A Texas school board has fired two football coaches accused of holding a starter's pistol to a student's head and threatening to hang him from the ceiling by his hands unless he improved his grades enough to play football next season.

Trustees of the New Waverly school district voted, 5-0, to dismiss head coach and athletic director Larry Spacek and assistant coach Steve Ramsey. The coaches were suspended after Thea Clark, mother of 14-year-old Joshua Maxey, complained they took her son into the coaches' office Nov. 27, ostensibly to encourage him to bring up failing grades so he could play football next year.

Maxey testified that Spacek tried to tie his hands with an extension cord and threatened to hang him from the ceiling and that Ramsey then held him in a hammerlock and pointed the pistol at his temple.

At a 3 1/2-hour board hearing requested by the coaches, Spacek and Ramsey denied they had threatened Maxey, as the boy and five other witnesses claimed. Superintendent Alvin Davis, who recommended the firings, said the two coaches never denied the allegations when he questioned them the day of the incident and the day after. . . .

A 17-year-old Kentucky basketball player collapsed in a locker room and died following a game Tuesday night, school officials said. The player, Lovell "Brad" Elliott, a senior guard for East Carter High School, had played 19 minutes without signs of a problem in his team's 90-66 loss to Ironton High School.

The school's principal, Harlan Fleming, said congestive heart failure is suspected as the cause of death. . . .

Guard Keith Scott scored 18 points and forward Exree Hipp added 15 to lead Harker Prep to an 88-27 victory over Honolulu's Moanaalua High School in the first round of the Illani Classic in Honolulu Tuesday night. Harker will face Patrick Henry of Roanoke in the second round of the 16-team tourney.