From Kobe to Maradona, a year of staggering losses in sports
Not long after came a seismic jolt, the helicopter crash of Kobe Bryant in the fog-shrouded California hills that reverberated across sports and across continents. Deep into the year, a bookend to Bryant, Diego Maradona died from a heart attack in Argentina weeks after brain surgery, the waves of grief rippling across soccer. The losses, of course, came against a backdrop of a pandemic, its number of fatalities rolled out daily on TV screens. Niekro won 318 games and pitched until he was 48, his knuckleball dancing and mystifying batters across the decades. Kurt Thomas in 1978 became the first U.S. male gymnast to win a world title but lost an Olympic shot in 1980 because of the boycott.
Johnny Majors, former Tennessee and Pitt coach, dies at 85
FILE - In this April 14, 2018, file photo, Blue team coach Johnny Majors, a former Pittsburgh NCAA college football coach, is shown before the annual Blue Gold game in Pittsburgh. Majors, the coach of Pittsburghs 1976 national championship team and a former coach and star player at Tennessee, has died. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)KNOXVILLE, Tenn. College Football Hall of Famer Johnny Majors, the coach of Pittsburghs 1976 national championship team and a former coach and star player at Tennessee, died Wednesday. Majors went 33-13-1 in four years there and led Pittsburgh to a 12-0 record and national title in 1976. His father, Shirley Majors, was a longtime football coach at the University of the South in Sewanee.