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Steve Lavin, who at age 32 became UCLA's head coach 11 1/2 months ago when Jim Harrick was fired, has signed a five-year contract, assuring he will lead the Bruins through the 2001-02 season.

Lavin, named interim coach last Nov. 6 when Harrick was dismissed for falsifying expense accounts, guided the Bruins to their third straight Pac-10 championship and three wins in the NCAA Tournament.

Lavin's compensation package is $435,000 in his first year. The package includes base salary, radio/television fees, equipment and apparel contracts, and summer camps.


Sam Okey was suspended by University of Wisconsin basketball coach Dick Bennett after the coach was told the Badgers junior forward had been smoking marijuana, a Madison (Wis.) paper reported.

Okey, the Badgers' top returning scorer, was suspended for two weeks of practice and Wisconsin's first four games.

South Alabama officials denied having offered the school's vacant coaching job to former Michigan coach Steve Fisher or anybody else. On Monday, the Mobile Register reported the job had been offered to Fisher, the recently fired Wolverines coach.

Around & About

Influent, one of the favorites for the Breeders' Cup Turf, will miss the $2 million race at Hollywood Park on Nov. 8 because of a torn ligament in his right hind leg. The 6-year-old gelding is expected to recover and race again next year.

After Cuba's Isael Alvarez Bicet stopped Anthony Stewart in the fifth round, the United States was left without a single fighter in the quarterfinals of the World Amateur Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Dong Yanmei, a 17-year-old from China, was timed in 14 minutes, 31.27 seconds, shattering the previous record for 5,000 meters of 14:36.45 set by Fernanda Ribeiro of Portugal in 1995.

The Los Angeles City Council tentatively approved development of a $300 million sports and entertainment arena, ending more than a year of debate on how it would be funded. The 22,000-seat arena, to be built downtown by the owners of the Los Angeles Kings, will be the home of the NHL team and the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers. It is expected to open in October 1999.

A record 10 cities have officially signed up as candidates to bring the Summer Games back to the United States in 2012. The cities are: Los Angeles, Arlington, Texas; Tampa; Baltimore; Cincinnati; Houston; New York; San Francisco; Seattle; and Washington.

Jason Couch advanced to the championship match of the PBA's Mobil 1 Classic in Bay City, Mich., finishing with a 619-pin advantage over Parker Bohn III. Couch, of Clermont, Fla., had a 42-game pinfall total of 10,982. Venezuela's Amleto Monacelli was third at 10,351, Jess Stayrook followed at 10,261 and John Mazza took the final spot in tonight's stepladder final at 10,101.

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