UFC star posts impressive victory ... then retires

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UFC star posts impressive victory ... then retires

From Comcast SportsNet Monday, August 15, 2011
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Chris Lytle got the best of Dan Hardy, putting him in a choke hold and forcing him to tap out with the seconds ticking down in the final round of the fight. Then "Lights Out" flipped the off switch on his UFC career. The Indianapolis firefighter announced his retirement immediately after beating Hardy on Sunday night in the main event, adding a show-stopping twist to the UFC's rousing debut in Milwaukee. From now on, Lytle said he'll put his family ahead of the octagon. "I realized I'm not being as good of a father as I should," Lytle said. "They need certain things, and maybe I wasn't giving it to them. I was a little too worried about pride, myself and my glory. It puts it in perspective. They need their dad." The Wisconsin card was made possible when the state government decided last year to formally sanction mixed martial arts events. A fired-up crowd of 6,751 filled most of the lower bowl at the Bradley Center, home of the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks. The upper deck was closed off, with giant video screens showing every punch, kick and submission hold while the arena's sound system pumped out a steady stream of eardrum-shattering anthems. Addressing the crowd via the arena's public address system after the main event, Lytle said being a part of the UFC meant more than anything to him. "Except for one thing," he said. "That's my family." In other action on the main card, lightweight Ben Henderson beat Jim Miller by a unanimous decision of the judges -- and might have earned some new fans with his enthusiastic displays of emotion both during and after the bout. "I beat people up," Henderson said to the crowd. "That's my job. That's what I do." One of the biggest cheers of the night game when the video board showed UFC fighter Anthony Pettis, a Milwaukee native, sitting ringside. The crowd also got behind Lytle early, chanting "USA! USA! USA!" Hardy, a native of England sporting a brash red mohawk, walked out to a throbbing punk-rock song with the chorus, "England belongs to me!" Maybe, but the bout belonged to Lytle. The fight seemed fairly even through the first two rounds, with both fighters swinging away wildly. Lytle landed a big left-hand punch to Hardy's face just before the end of the second round. Hardy then made his decisive move in the third round. Afterward, Lytle said his decision to retire came after a knee injury left him with more time at home. "I had to take a little time off, and I was at home a lot," Lytle said. "Just when I had to get back in the gym and start training, it was difficult. For the first time ever, I didn't want to go to the gym. I wanted to stay home and spend time with my family." Lytle said he will continue to work for the fire department. Hardy said he'd likely take a step back from the sport after his loss, perhaps spending some time working on new techniques. "If they are going to give me one more fight, I really need to take some time and come back reinvented," Hardy said. Hardy also joked that it was a good thing he didn't win the Harley-Davidson motorcycle awarded to Sunday's winner. "I'd have probably wrapped myself around a tree," Hardy said. In another lightweight bout, Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone scored a technical knockout of Brazilian Charles Oliveira. Duane Ludwig beat Amir Sadollah by unanimous decision in the welterweight division to kick off the main card. Ludwig kicked off the televised portion of the event by landing a series of hard punches to Sadollah's head late in the first round. Sadollah recovered to land a few blows of his own -- but not enough to win, as Ludwig was ruled the winner by unanimous decision of the judges. Cerrone took on Oliveira in the next bout. But it didn't last long, as Cerrone landed a relentless series of kicks, including a knee to the head, then began to swing wildly as Oliveira was on the ground. The referee stopped the fight at the 3:01 mark in the first round. The fight was stopped briefly earlier in the first round when Cerrone kicked Oliveira in the groin. Cerrone left the ring wearing a black cowboy hat. In the second-to-last bout of the night, Henderson dominated much of the first two rounds, only to end up in a leg hold by Miller midway through the second round. Henderson slipped out of it, then landed more blows on Miller, whose head was bleeding heavily by the end of the second round. Miller took more hits in the third round but held on until the end of the fight, when Henderson was declared the winner.

Report: Shanahan 'almost certain' to accept 49ers' offer

Report: Shanahan 'almost certain' to accept 49ers' offer

Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is reportedly “almost certain” to accept the 49ers’ offer to become head coach.

Shanahan is the lone remaining candidate among the six individuals who interviewed with 49ers executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe. The 49ers plan for a second interview with Shanahan and a job offer, a source told CSNBayArea.com. Shanahan is expected to accept the 49ers’ offer, reports Michael Silver of the NFL Network, citing sources familiar with both parties.

The 49ers continued to work Tuesday evening on the process of narrowing down the general manager choices, a source said. Shanahan is expected to play a role in the select the team’s next GM, sources said.

