles Angels after boosting the Cards to the 2011 championship. He split last season with the Angels and Dodgers.

NFL

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — To ensure more opportunities for diverse candidates, the NFL has added requirements on the hiring of offensive assistant coaches, and women in general.

The moves announced Monday at the owners meeting include adjustments to the Rooney Rule adopted in 2003 and amended frequently in attempts to enhance opportunities for people of color and women for nearly all league and team jobs.

Beginning this season, all 32 clubs must employ a female or a member of an ethnic or racial minority to serve as an offensive assistant coach. The person will receive a one-year contract and work closely with the head coach and offensive staff to gain experience.

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — State and county taxpayers will be asked to commit a record $850 million in public funds toward construction of the Buffalo Bills’ new stadium as part of a 30-year lease agreement.

The project has a total estimated price tag of $1.4 billion. Gov. Kathy Hochul announced in a press release on Monday that the state will commit $600 million in funds which will be included in the budget due Friday.

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Erie County will commit $250 million, with the NFL and the Buffalo Bills committing $550 million. The dollar amount is considered to be the largest public commitment for an NFL facility.

GYMNASTICS

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — USA Gymnastics is overhauling its leadership structure in its women’s elite program.

Instead of having one person serve as the program’s high-performance director, USA Gymnastics is dividing the job into three “equitable” positions, each of whom will report to the program’s vice president of women’s gymnastics.

The organization had been looking for someone to replace Tom Forster, who stepped down as high-performance director in December after the U.S. women earned six medals at the Tokyo Olympics, including silver in the team competition and gold in the all-around for Sunisa Lee.

SAILING

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The Mayor of Barcelona has announced that the next contest for sailing’s America’s Cup is set to be held in the Spanish city in 2024.

In a video posted Monday on social media, Mayor Ada Colau said Barcelona had been chosen as the host city for the 37th Cup regatta. While recent reports had pointed to Barcelona as a likely host, Colau’s statement came ahead of any official announcement by America’s Cup-holder Team New Zealand.

After defending the Cup off Auckland in 2021, Team New Zealand indicated it was unlikely that the next regatta also would take place in New Zealand because of funding difficulties.

SOCCER

VIENNA, Austria (AP) — Austria coach Franco Foda will leave his position after the friendly match against Scotland on Tuesday after failing to lead his team to the World Cup.

Foda used a news conference on Monday to suddenly announce his imminent departure, saying the time was right because “we couldn’t fulfill our big dream.”

Austria lost 2-1 to Wales in the semifinals of the World Cup playoffs on Thursday.

OBITUARY

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk has died from an illness, the team said Monday night. He was 62.

The team announced Melnyk’s death with a statement from his family that mentioned “an illness he faced with determination and courage.” The statement did not explain what the illness was, and a team spokesman did not immediately respond to a message seeking additional details.

Melnyk had a liver transplant in 2015 after a public campaign for a donor. He had owned the Senators since 2003, when he bought the NHL club for $92 million. Ottawa reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2007, losing in five games to the Anaheim Ducks.

The Toronto native was involved in other businesses around Canada and in 2010 had an estimated net worth of $1.21 billion.

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