NBA First: Every Coach Who Started Last Season Is Back

MIAMI (AP) – Dozens of NBA players found new homes this offseason. A few front offices dealt with hirings and firings. There’s a new arena in Detroit and an ownership change looms in Houston. The league’s logo was even tweaked.

Change was everywhere.

That is, except the coaches’ offices.

Here’s a first for the NBA: Every coach is back. From the start of last season to the start of this season — barring something happening in training camps, anyway — not a single NBA team has changed coaches. That’s an unprecedented run of retention and an obvious source of pride for coaches across the league as the first practices of the season get set to occur this weekend.

“I think what people are seeing is what this league needs, what these players need more than anything, is stability and a consistent message,” said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra, who’s going into his 10th season. “Otherwise we’re just losing ground if you have to start all over every year. That’s a tough way to win in this business. That’s a tough way to build any sort of culture or consistency.”

No one is starting over in the next few days, at least in the sense that a new staff is taking over a team.

gettyimages 630309974 NBA First: Every Coach Who Started Last Season Is Back

(credit: Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

Last season was the first since 1963-64 — and only the fourth in league history — where there were no in-season changes. The league was much smaller back then as well, with only nine coaches having to keep their bosses happy.

It’s a 30-team league now, and a year ago at this time 10 of those clubs had a new coach.

“From top to bottom, we have a very high quality level of coaching,” said Dallas coach Rick Carlisle, the president of the National Basketball Coaches Association. “This is as stable as our profession has been in decades. Contracts are strong, the league is constructed in a way now where coaching is extremely important and ownership understands the importance of the coaching process.”

There hasn’t been a coaching hire since Jeff Hornacek was formally announced by the New York Knicks on June 2, 2016 — which might not sound that long ago, but in a field without any real job security that’s an eternity. So when coaches gathered last week for their annual preseason meeting, they celebrated the fact that there were no new faces in the room.

“We’ve talked about the importance of supporting one another — and at the same time, the need to try to beat each others’ brains in,” Carlisle said. “It’s a conflicting sort of concept from afar, but internally we are the only ones that know all the challenges that head coaches in the NBA face. And because of that, there’s a real healthy respect for one another.”

Summer vacations are ending now. Coaches will all be grabbing their whistles in the next few days, starting with Golden State’s Steve Kerr and Minnesota’s Tom Thibodeau on Saturday when the Warriors and Timberwolves open training camp — those teams can start early because they’re going to China in the preseason.

The other 28 teams start practice on Tuesday.

“In team-building and pro sports, a lot of times the methodical long game is what’s necessary,” said Spoelstra, the second-longest-tenured coach in the league behind San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich. “But you’re seeing less and less of that. That’s why last year was such a pleasant surprise. I think it really was a celebration of stability and an acknowledgment of how complex this position can be.”

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Babies Work Harder When They See You Work Harder

NEW YORK (AP) – If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Especially if a baby is watching.

Children around 15 months old can become more persistent in pursuing a goal if they’ve just seen an adult struggle at a task before succeeding, a new study says.

The results suggest there may be value in letting children see you sweat. “Showing children that hard work works might encourage them to work hard too,” researchers conclude in a report released Thursday by the journal Science.

The babies in the study didn’t simply imitate what the grown-ups did. They faced a different challenge, showing they had absorbed a general lesson about the value of sticking to a task.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology conducted three experiments that included a total of 262 children ages 13 months to 18 months, with an average of 15 months.

gettyimages 814600906 Babies Work Harder When They See You Work Harder

(credit: DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)

The basic procedure was this: Two groups of children first watched a researcher remove a rubber frog from a clear plastic container, and also unhook a key chain from a carabiner, a metal ring with a hinged side.

For one group, the researcher succeeded only after 30 seconds of appearing to struggle to figure out how to do the task. For the other, success came easily, within just 10 seconds, and she demonstrated the answer three times in 30 seconds. In both cases, she kept up a narration (“Look there’s something inside of there! I want to get it out! … Does this work? No, how about this …”)

After seeing the adult solve the challenges, the babies were shown that a felt-covered box could play music, and they were encouraged to turn the music on. The box had a large red button to press, but it was inactive. The question was how long the children would persist in pushing the button.