On Tuesday, Seattle offensive line coach Tom Cable and Seahawks co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner removed their names from consideration for the vacant coach and general manager positions. The 49ers fired Chip Kelly and Trent Baalke after the 49ers' 2-14 season.

One source said Cable and Kirchner believed the 49ers were using them as leverage to hire Shanahan. Cable interviewed with 49ers co-chair Denise DeBartolo York over the phone on Tuesday, NFL Network reported.

The 49ers are allowed to interview Shanahan for a second time after the Falcons’ NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. The 49ers are prohibited from hiring or making a formal contract offer to Shanahan until the Falcons' season has concluded.

The top remaining candidates for the general manager job are believed to be Green Bay executives Brian Gutekunst and Eliot Wolf, Arizona's Terry McDonough and Minnesota's George Paton.

Wilcox embracing challenge, will change the way Cal looks on field

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AP

Wilcox embracing challenge, will change the way Cal looks on field

BERKELEY — With more than a half-century without a Rose Bowl berth, tougher academic standards than most Pac-12 schools and lackluster fan support in a pro-sports focused market, there are plenty of hurdles for a football coach at California.

Coach Justin Wilcox took the job for the Golden Bears because he embraces those obstacles and he wants players who feel the same way as he seeks to rebuild a program that has one winning record in the past five years and no conference championships since 1958.

"When you come here, there are challenges," Wilcox said at his introductory news conference Tuesday. "You don't come here and go through school and just go through the motions. You'll be challenged in the classroom, challenged on the football field and learn to interact in a dynamic society. I believe in that and that helps guys grow."

Wilcox faces many hurdles in his new job replacing the recently fired Sonny Dykes less than three weeks before national signing day. He has to put together a coaching staff, evaluate the players already on campus and try to keep together, and even add to, a recruiting class that committed to a different staff.

Athletic director Mike Williams fired Dykes after four seasons on Jan. 8 because he wanted a coach committed to Cal instead of flirting with other jobs and needed someone who could excite a fan base that often stayed away from Memorial Stadium in recent years as the Bears teamed porous defenses with sometimes exciting offenses while posting a 19-30 record.

Williams had five finalists for the job but chose a former Cal assistant with a defensive background and familiarity with the Pac-12 as an assistant for seven years at three schools in the conference.

"He truly gets this place, he truly gets coaching in the West," Williams said. "He came in and was very organized and thoughtful. He knew what he wanted to do and who he wanted to hire. ... It's a special place and I think he'll treat it as a special place."

While Dykes flirted with job openings at Houston and Baylor this past offseason in part because of his concern about increased academic standards for recruits, the Bears hope Wilcox is someone who wants to stick around after more than a decade of being on a self-described "windy" path as a top defensive coach.

The former Oregon defensive back began his coaching career in 2001 as a graduate assistant at Boise State. He spent three years as linebackers coach under Jeff Tedford at Cal from 2003-05 when the Bears nearly ended their Rose Bowl drought during a 10-win season with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback in 2004.

Wilcox has spent the past 11 years as a defensive coordinator with stops at Boise State, Tennessee, Washington, Southern California and finally Wisconsin, where he helped the Badgers field a top 10 defense and win the Cotton Bowl.

Wilcox has worked and played for many successful coaches, including Tedford, Chris Petersen, Dan Hawkins, Mike Bellotti, and Paul Chryst.

"I've been extremely fortunate to work for and with people I learned so much from," he said. "Each step along the way, I've seen it done a lot of different ways. I'm not trying to be any of those people. I always try to take pieces and make it my own."

Wilcox has begun putting together his staff, having hired former Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin as offensive coordinator and longtime Oregon offensive line coach Steve Greatwood to fill that role on the Bears.

The Bears will look very different under Wilcox than Dykes. Wilcox said he will recruit tight ends as Cal moves from the spread "Bear Raid" offense that relied on four receivers almost exclusively to a more balanced offense with tight ends and more power concepts.

While he will delegate most of the offensive responsibilities to Baldwin, Wilcox said he will be more involved on defense where he wants to find players who can fit into his base 3-4 system.

Cal ranked 125th in total defense, 127th in scoring defense and 122nd in yards per play out of 128 FBS teams last season on the way to a 5-7 record.

"Every second is critical right now," Wilcox said. "I will not sacrifice the long-term good of the program for what everyone wants which is certainty. Things will happen quickly. I understand the recruits have some anxiety about the situation and there's emotions involved. That's totally understandable. I'd feel the same way."