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MAKING NEWS

Go ahead, take

on Sampras. Really

Think you can stay on the tennis court with Pete Sampras? Hey, so what if he has a mere 13 Grand Slam titles on you? Through Nov. 26, a 30-minute hitting session with Sampras at Arthur Ashe Stadium Court in New York is up for charity bids to benefit the Tim & Tom Gullikson Foundation. The auction will be conducted on AllStarCharity.com and bidding begins at $7,500. The winning bidder also gets a two-night hotel stay in New York before the U.S. Open and two tickets to the first session on Aug. 26.

Attention, Fenway

Park faithful

After third-division soccer team Oxford United lost 13 out of 17 games, some fans said the club's new stadium was cursed. So when the local bishop came to bless Kammas Stadium, he added a prayer against evil. The next day, Oxford secured a much-needed draw. The story was all over Britain's media Wednesday. "Exorcist," screamed the headline on the front page of the Sun, a London tabloid. But the Rev. Richard Harries said he simply repeated the kind of words Christians say every day. "I though it was appropriate not only to bless the stadium but to have specific prayers that any evil around might be overcome," Harries said. The team denied there had been an exorcism. "A flippant remark about "lifting a gypsy curse' has been seized on by the tabloids, and should serve as a fine example of how they work," the club complained on its Web site.

QUESTION OF THE DAY

In his one year as coach at California in 1996, what was the record of Steve Mariucci, now coach of the NFL's 49ers?

Answer below.

QUOTABLE

"He must want 109th place."

_ BOB ELLIOTT

Toronto Sun writer on Twins owner Carl Pohlad, who would net $250-million if baseball owners decide to fold his team. Pohlad is No. 110 in Forbes' rankings of the richest Americans with a net worth of $1.8-billion.

ANSWER

Mariucci's Bears went 6-6, losing to Navy in the Aloha Bowl 42-38.

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