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New FIU Stadium Tour Part 2

Last Saturday was a glimpse of what the Golden Panthers may look like in the next few years after a few more successful recruiting classes and as those players develop the physical and mental aspects of football. It was by far FIU's best showing this season and we should see more of it in the final three games of this season and of the Orange Bowl.

The building of the Golden Panthers continues and so does the construction of the new FIU Stadium. Last week, we left you good people standing on the club level looking at the impressive view of the FIU campus. Now let's mosey on over as we walk around the rest of the stadium.

The "turn" as our guide, Rudy Armenta - Odebrecht's Senior Project Manager says, has begun from the south stands going into the east end zone. I don't have updated photos on the turn, but here on the left Visitfieldhouse is what we were looking at last Monday. There are now steel beams in the land behind the east end zone. This is where the east end zone stands will go and embedded behind those stands will be the visitor's locker room and the officials locker room. High above the east stands will be the new state-of-the-art video scoreboard which will stand apart from the stadium. The old scoreboard is going above the west end zone stands when that part of the stadium is complete.

Also in this turn or east part of the stadium, the first of two ramps will be built that will take fans to their seats. Unlike the ramps at Joe Robbie Stadium that are circular, these ramps will be more of a zig-zag shape. The other ramp will be built at the entrance of the west end zone, around where this Westlimit photo on the right is.

Rudy says there will be four ramps in all once the stadium is completed. All four ramps will extend into the upper deck when finished.

Before we move onto the north part of the stadium. Let's show you where the Panther Club will be located.

Southmainenter If you walk into the stadium from the south entrance, that's where the Panther Club will be located. This picture on the left is the main entrance on the south side of the stadium. Imagine concrete walls here and this is your Panther Club. Just to the right of this are where the four elevators are located. (1 for FIU coaches, 1 for opponents coaches, 1 for club level suites, 1 for public access).

Let's go north now.

When the stadium opens next September for USF/FIU, the north stands will still be the same ones from the old FIU Stadium. The student/welcome center along with the north stands are expected to be built after the 2008 season. So what you are going to see next season is a stadium in the shape of a C like Obdestad_2 the drawings (picture, left) Odebrecht put out a while ago.

As you may know by now, the track has been taken out from around the football field. For next season, there will be grass in between the north stands and the visiting team's benches.

Moving over to the west end zone and west end zone stands. The old fieldhouse will be knocked down within the next week or two. The new fieldhouse will be dedicated solely to FIU athletics. In there will be the gym for all FIU athletes, plus the Golden Panthers locker room and football coaches offices. This fieldhouse, like the fieldhouse in the east end zone, will also be embedded into the stadium. Here on the right is a shot from the west end zone, where you may be able Westend to see the groundwork already being laid down.

Here are some facts you may or may not know about the new stadium. The new FIU Stadium is expected to be completed on August 29, 2008. As Rudy told the GPP, that's the date when the Odebrecht contract is up. As Rudy put it, "On that day we give FIU the key to the stadium". FIU will then have about 2 weeks to finish putting all the bells and whistles on its new home before the USF game. Next season, the Golden Panthers open at Kansas and then travel to Iowa before their home opener against the Bulls.

Odebrecht is building all the stadium's foundations, utilities and beams set for 45,000 capacity. The stadium is being built "expansion-friendly". The stadium will have a beige color similar to the old fieldhouse and will also have blue accents throughout the stadium. Odebrecht is "designing and building" the stadium, which is an advantage in getting the stadium done on time. Here's how: if a question arises for the architects of the stadium, Odebrecht does not have to wait to get a hold of the architects if they were from another company, because the architects are from Odebrecht any stadium questions can be answered on the spot and work can continue.

When it becomes necessary to build the upper deck, the upper deck will enclose the entire stadium providing for maximum noise level and one heck of a home field advantage. Originally the stadium was going to have an open end on the east like the Orange Bowl, but a change was made to enclose the entire place.

The stadium's construction is right on schedule as of this writing. In the next few months, we'll take another tour of the stadium and have some more updates and photos.  By then I imagine the east end zone will be done and construction should be well under way on the west. Before I left the Odebrecht offices, I mentioned to Rudy and the rest of the construction crew that I'd be back in a few months and their response was "you won't even recognize the stadium from what you saw today".


