Service members around the globe will be able to watch events from the Bellator mixed martial arts promotion on American Forces Network in June, beginning with a “heavyweight superfight” that may interest longtime MMA fans … even if it’s a few years past its use-by date. Bellator announced the deal on Memorial Day, offering few details on time slots or AFN channels but promising that the network will carry Bellator 138, a June 19 card in St. Louis that will feature Ken Shamrock vs. Kimbo Slice in a heavyweight main event. Shamrock, 51, fought on the first Ultimate Fighting Championships card…

On Saturday, Mitch Harris became the first Naval Academy graduate since 1921 to play in a Major League Baseball game, according to the Baseball Hall of Fame and the academy itself. Many of the stories noting Harris’ achievement, or his initial call-up to the St. Louis Cardinals from the minors, gave a passing mention to his lone USNA predecessor: Nemo Gaines, who pitched in four games for the Washington Senators. Like Harris, Gaines pitched in relief. Unlike Harris, his time in the majors didn’t come after his time in active service: Gaines secured what amounted to extended leave to pitch in the…

Two military men — one a senior at the Naval Academy, one an Army combat vet — hope to land a spot on a professional football roster this season. Then, if all goes well, you might never hear their names again. Joe Cardona of Navy and Nate Boyer of Texas both seek to join the fraternity of NFL long snappers — men who fire a football between their legs at north of 40 miles per hour and rarely receive any notoriety unless something has gone very, very wrong. Cardona is ranked atop the NFL.com special-teams prospect list. Boyer’s play at Texas and his inspirational story (Green Beret-turned-Longhorn who never played…

Eddie LeBaron, a long-serving NFL quarterback known as “The Littlest General” thanks to his 5-foot-7 frame and stellar military record as a Marine officer during the Korean War, died Wednesday in Stockton, California. He was 85. LeBaron earned his commission in 1950 after graduating from the University of the Pacific, where his two-way play (QB on offense, safety on defense) netted him All-America honors as a senior. The LeBaron-led 1949 team went 11-0 and averaged 52 points per game, according to his online bio hosted by the College Football Hall of Fame, where he was enshrined in 1980. LeBaron signed with the…

Every college athletic program wants its team in the finals of the big CBS-backed March tournament. You know the one: 64 teams enter, one leaves victorious as the school with the best-looking football helmet. The Navy Midshipmen downed powerhouse gridiron programs from Wisconsin, Arizona State, West Virginia, Florida State and Texas to reach the championship of the first ever Helmet Madness, run by CBSSports.com. But Navy couldn’t hold an early lead in an online vote against LSU, eventually falling with just 40 percent of the tally. The bracket included one helmet design from 64 top-tier college programs; Navy was the…

To older football fans, Chuck Bednarik was “Concrete Charlie,” the last of the two-way pros who played on two championship teams with the Philadelphia Eagles and hit Frank Gifford so hard in 1960 that the New York Giants’ superstar didn’t play again until 1962. To a younger generation, he was the gruff throwback who once said Deion Sanders, a two-way star in a different era, “couldn’t tackle my wife.” He was a grandfatherly figure who was once approached by a video game maker for permission to use his likeness, which he granted only after the agency “actually had to explain that he would not…

Duke head coach and U.S. Military Academy graduate Mike Krzyzewski makes no secret that his time as a cadet and as a 20-something head coach of the Army basketball team molded him into a college basketball icon who has amassed more than 1,000 career wins. He even brought Team USA to West Point last year in the hopes that some of the academy’s lore would rub off. But the early days of Coach K regularly take a back seat to his impressive accomplishments a few hundred miles south, where his Blue Devils will again enter the NCAA tournament later this week with…

You’ve heard the one about the priceless painting bought at a yard sale, and the one about the classic muscle car found in the old barn out back. The most recent entry in trash-into-treasure lore comes courtesy of the Army football program, a coaching legend and a Goodwill clothing outlet in Asheville, North Carolina. A West Point sweater once worn by Army assistant coach Vince Lombardi netted $43,020 at a New York City sports-memorabilia auction Saturday night. Its owners, vintage clothing sellers Sean and Rikki McEvoy, picked it up at an Asheville Goodwill for 58 cents, Asheville’s Citizen-Times reported. Lombardi coached under…

Army, Navy and Air Force have locked in their season-opening football games, all starting the year at home against teams outside the top-tier Football Bowl Subdivision. Navy announced today that it will host Colgate at noon on Sept. 5 with the game televised on CBS Sports Network. It will be a nonconference opener for the first-ever conference football season at Annapolis; the Midshipmen will play in the American Athletic Conference, which has not released its league schedule for the year. The Mids’ nonconference slate is set, and Colgate is the only team on it that won’t make a yearly appearance. Navy hosts Air…

After Action broke the big news last year that set the sports world on fire: The Army-Navy game would be the only top-tier college football contest that would not at all influence the College Football Playoff selection process. Sure, neither the Midshipmen nor the Black Knights were on anybody’s national-championship radar. And yes, that radar hasn’t covered Annapolis or West Point since the 1960s. Still, the fact that the contest takes place with the CFP field already locked in creates the possibility of a highly regarded service academy team earning a chance to play for the national title … then getting demolished…

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