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In Brief | Nation and World Jan. 21

Former Miami baseball coach Ron Fraser dies

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Ron Fraser, the longtime Miami baseball coach who won two national championships with the Hurricanes and whose innovative marketing ideas helped spark a surge in the college game’s popularity, has died.

Family spokesman Tony Segreto said Fraser died Sunday morning. Fraser, known as “the wizard of college baseball,” had battled Alzheimer’s disease for many years. It was believed that Fraser was 79, though his family’s statement did not release his age or other private matters, including a cause of death.

Fraser led Miami to national titles in 1982 and 1985, taking the Hurricanes to the College World Series 12 times over his 30 years at the school. He retired in 1992 with 1,271 wins, never having a losing season in his three decades overseeing the program.

His legacy, however, may be what he did to promote the game.

From raffling car batteries, to bikini nights to even offering nine-course gourmet meals on the infield of the team’s stadium, Fraser had ideas that even he called “crazy.” His unusual ways proved successful, as the Hurricanes not only became a winner on the field, but one of the best-known brands in college baseball.

Fraser also played a key role in getting baseball on national television. And now, the College World Series — the entire NCAA tournament, really — is a mainstay on TV, as are hundreds of regular-season games annually.

World’s best big wave surfers compete at Mavericks

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. — Mother Nature saved the best for last, with some of the largest swells of the day arriving during the final heat of Sunday’s Mavericks Invitational big wave surfing contest as thousands of spectators invaded a quaint coastal town known more for its annual pumpkin festival than for surf.

The waves weren’t the largest ever seen at the famed Northern California Mavericks surf break a half-mile offshore of Half Moon Bay — the biggest faces reached 25 to 30 feet — but surfing fans still got their fill of steep drops, wipeouts and powerful, booming surf.

In the end, Peter Mel, of Santa Cruz, took home the crown. He decided to split the $50,000 pot with his six competitors, a symbol of good faith that has become a Mavericks Invitational tradition.

Miami Heat sign Chris Andersen to 10-day contract

MIAMI — Chris Andersen is getting another chance in the NBA.

The Miami Heat signed Andersen to a 10-day contract. The Heat also brought forward-center Jarvis Varnado back for a second 10-day deal.

Andersen worked out for the Heat about two weeks ago and remained in the team’s plans.

Andersen has averaged 5.4 points and 5.2 rebounds in his NBA career. His last appearance was with Denver on March 25.

Hershey hosting AHL’s Outdoor Classic

HERSHEY, Pa. — A stiff breeze swept across the tough ice, while a setting sun created odd shadows.

Unusual settings for hockey were also typical conditions for a midseason game outdoors.

The American Hockey League held its annual midyear event outside Sunday when the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins visited their in-state rival Hershey Bears on an ice sheet built inside a football stadium on the grounds of an amusement park.

The puck dropped around sunset, while bright lights flashed on the idle wooden roller-coaster tracks behind the stadium.

The Penguins won 2-1 at 1:19 of overtime after Paul Thompson’s shot bounced off goalie Dany Sabourin’s glove and into the net.

Contador says Armstrong admission may help sport

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Alberto Contador, a two-time winner of the Tour de France who was stripped of a third title for using a banned substance, said cycling needs to take something positive from the Lance Armstrong scandal.

Contador spoke to reporters on Sunday on the eve of the Tour de San Luis in Argentina.

The Spaniard said Armstrong’s admission that he took performance-enhancing drugs to win his seven Tour de France titles was “hard on the image of cycling,” but he said he wanted to “find the good in it.”

Contador won the Tour de France in 2007 and 2009 but was stripped of his 2010 title for testing positive for the banned substance clenbuterol.

“I know they’ve spoken a lot about the interview, but what he said surprised nobody in the least,” the Spaniard said.

Armstrong acknowledged in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that he used banned substances in winning his seven Tour de France titles.

Armstrong was stripped of the titles and has been banned for life from cycling and from competing in athletic events sanctioned by WADA or the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

By wire sources