Gpp_3 Win a GPP Blog Leaderboard

9-0: FIUrulez 171; NY Josh 177; FIU Fanatic 182; Fomenter 183; 24/7-11 197; Crazy Cane 226.

8-1: FIUPantherFan 174. 7-2: yippee 226. 6-3: Messod 230. 5-4: CJ 227; SouthPaw 236

GPP: 8-1, 195.

Quijote: Obviously, I was wrong with the FIU/ASU score. The reason I predicted such a score (41-17) is because ASU has always given FIU fits. Plus, the Golden Panthers had yet to break 16 points in a game this season. Shows what I know, keep proving me wrong FIU. Like I said at the beginning of this post, the Golden Panthers probably played their best so far this season. Unlike last season, FIU has been prepared for games this season, but the talent level obviously is not as good as 2006. Don't know how many saw Saturday's game, but on offense, FIU O-coordinator James Coley had ASU mixed up with the variety of looks he gave them. FIU ran like 5 different plays out of the same formation. ASU didn't know what was coming. Now the Golden Panthers just need to finish off a game when they have the lead.

UltimateFIUFan: FIU men's hoops opens the season next Monday, Nov. 12 at home against Florida Tech at 7 p.m.

SouthPaw: Here's what Bryan Mann did at Hinds Community College in Mississippi this season which ended on Oct. 25. In three games played, Mann was 26 of 54 for 360 yards with 0 TDs and 2 INTs. I called the Hinds coach to find out more info, but still have not heard back from the guy.

FIUJM: Thanks for the props on the hoops story. FIU should be much improved with the two big centers in Hicks and Ndiaye. And next season may even better with some of the players, FIU is targeting. Stay tuned on that one.

CJ: Don't know what the GPP will produce this week with the bye week. Could be some more football blogs, maybe even some hoops before the season opener next Monday. I'm not a big fan of a recruiting Jess_2 blog, because we're dealing with teenagers who sway with the wind when it comes to recruiting. One day John Doe could be saying I'm going to AU and then the next day Marge he's going to BU and then CU. It's like Jessica Simpson saying she's going to the dance with you and then changes her mind and you end up going with Marge Simpson. It's a waste of blog space. Until those players sign the letter of intent on the dotted line it doesn't mean anything.


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Seeing the stadium is like seeing a dream! I attended FIU in the 80's when students thought FIU Football was a pipe dream. Now we have renditions of an on-campus football facility! I am fired up about the future of FIU Athletics!

Pete, any word / rumors about upgrading Pharmed Arena? Is that the next project?


They should give die-hard fans a tour of the stadium when it's officially completed!! It would also help for season tickets purposes. They should do select-a-seat day!!! That's just my opinion.

Go FIU!!

good idea FIUJM i know i would like that when im no longer a student

I'm confused on the Panther Club - so Pete, this club will not have a view of the field and it's on the ground level? I figured it would be a suite-type club with a full field view, like the Dewars Club at the AAA. What's the perk in paying big $$$ for club seats if your club suite doesn't even face the field? Maybe I misunderstood.

Thanks Pete...great info for us dieharders about the stadium. So I guess they already have "acquired" the new video scoreboard? As any good Golden Panther fan, I'm excited about our new state-of-the-art ON CAMPUS stadium we are building, with all the bells and whistles it is going to be...

I would also like to know what are the plans with Pharmed Arena and, at least, a thorough "remodelation/expansion"....It is needed to keep up with the times, improve recruiting, visibility, and possible positioning if and when a new big conference realignment shuffle happens. Any word on this? Also, I read on scout.com where FIU has a basketball commitment from former Dade County All Star power forward Freddy Asprilla. Any confirmation on this or any other specific?

