Alabama QB, BC Running Back Honored
Lake Buena Vista, Fla. — Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron won the Maxwell Award, given to college football’s player of the year.
McCarron was presented with the award Thursday during the 23rd College Football Awards Show at Disney.
The fifth-year senior led Alabama to an 11-1 season that left the Crimson Tide just short of a chance to play for its third straight national championship. He threw for 2,676 yards and 26 touchdowns with five interceptions.
McCarron also is a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, which will be handed out Saturday night. He won the Maxwell Award over Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, both Heisman finalists as well.
Boston College’s Andre Williams won the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation’s top running back. A Heisman Trophy finalist as well, Williams became the first running back at the Football Bowl Subdivision level since 2008 to rush for 2,000 yards. He finished with 2,102 yards and 17 touchdowns to help the Eagles to seven wins and a bowl berth this season.
Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald won the Chuck Bednarik Award as the defensive player of the year.
Memphis senior Tom Hornsey won the Ray Guy Award winner as the nation’s best punter.
Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald won the Outland Trophy, given to the nation’s top interior lineman.
Florida State star Jameis Winston won the Davey O’Brien Award, given to the nation’s top quarterback.
Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard won the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation’s best defensive back.
Florida State freshman Roberto Aguayo won the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s best placekicker.
Oregon State junior Brandin Cooks won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s most outstanding wide receiver.
Rangers Draft Seahawks QB
Lake Buena Vista, Fla. — Yes, Russell Wilson loves baseball. But, for now, the Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback is thinking about getting his team to the Super Bowl.
Wilson was selected by the Texas Rangers from the Colorado Rockies on Thursday in the Triple-A portion of baseball’s winter meeting draft.
Wilson, who played minor league baseball for parts of two seasons before becoming an NFL star, will be placed on Texas’ restricted list.
Wilson was drafted as a second baseman by the Rockies in the fourth round of the 2010 amateur draft out of North Carolina State, where he excelled at both baseball and football. In two seasons at the Class A level he hit .229 with five homers and 26 RBIs.
Napoli, Red Sox Sign Deal
Boston — The Boston Red Sox finalized their two-year deal with first baseman Mike Napoli on Thursday, bringing back one of the biggest hitters from the World Series team.
Napoli will earn $32 million through 2015. The terms were agreed to last week, when Napoli tweeted, “The beard is coming back to Boston!!! Couldn’t be happier!!”
Napoli’s bushy beard made him one of the most visible stars of the Red Sox, but it was his bat that helped them win the World Series. He drove in seven runs in the postseason as the Red Sox beat Tampa Bay, Detroit and St. Louis.
Napoli hit .259 with 23 home runs and 92 RBIs this year in his first season with the Red Sox.
To make room for Napoli on the 40-man roster, outfielder Alex Castellanos was designated for assignment.
U.S. Coach Gets New Deal
Even before leading the United States in a difficult first-round group at next year’s World Cup, Jurgen Klinsmann has been signed to stay on as the American coach for the 2018 World Cup.
The U.S. Soccer Federation said Thursday that Klinsmann has agreed to a four-year contract extension through 2018.
Klinsmann replaced Bob Bradley as the American national team coach in July 2011 and his new deal gives him the additional title of USSF technical director.
The U.S. is 27-10-7 under Klinsmann, qualified for its seventh straight World Cup and won this year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, the championship of North and Central America and the Caribbean. The Americans set team records this year for wins (16), winning percentage (.761) and winning streak (12).
MLS All-Stars To Face Bayern Munich
Portland, Ore. — The 2014 Major League Soccer All-Star game will be against legendary German club Bayern Munich, the reigning European and Bundesliga champions.
The All-Star game will be played in August at Jeld-Wen Field, home of the Portland Timbers. The MLS All-Star game has pitted league stars against top-flight foreign clubs for the past 10 years.
Perks at Frozen Fenway
Boston — This year’s Frozen Fenway winter sports festival will include a sledding and tubing ramp for the first time.
The 20-foot high ramp will be located in the shadow of Fenway Park’s Green Monster left field wall and will feature five separate 75-foot runs ending at the Red Sox bullpen.
The “Monster Sled” ramp will be available for hourly rentals for groups of up 100 people. Sleds and tubes will be provided for free.
The 17-day Frozen Fenway festival runs from Dec. 28 through January 13.
The event features 16 college and high school hockey games on a temporary rink set up on the field, as well as a pair of community skates.
Canada Coach Steps Down
Calgary, Alberta — Dan Church resigned Thursday as coach of the Canadian women’s hockey team, saying he felt others lacked confidence in his ability to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics.
The announcement was made before Canada’s exhibition game against the United States.
Hockey Canada said assistant coaches Lisa Haley and Danielle Goyette will serve as co-coaches until a new head coach is named.
Canada is attempting to win a fourth straight gold medal in Sochi after victories in 2002, 2006 and 2010.
Church, from Toronto, signed a two-year contract to coach the women’s team in June 2012. He coached Canada to the world title that year in Burlington, Vt. Canada lost the final of this year’s world championship to the U.S. in Ottawa.