Scripps Howard News Service
December 26, 2005
Lance Armstrong prevailed again, Notre Dame football celebrated a rebirth and the world said farewell to a boxing legend (Max Schmeling), half of a fabled football backfield (Glenn Davis) and an NFL pioneer (Wellington Mara).
Those were among the highlights - and lowlights - that marked 2005 for sports fans.
A look at the year in sports.
TOP 10 SPORTS STORIES OF 2005:
1) Baseball toughens its steroids policy after severe fallout from Congressional hearings where Mark McGwire declined to answer whether he took steroids, and Rafael Palmeiro insisted that he didn't, then failed a drug test.
2) The Chicago White Sox end an 88-year drought and win World Series by sweeping Houston Astros, which was playing in their first Series ever.
3) Lance Armstrong wins a record seventh straight Tour de France, then retires.
4) Hurricane Katrina wreaks havoc on New Orleans' sports, forcing the NFL Saints, the NBA Hornets, Tulane University and others to move all their games.
5) The New England Patriots defend their Super Bowl title, prompting calls of a dynasty after winning their third championship in four seasons.
6) Quarterback Peyton Manning leads Indianapolis Colts toward a possible undefeated season, the first since the Miami Dolphins in 1972.
7) Behind Heisman trophy winner Reggie Bush, two-time defending national champion USC extends its winning streak to 34 games, setting up a national championship showdown with also undefeated Texas.
8) Tiger Woods wins two major tournaments, including his fourth Masters, bringing his career total to 10 majors, trailing only Walter Hagen (11) and Jack Nicklaus (18)
9) Danica Patrick becomes the first woman driver to lead Indy 500 before finishing fourth.
10) Coach Roy Williams wins his first national title as North Carolina beats Illinois for NCAA Division I basketball championship in game featuring six players who are drafted in the first round by NBA.
- Notre Dame football and coach Charlie Weis. Weis woke up the echoes with a 9-2 season that included the Fighting Irish's first BCS bowl bid since 2000. An offensive mastermind, Weis' attack set numerous ND offense and scoring records.
- Reggie Bush. The USC tailback not only led the Trojans to a second consecutive unbeaten regular season, but he also won the Heisman Trophy with the second-most first-place votes in the award's 70-year history.
- Roger Federer. The Switzerland native started to make his case as the best men's tennis player ever by winning the U.S. Open and Wimbledon, downing top Americans Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick in the finals, respectively. Only 24, Federer now has six Grand Slam titles among his 33 ATP Tour victories.
- Tony Stewart. Once the bad boy of NASCAR, Stewart cleaned up his act in 2005 winning his second Nextel Cup points title. Stewart won five races in the No. 20 car to help claim the title for Joe Gibbs' Racing.
- San Antonio Spurs. With understated stars Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker leading the way, the unselfish, team-oriented Spurs won their third NBA title in the last five years rallying from a 3-2 deficit in the Finals to defeat defending champ Detroit in seven games.
- Terrell Owens. Woe is T.O. Poster boy for the modern self-centered athlete, the Eagles receiver went from heroic figure after playing in the Super Bowl on a badly injured ankle to whining over his $47-million contract to suspended and banished from the Philadelphia Eagles for basically shooting his mouth off.
- Rafael Palmeiro. In March, the Baltimore Orioles first baseman vehemently denied using steroids, waving his finger at Congress for added emphasis. In July, Palmeiro joined Eddie Murray, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron as the only players with 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. But it all came crashing down in early August when it was revealed that Palmeiro had failed a drug test.
- University of Tennessee football. Ranked third in the preseason, the Volunteers collapsed to a 5-6 finish, missing out on a bowl game with their first losing season since 1988. Frustrated head coach Phillip Fulmer wound up writing apology e-mails to disappointed Vols fans, with many calling for Fulmer's dismissal.
- New York Yankees. Despite a payroll that exceeded $200 million, the Yankees failed to win the World Series for the fifth consecutive season, falling to Anaheim in the American League Divisional Series. New York's five-year title drought is the second longest of oh-so-patient owner George Steinbrenner's 31-year reign.
Barry Bonds. Entering the season only 11 home runs shy of Babe Ruth for second on the all-time list, Bonds instead complained of knee pain during spring training and went on the DL in April languishing for nearly five months before finally playing in a paltry 14 games in September hitting .286 with five HRs. Meanwhile, his former trainer and the founder of the BALCO laboratory complex were sentenced to prison time for distributing illegal steroids.
LEST WE FORGET ... .
- Vic Power, 78, a seven-time All Star and one of the first Hispanics to play in the Major Leagues, Nov. 29 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
- George Best, 59, Northern Ireland-born soccer star who rose to fame with Manchester United and became one of sport's first international celebrities, Nov. 25 in London.
- Frank Gatski, 83, Hall of Fame center with the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions, Nov. 23 in Morgantown, W.Va.
- Steve Courson, 50, former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive guard who devoted much of his post-football career campaigning against performance enhancing drugs, Nov. 10 at his home near Pittsburgh.
- Wellington Mara, 89, New York Giants co-owner and NFL pioneer, Oct. 24
- Chris Schenkel, 82, legendary sports broadcaster sportscaster who called sports ranging from football to bowling, Sept. 11 in Fort Wayne, Ind.
- Charlie Williams, 61, the first African American umpire to work behind home plate in a World Series game, Sept. 10 in Oak Lawn, Ill.
- Sue Gunter, 66, women's basketball coach who led LSU to 14 NCAA tournament appearances, Aug. 7 in Baton Rouge, La.
- Jim Parker, 71, offensive tackle for the Baltimore Colts and member of the NFL Hall of Fame, July 18 in Baltimore.
- Chico Carrasquel, 77, Venezuelan shortstop who became the first Latin American player to appear in a MLB All-Star game, May 26 in Caracas, Venezuela.
- Tunney Hunsaker, 75, Muhammad Ali's first professional boxing opponent, April 25 in Fayetteville, W. Va.
- Earl Wilson, 70, the first black pitcher to throw a no-hitter in Major League Baseball, April 23 in Southfield, Mich.
- Clarence (Big House) Gaines, 81, college basketball Hall of Fame coach who compiled a 828-447 record in a 47-year career at Winston-Salem State University, April 18 in Winston-Salem, N.C.
- Al Lucas, 26, former NFL player, died of a spinal cord injury suffered playing an Arena Football League game, April 10 in Los Angeles.
- Becky Zerlentes, 34, the first amateur boxer to die as a consequence of a fight since 2001, April 5 in Denver.
- Glenn Davis, 80, 1946 Heisman Trophy winner who teamed with Doc Blanchard at the U.S. Military Academy to form one the most famous backfield tandems of all time, March 9 at La Quinta, Calif.
- Max Schmeling, 99, German heavyweight who shocked the world by knocking out Joe Louis in 1938 (only to be demolished by Louis in a rematch), Feb. 2 in Hollenstedt, Germany.
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