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Former Syracuse coach dropping ESPN lawsuit

ALBANY — Attorneys for former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine say he’s dropping his defamation lawsuit against ESPN.

William Albert, spokesman for the Harris Beach law firm, said Fine filed notice of dismissal because he wants to put the turmoil behind and concentrate on his future and his family’s.

Fine was suing for defamation stemming from broadcasts aired by ESPN that reported claims by two former ball boys that Fine had molested them more than two decades ago. Fine was fired in November 2011, days after the broadcasts.

The 67-year-old Fine, who was investigated by federal prosecutors, was never charged and has maintained his innocence.

An ESPN spokesman wasn’t initially available to comment Monday afternoon.

The ex-coach’s wife, Laurie Fine, has a separate defamation suit against ESPN pending in federal court.