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Times staff,

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  1. Ex-Florida football player commits suicide

    College

    GAINESVILLE — Chris Johnson, a former Florida football player who transferred in 2013 and played two seasons at Duquesne, died Friday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Allegheny County, Pa., medical examiner's office said. He was 22.

    Johnson, an Ocala native, was found in a car Friday morning outside of Pittsburgh. A senior defensive back last year, he had 104 tackles and two interceptions combined in 2013 and 2014....

  2. Monday's sports on TV/radio

    TV and Radio

    TODAY

    College basketball
    Women: Connecticut at USF7 p.m.ESPN2; 1010-AM
    Virginia at Syracuse7 p.m.ESPN; 1040-AM
    Baylor at Texas7 p.m.ESPNU
    Women: Texas Tech at Baylor8 p.m.FSF
    Oklahoma at Iowa State9 p.m.ESPN; 620-AM
    Boston College at Virginia Tech9 p.m.ESPNU
    Golf
    PGA: Honda Classic8 a.m.Golf
    NBA
    Suns at Heat7:30 p.m.NBA
    Soccer
    CONCACAF U-17 Championship: U.S. vs. Trinidad and Tobago6 p.m.FS2
    ...

  3. USF goes international for women's basketball talent

    College

    TAMPA — The disparity between Connecticut and its league counterparts remains profound. Closing the gap requires broadening horizons. It doesn't suffice to merely think outside the box; one must think outside the borders.

    Hence, USF women's basketball coach Jose Fernandez has gone to great lengths — upward of 5,000 miles — to try to narrow that chasm.

    "We're going to try to get the players here in our program. It doesn't matter where they're from," said Fernandez, whose NCAA Tournament-bound team hosts the top-ranked Huskies tonight. "If they're right down the road or you've got to go across the country or across the world to get them, that's what we'll do."...

    USF starting point guard Laura Marcos Canedo, near right, driving on Connecticut guard Saniya Chong, is a native of Spain and one of six scholarship players on the Bulls from Europe.
  4. Lightning players okay if no trade made

    Lightning Strikes

    SUNRISE — Empty-handed as of late Sunday, the Lightning was going to be working until today's 3 p.m. trade deadline to see if it could find the veteran defenseman it has been searching for.

    Though GM Steve Yzerman has called the chance of a trade "50-50," trade prices continued to be very high Sunday, with the Rangers sending touted forward prospect Anthony Duclair and a 2016 first-round draft pick for Coyotes D Keith Yandle. ...

    NO YOU DON’T: Panthers goalie Al Montoya, who has 20 saves, stops a shot by the Lightning’s Brett Connolly during the first.
  5. Rays' Bobby Wilson bidding for job with hometown team

    The Heater

    PORT CHARLOTTE — Bobby Wilson always has tried to have reasonable expectations.

    Starring roles at Seminole High and St. Petersburg College were enough to get him drafted and signed by the Angels. But he went off to pro ball with meager aspirations and is proud of a career that thus far includes three full seasons as a backup catcher in Anaheim and small parts of three others in the majors....

    Bobby Wilson is a Seminole High and St. Petersburg College product.
  6. Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest storms Florida Strawberry Festival (w/video)

    News

    TAMPA

    By the barest of margins — a quarter of a hot dog, bun included — Nathan "Nasty Nate" Biller won the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest qualifying event Sunday night at the Florida Strawberry Festival.

    Biller, of Texas, downed 23 dogs in 10 minutes. As he was declared the winner, the runner-up marched off the stage while the others cheered. To the audience, it looked like anger. But it was a more involuntary reaction than that....

    Mary Bowers eats a hot dog during the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest qualifying event at the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City on Sunday. Bowers ate 10 hot dogs during the contest and was the female winner. She qualified to go to the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island on July 4.
  7. Mike Montgomery moving to bullpen in bid to make Rays

    The Heater

    PORT CHARLOTTE — LHP Mike Montgomery is moving to the bullpen with the idea that it could get him to the major leagues sooner.

    With two potential open spots in the pen — and with their top lefty, Jake McGee, out the first month — the Rays will look at Montgomery working in relief this spring.

    "We felt his best chance to impact us was to get him in some relief roles," manager Kevin Cash said....

    Mike Montgomery, a starter throughout his minor-league career, says he’d expect a “seamless” transition to the bullpen.
  8. Dunedin man walking to Yankee Stadium to help Wounded Warrior Project

    Human Interest

    DUNEDIN — He bleeds Yankees blue and travels the country to watch the Bronx Bombers, so far hitting 24 of 30 stadiums.

    His son says he's "crazy," so naturally when retired math teacher Richard Albero said he planned to take a hike — 1,200 miles from the Yankees' spring training home in Tampa to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx — nobody doubted his conviction.

