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At-bat: Panther Pawse; On-deck: A Talk with Turtle

Who would have thought to speed up the development of FIU baseball, Pete Garcia needed to hire a "Turtle"?

We can now officially say T.D.A.O.S. to what was the stale, old baseball program at FIU the last 28 years. Well, we'll skip the 2001 season which reached a super regional.

Although it would be a stretch to say FIU is Omaha-bound next season, let's welcome Henry "Turtle" Thomas to the FIU baseball diamond where the Golden Panthers took the first step to the College World Series on Thursday morning.

Before yesterday's press conference, the GPP sat down with Turtle and conducted an hour-long interview. We'll post the interview as soon as we transcribe the recording and get through this Panther Pawse.

By the way, did you know the name of the kid (Elliott) in E.T. is Henry Thomas. Well, now he's an adult. Ets_2

Gppaw PANTHER PAWSE

Yandro: Now that there's better coaching in place on the FIU baseball diamond, you'll see more Golden Panthers get drafted in the MLB draft. Chris Dunn would have been drafted, but he chose to sign a free agent deal with the Marlins. Also, Walker Whitley probably would have been drafted, if he wasn't yo-yoed between the bullpen and starting rotation all season. Thanks for the anecdote on the Killian catcher, who was not recruited by FIU. Of course, you all know what happened with the catcher. The kid signs with Manhattan and what does Manhattan do to FIU this season, the Jaspers swept 2 games here in March.

pantera: I believe the 300 attendance in baseball must have been tickets sold, because you are right if you went by the head count at games this season: there were probably more people in line at the Publix deli on a Sunday morning.

fiugrad78: The only blog etiquette on the GPP is keep it clean or risk being clawed out. By posting on another entry on the GPP you did not violate any blog etiquette. Post as much as you'd like. Tell your friends about us and your family, too. As of last month, the GPP was 26,761 strong! Tripling the number of readers in our inaugural month of April.

Concerned Fan: Turtle has some work to do, because of the shape the program was left in. Yes, FIU will miss its top 4 hitters, but the cupboard is not bare. John Petika, Tyler Townsend, Raimy Fuentes and Kevin Mirabal all can swing the bats. Turtle has to get into the local high schools where FIU's presence has been non-existent. That's what high school coaches in our area have told me.

FIU Fanatic: Don't worry if this blog senses a shift toward UF-um debates, the big 'ol Golden claw will come out and make a belt out of the Gator and dry out the "Tropical Depression".

CJ: I see you have mastered the definition of T.D.A.O.S. by explaining it to 24/7-11. We may need to hire you as a graphic consultant for our T.D.A.O.S. t-shirts. I'll speak with the FIU witches about it.

24-7/11: You may have been asleep (no pun intended) when we defined the term "sleeping giant" earlier on the GPP. The term does not mean FIU is playing in Arizona for the national title this season or going to the Final Four or even going to Omaha in 2008. What SG means is that all the potential in the world is available for FIU: fertile recruiting grounds, a public state university -- meaning more walk-on athletes that can be diamonds in the rough, more than 100,000 alumni and now FIU has an athletic administration that has a clue. Before FIU athletics was like a ship drifting asea with no captain, steering wheel or compass. Now they got capt. PG, steering wheel MC and a TT compass. We know one day you'll be wearing a T.D.A.O.S. t-shirt, let us know your size? Ship_2

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Can't wait to hear what Turtle had to say!

pete let me know what the witches think glad i can break it down for 24/7 and all who are new and confused

Even though I am a football fan first, I am much more excited about this hire than MC. FIU appears to have jumped out in front of a lot of Universities with Thomas’ hiring. Here's to a bright future. Pete, what does a college baseball coach make these days? How many greenbacks is Turtle collecting? Thanks as always PP.

I Turtle, if I may refer to his as such, is a good addition to the FIU family. Hopefully baseball will be able to turn things around.

A REALISST IS BACK TO GIVE HIS TAKE ON THE DEBATE ABOUT FIU BASEBALL AND FIU SPORTS.

I WILL GUARANTEE THAT UM24/7 AND OTHER HATERS WILL CONTINUE TO POST AND NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT THE FIU COMMUNITY IS ADDRESSING. HE WILL READ THIS POST IN ABOUT 30 MINUTES AND POST SOMETHING JUST LIKE THIS "YOU PEOPLE ARE CRAZY IF YOU THINK FIU IS GOING TO WIN THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP IN FOOTBALL OR GO TO OMAHA NEXT YEAR YOU GUYS ARE MENTAL!" IS IT ME OR IS THAT ALL UM24/7 WRITES????????

