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Names In The Game

December 13, 1993

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Five months after undergoing quintuple-bypass heart surgery, Boston Celtics president and former head coach Arnold ″Red″ Auerbach is down to two cigars a day and playing racquetball three times weekly.

What’s more, the 76-year-old Hall of Famer seems none the worse for wear.

″I’m still president of the Celtics, but I don’t spend that much time in Boston anymore,″ said Auerbach, as he sat with son-in-law Reid Collins of Cable News Network at George Washington University’s Smith Center Saturday night, preparing to watch the championship game of the tournament that bears his name. ″Dave Gavitt does a pretty good job of running the team on a day- to-day basis.″

Which leaves more than enough time for him to just watch basketball.

″It’s quite an honor to be able to see something like this,″ he said. ″Usually, things like this don’t get named after you until you’ve been dead for awhile.″

Auerbach, who lived in Washington even during his days with the Celtics, still attends as many games as he can at the Smith Center.

″They were always good to me here at GW,″ he said. ″As a fan and an alumnus, the least I can do is show up whenver I can.″

And, no matter what anyone says, he feels that Washington college basketball is among the best there is.

″They’ve done a fine job with the program here (at GW) the past couple of years,″ he said. ″College basketball is as good as ever in the Washington area. Georgetown is always up there, and Maryland is on the way back after a few down years.″

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BAYAMON, Puerto Rico (AP) - After six previous losses, Gigi Fernandez defeated Martina Navratilova 6-3, 6-4 Sunday during an exhibition match in the ″Gigi Fernandez Invitational Cup.″

Fernandez, the best Puerto Rican tennis player, won the match in 1 hour, 10 minutes.

″I gave it my best shot, but it wasn’t my best game,″ Navratilova said. ″Besides Gigi played incredibly well, and it’s difficult to play against someone one considers like a sister.″

All profits from the tournament went to the National Hispanic Scholarship Fund.

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DELRAN, N.J. (AP) - When September began, he was the starting quarterback for one of the nation’s premier college teams. But when John Sacca’s relationship with Penn State coach Joe Paterno went sour, Sacca said goodbye.

Three months later, the Delran High School star, who was courted by several big-name universities five years ago and chose the Nittany Lions, is knocking on the doors of Division I-AA colleges, looking for a team and a place to finish his last year of school.

Sacca, 22, insists he is not a quitter. But enough is enough, says Sacca, who said he left rather than sit on the bench.

″I earned the job,″ Sacca told The Philadelphia Inquirer. But ″when you take a coach with Joe Paterno’s reputation, people are going to side with him.″

Sacca, named Paterno’s preseason starter, got off to an impressive start when he threw for 274 yards and four touchdowns in the opener against Minnesota. The next week he was slightly off the mark, but the team won, 21-20, against Southern Cal.

But Paterno pulled Sacca from the Iowa game after Sacca missed five of his first six passes.

The Lions were leading 3-0, and Sacca was on the phone with quarterback coach Dick Anderson when Paterno approached and told him he was putting in Kerry Collins for a series.

The series turned into the whole game as Sacca seethed on the sidelines. Paterno said afterward that he had planned to play Collins regardless of how well Sacca had played.

″When I saw that comment, it indicated to me his decision was premeditated,″ Sacca said. ″The thing is, if I’d continued and still kept posting terrible numbers, I could have accepted being pulled. But at that point? When you’re ahead? A lot of coaches stick with their quarterbacks for a while.″

″My whole time at Penn State I always felt I was one mistake away from being pulled, no matter what I did,″ Sacca said. ″I always felt Joe Paterno wanted Kerry Collins to be his quarterback even though I’d won the job.″

He returned to Penn State, said goodbye to his friends and went home.

Sacca is considering playing for Rhode Island, Eastern Kentucky or Idaho.

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PARK CITY, Utah (AP) - Kenny Loggins’ charity concert and auction raised $50,000 to help speed the U.S. Ski Team on its way to the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway.

An audience of 400, including celebrities and Olympians, gathered Saturday in this Utah ski resort community for the concert, which was held in conjunction with the Visa Champions Cup Pro-Am Celebrity event at Deer Valley.

That event was part of the Jeep-Eagle Tournament of Champions ski series, said spokeswoman Melanie P. Smith.

Loggins’ signed guitar fetched $4,000 from Marjorie Bonham of Salt Lake City. Other big-ticket items included a seven-night stay at former Olympian Stein Eriksen’s Aspen home, purchased for $5,000 by actress Penelope Ann Miller, who appeared in ″Carlito’s Way.″

Joe Regalbuto, a star of ″Murphy Brown,″ donated a walk-on part on the CBS television program that sold for $3,000. A Kansas City Chiefs jersey, autographed by Joe Montana, sold for $1,100.

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