Celtics coach quits

After serving only three years on his 10-year, $50 million contract, Rick Pitino resigned as Boston Celtics coach and president on Monday. Pitino ended his Celtic career with a 102-146 record. It wasn't his first stint as an NBA head coach. While with the New York Knicks, he went 90-74 in 1987-88 and 1988-89 before returning successfully to the college ranks at the University of Kentucky, where he won a national title in 1996. Pitino had hinted for months that he would resign if the team did not improve this season, setting a mid-January deadline for a decision. But as recently as November he promised, "I'm definitely finishing out the season. No question about that."

Super contenders

The Baltimore Ravens advanced to the American Football Conference title game this Sunday after beating the Tennessee Titans, 24-10, last weekend. They meet the Raiders in Oakland. The Ravens went the entire month of October without scoring a touchdown, but still managed to win two of the five games, thanks to its defense, which set an NFL record for fewest points allowed in a season (165). In the National Conference, the New York Giants advanced to their first NFC title game since 1990, defeating Philadelphia, 20-10. Sunday the Giants host the Minnesota Vikings, who beat New Orleans, 34-16. The winners of the two games meet in Tampa, Fla., for Super Bowl XXXV Jan. 28.

Stanford back at the top

Stanford moved into the No. 1 spot in the AP college basketball poll this week. The Cardinal went from No. 2 to No. 1, replacing Michigan State, which lost to Indiana, 59-58, and dropped to No. 3. Stanford (13-0), whose No. 1 ranking last season was the first in school history, received all 70 first-place votes.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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