The University of Montana fired coach Robin Pflugrad and athletic director Jim O'Day on Thursday, adding more uncertainty to a program already...

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College football

Montana fires coach Pflugrad

The University of Montana fired coach Robin Pflugrad and athletic director Jim O’Day on Thursday, adding more uncertainty to a program already dealing with sexual-assault allegations against two players.

O’Day and university President Royce Engstrom addressed staff and coaches in separate meetings Thursday morning, but neither gave a reason for the firings.

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Earlier this month, a university student accused quarterback Jordan Johnson of sexually assaulting her. No charges have been filed. Pflugrad, a former Washington State assistant, recently called Johnson a person of “tremendous moral fiber” in a statement that was criticized by the alleged victim’s attorney.

In January, running back Beau Donaldson was suspended from the team after he was charged with raping an acquaintance in September 2010. He has pleaded not guilty.

Judge delays Sandusky trial

The judge overseeing former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky’s child sexual-abuse case delayed the start of the trial by three weeks to early June. Judge John Cleland said the time was needed “to accommodate various logistical contingencies that have arisen,” and the attorney general’s office supported the postponement.


Canadiens fire general manager

Montreal fired general manager Pierre Gauthier, with the Canadiens last in the Eastern Conference with a 29-34-14 record.

“We need to remember that our fans want us to win, period,” owner Geoff Molson said.

Crosby hurt in Penguins’ loss

Sidney Crosby left briefly in the second period after being bloodied when he was struck in the face with the puck, and suddenly slumping Pittsburgh fell again to the New York Islanders, 5-3.

Early in the second period, Islanders defenseman Dylan Reese was trying to clear the puck out of the corner when he hit Crosby, who was standing a few feet away.

Crosby stayed down on his stomach for about a minute before gathering himself and getting back up on his skates. He missed about nine minutes of game time, then returned to the ice.


Sharapova edges Wozniacki

Maria Sharapova benefited from a chair umpire’s disputed overrule on the final point and edged Caroline Wozniacki 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinals at the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Fla.

At 40-30 in the final game, Sharapova hit a second serve that the linesman called long, which would have been a double fault, but the umpire immediately reversed the ruling and ordered the point replayed. The call couldn’t be reviewed because Wozniacki had no challenges left, although TV replays showed the umpire was correct.

Sharapova was awarded two serves and took advantage with a big first serve to set up an overhead winner for the victory.

Afterward, an angry Wozniacki declined to shake the umpire’s hand.

On the men’s side, top-ranked Novak Djokovic advanced to the semifinals by beating No. 5 David Ferrer 6-2, 7-6 (7-1).


Ford wins national slalom title

Tommy Ford used a strong second run on a soft course to capture the slalom title at the U.S. championships in Winter Park, Colo.

Ford, who was third after the opening pass, finished in a combined time of 1 minute, 32.20 seconds, holding off Leif Kristian Haugen of Norway by 0.01 seconds. Michael Ankeny was third.

Figure skating

Canadians triumph at worlds

Olympic ice dance champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada won the world figure skating title in Nice, France, reversing last year’s result by beating defending champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the U.S.

The Canadians defeated the Americans for the second straight event, this time by a score of 182.65 points to 178.62.

Earlier, Alena Leonova of Russia nailed all her jumps to win the women’s short program ahead of Japanese teenager Kanako Murakami and European champion Carolina Kostner of Italy. The American women were almost certain to not win a medal — Ashley Wagner was eighth and Alissa Czisny was in tears after finishing 16th.


• Maine’s Spencer Abbott, Jack Connolly of Minnesota-Duluth and Colgate’s Austin Smith are finalists for the Hobey Baker award, given to college hockey’s best player.

• The Jockey Club, among the most influential groups in horse racing, on Friday will propose a ban on the use of drugs for horses on race day, along with stiff penalties, including a lifetime ban for repeat offenders.

The proposal would bring American racetracks in alignment with Europe, where horses may not race on any drugs and where the fatality rate for horses is far lower.

Currently, horses in the United States are allowed to run on certain amounts of pain medicine, which veterinarians say can mask ailments that could lead to injuries or catastrophic breakdowns while racing.

• Preakness winner Shackleford will be retired at the end of the year and stand at stud at Darby Dan Farm in Lexington, Ky.

Jeffrey Webb of the Cayman Islands will succeed Jack Warner as president of soccer’s governing body in North and Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF).

• The captain of the Cincinnati Ben-Gals cheerleading squad has been charged by a Kentucky grand jury with first-degree sexual abuse involving a student when she was a high-school teacher.

Sarah Jones, 26, was also indicted on a charge of unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in sexual or other prohibited acts.

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