P.J. Carlesimo, whose tenure at Golden State was marked by the Latrell Sprewell choking episode two years ago, was fired yesterday by the Warriors.

Carlesimo, whose coaching style was questioned both before and after the Dec. 1, 1997 attack, fell victim to his own poor record. In his third season with the Warriors, the team was 6-21--the second-worst mark in the league. He had an overall mark of 46-113 with Golden State.

His dismissal comes with 2 1/2 years remaining on a reported five-year, $15 million contract.

General Manager Garry St. Jean took over as coach, agreeing to a multiyear contract encompassing the responsibilities of both jobs, the team announced. St. Jean's tenure began last night with a 105-83 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

"Obviously this was an extremely difficult decision from both a professional and personal standpoint," St. Jean said in a written statement. "Nonetheless, we have decided to move in a new direction. As you would imagine, P.J. handled the news with tremendous class and dignity. We thank him for his contributions to the Warriors over the past three seasons and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors."

Also fired was third-year assistant coach Bob Staak. Taking Staak's place was Brian Winters, former head coach of the Vancouver Grizzlies and an assistant with Denver two years ago.

Rod Higgins also was named an assistant coach. Assistant coach Paul Westhead was reassigned to the basketball operations department.

Carlesimo came to Golden State in June 1997 soon after being fired by Portland. He led the Trail Blazers to three straight winning seasons but was dismissed because of clashes with his players over his sometimes abrasive coaching style.

The emotions boiled over at a practice Dec. 1, 1997, when Sprewell responded to Carlesimo's terse command of "put a little mustard" on a pass by choking his coach. It took several players and team officials to break up the attack, which an angry Sprewell renewed 15 minutes later.


AP Honors Woods

Tiger Woods wasn't even considered the country's best golfer halfway through 1999. By year's end, however, he had put together one of the sport's most dominant seasons in the 20th century.

Woods won nine of his last 13 tournaments, including a major championship, and earned $7.6 million.

Woods was named the Associated Press male athlete of the year in a close vote over Lance Armstrong.

"It's great to be selected, very humbling to be part of that," said Woods, who won the award for the second time in three years. "A lot of great athletes have won this award."

Woods received 29 first-place votes and 144 points from AP member newspapers and broadcast outlets. Armstrong, who overcame testicular cancer to win the Tour de France, had 31 first-place votes and finished with 130 points.

Cy Young award winner Pedro Martinez of the Boston Red Sox finished third with 45 points, followed by John Elway and Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne.

Rounding out the top 10 were: Andre Agassi, Tim Duncan, Payne Stewart, Sammy Sosa, and quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Kurt Warner, who tied for 10th.

The U.S. women's World Cup soccer team was named the AP female athletes of the year last week and also won for story of the year.

Woods became only the seventh man--and second golfer--to win AP athlete of the year twice since it began in 1931. The others were Don Budge, Byron Nelson, Sandy Koufax, Carl Lewis, Joe Montana and Michael Jordan.


Diamondback Arrested

Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Bobby Chouinard was arrested on assault charges for hitting his wife and pointing a gun at her, police said.

Chouinard's wife, Erica, told police her husband grabbed her by the neck and slapped her during an argument Saturday night.

Chouinard later pointed a .40-caliber Glock at himself then aimed it at his wife, police spokesman Det. Bob Ragsdale said.

Police were dispatched after someone made a 911 call from the couple's home, then hung up and wouldn't respond to return calls.

Chouinard was released on bond Sunday.


Street Returns

Olympic gold medalist Picabo Street returned to the ski slopes about 21 months after a horrific crash during a World Cup downhill event.

Street skied much of the morning at Park City Mountain Resort in Utah, her first time back on the hill since breaking her left leg and rupturing ligaments in her right knee in Switzerland March 13, 1998.

"I felt kind of behind all morning until I got to the top of the run," she said. "Then I got excited. I knew I was going to run. It came out of nowhere and hit me like a ton of bricks."

After wiping away a few tears, Street cut soft turns as she skied at a steady recreational pace, well below racing speeds.

Street plans to spend this season doing light workouts and promotional skiing at Park City, where she works.

CAPTION: Tiger Woods's 1999 season included a win in the PGA Championship at Medinah, where the long hitter kissed Wanamaker Trophy after holding on by one stroke.