JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. -- Carson-Newman coach Ken Sparks has retired, ending a 37-season career in which he won 338 games to rank fifth on the NCAAs all-time list.Its been an unbelievable journey, Sparks said Monday during a news conference at the athletic complex that has been named after him.The only coaches with more career wins are John Gagliardi (489), Joe Paterno (409), Eddie Robinson (408) and Bobby Bowden (377). Sparks went 338-99-2 and had the most wins of any active coach.Sparks, 72, had continued coaching even after announcing in 2012 that he had cancer. Sparks said Monday that he was at peace and indicated his health issues played a role in his decision to retire now.Last week, after missing three days of practice and being in the hospital four straight days, I said `Im not a very good football coach. These guys deserve a better coach, Sparks said. Thats how the decision came about. My goal was, and youve heard me say this before, my goal was to die on the practice field and they roll me over in the kudzu and (his wife) Carol wouldnt have to worry about funeral arrangements. Were going to see what the Lord has for us.Before Carson-Newman entered the NCAA ranks in 1993, Sparks led the Eagles to five NAIA national championships -- in 1983, 1984, 1986, 1988 and 1989. Carson-Newman was an NAIA runner-up in 1987 and lost in the NCAA Division II championship game in 1996, 1998 and 1999. Carson-Newman reached the Division II semifinals in 2009.Sparks teams won 21 South Atlantic Conference championships and earned 25 NCAA or NAIA playoff appearances.Carson-Newman went 4-7 this year, only the second losing season in Sparks career.Sparks was inducted into the inaugural NCAA Division II Hall of Fame coaches class in 2010 along with Northwest Missouri States Mel Tjeerdsma and West Alabamas Bobby Wallace. Sparks also is in the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame and the NAIA Hall of Fame.This is a day that none of us looked forward to as Carson-Newman football fans and supporters, but its a day we honor and a day we rejoice in, Carson-Newman athletic director Allen Morgan said. Its a day we honor Ken and the legacy he is leaving for how he has touched young mens lives in a way far greater than wins on a football field.---More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25 Stitched Yankees Jerseys . -- Yogi Ferrell orchestrates pretty much everything in Indianas offence. Cameron Maybin Jersey . Their 38th instalment is arguably their biggest fight card to date, including three-title fights and a main event which was selected by the fans. 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Yet the UConn staff said the Huskies are performing without a safety net in regard to players such as Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier and Gabby Williams.If so, they look about as sure-footed as The Flying Wallendas. Remember how UConn lost its big three from last season and was probably going to struggle a bit this year trying to replace those amazing players? Yeah, whatever.There is a reason most of us picked the Huskies as preseason No. 1, and it wasnt because we went into default mode. Its because there actually was more to see with UConn last season than just being dazzled by Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck. Yes, it could be hard to look away from them -- but when you did, you saw the future was right there with them, and it looked pretty good, too.Now, the future is the present. Which looks a lot like the past. Thats exactly what UConn wanted.On Wednesday, the Huskies did what theyve done so often: throw the proverbial wet blanket on the so-called wide-open race in womens basketball this season. No, its not. UConn is again the team to beat, with a winning streak that now stands at 83 in a row.The top-ranked Huskies 72-61 victory over No. 2 Notre Dame was the best example yet in an 8-0 season of why theyre the national championship favorites again. UConn showed off a different big three Wednesday; last seasons trio left the Huskies and became the top three WNBA draft picks in April. While this seasons big three dont yet have the acclaim or the experience of last years trio, they are very impressive on their own.Samuelson, Collier and Williams combined for 57 points; they almost outscored the Irish by themselves.While last years star trio each had clearly different roles -- Jefferson was the point guard, Tuck the sturdy forward, Stewart the anything she wanted to be -- the Huskies top scorers against the Irish are harder to define position-wise.Thats one of the things weve learned to use to our advantage, said the 6-foot-3 Sameulson, the tallest of UConns starters. You can say that Gabbys almost playing our center, but shes smaller than almost every center in the country. That shows its a hard matchup. But you have difficult matchups with all three of us. It just opens up the offense a little bit more.Williams is just 5-11, but her leaping ability adds an edge to her lack of height. She had 19 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists against the Irish. UConn coach Geno Auriemma used a descriptor for Williams performance Wednesday that he doesnt toss around lightly: magnificent. Even a fellow tough grader, associate head coach Chris Dailey, said she was eager to watch the game film to see some of Williams sky-high rebounds.Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw also praised Williams, who was limited by injuries as a high school player in Nevada but is now truly coming into her own.She got any rebound she wanted; her stat line was phenomenal, McGGraw said.dddddddddddd She really did a lot of damage. I was really impressed with her.McGraw said the Irish were expecting a challenge with Samuelson and the 6-1 Collier; theyre averaging 19.0 and 19.1 points, respectively. But Notre Dame wasnt necessarily expecting Williams to make a massive impact. Everybody better get used to that, though.I felt like we were all on the same page tonight, and it was fun, Williams said. I think I understand my team really well, and I know our dynamic. Im trying to be that leader that they can go to when we need to stay calm. I want my team to look at me like, OK, Gab, whats next? I think Ive really grown in that kind of position.Samuelson and Collier had their go-to moments Wednesday, just as they have had several times this season. Samuelson acknowledges there are still moments on the court when she looks around and thinks, Am I really ready to do this? or What should I say to my teammates now?But it really doesnt show on her face or in the way she plays. She looked very confident against Notre Dame.Stewie, Morgan and Mo were calm the whole time last year; nothing fazed them at all, Samuelson said. I think Im still looking to other people when I dont know what to do. Im still trying to learn things.One of the biggest things is, even if youre a little down on yourself or not sure what youre doing, you dont want your opponents to know that.The Huskies didnt show their exhaustion Wednesday. It was a physical, defensive battle with Notre Dame. And three of the Huskies -- Williams, Samuelson and Kia Nurse -- played all 40 minutes.In highlighting UConns big three, we dont mean to shortchange Nurse, the junior guard who is averaging the most minutes (34.4) for UConn. She had eight points and four assists Wednesday and is also a key part of why the Huskies dont seem to have lost any ground -- even though it seems like they should have.Another unbeaten foe awaits UConn on Sunday, though 9-0 Kansas State is unranked. The Huskies have two more games in December against teams currently ranked in the top 10. They host Ohio State on Dec. 19 and travel to Maryland on Dec. 29.But what can stop the Huskies 83-game win streak? (After all, its still second to the programs 90-game streak.) If Notre Dame couldnt do it, whos going to beat UConn?This is December 7, and I know theres a long way to go between now and the end of the season, Auriemma said. We purposely tried to put together a schedule this year that, going into March, there would be no doubt as to what we can and cannot do.I think up to this point, weve passed every test. I dont know that weve gotten a 100 on every test, but weve passed. And the tests are going to keep coming. But the fact that we are where we are, Im kind of surprised.He probably shouldnt be; he created this juggernaut, after all. And while the names of the stars might change, the overall outcome stays the same. ' ' '