- The Detroit Pistons are turning to the reigning coach of the year to help reverse the fortunes of a franchise that hasn’t reached the postseason for two straight seasons.
A source with firsthand knowledge of the process confirmed to the Free Press on Monday former Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey will be named the 36th head coach in franchise history on a five-year deal.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was first to report the Casey hiring.
Both sides signed the deal early Monday morning. The worth of the contract is has not been disclosed. An introductory news conference is not expected until next week. Casey plans to meet with players immediately in Los Angeles where most of them work out. Casey then has Father’s Day plans and then will head to Detroit.
“I am excited and honored to join the Detroit Pistons, a franchise with a championship history and a roster that is ready to win now,” Casey said in a statement released on Monday. “Tom really won me over with his vision for the team and the city. He clearly wants to deliver for the fans in Detroit and I believe in the strength of his leadership to do so.
“I’m confident that this team has the pieces in place to compete at a very high level,” Casey said. “There is a lot of talent, a solid core and some exciting young players eager to get better. We’re getting to work right away on the things that will make us all successful.”
A source says the deal will average $7 million per year, about what Stan Van Gundy made with the Pistons.
- The 19-month-old daughter of U.S. Olympic skier Bode Miller drowned in a Southern California swimming pool, authorities said Monday.
Emeline Miller died at an Orange County hospital Sunday, the day after paramedics tried unsuccessfully to revive her after the drowning incident.
“We are beyond devastated,” Miller said in an Instagram post that showed several photos of the blonde, blue-eyed, chubby-cheeked toddler.
In a video, Emmy, as she was known, was being kissed on the check by her mother Morgan as she repeatedly said, “Hi Dada.”
One photo showed her covered in suds in a tub and another showed her smiling as she pushed two baby dolls in a pink stroller on a street with large homes in the background.
“Never in a million years did we think we would experience a pain like this,” Miller said in the post. “Her love, her light, her spirit will never be forgotten. Our little girl loved life and lived it to its fullest every day.”
The death was under investigation, Orange County sheriff’s spokeswoman Carrie Braun said.
Paramedics were called to a home in the upscale enclave of Coto de Caza just before 6:30 p.m. Saturday, said Capt. Tony Bommarito of the Orange County Fire Authority.
They tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate the girl and rushed her to an emergency room, Bommarito said.
- The Atlanta Falcons will open their mandatory minicamp without Julio Jones, one of their most important playmakers.
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said the team was informed Monday that Jones will not be present when the three-day minicamp opens on Tuesday.
Jones, under contract through 2020, apparently is seeking a new deal as he has fallen behind other top NFL receivers in average earnings.
“We have been in contact with Julio and his representation,” Dimitroff said in a statement released by the team.
“We will not discuss those conversations publicly except to say we feel they have been productive and constructive. We understand the concerns and thoughts from their perspective. Although not ideal, Julio informed us today he would not be attending minicamp.
“We have much respect for him and what he means to our team, our city and our fans.”
Jones’ absence is a big surprise. Before Monday, coach Dan Quinn and others had said they were confident Jones would attend the minicamp despite missing the voluntary offseason program.
Jones, 29, still has three seasons remaining on his five-year, $71.3 million deal with $47 million in guaranteed money. He is due to earn $10.5 million this season, $12.5 million in 2019 and $11.4 million in 2020.
- The Northern Iowa football team announced kickoff times for its home 2018 football games Monday.
The Panthers’ home opener on Sept. 22 against Hampton, their Hall of Fame game, will kick at 4 p.m. On Oct. 6, UNI will host defending FCS champion North Dakota State at 1 p.m.
Homecoming on Oct. 20 against South Dakota State will kick at 4 p.m., while Family Weekend on Nov. 3 against Illinois State kicks at 1 p.m. Senior Day against Missouri State on Nov. 17 will kickoff at 4 p.m.
The Northern Iowa volleyball team announced its 2018 schedule and opened up sales for season tickets.
The schedule includes 12 home matches for just $49 for a reserved spot in the stands.
The Panthers earned their 21st NCAA tournament bid last year, a season which saw them knock off eventual national champion Nebraska during the regular season.
Season tickets can now be purchased online at UNIPanthers.com or by calling (319) 273-4849.
Aug. 24-25 — AT USC Tournament (Creighton, Kentucky, USC). Aug. 29 — Iowa State. Aug. 31 — Washington State
Sept. 1 — Washington State. Sept. 7-8 — At Ball State Tournament (Ball State, Indiana, North Dakota State). Sept. 14-15 — At Illinois Tournament (Lipscomb, Illinois, Creighton). Sept. 21 — At Drake. Sept. 24 — Indiana State. Sept. 28 — At Loyola. Sept. 29 — At Valparaiso.
Oct. 5 — Illinois State. Oct. 6 — Bradley. Oct. 8 — Evansville. Oct. 12 — At Southern Illinios. Oct. 13 — At Missouri State. Oct. 19 — Drake. Oct. 26 — Valparaiso. Oct. 27 — Loyola.
Nov. 2 — At Bradley. Nov. 3 — At Illinois State. Nov. 9 — Missouri State. Nov. 10 — Southern Illinois. Nov. 16 — At Evansville. Nov. 17 — At Indiana State. Nov. 22-24 At MVC tournament, Springfield, Mo.