Sports Extra

Auto Racing

Berrier, Busch to get comfy on Furniture Row Racing

MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Furniture Row Racing will field its own pit crew next season.

The single-car team previously had been using pit crews from other organizations, most recently a crew from Stewart-Haas Racing.

But Furniture Row general manager Joe Garone said Tuesday forming its own crew is critical to growing the team.

The crew will train out of Performance Instruction & Training under veteran pit crew coach Mike Houston. He was a front-tire carrier for Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Hendrick Motorsport and is a former college football player.

Furniture Row will go into next season with Kurt Busch as driver and Todd Berrier as crew chief.

Golf

McIlroy is Player of the Year; Huh is Rookie of the Year

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Rory McIlroy was announced Tuesday as player of the year, and while the tour does not disclose the vote of its players, this was the equivalent of a tap-in.

McIlroy wound up with four wins, including his eight-shot victory in the PGA Championship, and he made a clean sweep of the biggest awards by winning the money title and having the lowest adjusted scoring average.

The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland became the youngest player to win PGA Tour player of the year since Tiger Woods at age 21 in 1997.

John Huh, who earned his card through Q-school, was voted PGA Tour rookie of the year in another race that was easy to predict.

College Football

Notre Dame’s D-coordinator is the nation’s top assistant

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco won the Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach.

Notre Dame’s defense under Diaco has allowed the fewest touchdowns in the country this season and is sixth overall in total defense. The top-ranked Fighting Irish will play Alabama for the BCS championship Jan. 7.

Mlb

Philadelphia sports writer wins the Spink Award

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Longtime Philadelphia writer Paul Hagen won the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for baseball coverage.

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced the award Tuesday at the winter meetings. Hagen will be honored at the Hall of Fame’s induction weekend July 26-29 in Cooperstown, N.Y.

The 61-year-old Hagen has spent nearly 40 years covering the game and won the award for “meritorious contributions to baseball writing.”

NHL

Forget Bettman and Fehr, a select few sit and negotiate

NEW YORK – NHL owners and players were meeting Tuesday afternoon at a Times Square hotel in an unusual session aimed at kick-starting stalled labor talks.

A group of about a half-dozen owners and 18 players got together without two key figures – Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr. The hope is some candid, face-to-face talks will result in a breakthrough.

Tuesday was the 80th day of the lockout, and all games through Dec. 14 already have been wiped off the schedule. If a deal isn’t struck soon, the entire season is in jeopardy.

Soccer

Rapids acquire a 7-year vet from the Whitecaps

COMMERCE CITY – The Colorado Rapids acquired midfielder/forward Atiba Harris from the Vancouver Whitecaps in exchange for an international roster spot in the 2015 and ’16 MLS seasons.

Harris is a seven-year veteran of MLS with 17 career goals and 19 assists in 138 matches, including 109 starts for four clubs. Harris also played for Real Salt Lake, Chivas USA and FC Dallas before the Whitecaps selected him in the 2011 expansion draft.

Associated Press