    Maybe his sanity came into question. A little....

  9. Adam Baker, leader of 'Courageous 12' black officers who sued for equality, dies at 78

    Obituaries

    ST. PETERSBURG — There were too many plaintiffs to fit on one line.

    That is what the lawyer that night in 1965 told his clients, a dozen black police officers who had been meeting in one another's living rooms for a year and a half.

    If these officers were going to file their discrimination lawsuit, one of them needed to be the face of it, lawyer James B. Sanderlin said.

    Adam Baker stood up....

    Adam Baker, who died Sunday in Rochester, N.Y., was the lead plaintiff in the “Courageous 12” lawsuit. In 1965, 12 black police officers filed a landmark lawsuit alleging racial discrimination by the police department and the city of St. Petersburg. They complained of being relegated to “C-cars” (for “colored”), being limited to the city’s most dangerous areas without opportunities for advancement, and being subjected to retaliation for speaking out. The suit was dismissed, but reversed on appeal, changing working conditions for minority officers.
  10. Tampa Bay Rays president moves past public stumble before City Council

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — Forty-two seconds was all it took for Brian Auld to make a bad first impression on greater St. Petersburg.

    At a City Council meeting in December, the newly installed president of the Tampa Bay Rays too quickly dispensed with a council member's complicated question. And that helped sink the proposed plan to allow the team to look at stadium sites in both Hillsborough and Pinellas counties....

    Rays president Brian Auld holds up his 1-year-old, Jack, at Fan Fest at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg on Feb. 21. At left is his wife, Molly. His meeting with City Council in December derailed, for now, the team’s desire to expand a search for stadium sites.
  11. Rays: Guyer in awe of MMA star Rousey

    The Heater

    Rousey respect

    OF Brandon Guyer, the Rays' mixed martial arts and UFC expert, had even more respect for Ronda Rousey after her 14-second title defense against Cat Zingano. "I thought that was going to be her toughest test," Guyer said. "Like people are saying, she's the Mike Tyson of MMA right now. … She's a legend." Guyer has done some MMA training but has no interest in a firsthand experience with Rousey. "I wouldn't want to try," he said. "I'm not afraid to admit it, she would probably kick my (butt)."...

    Getty Images
  12. USF-UConn women's basketball, 7 p.m. Monday, Sun Dome

    College

    >>TONIGHT

    Women: USF vs. No. 1 Connecticut

    When/where: 7; Sun Dome

    TV/radio: ESPN2; 1010-AM

    Records: USF 24-5, 15-2 AAC; UConn 28-1, 17-0

    Notable: The Huskies won the season's first meeting 92-50, improving their all-time record against the Bulls to 15-0. … Expect an audience of more than 6,000 for this senior night rematch, in which Sweden native Ivana Vuletic and Boca Ciega alumnus Tamara Taylor will be recognized. … USF junior G Courtney Williams, who scored 23 in the teams' first meeting, needs one point to become the second player in program history to score 600 in a season. … UConn and USF rank first and seventh in the nation, respectively, in field-goal-percentage defense, but the Huskies shot 51.4 percent from the floor in the first matchup....

  13. Top things to do this week in Tampa Bay March 2-8

    Events

    Norman Rockwell: A show of the beloved artist's works opens Friday at the Tampa Museum of Art. $10. "Pay what you will" from 4-8 p.m. Fridays. tampamuseum.org.

    Florida Strawberry Festival: Come for the fruit and midway, stay for the headliners. Friday brings Boyz II Men ($20-$25), Saturday John Legend ($50) with opener Dan + Shay ($15-$20). Sunday's headliner is Reba McEntire ($50)....

    Norman Rockwell in an undated AP photo.
  14. Lightning falls to Panthers

    Lightning Strikes

    SUNRISE — Captain Steven Stamkos minced no words when it came to his disappointment following Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Panthers.

    "It's not acceptable," Stamkos said. "You're not going to win any games in this league playing like that."

    Sure, the score looks respectable because the Lightning showed its trademark fight in scoring twice in the third period to pull within one. But coach Jon Cooper said the game should have never come to that, with a spotty, sloppy effort in the second period digging too deep a hole....

    The game ends with a scrum behind the Panthers’ net. The Lightning finishes with a strong push after pulling within 4-3 on a Tyler Johnson goal with 2:44 left.
  15. Some education bills stand a better chance than others as legislative session begins

    K12

    State Sen. Alan Hays' bill that would require middle and high school students to watch the conservative-leaning film America: Imagine the World Without Her has garnered reams of press since he filed it in November.

    Yet in the halls of Tallahassee, his highly publicized effort is not gaining much steam. Some observers have suggested it is one of the least likely bills to make it to Gov. Rick Scott's desk, much less out of its first committee....