Sports briefs for Feb. 1, 2013

Posted Feb. 01, 2013, at 7:08 p.m.

Harris named St. Joe’s women’s soccer head coach

STANDISH — Jenelle Harris has been named the head coach of the St. Joseph’s women’s soccer team, athletic director Brian Curtin announced in a press release Friday.

Harris, St. Joe’s assistant coach for the past six seasons, is set to fill the post vacated by former Michael Bolanz, who stepped down in November after nine years to accept the position of director of alumni relations in the Saint Joseph’s Institutional Advancement Department.

Harris was a four-year player at Centenary College in Shreveport, La., and proceeded to coach at the high school level for six years and has coached premier soccer in Maine since 2007.

UMaine gains America East academic honors

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The University of Maine had the highest percentage of its fall student-athletes named to the America East Fall Academic Honor Roll, the school announced in a press release Friday.

The Black Bears had 78.1 percent of its fall student-athletes honored. Maine had 42 of those student-athletes earn a 3.5 grade point average or higher.

A total of 660 America East student athletes earned America East Honor Roll distinction after achieving grade-point averages of 3.00 or higher during the 2012 fall semester, the highest total in league history and 68 percent of all fall-sport student-athletes.

Former NASCAR driver charged after high-speed chase

Charges have been filed against former NASCAR driver Tyler Walker, who led police on a high-speed chase through Nevada, Arizona and Utah on Wednesday, the Salt Lake Tribune reported Friday.

Walker, 33, was charged on Thursday in state court in St. George, Utah, with three felony counts, including failure to stop for police and two counts of possession of a controlled substance. The chase reached estimated speeds of 140 miles per hour, and, according to police, Walker attempted to flee on foot before being apprehended.

Walker was suspended by NASCAR in 2007 for violating its substance abuse policy. He had competed in 28 NASCAR races during his career — 19 NASCAR Nationwide series races and nine Camping World Truck Series races.

Prospective Coyotes’ owner misses purchase deadline

Prospective Phoenix Coyotes owner Greg Jamison missed a deadline late Thursday to purchase the team, but the NHL is optimistic that an agreement can be reached in the near future.

“We remain hopeful the Coyotes’ sale process will be resolved successfully and we will continue to work with the city of Glendale to move the process forward,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement Friday. “Mr. Jamison will continue to work with the NHL and the city of Glendale to close a deal that will keep the Coyotes in the Valley.”

In the meantime, the NHL will maintain ownership of the team.

Jamison had until midnight Thursday to close a deal with Glendale or the city would rescind its lease agreement with Jamison for Jobing.com Arena, where the Coyotes play. Sources indicated that Jamison was unable to raise the money to meet the NHL’s demand of $170 million to purchase the team.

Wannstedt hired as Bucs special teams coordinator

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hired Dave Wannstedt as their special teams coordinator Friday, according to ESPN, citing a league source.

Wannstedt was the Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator for the past two seasons.

Prior to that, Wannstedt was the head coach at the University of Pittsburgh coach for six years. He also ran the Panthers’ special teams.

Wannstedt is 82-87 over his NFL heading coaching career with the Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins.

Djokovic shines as Serbia lead Belgium in Davis Cup

LONDON — Novak Djokovic quickly got back in the groove after his Australian Open triumph with a crushing defeat of Olivier Rochus as Serbia surged into a 2-0 lead in their Davis Cup world group, first round tie in Belgium on Friday.

Holders Czech Republic were locked at 1-1 after the first day against a Switzerland side minus world number two Roger Federer — Tomas Berdych levelling the tie after Lukas Rosol had been outplayed by Stanislas Wawrinka.

Germany’s hopes of beating Argentina in Buenos Aires suffered a cruel blow, however, as Philipp Kohlschreiber was forced to retire with a hamstring injury when serving for the match at 5-4 in the fifth set against Carlos Berlocq.

A later win for Juan Monaco over Florian Mayer meant Argentina ended the day 2-0 ahead as did France and Kazakhstan in their ties against Israel and Austria respectively. Top seeds Spain were in action later against Canada in Vancouver.

Less than a week after claiming a third consecutive Australian Open title by beating Andy Murray in Melbourne, world number one Djokovic quickly adapted to the indoor clay court at the Spiroudome in Charleroi to blow away Rochus 6-3 6-2 6-2.

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