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SSC's John Pigatti honored by IBCA
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SSC's John Pigatti honored by IBCA

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SSC's Pigatti honored by IBCA: South Suburban College's John Pigatti was named the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association NJCAA Division II Coach of the Year. Pigatti led the Bulldogs to the national tournament. Earlier, Pigatti was also named the Region IV Coach of the Year for the 11th time in 15 seasons at SSC. It's also the 11th time during Pigatti's reign that the the Bulldogs have qualified for the national tourney.

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Fowler comes up short in bid for US Open: Rickie Fowler came up just short — one roll of the ball — in his last shot at avoiding sitting out another major when he failed to get through U.S. Open qualifying on Tuesday. Fowler had five holes to play Tuesday morning in the rain-delayed qualifier at Brookside and The Lakes, and he needed three birdies. From over the back of the 18th green, his chip was about a full turn short before peeling away to the right. That left him one shot out of the 5-for-4 playoff for the remaining spots to the U.S. Open next week at Torrey Pines in San Diego. Chez Reavie and Erik van Rooyen of South Africa led the way in Ohio, the largest of nine U.S. Open qualifiers across the country because of so many PGA Tour players in the field. A pair of Walker Cup players from Texas, Cole Hammer and Pierceson Coody, were part of the five-way playoff. Hammer was the odd man out, making bogey on the second extra hole to be first alternate. Fowler, who shot 66, stuck around The Lakes to take part in a 12-man playoff for one spot to determine who would be the second alternate from Ohio, even though that player was virtually certain not to get into the U.S. Open. Former major champions Padraig Harrington, Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner were among those who joined Fowler at 5-under 139, one stroke short. The California qualifier also went to a Tuesday finish for five players. Rikuya Hoshino, who has won twice on the Japan Golf Tour in the last two months, was among those who made it. Justin Suh, a former All-American at USC, made it after a 4-for-2 playoff. Fowler has not missed the U.S. Open since 2010 and had to go through 36-hole qualifying because of his plunge down the world ranking, well beyond the top 60 in the world who were exempt from qualifying.

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Former Giants coach Fassell dies: Jim Fassel, whose bold guarantee of a playoff bid late in the 2000 season seemingly catapulted the New York Giants to a spot in the Super Bowl, has died. He was 71. The Giants said Tuesday that family friends informed them of his death. Son John Fassel, special teams coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys, confirmed the death to the Los Angeles Times. He told the newspaper his father was taken to a Las Vegas hospital with chest pains and died while being treated Monday. Fassel, the 1997 NFL coach of the year, guided the Giants from 1997 to 2003, posting a 58-53-1 record. He was 2-3 in the postseason, including a 34-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl in February 2001. Fassel's 58 victories place him behind Steve Owen (153), Tom Coughlin (102) and Bill Parcells (77) among Giants coaches. Owen and Parcells are Hall of Famers, and Parcells and Coughlin each won a pair of Super Bowls.

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