WHAT UM24/7 AND THE OTHER HATERS NEED TO UNDERSTAND IS THAT NONE OF US ARE SAYING THAT, WE ARE JUST SAYING THAT NOW FIU IS IN POSITION TO BE RESPECTED, WELL KNOWN, AND WIN! DOES THAT MEAN TOMORROW? NEXT YEAR WHO KNOWS? NO! THAT MEANS WE FINALLY FEEL THAT FIU BELONGS IN COLLEGE SPORTS. WHERE AS BEFORE RICK MELLO, DANNY PRICE AND COMPANY, DON STROCK AND COMPANY, JUST ACCEPTED FLYING UNDER THE RADAR.

DO I AGREE ON HOW PETE GARCIA IS GOING ABOUT THINGS? NOT REALLY, BUT WAS THIS NEEDED ABSOLUTELY!

I HEARD SOME OF THE STAFF HE BROUGHT OVER TO FIU WAS SEEN AROUND CAMPUS IN UM SHORTS AND SHIRTS. THAT CANNOT BE ACCEPTED AT ALL!

UNTIL NEXT TIME

Yep. There is even a somewhat "heated" discussion in one of UCG's baseball boards...A couple of them pretty reasonable, and the delusional with an inflated sense of grandeur shooting them down...Pretty funny stuff....

A Realisst: I agree with you...That CAN NOT be accepted. This is a new beginning...and "the road to Omaha starts today"...

TDAOS!!!

LOL

A Realist and FIU Fanatic, I know you mean well and I like your enthusiam and passion for FIU, but please don't write comments like, " I heard or somebody told me". I work at FIU, and PG has ABSOLUTELY PROHIBITED any athletic department's employee from wearing anything that doesn't resemble FIU wear. So if you heard somebody saying otherwise, that person is either lying, is not happy or is trying to undermine what PG is doing. I was here before PG was hired and I can honestly say this place has turned 100% for the better. The prior AD, (Always Digesting), Rick Mello hardly knew the name of most of us employees. He was always kissing up to the inept coaches he hired and kept for years. We used to call his regime "A House Of Lies". Good riddance to him, DP, DS and the rest of the croonies that kept getting fat, (literally) at tax payers' expense. Let's be competitive, passionate, but don't fall for ignorant comments made by the malcontents that are still here. Believe me, if they don't change PG will get to them. Like PP says T.D.A.O.S.

My post wasn't clear on what I meant, but for the record, I never said I heard that someone wore ucg or any other college's gear. I just said that it can't happen or be accepted..whether it did or didn't happen.

It's very nice and refreshing to "hear" your inside point of view. Thanks for sharing.

Also, I would hope when you talk about Mello's "inept coaches he hired" you don't mean all his hires. Actually, the volleyball coach Tomic (a Mello hire) has been exceptional. Rouco hasn't done good yet, but soooo much better than Marsh and with potential. Strock wasn't really his hire (as Gallagher was sort of 'overseeing' Athletics at the moment with no AD) either, but he did give extensions to all coaches, it seems.

At any rate, I'm excited about Turtle being named our new Baseball coach....TDAOS!

ROAR BABY!!! Did you see what ESPN.COM had on its FRONT PAGE of college sports on the right hand side?

"FIU is a sleeping giant." Turtle Thomas new FIU Baseball Coach.

Wow UM.....before they were wetting their pants, but between our surpassing academics and risings athletics, they MUST be poopin' in their UCG tighty whities.

ROAR BABY!!!

Over 100 at the press conference. That's more than they had at many games. The enthusiasm is just beginning. I can tell you for a fact that the players that were there were really impressed and are already hitting the gym HARD. The comment by Turtle, "Be prepared to work harder than you ever have, really motivated them".
Turtle is exactly who we needed. GREAT recruiter and motivator. Pete I agree with your comment that the cupboard is not bare. Even though they were the second best hitting team in the Sunbelt Conference they are in desperate need of coaching, especially in pitching. I know the new coaches won't be dragging the field or waste their time teaching the hitters how to jog around the bases after they hit home runs. We will see some REAL coaching.

Pantera

I ALSO HEARD THAT HE HAS CLEANED HOUSE WITH A LOT OF FACULTY (ADMINISTRATIVE FACULTY) THAT WAS THERE BEFORE IS THAT TRUE???? LET ME KNOW.

