ATLANTA — Georgia Tech scheduled games against a perennial college football powerhouse and a school less than 2 miles away.

The Yellow Jackets announced Wednesday they will face 11-time Associated Press national champion Alabama in a home-and-home series in 2030 and ’31. Bitter rivals when Georgia Tech was a member of the Southeastern Conference, the teams have met 52 times — most recently in 1984.

Georgia Tech also agreed to its first-ever games against Atlanta school Georgia State, which has only been playing football since 2010. The teams will meet in 2024 at Bobby Dodd Stadium, and the Yellow Jackets will make the short trip to Georgia State Stadium — formerly Turner Field — in 2026.

Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins noted the close ties that once existed with the Crimson Tide.

Collins also said the series against Georgia State will give Yellow Jackets fans the chance to see an extra game in Atlanta. Despite their proximity, the only significant link between the schools’ football programs is Bill Curry, who starred at Georgia Tech, returned to coach at his alma mater, and served as the Panthers’ first coach.

College Baseball

Former Braves star Hudson hired as Auburn assistantAUBURN, Ala. — Former major league pitcher Tim Hudson is Auburn’s new pitching coach.

Auburn announced Wednesday that Hudson will be a volunteer assistant and pitching coach for the program, where he once starred as a two-way player.

Hudson played 17 years in the major leagues with Oakland, Atlanta and San Francisco before retiring in 2015. He went 222-133 with a 3.48 ERA in his career and was a four-time All-Star.

Hudson was inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame and the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.

He played two seasons for Auburn, leading the nation with 15 wins in 1997 while also batting .396 with 18 home runs and 95 RBIs.

NFL

Panthers linebacker Kuechly announces retirement at 28CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly is retiring from the NFL after eight seasons.

The 28-year-old Kuechly made the surprising announcement Tuesday night in a video posted on the team’s website. He said, “I think now is the right chance to move on.”

Kuechly was selected to seven Pro Bowls and was a first-team All-Pro five times. However, he suffered three concussions during his career, which may have led to his decision.

On Nov. 17, 2016, Kuechly suffered a concussion after colliding with a Saints player. He left the game on a cart crying uncontrollably, a striking moment that shook the Panthers organization and players around the league and highlighted the NFL’s ongoing problem with brain injuries.

Kuechly fought back tears at times during his announcement. He did not specifically mention concussions but referenced the ongoing toll of the game on his body.

NBA

Pelicans: Top draft pick Williamson to debut Jan. 22METAIRIE, La. — Zion Williamson, the top choice in last summer’s NBA draft, is scheduled to make his regular season debut for the Pelicans on Jan. 22 when New Orleans hosts the San Antonio Spurs, Pelicans basketball operations chief David Griffin said Wednesday.

Williamson has missed New Orleans’ first 41 games this season while rehabilitating from arthroscopic surgery to repair the lateral meniscus in his right knee. The timeline set for the former Duke star’s return calls for Williamson to miss three more games, starting with Thursday night’s home game against Utah.

New Orleans also hosts the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday and visits Memphis on Monday.

Griffin also indicated that Williamson’s minutes will be closely monitored and likely limited for the time being.

The Pelicans have gone 15-26 without Williamson, but have won nine of their last 13 to pull within four games of the final Western Conference playoff spot with half the season left.

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