Kansas City, Mo. Denny Thum was named president of the Kansas City Chiefs on Friday, 35 years after he took an entry-level job in the ticket office and began a career that has touched upon just about every off-the-field aspect of the team.
Thum, 57, will oversee everything but the football operation. Scott Pioli, who was hired as general manager last January off the staff of the New England Patriots, will run the football operation. Both will report to owner and board chairman Clark Hunt.
“It’s exciting,” said Thum, who most recently had been executive vice president and chief operating officer.
Most Chiefs employees had been hoping and expecting Hunt would appoint the well-liked Thum to the new position after Carl Peterson abruptly resigned as president and general manager in December.
Administratively, it’s a big change for the team because Peterson had exercised one-man control over every aspect of the Chiefs for 20 years.
As a 35-year employee, Thum has worked with every head coach in team history. Only two other people on the staff have been with the Chiefs longer.
Chiefs add free agents
Kansas City, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs added eight defensive players among the 12 rookie free agents signed on Friday.
The group includes linebackers Jovan Belcher of Maine, Corey Smith of Cincinnati and Eastern Illinois’ Pierre Walters, along with cornerbacks Jackie Bates of Hampton and Western Michigan’s Londen Fryar. Defensive ends Dion Gales of Troy State and Alabama’s Robert Greenwood, and safety Ricky Price of Oklahoma State also signed.
The offensive players include: Miami of Ohio tight end Tom Crabtree, receiver Taurus Johnson of South Florida, Duke tackle Cameron Goldberg and guard Darryl Harris of Mississippi.
Broncos sign RB Walker
Englewood, Colo. — The Denver Broncos have signed free agent running back Darius Walker.
Dom DiMaggio dies at 92
Boston — Dominic DiMaggio, the bespectacled Boston Red Sox center fielder who made his own mark on the major leagues despite playing in the shadow of Hall of Fame brother Joe and teammate Ted Williams, died early Friday at his Massachusetts home. He was 92.
DiMaggio died at about 1 a.m. with the Red Sox television replay of Thursday night’s game on in the background, said his son, Dominic Paul.
DiMaggio was surrounded by his family, according to his wife, Emily. He had been battling pneumonia, the Red Sox said in a statement.
DiMaggio was a seven-time All Star who still holds the record for the longest consecutive game hitting streak in Boston Red Sox history. Known as the “Little Professor” because of his eyeglasses and 5-foot-9, 168-pound frame, DiMaggio hit safely in 34 consecutive games in 1949.
Cubs acquire Freel
Baltimore — The Baltimore Orioles have traded disgruntled utility player Ryan Freel to the Chicago Cubs for reserve outfielder Joey Gathright.
Kenseth claims pole
Darlington, S.C. — Matt Kenseth set a Darlington Raceway record in winning his first pole in four years Friday, while three-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson will start near the back for the Southern 500 after a qualifying crash. Kenseth had a lap at 179.514 mph on the 60-year-old track to take the top spot for tonight’s Southern 500.
Kenseth wins Nationwide
Darlington, S.C. — Kyle Busch’s flat tire with two laps left sent Matt Kenseth to his first Nationwide Series victory of the season Friday night at Darlington Raceway. Busch led 143 laps and looked like he would ease to victory. But a late collision between Scott Legasse Jr. and Joe Nemechek brought out the race’s 10th caution and set up a two-lap sprint to the finish.
Cejka leads at Players
Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. — Alex Cejka ran off six birdies in 11 holes to start his second round and wound up with a 5-under 67 to build a two-shot lead over Ian Poulter at The Players Championship. A group four shots behind included Masters champion Angel Cabrera, former PGA champion David Toms and Jason Dufner, an alternate when he showed up Monday.
Tiger Woods did his best to get back into the hunt. He was seven strokes back after a 69.
Phil Mickelson shot 1-under 71, making birdie on the last hole to make the cut on the number.
Ochoa leads by three
Williamsburg, Va. — Lorena Ochoa topped the leaderboard for the sixth straight round on the LPGA Tour, shooting a 6-under 65 to take a three-stroke lead in the Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill.
Skins Game shelved
Indian Wells, Calif. — The Skins Game, a Thanksgiving weekend tradition for nearly three decades, became golf’s latest victim of the economic downturn when organizers said it would be postponed this year with no guarantees it would return.
U.S. falls to Russia, 3-2
Bern, Switzerland — Konstantin Gorovikov scored a power-play goal with less than two minutes to play, lifting Russia to a 3-2 win over the United States on Friday in the world hockey semifinals.
UK’s Patterson staying
Lexington, Ky. — Patrick Patterson is returning to Kentucky for his junior season. The school announced Friday the 6-foot-9 forward would remove his name from the NBA Draft to stay in school and play for new coach John Calipari. Patterson averaged 17.9 points and 9.3 rebounds during his sophomore season with the Wildcats and was picked to the All-Southeastern Conference first team.