Parcells among Hall of Fame finalists
Former Patriots coach Bill Parcells is among 15 modern-day finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which yesterday released the list of candidates for enshrinement. Wide receivers Tim Brown, Cris Carter, and Andre Reed, running backs Jerome Bettis and Curtis Martin, and guard Will Shields also made the cut as 26 semifinalists were pared down. The finalists also include two senior nominees: defensive back Jack Butler and guard Dick Stanfel. The Hall’s selection committee meets in Indianapolis next month. Between four and seven enshrinees will be announced the day before the Feb. 5 Super Bowl, and inducted in August in the Hall’s 50th class. Parcells, who guided the Giants to two Super Bowl titles before coaching the Patriots, Jets, and Cowboys, and Shields were the only candidates on list of finalists in their first year of eligibility. Other finalists include defensive back Aeneas Williams, defensive end/linebackers Chris Doleman, Kevin Greene, and Charles Haley, defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, center Dermontti Dawson, tackle Willie Roaf, and former 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr. . . . Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin interviewed for the Dolphins’ coaching job . . . Oklahoma State University coach Mike Gundy agreed to an eight-year contract that extends his current deal four years.
Yankees’ Posada will be calling it quits
Free agent Jorge Posada is planning to retire after 17 seasons with the Yankees rather than pursue opportunities with other teams. A person familiar with the decision told the Associated Press that the five-time All-Star catcher will make the announcement this month. Posada, 40, won five World Series titles with the team that selected him in the 24th round of the 1990 draft. Earlier this offseason, Posada acknowledged that his career with the Yankees was over, but said he had offers from several teams. Only Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra have caught more games for the Yankees than Posada (1,574) . . . Andy Carey, an underappreciated cog at third base for the powerful Yankees teams of the 1950s, died Dec. 15 at his home in Costa Mesa, Calif. He was 80. (Obituary B9.)
Tsonga defeats Monfils for Qatar crown
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga shrugged off a slow start and beat Gael Monfils, 7-5, 6-3, in an all-French final at the Qatar Open in Doha, getting a confidence boost for the Australian Open. The sixth-ranked Tsonga, who reached the final when Roger Federer withdrew from Friday’s semifinal with back spasms, improved to 3-1 against the 16th-ranked Monfils with his eighth career title . . . Top-seeded Andy Murray had new coach Ivan Lendl in his corner and another ATP final in his sights when he dispatched Australian teenager Bernard Tomic, 6-3, 6-2, in the Brisbane (Australia) International semifinals. Murray will meet third-seeded Alexandr Dolgopolov, who swept second-seeded Gilles Simon, 6-3, 6-4. In the women’s final, Kaia Kanepi won her second WTA title with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Daniela Hantuchova. Hantuchova had an abbreviated run into the final when Serena Williams withdrew from their quarterfinal after injuring her left ankle and Australian Open champion Kim Clijsters retired in the second set of their semifinal with a hip strain . . . Ana Ivanovic’s Australian Open preparations hit another obstacle in the first round of the Sydney International when the former No. 1 was beaten 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, by Lucie Safarova . . . Milos Raonic beat second-seeded Nicolas Almagro, 6-4, 6-4, to advance to the final of the Chennai (India) Open. Raonic will play top-seeded Janko Tipsarevic, who beat Go Soeda, 6-1, 6-4 . . . Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and Tomas Berdych had straight-set singles wins over France to give the Czech Republic its second Hopman Cup title in Perth, Australia. Kvitova beat Marion Bartoli, 7-5, 6-1, while Berdych defeated Richard Gasquet, 7-6 (7-0), 6-4.
Beasley is sidelined with sprained foot
Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley will miss at least the next three games with a sprained right foot. Beasley had an MRI yesterday, which revealed no broken bones . . . Muhammad Ali will be honored in his hometown of Louisville, Ky., next weekend to celebrate his 70th birthday, which is Jan. 17. Ali and his wife will attend a party Saturday at the Muhammad Ali Center, with a series of events scheduled the following day . . . Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin swept both 3-year-old stakes at Aqueduct, with Alpha winning the $150,000 Count Fleet and Captivating Lass taking the $100,000 Busanda . . . Dennis Pause, a photographer for InsideHockey.com, died before the first game of yesterday’s Frozen Fenway doubleheader. CPR was performed on Pause before he was brought to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.