Alabama hired Washington State's Mike Price as its new football coach yesterday, ending a two-week search for someone to guide the Crimson Tide through NCAA sanctions.

"I feel we have hired an outstanding person as well as an excellent football coach," Athletic Director Mal Moore said in a statement posted on Alabama's Web site. "We are excited about Mike becoming part of the Alabama family, and we look forward to this new era of Alabama football."

Price lifted Washington State from Pac-10 doormat to national title contender, and he broke the news of his departure to his players Tuesday, before boarding a jet for Alabama.

Price replaces Dennis Franchione, who left for Texas A&M this month, and takes over a program under NCAA probation.

Tennis

Sampras Isn't Retiring Yet

Tennis star Pete Sampras, planning to play at least one more year, will skip the Australian Open.

The 31-year-old Sampras had left open the possibility he might quit tennis after winning his record 14th Grand Slam tournament title at the U.S. Open in September.

"I'm just going to see how it goes, just kind of ride the wave and see how far it takes me," Sampras told the Los Angeles Times for a story published Tuesday.

Soccer

Americans to Play Argentina

The U.S. soccer team will play an exhibition game against fifth-ranked Argentina in Miami on Feb. 8, then play another exhibition four days later at Jamaica.

The games were announced a day after Coach Bruce Arena was given a new four-year contract.

The U.S. has played one international game since a 1-0 loss to Germany in the World Cup quarterfinals. The U.S. beat El Salvador, 2-0, Nov. 17. The team opens its 2003 schedule Jan. 18 against Canada in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. . . .

U.S. national soccer team forward Brian McBride, who helped the Americans to the World Cup quarterfinals in June, has signed a contract to remain with the Columbus Crew through at least 2005.

McBride, who had a goal in the U.S.'s 3-2 upset of Portugal and another in the U.S.'s 2-0 second-round win over Mexico, joined fellow national team forward Landon Donovan in staying with Major League Soccer. Donovan and the league announced he will remain at least two more years with the San Jose Earthquakes.

Locally

Georgetown to Host NCAA Games

Georgetown will host the 2006 NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament East Region semifinals and final at MCI Center, it was announced yesterday.

The school was a host for the first two rounds of this past season's tournament.

"We're excited about it," said Georgetown senior associate athletic director Adam Brick. "It's nice to be recognized for the good work Georgetown and MCI Center have done, and we look forward to staying in the cycle and bringing the event back to Washington in the future."

Ticket distribution for the event will not begin until 2005.

Other regional sites in 2006 are Atlanta, Minneapolis and Oakland, Calif. . . .

Langley has hired former West Potomac football coach John Howerton to take over its program, the school announced.

Howerton, who resigned from West Potomac following last season -- his third as the Wolverines' head coach and 17th as a coach in the program -- replaces J.J. Hetman, who stepped down this month after two seasons with the Saxons. Under Hetman, Langley was 3-7 this fall and 4-5 in 2001.

Defending U.S. Open champion Pete Sampras says he will skip Australian Open but remain on tour for now.