College football

OREGON RUNS PAST K-STATE AT FIESTA BOWL: Oregon's DeAnthony Thomas raced 94 yards for a touchdown on the opening kickoff.

The fifth-ranked Ducks barely looked back after that.

Triggered by Thomas' attention-grabbing return, Oregon raced past No. 7 Kansas State 35-17 Thursday night at the Fiesta Bowl in what may have been coach Chip Kelly's final game with the Ducks.

"Our focus was on this game tonight," Kelly said. "If for some reason, someone wanted to talk to me, it's because of those players over there. We have an unbelievable team, an unbelievable program and any success is because of those guys."

With Kelly reportedly talking to several NFL teams, Oregon (12-1) was too much for Kansas State and its Heisman Trophy finalist, Collin Klein. The Ducks tried to turn the game into a track meet, and it worked from the start.

FIU HIRES RON TURNER AS FOOTBALL COACH: Ron Turner is going back to the college sideline.

Florida International hired Turner as its football coach Thursday night, signing him to a five-year deal with a base salary of $500,000 annually. FIU director of sports and entertainment Pete Garcia said he received a faxed copy of the signed contract and that Turner would be in Miami for an introductory news conference Friday afternoon.

Turner — most recently the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' quarterbacks coach — replaces Mario Cristobal, who was fired last month.

"This guy knows football," Garcia said. "He's the best quarterback coach in America, college or pro. So I'm very excited to get this guy. He's one of the best offensive minds in America. This guy's a total package. He can do it all."

It will be Turner's first trip back to the college game since he was fired by Illinois in 2004, three seasons after taking the Illini to what was their first Big Ten title in a decade. Illinois went to the Sugar Bowl after that 10-2 season in 2001 and Turner was Big Ten coach of the year.

Illinois won only nine of its next 34 games under Turner, including just one Big Ten game in a two-season span. He left Illinois with a 35-57 record in eight seasons.


Pro football

SOURCE SAYS REID, CHIEFS NEARING DEAL TO BE COACH: Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs should be quite familiar by now.

The two sides spent much of Thursday in negotiations for Reid to become the Chiefs' coach, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss the situation.


Prep basketball

3 FROM REGION ON HOF SILVER ANNIVERSARY TEAM: Three former region standouts were among 18 players named to the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame's 2013 Silver Anniversary Team.

They are North Judson's Debbie Bolen (Valparaiso University), Crown Point's Tracy Roller (Eastern Illinois) and Lew Wallace's Terrilyn Johnson (Kansas).

The selections are based on outstanding accomplishments as a senior player 25 years ago.

The team includes 10 members of the 1988 Indiana All-Star squad, among them Indiana’s Miss Basketball. Eight other all-state players are included to comprise the best of Indiana’s high school class of 1988.

Brebeuf’s Vicki Hall was the state’s 1988 Indianapolis Star Miss Basketball, also taking Gatorade National Player of the Year and Naismith National Player of the Year honors that season.

All Women’s Silver Anniversary Team members will be honored at the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame’s 12th Annual Women’s Banquet April 27 at the Primo Banquet Hall, located on the south side of Indianapolis.

Tickets will be made available in coming weeks. Call the Hall at 765-529-1891 for more information.


Pro baseball

OLD-TIMERS TO FEATURE GAYLORD PERRY: The 67th annual Gary Old Timers Athletic Association banquet will be held Wednesday at Avalon Manor in Hobart and will have Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry as the featured speaker.

Also, former Andrean and Whiting High School football coach Nick Crnkovich will be honored with the Gary Old Timers Lifetime Achievement award.

Tickets for the Old Timers banquet are $30 each and may be purchased by contacting Doug Miller at (219) 476-4220 or


Around the horn

Exercise physiologist and Purdue Calumet Fitness Center Director John Bobalik discusses hints for achieving New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and improve fitness on "Purdue Calumet Sports Insight" at 5:30 p.m. today on WJOB-AM (1230).  

Jim is a sports writer for The Times who works out of Valparaiso. A South Central High School (1984) and Ball State ('89) grad, he’s covered preps most of his career. He received the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association’s Media Award in 1997.