Across the three experiments, children consistently pressed the button more often if they’d seen the researcher struggle than if she had solved her tasks easily. In one experiment, for example, they pushed it an average of 23 times after seeing her struggle but only 12 times if the researcher had not displayed much effort. That smaller number is about what other babies did if they were just handed the cube in the first place, without seeing an adult fiddle with anything.

The effect was much stronger if the researcher had actively engaged the child while doing her own tasks by making eye contact, using the child’s name, and adopting the high-pitched, exaggerated-melody style of speech that adults typically use to hold a child’s attention.

Results show such young children “can learn the value of effort from just a couple of examples,” said study senior author Laura Schulz.

The study could not determine how long the effect lasts, nor does it show that parents could get the same result with their children. But “it can’t hurt to try in front of your child,” said Julia Leonard, another author.

Elizabeth Gunderson, an assistant professor of psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia who did not participate in the work, called the results compelling. It is surprising that such young children picked up on the general idea of continued effort toward a goal, she said in an email.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Death Wish Coffee Recalled Amid Botulism Concern

ROUND LAKE, N.Y. (AP) – Death Wish cold brew coffee is being recalled because it could contain a deadly toxin.

Death Wish Coffee Co. says it’s recalling 11-ounce Nitro Cold Brew cans after determining that its manufacturing process could lead to growth of bacteria producing botulin toxin.

The toxin causes botulism, a rare illness that attacks the nervous system. Symptoms start with weakness of muscles in the face, mouth and throat.

Mike Brown, founder of the upstate N.Y.-based company, says production of Nitro Cold Brew is being halted until an additional manufacturing process is implemented.

The company says no illnesses have been reported.

Consumers are advised to dispose of any Death Wish Nitro or return it for a refund.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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LA Rams Hold Off 49ers 41-39 In Thursday Night Thriller

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — What many expected to be a typical Thursday night snoozer between a couple of teams lacking star power turned into quite a thriller.

With Jared Goff and Todd Gurley leading a resurgent Rams offense, Brian Hoyer sparking what had been a dormant San Francisco attack and a few late special teams blunders that almost produced an epic comeback, the 41-39 win for Los Angeles over the 49ers was exciting to watch and exhausting for those involved.

“That takes a toll on you,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “Just getting ready on a short week, and then that emotional up-and-down right there certainly wears you out. I know that I’ll sleep very well tonight.”

With the short week to recover and game plan, Thursday night games have often turned into duds. That wasn’t the case in this game as even the many imperfections couldn’t overshadow the drama in the NFL’s highest-scoring Thursday contest since Minnesota’s 46-36 Thanksgiving win over Dallas in 1998.

There was Goff connecting on big pass plays to Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods on a night he threw for 292 yards, including three touchdowns and no interceptions for the Rams (2-1).

Hoyer did his part as well — after shaking off an interception on the first play from scrimmage. He threw for 332 yards and two scores, including key passes to Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin for the 49ers (0-3).

And there was plenty of drama after the Rams went ahead 41-26 with 8:43 to play on Goff’s 13-yard TD pass to Watkins .

The 49ers scored a few minutes later on a 3-yard pass to Trent Taylor, and then got another chance right away when Pharoh Brown fumbled the kickoff. Carlos Hyde then ran it in from the 1 on fourth down to make it 41-39 and set up a potential tying 2-point conversion.

The Niners needed to go for 2 because Robbie Gould had missed an extra point earlier in the fourth quarter. That proved costly when Troy Hill broke up the pass to Taylor on the 2-point try.

But San Francisco wasn’t done. The Niners recovered the ensuing onside kick, but after an offensive pass interference on Taylor wiped out a gain to Los Angeles’ 39, Aaron Donald ended the comeback with a fourth-down sack .

“It was a roller coaster,” Garcon said. “We played well, the guys fought hard, the special teams showed us and gave us those opportunities and on offense we just have to finish drives. That has been a thing for us all year. We are still figuring it out but we will move forward and get things figured out.”

Here’s what else stood out from the Rams dramatic win:

TOUCHDOWN TODD: Gurley had two TD runs and caught a touchdown pass, giving him six touchdowns through three weeks. That matches his entire total from 2016 and is the most for any player after three games since Calvin Johnson had six in 2010. Gurley also ran for 113 yards for his first 100-yard game since Dec. 13, 2015, against Detroit.

