MINNEAPOLIS — Even as his seizures have grown in frequency over the last two years, Minnesota coach Jerry Kill has always maintained that his epilepsy would never slow him down.
When he wasn't able to make it to a game for the first time in his coaching career last weekend against Michigan, Kill decided it was time to take a step back, put his health before football for once, and try to get a handle on an issue that has taken him from the sideline twice in the last month.
Kill and the university announced Thursday that the coach is taking an open-ended leave of absence from the team to focus on treatment and management of his epilepsy, and it is uncertain when he will be able to return to the Golden Gophers.
"This was a difficult decision to make, but the right decision," Kill said in a statement distributed by the university. "Our staff has been together a long time and I have full confidence in coach Claeys and them during my time away. Every decision that will be made will be in the best interest of the players and the program. I look forward to returning to the Minnesota sideline on a full-time basis soon."
Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys will fill in as acting head coach.
DULUTH, Ga. — Maya Moore scored 23 points, Rebekkah Brunson had 15 points and 12 rebounds, and the Minnesota Lynx beat the Atlanta Dream 86-77 to win their second WNBA title in three years.
Tiffany Hayes finished with 20 points and Alex Bentley had 18 for Atlanta, which was swept in the best-of-5 finals for the third time in four years.
The Dream cut the lead to three points early in the third quarter, but Moore came off a screen on the next possession and hit a 3-pointer to make it 45-39. She and Brunson combined for 19 of Minnesota's 26 points in the third.
Atlanta forward Angel McCoughtry, the WNBA's two-time defending scoring champion, finished with 13 points and shot just 28.5 percent in the finals.
CONCORD, N.C. — Jeff Gordon won the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Gordon turned a lap at 194.308 mph to edge Kevin Harvick for his ninth pole at Charlotte, the second most in track history.
Greg Biffle qualified third for the Saturday night race, Jimmie Johnson was fourth, and Kasey Kahne — who held the lead for most of the night — was fifth.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., celebrated his 39th birthday by qualifying sixth. Ryan Newman was seventh, followed by Juan Pablo Montoya, Kyle Busch, and Kurt Busch.
Gordon enters the weekend fourth in the Chase standings, 32 points behind leader Matt Kenseth with six races left. Kenseth qualified 20th.
SAN MARTIN, Calif. — Coming off his worst year, Jeff Overton opened the new PGA Tour season on a good note.
Once he finally made a putt Thursday in the Frys.com Open, Overton felt as if he couldn't miss. Over the last 11 holes at CordeValle, he made three birdie putts over 25 feet and a 20-foot eagle putt when his gamble paid off on the par-5 ninth.
He finished with a tap-in birdie on the 18th for a 7-under 64 and a two-shot lead over the early starters.
Kyle Stanley had a 66. Michael Putnam, who won the Web.com Tour money title last season to earn full status, was among those at 67. John Peterson was challenging until finishing with two bogeys for a 68.
The PGA Tour season is starting in October instead of January for the first time in history. The official season ends next September at the Tour Championship, although there will be a six-week break leading to the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.
■ KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — South Korea's Ilhee Lee shot a 7-under 64 to take a one-stroke lead over American Brittany Lang after the first round of the LPGA Malaysia.
Paula Creamer, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Beatriz Recari, and Eun-Hee Ji shot 66 at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
BOWLING GREEN — The Bowling Green State University hockey team received bad news as it prepares for its season-opening series at Union College this weekend.
Junior forward Ryan Carpenter, the Falcons’ leading scorer last season, suffered a broken finger and will have surgery.
BG coach Chris Bergeron said Carpenter was hit by a puck in the first period of the team's exhibition win Saturday over Wilfrid Laurier. He played the rest of the game.
The date of his return is uncertain.
Face off between BG and Union, ranked No. 16 in the first USCHO.com poll of the season, is set for 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday in Schenectady, N.Y.
The Falcons also will be without forward Dajon Mingo, who missed the exhibition game because of academic issues. He is expected to return when BG hosts Colgate on Oct. 18-19.
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Detroit Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey broke a bone in his right thumb after catching it in a car door.
The Pistons said Thursday that Stuckey, injured Wednesday, will have surgery today and that a timeline for his return will be determined after the procedure. Stuckey averaged 11.5 points in 76 games last season.
High school golf
FINDLAY — St. John's Jesuit, behind a 73 from Jack Mancinotti, placed first at the Division I District Golf tournament held at Red Hawk Run.
The Titans shot a team score of 319, one stroke ahead of second place Findlay (320).
St. John's and Findlay will advance to the state tournament next week.
Advancing as individual qualifiers are medalist Mitchell Kontak of Maumee, who shot a 71 and Trey Walker of Bowling Green who turned in a 76.
The Northern Lakes League cross country meet on Saturday has been moved from Anthony Wayne to Secor Park due to wet grounds at the high school.
The girls race starts at 11:20 a.m. and the boys race is at noon.
Lisa Urbanski, a sophomore defensive specialist for the Owens Community College volleyball team, and Ryan Wicher, a freshman goalkeeper for the Express men's soccer team, have earned Ohio Community College Athletic Conference honors.
Urbanski, a Notre Dame grad, was named the OCCAC's player of the week in volleyball after recording 27 digs against OCCAC foe Sinclair Community College. Then, in four matches at the Vincennes Invitational, she recorded 119 digs.
Wicher was named defensive player of the week. He saved eight shots while in a 4-0 victory over Mercyhurst North East CC.
Wicher, a Whitmer grad, is 3-0 in goal with 12 saves for the Express (11-3-1).
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