"Times, they are a-changing!" In 1986 FIU went full Div I in sports. Back then it was called Div I AAA (NO Football Div I). Danny Price's baseball teams already competed in Div I, however the rest of the program went Div I in '86. Basketball's first big season was with Bob Weltlich. His 2nd year team beat UM, Virginia Tech, Virginia Common Wealth and Lamar University on the road. All these teams except UM had been to the Big Dance the prior season. Despite winning 20 games and the TACC tourney, no automatic bid was given. That was granted next year in '95 when FIU SHOCKED the TACC by winning the Conference tourney as an 8th seed with a record of 11-18. FIU lost in the first round to eventual NCAA champs UCLA. The joke on campus was "UCLA had to come through us (FIU) to win it all!"

In Shakey Rodriguez's 2nd season he got the community JUICED about coming to see FIU play Michigan at SunBlazer Arena (now Pharmed arena). With a backcourt of TWO future NBAers Raja Bell & Carlos Arrojo plus athletic big men Darius Cook, Anthony Harris & Lucas Barnes FIU blew Miiiichigan (Jim Mandich style) out the door of the SunBlazer Arena. Then the highest scoring team in the NCAA came to play at our arena (Northern Arizona) and we "smoked them". We then took the show on the road and promptly beat Penn State by 25! This was the MOST talented, athletic and aggressive team up to NOW! This year, Sergio may have something special. Maybe even more special than the prior two teams mentioned under Weltlich & Shakey. We have to support SR with tickets purchases from us alumni and those who are fans of good college hoops. Students: GET TEN FRIENDS FROM FIU TO GO WITH YOU! Sergio’s team truly needs our support.


Oh....I remember those days..youth..... Some comments though...The Arena was called Golden Panther Arena since Mitch Maidique changed the nickname of FIU back in either '86 or '87. I was there that opening day game against Miiiichigan. The arena was rocking and full, as Carlos Arroyo put up a show on those one on one against their point guard...Lucas Barnes wasn't part of the team then, and I believe it was Marcus Carreno the off guard, with Raja playing the small forward position back then. That was a wonderful team for sure.

The following season we added a super freshman...Jabahri Brown...who later went on to transfer and start for Oklahoma....Shakey's teams were the most talented ever, with that year with both, Raja and Carlos being the most talented ever.

FIU Trivia, who was the ONLY Golden Panther to be drafted by an NBA team?


UFF: That would be Clyde Corley. Drafted in 1982 by the Mavs, I think. You're probably reading the FIU website or the media guide waaaaay too much. Find a good book, son. ;)

Thanks for the stadium update, Pete. It already looks way different than the old stadium. Thank God, too. It's about time FIU focused on getting decent facilites for athletics.

Considering a lot of the construction in the past 10 years, it shocks me that it took so long to get the football stadium re-done. I know the funding for school buildings and athletic facilities isn't the same, but still... it's pretty sad when the only stadium FIU has had that's actually a good facility is the baseball stadium.

GPA needs totally new flooring. (Yes, I know it's Pharmed, but forgive me... that place will always be GPA to me like JRS is to Dolphin Stadium.) You can hear the ball bounce off the dead spots during games if you're close enough to the court. Other than that, the only other thing I'd do is try to make it look nicer on the inside. It just seems run-down. I can't put a finger on it, exactly, but it's not an impressive place to walk into. I think getting rid of the old logos and making the bleachers look nicer would be a start. A video scoreboard would be pretty cool; there should be enough room for that, but I don't know about the $$$. Maybe all we need is a good interior decorator, I dunno. :)

We DON'T need a new gym, though, just an upgrade. A 5,000-seater is plenty good enough for college basketball in Miami; the Canes don't have more than 8,000 in theirs and they're in the freakin' ACC. And when GPA is full, that place is LOOOOOOOUD. I've seen that place full with people and you can barely think, it's so damn loud. It's plenty good enough for home court advantage, when people actually show up to games.

You wanna talk about a place that sorely needs to be blown to bits... the soccer stadium, friends. No bathrooms, no water fountains, crappy wooden bleachers... enough said. I doubt it happens anytime soon, and if MLS comes to FIU and plays their games at the football stadium, I could see FIU soccer doing the same thing and then that place just gets demolished. I would like to see a soccer-only facility, though... what I'd really love to see is MLS helping FIU re-build the current soccer facility and play there instead of at the football stadium. That might sound crazy, I know, but when you look at the new stadiums MLS has been involved in, they are all soccer-only or soccer-primary facilities. A football stadium doesn't fit into that mold, especially with the kind of field currently in place at FIU.