BY THE NUMBERS: With two 40-point performances in the first three weeks, the Rams have gone from the NFL’s lowest-scoring team a year ago to a dynamic threat. Their 107 points so far are the second-most in franchise history after three games to the 119 by “The Greatest Show on Turf” squad with Marshall Faulk and Kurt Warner in 2000.

“It feels good, feels good,” Gurley said. “We haven’t been able to put up points like that since Marshall and them left.”

The 49ers scored their most points in four seasons but still ended up on the losing end. They had won 50 straight games when scoring at least 39 points with the last loss coming in 1965 to Minnesota.

THIRD DOWN: A key part of the game was Los Angeles’ success on third down. The Rams converted 8 of 12 opportunities as San Francisco struggled to get off the field. All three of Goff’s touchdown passes came on third downs and Gurley iced the game with a 20-yard run on third-and-10 in the final minute.

INJURIES: The short week took its toll on several players who were forced to leave the game with injuries. Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner went down in the first half with a hamstring injury and center John Sullivan left with an injured groin in the second half.

Los Angeles also lost Watkins and Tavon Austin to concussions, and defensive lineman Michael Brockers also was in and out with injuries.

The game wasn’t any easier on the 49ers, who lost safety Jaquiski Tartt (concussion), fullback Kyle Juszczyk (neck), defensive lineman Tank Carradine (ankle) and linebacker Brock Coyle (concussion) to injuries in the second half.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Arkansas Desperate To End Struggles vs Texas A&M

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema has had his share of struggles in the Southeastern Conference since leaving Wisconsin following the 2012 season.

None have frustrated Razorbacks fans quite as much as the school’s recent woes against Texas A&M.

The Aggies (2-1) are a former Southwest Conference rival of Arkansas (1-1). Since they joined the SEC in 2012, they are also one of two West division teams the Razorbacks haven’t defeated — along with No. 1 Alabama. Arkansas has lost all five of its SEC games against Texas A&M, a streak it is desperate to snap when the two schools meet once again in the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium on Saturday.

Arkansas enters as in need of a win as at any other time during Bielema’s tenure, thanks to a 28-7 loss to No. 16 TCU two weeks ago that pushed the coach’s record (26-27) with the Razorbacks under .500. He’s also 10-22 in the SEC and spent last week during a bye challenging the Razorbacks and searching for answers following the loss to the Horned Frogs.

“I don’t need Superman to show up on Saturday,” Bielema said. “I don’t need someone to play at a level higher than they’ve ever played at. I just need them to play (like) what I’ve seen them do during the course of the week and that will lead to good results.”

Of course, Texas A&M has had its share of problems since the start of the season. Not only have the Aggies blown a 34-point lead in an opening loss to UCLA , but they struggled at times offensively the last two weeks in wins over Nicholls State and Louisiana-Lafayette.

The Razorbacks struggled offensively in the loss to TCU, failing to score in the second half for the third time in four games. They are hopeful the week off helped them recover emotionally from the draining defeat — as well as allowing them time to prepare for the Aggies.

“We don’t need a guy to go out there and do this and that and do everything,” Arkansas linebacker Dre Greenlaw said. “We just need everybody to do their jobs.”

Some things to watch as Arkansas tries to earn its first SEC win over Texas A&M:

RELAXED ALLEN

Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen entered this year as the SEC’s leading returner in passing efficiency, but he has yet to regain that form — throwing for only 135 and 138 yards in the Razorbacks’ first two games. The senior averaged nearly 264 yards passing per game a year ago, but he’s struggled with a new group of wide receivers and lackluster offensive line so far. Despite his struggles, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin paid Allen plenty of respect this week. “He’s a baller,” Sumlin said.

KICKER CHANGE

At the beginning of the week, Bielema said sophomore Connor Limpert was likely to take over as the team’s field goal kicker — though he said freshman Blake Mazza could still win the job with a strong week of practice. Whoever kicks will replace junior Cole Hedlund, who missed attempts of 23 and 20 yards in the loss to TCU two weeks ago.

MOND’S IMPROVEMENT

Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond struggled in the UCLA loss after entering the game for the injured Nick Starkel, completing only 3 of 17 passes. The freshman has been much better the last two weeks and he completed 21 of 34 passes for 301 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s win over Louisiana-Lafayette.

