New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton chose Rob Ryan as his new defensive coordinator, hoping to overhaul a unit that was historically bad this past season.
Ryan, brother of New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, spent the past two seasons as Dallas' defensive coordinator. He was fired after last season, when his defense ranked 19th.
"We have experience in preparing and playing against his defenses and they've always been challenging in terms of the different looks and pressures that they feature," Payton said when Ryan's hiring was announced Saturday, one day after he interviewed for the job. "We've had the chance to visit with each other and talk about our visions for our team and I'm excited about moving forward as we prepare for the 2013 season."
In 2010, Ryan was Cleveland's defensive coordinator when the Browns beat the Saints in the Superdome, 30-17, intercepting passes by Drew Brees four times. One of those interceptions was made by linebacker Scott Fujita, who had been a captain of New Orleans defense a season earlier and had helped Ryan prepare and execute the game plan against the Saints.
Payton said he also has added Stan Kwan as an assistant special teams coach. Kwan has been an NFL assistant 23 years, the past three as special teams assistant in Buffalo.
American Varvara Lepchenko won in her Fed Cup singles debut to lift the U.S. team to a 1-1 tie against Italy in Rimini, Italy, after Sara Errani beat Jamie Hampton, 6-2, 6-1. Lepchenko rallied past Roberta Vinci, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5, after Vinci struggled with a leg cramp in the final set, which featured seven breaks of serve. The doubles today will feature Melanie Oudin and Liezel Huber against Nastassja Burnett and Karin Knapp. Lepchenko will play Errani in reverse singles.
• Spaniard Rafael Nadal beat Jeremy Chardy, 6-2, 6-2, putting Nadal in two finals of the VTR Open in Vina del Mar, Chille after a seven-month layoff due to a left knee injury and a stomach virus. Nadal and Juan Monaco won their doubles semifinal, meaning Nadal is scheduled to play twice today. He will face Argentine Horacio Zeballos in the singles final.
Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway won the men's downhill title at the Alpine world championships in Schladming, Austria, after a powerful run down the Planai course that no one came close to matching. Svindal kept a near-perfect line down the entire 3.33-kilometer course to finish in 2:01.32 for his second world downhill title, after also winning the marquee event in 2007. It was his fifth world title overall, to go with an Olympic gold in super-G. Dominik Paris of Italy, who leads this season's World Cup downhill standings, trailed Svindal by 0.46 in second. David Poisson of France finished third, 0.97 behind.
Olympic champion Ireen Wust of the Netherlands won the 1,500-meter race at a speed skating World Cup event in Inzell, Germany. Wust clocked 1:55.95, while teammate Diane Valkenburg was 0.47 seconds behind. Yekaterina Shikhova of Russia was third.
Kevin Reynolds of Canada upstaged favorite Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan to win the Four Continents event in Osaka, Japan, with a near-flawless free skate. Reynolds was sixth after the short program but landed three quads and finished with 250.55 points at Osaka Municipal Gymnasium. Hanyu led after the short program but settled for second with 246.38 points, while China's Han Yan was third. U.S. national champion Max Aaron, who was 10th after the short program, finished fourth. Earlier, two-time world champion Mao Asada of Japan re-introduced her trademark triple axel to take a comfortable lead over compatriots Akiko Suzuki and Kanako Murakami in the women's competition.
The Robert Morris men let two, two-goal leads slip away as Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) (10-13-5, 8-9-4) edged the Colonials, 4-3, in an Atlantic Hockey Association matchup at 84 Lumber Arena on Neville Island. Colin South had two power-play goals for Robert Morris (15-11-2, 10-10-1).