Again, that's probably a pipe dream, but hey, at least it's a nice one, right? :)

I remember being at that FIU-Michigan basketball game. That was the biggest game in FIU history while I was there. That place was rocking.

Pete how does FIU match up with this next team they play? At 1-9 could they be the team to help FIU break the streak?

Also how has MC handled the team after comming so close last wkend?

As always great job man. Cant wait to see that stadium next time im in town.

im not to sure on the match up but i know we will have prob. our best chance to win then.

Pharmed Arena at least needs a remodeling..not just in terms of adding seating (which is not needed, btw), but in terms of making it more appealing and modern. However, the arena also hosts FIU's men's and women's basketball locker rooms, which are outdated...what about expanded, renovated, nicer locker rooms...a players's lounge, coaches' offices, better concessions for the fans, and a more appealing outside facade? That's sorely needed, at least (BTW, FAU just put $10 million into their arena to improve it a bit)...I know there are new 'baskets', but we need more...

Pharmed is a joke, especially the concession stand. I'm not asking for a scUM convocation center but upgrades are needed asap.

The baseball team just had its annual scout night. Where were you Pete? I was expecting some ink. The player that stood out was Steven Stewart. He is the real deal. 93 mph heater and a wicked curve. It looks like the pitching staff will complement a very good hitting team. Stewart, Cory Polizano, Chris Allen and Akeem Francis should do very well. I haven't even mentioned Jorge Ramos and the DeSimone kid. Are you planning any more conversations with Coach Thomas? It would be interesting to hear his perspective. The returning players looked substantially improved. Looks like the hard work has made them much better. Coach Thomas left his microphone in the office though.


Do you know if they are going to do something with the goal posts? They look aged and they are rather short. seems like every kick sails high above them.

Keep the stadium updates coming!


I've been hearing some chatter about some UN-EXPECTED high caliber local H.S. stars orally committing to FIU! Hope the oral commitments become official ("Sign on the dotted line") in Jan-Feb 08.

Heard similar stuff in reference to men's hoops! Pete , any insight on early commits to either program?


UFF, who was that HS oral commit?

The Herald wrote about the LB from Booker T. and his oral commit, plus had one of Miami NW LB mentioned that he had been offered a scholarship from FIU. Additionally, I know some parents who have kids that play and are seniors and hear about many of the offers, etc. They keep telling me that FIU is being relentless about pursuing the top level players and SOME are definitely listening! We'll see in Jan-Feb 08 if the hard work paid off. At least they're trying, which is more than the last head coach did!


UFF its good to hear that they are being relentless. scout and rivals are horrible in keeping up w/ recruiting at least when it comes to FIU lol. i think if we win 2 of the 3 games on the homestand we have a better chance of competing w/ recruiting. i know i would feel better about it

I agree that winning 2 or 3 games would expand our recruiting base, just a bit. While watching the FIU-ASU game on ESPN Regional last Saturday, I'm almost sure I heard the color guy (Sam Smith) mention how significant it was that FIU, even with its record, had "already 15 commitments". Now, I know we have only "heard" or read of 5 'known' commitments up to now.

Pete, can you find out more? I know you can't from the coaches, as they are prohibited from doing so, but maybe from local coaches, players, rumors, etc....

Any other player, besides Asprilla comitting to FIU basketball?

15 commits?! lol scout.com is horrible... they have us with none and rivals w/ 2. why i read that i will never know

This is Booker T. WAshington player who orally committed:

Booker T. Washington outside linebacker Kambriel Willis said he verbally committed to Florida International University last weekend.

Willis (6-0, 215 pounds) runs a 4.6 in the 40-yard dash and ranked second in Miami-Dade County among Class 6A-4A schools in sacks with 13 entering Friday's game against Jackson.

