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'You want to make the All-Star Game. You want to be in a World Series, but you never dream of this.' - Bill Mazeroski on being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this week

END OF AN ERA

The Dallas Cowboys ushered legendary quarterback Troy Aikman toward the door marked 'Free Agent' on Wednesday. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones opted out of extending Aikman's contract to 2007, which would have entailed paying an extra $7 million bonus to the celebrated QB. That would have pushed Dallas over the NFL's salary cap.

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"This was a mutual and amicable decision," Aikman told ESPN on Wednesday. The player added that he'd like to play somewhere - perhaps San Diego - but nothing had been arranged. It's unsure whether any team would be willing to pick up the "Robo-QB" - as he has been dubbed - who has a history of multiple injuries and has just come off his worst season.

Recruited in 1989, Aikman hoisted a hapless Dallas team to three Super Bowl wins in the 1990s, aided and abetted by his fellow "Triplets," running back Emmitt Smith and receiver Michael Irvin.

Crum out, pitino too

It wasn't the most auspicious of send-offs. The 30-year career of Louisville basketball coach Denny Crum ended Wednesday night when a 74-61 loss to Alabama-Birmingham in the first round of the Conference USA tournament ended the team's season. The coach had announced he was retiring last week.

Crum's 675 wins and two NCAA championships were acknowledged with a standing ovation by chanting fans. But Louisville fans won't be chanting the name of Rick Pitino, formerly of the NBA's Boston Celtics, next season. Pitino turned down an offer by the university this week.

A HOOSIER in TEXAS?

The most famous red sweater in college basketball could soon be pacing the sidelines of Texas Tech.

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Media reports say that former Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight has been approached to replace Tech coach James Dickey. But Dickey, whose team has struggled the past four years, says he hasn't heard anything about the rumor from school officials.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor