Randy Sanders resigned as Tennessee's offensive coordinator yesterday, two days after the Volunteers lost their third straight game with another punchless performance.
Sanders will remain on the staff through the season, keeping part of his job as quarterbacks coach. Play-calling duties will be handled by Coach Phillip Fulmer, Sanders and the rest of the offensive coaching staff.
Tennessee continued its offensive struggles in a 16-15 loss Saturday to South Carolina. The Vols have lost three in a row for the first time under Fulmer.
"This isn't a response to criticism. This is a response to what I see on the field," Sanders said.
Tennessee's offense is one of the worst in the country. The Vols average 16.1 points per game, which ranks 108th out of 117 Division I-A schools. They are 99th in total offense, 98th in rushing offense, 79th in passing offense and 101st in passing efficiency.
Fulmer said he was somewhat surprised by Sanders's decision.
"Randy, in an unselfish gesture, has asked to step aside at the end of the season," Fulmer said.
The Vols (3-4) play at No. 8 Notre Dame this week and finish the season against Memphis, Vanderbilt and Kentucky. Tennessee began the season ranked third, but dropped out of the Associated Press top 25 this week.
"Randy has dedicated his adult life to this program," Fulmer said.
The 40-year-old Sanders has been on the Vols' staff for 16 years, starting as a graduate assistant after he was a backup quarterback. This is his seventh season as offensive coordinator. He was promoted to the job before the 1998 national championship game to replace David Cutcliffe, who left to be head coach at Mississippi.
* BOBSLEDDING: Olympic champion Jill Bakken and Todd Hays, who was on the silver medal-winning four-man team at the Salt Lake City Games in 2002, will lead the U.S. team into the World Cup season.
Bakken, of Kirkland, Wash., will be joined by Erin Pac of Farmington, Conn.; Amanda Moreley of Auburn, Wash.; Bethany Hart of North Grafton, Mass., and Ingrid Marcum of Elmhurst, Ill.
Hays, of Del Rio, Tex., will be teamed with Steve Mesler of Buffalo; Pavle Jovanovic of Toms River, N.J.; and Garrett Hines of Atlanta.
Also selected to the team was Mike Kohn of Chantilly, who helped driver Brian Shimer to the four-man Olympic bronze in 2002.
* COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Wake Forest freshman Kevin Swinton has been suspended for four games for an unspecified violation of university rules, Coach Skip Prosser said.
The games include two preseason exhibition games and the season opener against Mississippi Valley State. He is scheduled to return before Wake Forest travels to New York to play in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic tournament, which also will include Syracuse, Texas Tech and Florida, among others.
Swinton averaged 25 points and 12 rebounds to lead Dudley High School to a North Carolina state title last season.
* BASEBALL: The Houston Astros rewarded Manager Phil Garner for leading the club to its first World Series by extending his contract by one season to 2007.
Garner has guided the Astros to a 137-99 record over 11/2 seasons. Houston won its first playoff series last year and made the World Series this season before getting swept by the Chicago White Sox. . . .
St. Louis Cardinals left-handed reliever Randy Flores had surgery to remove a bone spur from his throwing elbow. He is expected to recover by the time the Cardinals report for spring training in February.
-- From News Services