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SPORTS TODAY <br> NEWS, NOTES & QUOTES

REPORT: SPURRIER GIVEN 24 HOURS BY FLORIDA

The University of Florida has given Steve Spurrier (left) 24 hours to decide if he wants to come back and be head coach of the Gators, a source told The Miami Herald on Tuesday night.

According to the source, UF athletic director Jeremy Foley called Spurrier on Tuesday morning, a day after Ron Zook was fired, and told the former Gators coach he had to decide within 24 hours if he wanted to pursue the job.

A similar report appeared on ESPN.com, saying that an ESPN source said Foley had given Spurrier a 24-hour time limit.

Foley denied the report, saying, "That's flat not true."

And University of Florida president Dr. Bernie Machen said: "The University of Florida has not contacted anyone."

According to The Herald source, Foley called Spurrier on Tuesday morning to give him the deadline, and Spurrier called back and told Foley he wanted to make sure he could bring in his coaches. Spurrier asked Foley to contact Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops to ask permission to talk to Oklahoma's co-defensive coordinator Bo Pellini.

Spurrier is without a doubt the No. 1 candidate, but Foley and Machen say they are adamant on conducting a nationwide search to replace Zook.

BANDITS SELECT POWLESS WITH FIRST PICK

Buffalo Bandits selected midfielder Delby Powless of Rutgers with the first overall selection in the 2004 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft. The Bandits acquired the top pick Friday in a trade that saw team tri-captain Mike Accursi go to the unnamed Minnesota franchise.

"We've seen Delby play a number of times at Rutgers, in the world games and most recently with the Six Nations Arrows and he continually impressed us," said Bandits general manager Kurt Silcott. "He's a proven goal scorer who plays tough, physical lacrosse. We expect him to step right in and make an immediate impact on our team. Adding Delby to (John) Tavares, (Mark) Steenhuis, (Jason) Crosbie and (Jonas) Derks will put a lot of pressure on any defensive group. We think that their skills will mesh very well and Delby will become an instant force in the NLL."

Powless earned first team All-ECAC and USILA honorable mention All-America honors for the second consecutive season in 2004 after leading Rutgers with 31 goals.

AZERI TO RUN WITH BOYS IN BREEDERS' CUP CLASSIC

Azeri will try to beat the boys again, this time in the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic.

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas made the surprise announcement Tuesday, declaring 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri "all in" for the 1 1/4 -mile Classic at Lone Star Park in Texas on Saturday.

"We're in Texas, and this is Texas hold 'em," Lukas said.

Azeri was pre-entered in the BC Distaff and the BC Classic last week, and it was thought Lukas was leaning toward running the 6-year-old mare in the Distaff, which she won in 2002 and missed last year with an injury.

FEDERER PULLS OUT OF SWISS INDOORS

Roger Federer (left) pulled out of the Swiss Indoors in Basel after hurting his left thigh in a practice session, while Taylor Dent and Paradorn Srichaphan exited with upset losses.

The top-ranked Federer will need to rest up to two weeks and could miss the Paris Masters and season-ending Tennis Masters Cup, which starts Nov. 17 in Houston.

Dent was toppled by wild card Ivo Heuberger, 6-2, 6-3, while Srichaphan was eliminated by Stefan Koubek, 6-7 (7), 6-4, 6-3.

AMERKS REMAIN WINLESS IN AHL

Four different players scored goals as the Grand Rapids Griffins beat the Rochester Americans, 4-0, keeping the Amerks winless in the young American Hockey League season.

Bryan Helmer, Danny Groulx, Eric Manlow and Derek Meech scored for Grand Rapids, now a perfect 5-0-0-0. Rochester dropped to 0-3-1-1.

The Amerks host Manitoba Friday night.

Compiled from News and wire service reports.

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