AGGIES PICK NEW COACH: Utah State University has named Andre Luciano as its new women's assistant soccer coach. He replaces Sally Boettger, who resigned to pursue other career interests.

Luciano comes to the Aggies from Washington State University, where he had been an assistant coach for the women's program during the 1995 and 1996 seasons. Prior to that, he coached in the Washington East Olympic Development Program and at the club and high school level in the Cincinnati area.

As a player, Luciano began his career at Yavapai Community College and was named the ISAA/adidas Goalkeeper of the Year in 1990, helping lead his team to the NJCAA national championship.

Luciano transferred to Indiana University for his final two seasons as one of the top goalkeepers in the country. He helped lead the Hoosiers to Big 10 championships in 1991 and 1992 as well as a spot in the NCAA playoffs during both of those seasons, making the Final Four in 1991 and the Elite Eight in 1992.


HARRICK HIRING OK'D: After a hearing that lasted less than five minutes, the Rhode Island state Ethics Commission gave approval for the Rhode Island University men's basketball team to hire its coach's son as an assistant.

The advisory decision apparently ended speculation that hiring Jim Harrick Jr. would violate state rules banning nepotism.

Jim Harrick Sr. has been Rhode Island's coach for a year, and his 33-year-old son is a former Valparaiso assistant.


RAVENS' POTTY PARTY: Wednesday evening, an army of volunteers will simultaneously flush all 1,074 toilets and urinals at the new Baltimore Ravens stadium to test the plumbing. The idea is to simulate game-time conditions, when fans will use the toilets en masse.

The football team's public relations staff has turned it into a full-blown potty party titled "Super Flush."

Hundreds of people have requested passes. Radio stations have awarded passes to lucky callers. The team has invited VIPs and hired an emcee.

"Baltimore loves stuff like this. I mean, all these people want to come and flush a toilet. You couldn't get away with this in L.A.," said Kirk McEwen, co-host of a local radio stations' morning show.

A professional comic, Kent Mursick, will moderate the event under the pseudonym Rusty Bidet.

"I've spent 12 years avoiding toilet humor, and then someone calls you up and asks if you would do some toilet jokes," Mursick said.

The stadium, next to Oriole Park in downtown Baltimore, will be used for the first time on Aug. 8. The $200 million NFL stadium, financed partly with taxpayer money, replaces the old Memorial Stadium in nearby Owings Mills as the Ravens' new home.

STEELERS SIGN COACH, CUT LLOYD: Bill Cowher, the only current NFL coach to go to the playoffs in each of his first six seasons, signed a three-contract extension that ties him to the Pittsburgh Steelers through the 2002 season. The contract, worth about $2 million a year, makes Cowher one of the NFL's four highest-paid coaches.

The Steelers also released Greg Lloyd, a five-time Pro Bowl linebacker whose nasty temperament and aggressive play personified the Pittsburgh Steelers' defense for much of the 1990s.

The Steelers unsuccessfully tried to trade Lloyd, who is coming off two serious injuries in as many seasons. By waiving him the Steelers save $2.8 million under the salary cap.

BILLS SIGN QB: Buffalo Bills quarterback Rob Johnson signed a $25 million, five-year deal that includes a franchise-record $8.5 million signing bonus.

The Bills, who acquired Johnson from Jacksonville in February, voided the final year of his contract and replaced it with the new five-year package. The signing bonus surpasses the $6.5 million Ted Washington received as part of the $27 million, five-year deal he signed on March 1.


RECORD IN 1,500 METERS: Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj set a new world record in the 1,500 meters at the Golden Gala meet, clocking 3 minutes, 26 seconds. El Guerrouj, the world champion at the distance, slashed more than a second off the old mark of 3:27.37, established by middle-distance great Nourredine Morceli in 1995.

In other events, Michael Johnson rebounded from just his second loss of the decade in the 400 meters to win that race, Marion Jones continued her dominance of the women's 100, and veteran Frankie Fredericks stayed on track for a $1 million jackpot by winning the men's 100.


PLAYER PLEADS INNOCENT: Philadelphia Flyers prospect Jesse Boulerice pleaded not guilty to a charge that he took a baseball swing with his hockey stick and left an opponent unconscious and convulsing.

Boulerice was charged last week with "assault to do great bodily harm less than murder" to Andrew Long during an Ontario Hockey League finals game in April. The felony carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.


REVELRY VICTIM DIES: A bystander hit by a car during a World Cup celebration along the Champs-Elysees has died. About 80 people were injured in the accident early Monday when a woman apparently panicked when the crowd pounded her vehicle and she plowed into a crowd of revelers. Thirty-three people are still hospitalized and 10 people are in serious condition.


YANKS REWARD CURTIS: Chad Curtis, who will be relegated to being New York's fourth outfielder when Bernie Williams comes off the disabled list, signed a $6 million, three-year contract extension Tuesday night.