Notre Dame coach, players among mourners for student killed in tower accident

November 2, 2010


— Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly and several of the team’s players were among several hundred mourners Monday at the funeral of a student killed last week when a tower from which he was videotaping a practice toppled.

A bell tolled as an altar boy holding aloft a large crucifix led Declan Sullivan’s casket out of the St. Mary Catholic Church following the 90-minute funeral service in suburban Chicago.

Holding hands, the junior’s mother and father followed closely behind the dark-wood casket — Alison Sullivan falling into the arms of a clergyman in white robes after pallbearers carefully slid her son’s casket into a silver hearse.

A somber-looking Kelly descended the steps of the yellow-brick church a few minutes later, as did standout Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o and half a dozen other members of the team.

Sullivan had been on a scissor lift Wednesday that fell as wind gusts reached around 50 mph. Kelly didn’t speak to reporters Monday, but said over the weekend that it was his decision to hold practice outdoors on a windy day.

During the service, Kelly and the players spoke briefly to the student’s parents, Sullivan’s uncle, Mike Miley, told reporters afterward. At the family’s request, reporters were not permitted inside the church.

State regulators have launched an investigation into the accident to see if the school violated safety rules by allowing Sullivan to shoot the practice from the lift on a blustery day.

NYC Marathon

Chilean miner plans to run

New York — The Chilean miner who jogged in the tunnels while trapped underground not only will attend Sunday’s New York City Marathon — he wants to run it.

Marathon officials had invited Edison Pena to watch the race after hearing his story when the miners were rescued last month. They thought he could ride in the lead vehicle or hold the finish line tape, but never expected the Chilean consulate to tell them Pena wanted to run.

“He absolutely, 100 percent wants to participate,” New York Road Runners President Mary Wittenberg said at a luncheon Monday.

Marathon organizers still were working to organize Pena’s travel to New York and figure out exactly how best to honor him.

Pena was one of the 33 miners whose saga captivated the world when they were trapped for 69 days after an Aug. 5 collapse stranded them nearly a half-mile underground. The 34-year-old Pena, the 12th miner rescued, is a triathlete. He’s also a big Elvis Presley fan who received an invitation to visit Graceland.

College football

Georgia aide caught gesturing

Gainesville, Fla. — The Florida-Georgia rivalry may have a new twist, this one courtesy of Georgia assistant coach Todd Grantham.

A television snapshot from Sun Sports in Florida shows Grantham, the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator, seemingly giving the choke sign as Florida’s Chas Henry lined up for the winning field goal Saturday in Jacksonville.

Henry drilled the 37-yarder, ending Florida’s three-game losing streak and giving the Gators their 18th win in the past 21 years against Georgia.

Big Sky adds UND, So. Utah

Grand Forks, N.D. — The University of North Dakota and Southern Utah are joining the Big Sky Conference, effective in July 2012.

The league also says it’s “on the verge” of announcing the addition of the University of South Dakota.

That will give the league 12 core members, with 14 football members. Cal Poly and UC Davis are joining as football-only schools.


NFL game outdraws World Series

A regular-season NFL game drew more television viewers than the World Series.

The “Sunday Night Football” matchup between the past two Super Bowl champions was watched by 18.1 million people, compared with 15.5 million for Game 4 of the World Series.

NBC said it was the first time an NFL game earned a higher rating than the World Series, though the two have rarely aired at the same time over the years.

College basketball

MSU suspends Lucious

East Lansing, Mich. — Michigan State coach Tom Izzo has suspended guard Korie Lucious for next week’s regular-season opener as well as one exhibition game.

Lucious pleaded guilty in September to misdemeanor reckless driving. He’ll miss Tuesday night’s preseason game against Saginaw Valley State and next week’s regular-season opener when the second-ranked Spartans host Eastern Michigan.

Iowa won’t get punk’d by NCAA

Des Moines, Iowa — Iowa says the NCAA won’t penalize the Hawkeyes for allowing two basketball recruits to meet celebrity fans Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore.

The school said Monday that the NCAA ruled the actions by Iowa staffers were “secondary” in nature and both unintentional and accidental. Iowa also said the recruits have been fully cleared.

Published reports in September and October quoted Josh Oglesby, a senior at Cedar Rapids Washington High School, and Marcus Paige, a junior at Linn-Mar High School, as saying they met the acting couple at the Iowa-Iowa State football game in September.


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