A Realisst, yes there have been changes. Some retired, some changed department and unfortunately some have been let go. With a few exceptions, the common denominator was that these individuals were "content to be here". For this athletic program as well as the university to go to the next level you can't think or act like beaurocrats. Some of them saw the writings on the wall and decided to move away from athletics. The ones that were let go had no intentions of making this place any better.

FIU Fanatic you're right about Tomic. Also isn't funny the coaches that do well are also the program that does things right.

Quijote, great observation. When was the last time FIU was on ESPN on a positive note.

Thanks for your info, pantera...

I WOULD HAVE LOVED TO PLAY FOR TURTLE THOMAS. HIS PRESS CONFERENCE FIRED ME UP. OH WELL NOW FIU IS GOING TO GO TO CHAMPIONSHIPS. I HOPE ALL THESE CHANGES ARENT QUICK FIXES BUT LONG TERM SITUATIONS.

WHAT HAPPENS NOW TO ALL THE FORMER PLAYERS THAT PLAYED FOR STROCK AND PRICE? ARE THEY JUST GOING TO PRETEND WE DID NOT EXIST?? BECAUSE I DO NOT SEE AN ATTEMPT BY THE NEW ADMINISTRATION TO REGROUP THE MANY FORMER PLAYERS OR EVEN TRY TO CONTACT US OTHER THAN TRYING TO SELL US FOOTBALL SEASON TICKETS??

WE COULD NOT HELP IT AND WE COULD NOT HIRE A NEW ADMINISTRATION WHILE WE WERE THERE. THAT IS THE ONLY THING I AM UNHAPPY WITH SO FAR. IT JUST FEELS LIKE PETE GARCIA AND STAFF ARE LOOKING AT THE FORMER PLAYERS AS THEY DID NOT EVEN EXIST. MAYBE I AM WRONG WHO KNOWS BUT HEY I AM A FORMER PLAYER AND THAT IS THE WAY I FEEL.

ONE THING IS JUST TO BE A STUDENT BUT TO BE A FORMER STUDENT ATHLETE YOU ENJOY GOING BACK AND FEELING STILL APART OF THE ATHLETIC FAMILY. BUT I GUESS IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A TON OF MONEY OR DONATE A TON OF MONEY YOU PRETTY MUCH DO NOT EXIST.

I am very excited about Turtle Thomas coming to us. I am pulling for ASU to win the CWS, because that will give FIU a boost in recruiting. What kid wouldn't want to play for a coach that just won the World Series? For the next two weeks I am a Sun Devil!!!

Yes, I agree that at times the changes that need to be made to turn a program around are not easy ones to digest. I am sure that some of the people who are no longer with FIU were very positive about things. However, sometimes you have to just make a complete overhaul of your engine if you want it to get your car to your destination. I can't wait for the 2007-2008 seasons to begin! I only wish I lived closer to experience more of it in person.

FIU BABY!!!

Way to go Pete! You just hired a coach that has sooooo much baggage its ridiculous. In case no one has wondered, why has such an awesome coach and recruiter never been offerred another head coaching job? Hmmmm could it be that he was let go by UM for recruiting issues. Or the same at LSU. Someone needs to do their homework. This coach is not what FIU needed. If FIU is going to be a top notch baseball program, then they should have hired a coach that plays by the NCAA rules, not one that breaks them. And by the way, his press conference was a joke. How can he sit there and claim to be going after transfers and that they are targeting some of them. This is a clear NCAA violation, one which got him in trouble at this other jobs. I would not be surprised to see FIU under NCAA bans in the next few years, for the tricks of the trade from this coach. Oh, FIU will win games, but the team will not be built in on honor and integrity........Good luck!

Enrique, if you're going to list all these things, can you please provide us concrete evidence that says he was breaking rules that "got him in trouble"? Do you have any articles that state he was "let go" because of these practices?

I wonder how big of an FIU fan Enrique is... Also, I find interesting all these rumors and innuendos, especially when former LSU Coach and current AD at LSU, Skip Bertman speaks so highly of him:

"“Pete Garcia has made a great choice in Turtle Thomas,” legendary college baseball coach and current LSU Athletic Director Skip Bertman said. “He is tremendous as a one-on-one coach. It can’t be a coincidence that Turtle left a championship program like Miami and came to LSU the next year and helped us win a championship. Now, Arizona State is in the College World Series in his first year there.

“Turtle will be a winner. There is no doubt about that.”"

Hardly the words of someone bitter that his former assistant/employee did his program intentional harm..

Also, from Ron Fraser:

"“You have a great guy in Turtle Thomas,” Fraser said. “He can recruit and he knows where to find the best guys. He can coach and he is such a hard worker. This is great for FIU and they are lucky to have him. He helped our program at Miami so much when he was there.”"