Willis also ranks third at Booker T. Washington with 48 tackles

I'm glad to see that coaches are recruiting everybody. This staff seems not to be intimidated by bigger football programs!!! Some wins this year will truly help recruiting.

CJ, rivals and scout stink!! They are not updated.

seriously what do they do over there im goin to go work there that way i can do nothing too lol

If we had FIU fans running those sites, things would be a lot better. Rivals, updated yesterday with the commitment of Willis, however for some reason, hasn't added up Aaron Davis nor Joey Harris...Scout has nothing yet....however they do list the basketball commitment of Freddy Asprilla to FIU...Go figure.

I agree that the pitching is going to be better and hopefully the defense as well, but how do you replace the offence of McOwen, Dunn, (drawing a blank on the other offensive player) and Bastista. The four of them contributed a lot of offence, the team will be better though.

Ah.. recruiting debates... giving hope to those who don't have much.

I gotta agree with PP when he says a recruiting blog is a waste of space. Verbal commitments mean NOTHING. Kids commit and de-commit all the damn time. You gotta remember... they're 17, 18, 19 years old. Most teens are emotional and fickle. It doesn't take much to impress most of them, either. The simple fact of a coach going to a game to see them play is enough to make most of them feel good about that school. Once they take a campus tour, get the 5-star treatment and all that... stuff they've never seen before... they get emotional and commit. Then they go back to the HS routine, think about it, and who knows... some decide to honor the commitment, some don't. And that's not factoring in other schools trying to lure those same players.

Point is, debating who will commit is like going to a bar, seeing 20 hot girls and then guessing which one you will score with at the end of the night. It's fun to talk about, but not very productive. Personally, I'd rather Pete get more insight on the guys we got now or talk about hoops. Hell, stadium talk's better than recruit talk. There's plenty of better stuff to talk about.

Hey Pete I have a question for you. Do you think FIU should change the name of the newspaper? I do. I was thinking about this the other day. Why is it called the beacon? is this because the police tower lets out a beacon of light? FIU needs to change the name of the school newspaper to associate it a little bit more with our school. We need panther pride and FIU pride. UCG has the "Miami Hurricane", Florida has the Alligator and so forth. We should have something like "the Panther Post", "panther times" or "The Golden Panther Report". Can I get your comments as a former writer for the "beacon". Thanks

Messod i know what your saying recruits come and goes w/ the wind and are kinda like kickers...(last thing your remember about a kicker was their last kick) recruits is last place they visited. however, i think its still fun just to hear what is the opinion of them by hearing what they say you find out if they are level headed and if you want them here

ConcernedFan - do not worry about the baseball team not having offense. There are plenty of big hitters: Townsend, Castillo, Sujo, Petika, Boza come immediately to mind. The coaching staff will have to do some fancy juggling to get them all into the line-up. When Karcher is healthy he is supposed to be no slouch at the plate. Fuentes and Lozano (however they decide to use him) also do just fine at the plate. I doubt you will be unhappy with the performances of your shortstop and catcher at the plate either; the coaches aren't. Don't worry.
The pitching will improve now that there is a real pitching coach. It seemd like Stewart was a bit wild at Scout night, but he had not pitched in a while. But yeah - he is going to be a great addition. Relax until February and enjoy the winter sports for a while.


How about a baseball update now that the offical fall season has ended? Coach said before it started that they had a lot to do in the 33 sessions over the 45-day period. Since he's been around college baseball forever, my questions now are how does he feel about his group? Were the questions that he had going into the fall season answered? Thanks!

lol well at least rivals updated its acount showing willis on there... yet they dont even think he is worth one star god they are horrible.

I need to know how to change my name from Concerned Fan so you won't think I am being negative. I was a concerned Fan before the new coaching staff was hired, the team will be much better from the looks of the pitching staff. I am not concerned at all with the shortstop and catcher, both are very nice players. McOwen, Dunn, Pullin and Bastista will be impossible to replace, but I think everything else will make up for it. I wonder where a couple of the guys are going to play, (Mollica & Lozanno), both are needed, but unless one of them plays third or moves to center, a very nice bat will be missing. I look forward to the start of the season and I think everyone is going to be very pleased. