U. HOOP STAR DIES: Former University of Utah basketball player Gary Chestang, 60, died on Thursday following a four-year battle with cancer.

Chestang played at Utah in the late 1960s, alongside Billy McGill, Pearl Pollard and Allen Holmes. He is a graduate of East High, where he was a multi-sport, all-state recipient.

He went on to become one of the state's top amateur tennis players, along with doubles partners Russ Kennedy and Dan Cowan.

He is survived by his wife, Maxine, and four children, Andrea, Marne, Gary Mathew and Brian, and three granddaughters.

SAY WHAT? A statement released by the North Carolina basketball office from Makhtar Ndiaye apologizing for falsely accusing a Utah player of using a racial slur at the Final Four was approved by Ndiaye.

During his assault trial in Raleigh this week, Ndiaye denied on the stand that he accused Britton Johnsen of using the epithet during the game March 28. When he was reminded by an attorney of the public apology he made through the basketball office, he said: "That was a statement from the school. I don't know what the school puts out for me."

But Steve Kirschner, director of media relations for men's basketball and football, said UNC doesn't issue statements from athletes with-out their approval.

MCCARTHY ERA ENDS AT NMSU: New Mexico State on Thursday informed ousted basketball coach Neil McCarthy that he'll no longer be on the school's payroll, effective Aug. 9.

McCarthy, the Aggies' head coach for 12 seasons, will leave with the best coaching record in school history - 248 wins and 123 losses, including five consecutive NCAA tournament appearances be-tween 1989 and 1994.

Last October, athletic director Jim Paul removed McCarthy as the coach, saying McCarthy emphasized winning over academics. At the time, McCarthy's program was on three years probation.


KING FOUND INNOCENT: A federal jury found boxing promoter Don King innocent of all counts today at his second trial on charges of faking a contract to cheat Lloyd's of London out of $350,000.

The jury was unable to reach a verdict on charges against his company, Don King Productions Inc.

Prosecutors alleged that King submitted a fake contract to Lloyd's to qualify for an extra $350,000 after a 1991 bout between Julio Cesar Chavez and Harold Brazier was canceled because Chavez was injured in training.


The top four fastpitch softball teams in the country will be in Utah competing in the Pioneer Days softball tournament beginning tonight at 6 p.m. at the Cottonwood Complex.

The annual tournament attracts the world's top teams and is continuing the tradition this year. Joining local product Miller Toyota, the No. 4 ranked team, is No. 1 ranked Farm Tavern out of Madison, Wis. The Tampa Bay Smokers and Travelers, out of Broken Bow, Neb., round out the top three in the world.

The field is made even stronger by Page Break, the No. 11 team in the world, which also hails from Salt Lake.

Both Miller Toyota and Page Break begin play tonight and will continue pool play through Sunday morning. Sunday evening will mark the final, single-elimination tournament to determine the champion. The do-or-die round begins at 7.

Opening ceremonies are slated for right after the first games are completed. Nine Utahns will be inducted into the Utah Softball Hall of Fame at the event.


NFL SUPPLEMENTAL DRAFT: Defensive tackle Jamal Williams of Oklahoma State and offensive tackle Mike Wahle of Navy were chosen Thursday in the second round of the NFL's supplemental draft.

Williams was taken with the fourth pick of the round by San Diego. Wahle went to Green Bay, which chose 24th.

By using those picks, the teams forfeited their second-round picks in next year's regular draft.