And this from current Arizona State head coach, Pat Murphy:

"FIU is hiring the hardest-working coach I’ve ever been around,” ASU head coach Pat Murphy said. “He’s relentless and he’s a good person. He is a legend in college baseball for his recruiting efforts and great coaching at winning programs.

“Everything Turtle Thomas is around turns to gold. I feel FIU will be as good a program as they’ve ever been with him there, and will reach new heights.”"

Well.......

I also heard the presser, and what I got from it wasn't transfers he was talking about, but unsigned high school and/or JUCO players still available......

ENRIQUE IS UM 24/7!!!!!!!! HE IS TRYING TO HIDE. WHAT A JOKE HE IS.

Good call A Realist. It sounds like 24/7. Don't worry he'll soon post denying it. Turtle HAS NEVER been found guilty of any NCAA violation and as far as I know this is the United States. C'mon guys stop with the inuendos the man has been a winner everywhere he's been. In a great day for Gino DiMare he wouldn't be able to carry Turtle's jock strap. If anybody has doubts just call the local baseball programs and you'll confirm it. When asked recently who he would support as the next FIU head coach, Alex Rodriguez picked Turtle over Gino. I'm sure the baseball banquet this year will be a treat. Hold on to that one.

There is no shortage of panther haters.

Fellow panthers, please understand that no matter what FIU does, the haters will make their hate known.

Let's keep our eyes on the prize. The more they hate, the more we konw we're doing the right thing for the GPC (Golden Panther Community).

Even if Turtle doesn't get us to Omaha, he'll definately elevate us beyond our recent 5 year downward baseball trend.

Go G-Panthers!

gpantera

gpantera, i agree w/ you that as long as FIU keeps doing the right things there are always goin to be people that say we are doing the worst thing imaginable and never meet up to certain schools standards, they just alil scared is all. i think turtle in time can get us to omaha

I was just making a statement guys!!!!! everyone is entitled to their point correct? For the record, I'm neither a UM or FIU hater......I am a former FIU student. All I was trying to point out was the obvious, why would a person who is such a great recruiter never given a head coaching job? HMMMMMMMM Why then did he not succeed Ron at UM? HMMMMMMMM Why would you leave such a great program like LSU? HMMMMMMMMMMMMM Just remember me if ever the truth comes out.......I wish him success at FIU. Would love nothing more than to see FIU football and baseball beat up on UM and start an awesome rivalry. That will get the fans coming in, but don't be shocked if down the road, we get a surprise. too much anger in this blog!!!!!!!!

Enrique is such an idiot, that guy has no clue. Turtle was not let go from UM bc of recruiting issues. He was let go as a scape goat for Gino "the homo" dimare. It was Gino's last year as a volunteer coach and for all that dont know, Dimare= Lots of $$$$ for UM baseball, so morris and company tried to make up some lies about Turtle. Its amazing really if you heard the chit they tried to pull. Ive even heard that a certain coach from UCG went up to thomas at a baseball tournament and apologized to him for what happened. As far as LSU, he was let go bc Smoke Laval got fired. Enrique is seriously the dumbest! As far as i know, he is still good friends with Skip Bertman and hasnt been cited for any NCAA violations. I think he's exactly what FIU needed. Get ur info together! dont speak if u dont know what ur talking about.

Back to Enrique because this guy has no clue what so ever... He didnt succeed Ron Fraser probably because of this guy called "Brad Kelly", who was the top assistant at the time. After Kelly got in trouble with the drinking incident at the airport, Mr Paul Dee and his gobbler wanted to go to somebody outside of UM. From what i heard, TT was the guy who got Jim Morris aka Pinky that job. As far as the truth, a lot of people in the college baseball community know it and it would be great for thomas and bad for Morris if the truth eventually one day did come out.

Obviously I hit a nerve with Rock Head "Rocko". do your homwork kid......You really have some anger in you. Not once have I said anything personal about anyone in my comments. You go off the deep end talking crud about cheating wives, and double chins. What the heck is that? Get an appt. with a shrink about your anger issues dude.....................

You have your sources and I have mine.......In the end we will see who is right!!!!!! I'm sticking with mine and thats the last of it for me.

The only thing im angry about is how dumb you are. I know for a fact that everything i said is true. you do ur homework and then come talk to me.

As far as the name calling, I think jim morris is a scum bag. That guy is so shady. All he does is cheat (walkie talkie), try to get money from people, and screw people over to better himself. But its coming back to bite him in the culo starting with his wife thing. Cant wait to see whats next.

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