MORE HAYDEN

Speaking of freshman, Arkansas running back Chase Hayden was a non-factor in the loss to TCU despite rushing for 120 yards on 14 carries in his college debut in the opener against Florida A&M. Both Bielema and Arkansas offensive coordinator Dan Enos said this week they expect more playing time for the talented freshman.

STREAKING AGIES

Texas A&M is seeking its sixth straight win over Arkansas on Saturday, which would match its longest streak in the series. The last time the Aggies won six straight games over the Razorbacks was from 1938-43.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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No. 3 Oklahoma Streaking Into Big 12 Opener At Baylor

WACO (AP) — While Baker Mayfield never really sensed that Oklahoma’s series against Baylor was becoming a rivalry, the quarterback knew it had become quite a challenge.

Mayfield has since helped third-ranked Sooners restore their dominance against the Bears — and in the Big 12.

Two-time defending Big 12 champion Oklahoma (3-0), which has won 16 straight league games, plays Saturday night at Baylor (0-3) in the conference opener for both teams.

“I wouldn’t say it’s more exciting because we had a good game two years ago,” Mayfield said. “I would say for us it’s about being the first Big 12 game of us making a run at this thing.”

Two years ago, the Bears were undefeated and the nation’s fourth-ranked team when Mayfield and the Sooners arrived for a mid-November game. Baylor had won three of four against Oklahoma, including consecutive lopsided victories, after losing the first 20 games in the series.

“It was an emotional game for us. Thinking about the two years before that and how Baylor played against us,” Mayfield said. “It was big because Baylor was ranked so high. … We had the playoff focus at the time and so we knew we had to win out after that Texas loss.”

Oklahoma won 44-34 then, handing the Bears their first loss in the new campus stadium that opened in 2014 on the banks of the Brazos River. The Sooners, who went into that game 15th in the College Football Playoff rankings, went on to the Big 12 title and a spot in the four-team playoff.

Now the Sooners’ 13-game winning streak is the longest the country. It includes a 45-24 home win over Baylor last November, and that big victory at then-No. 2 Ohio State two weeks ago to avenge their last loss.

“I think we are trending in the right direction,” said first-year head coach Lincoln Riley, OU’s offensive coordinator the past two years under Bob Stoops.

The Bears are trying to avoid their first 0-4 start since 1999. After losses to Liberty and UTSA — teams that had never won against a Power Five opponent — they now have Oklahoma and trips to Kansas State and sixth-ranked Oklahoma State to start Big 12 play.

“Now we’re sitting here at 0-3, but we’re still 0-0 in conference, so go try to win conference games,” first-year Baylor coach Matt Rhule said. “That mindset of conference, to me, is that preseason is gone and over with.”

Some other things to know when the Sooners and Bears play:

BACK ON THE EAST COAST

Riley’s last two seasons on East Carolina’s staff (2013-14) overlapped Rhule’s first two seasons as head coach at Temple, which went from two wins his first year to consecutive 10-win seasons and an American Athletic Conference title.

“The transformation there was really incredible,” Riley said. “He’s a really, really good football coach.” Riley said he could see the potential and growth in the Bears when watching film.

SOONER STREAKS

Oklahoma has won its last 12 true road games, the longest active streak — Alabama and Clemson have both won 11 in a row. … The 16-game Big 12 winning streak is one short of the school record set from 2003-05. … Saturday will mark 371 days since Oklahoma’s last loss, and 714 days since the last Big 12 loss to Texas in October 2015.

RUNNING AGAIN

Terence Williams, a 1,000-yard runner with 11 TDs last season, had a hard time watching while still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and missing Baylor’s first three games. The junior is set for his season debut Saturday.

“I’m an angry watcher. It’s all inside, I keep it inside,” Williams said. “I have to make up for these games I’ve missed.”

BEAR DEFENDERS

The Baylor secondary will have some extra help. Senior safety Taion Sells has completed a three-game suspension for an unspecified offseason incident, and will play for the first time Saturday, as will cornerback Grayland Arnold after a broken left arm during a preseason scrimmage. Jordan Tolbert, another cornerback, is also expected back from an injury.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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