Less than a month after being introduced as an expansion team, Tucson's Indoor Football League franchise has lost two partners.

Co-owner Dart Clark resigned this week after a disagreement with the ownership group headed by local businessman Mario Wiggins. Teri Clark, his wife and the team's director of sales, also has left.

The Clarks own the website for the franchise, www.tucsonarenaball.com.

As of Thursday, the site was down.

"We're definitely not going to be a part of that organization," Dart Clark said. "There's too many issues there, and the owner just wants to run it his way."

The team is expected to announce its name and colors later this month. Play is expected to begin in March.

Clark, a former executive with the league's El Paso franchise, said he will continue to pursue a team - either in Tucson or elsewhere.


Ex-Charger coach Coryell dies at 85

SAN DIEGO - Don Coryell, the innovative coach whose "Air Coryell" offense produced some of the most dynamic passing attacks in NFL history, has died. He was 85.

The San Diego Chargers confirmed Coryell died Thursday at Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, just outside of San Diego. The team did not release the cause of death, but Coryell had been in poor health for some time.

From 1978-86, his "Air Coryell" offense - led by quarterback Dan Fouts - set records and led the NFL in passing almost every season. Coryell guided the Chargers to the AFC championship game after the 1980 and '81 seasons, but never reached the Super Bowl.

• Eagles quarterback Michael Vick says he was not involved in a shooting following his birthday celebration in Virginia Beach last week.

"I want to assure everyone that I had nothing to do with that incident," he said in the statement provided to The Associated Press. "I left the restaurant prior to it occurring and did not witness what happened."

Police said earlier Thursday that they have not ruled out Vick as a suspect or person of interest in their investigation.

• The NFL has suspended free agent running back LenDale White for four games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy and free agent defensive tackle Hollis Thomas for eight games for violating its performance-enhancing substances policy.


Mercury suffers sixth consecutive loss

PHOENIX - Katie Smith hit a three-pointer and six free throws in the final seconds, and finished with 25 points, to help the Washington Mystics beat the Phoenix Mercury 107-104 Thursday night.

The Mercury has lost six straight.

Crystal Langhorne added 21 points and nine rebounds for Washington, which has won seven of eight.

WNBA scoring leader Diana Taurasi of Phoenix, playing with a bruised back, had 11 points in 27 minutes.


US defeats Japan, clinches spot in finals

CARACAS, Venezuela - Katie Cochran singled in two runs in a four-run first inning, and the United States went on to beat Japan 4-0 Thursday and clinch a spot in the finals of the softball world championships. The U.S. will try to make it seven consecutive world titles today. It will play Japan, Canada or China.

• Georgia's athletic director has apologized after he was arrested for drunken driving. Damon Evans said Thursday he failed miserably in being a leader and representing the university well. Evans was arrested the day before his new, five-year contract was scheduled to begin. He has publicly campaigned against drunken driving.

• USC running backs coach Todd McNair apparently is no longer with the Trojans. The school said in a statement Thursday that McNair's contract expired Wednesday, but made no additional comment. McNair was given special penalties last month for what the NCAA claimed was his role in the scandal surrounding Heisman Trophy-winning tailback Reggie Bush.

• The Phoenix Coyotes say general manager Don Maloney found a good bargin in Ray Whitney. The Coyotes, under budget restrictions because they still are owned by the NHL, signed the 38-year-old left wing to a two-year, $6 million deal Thursday. Phoenix also re-signed defenseman Derek Morris to a four-year, $11 million deal.

Ryan Finley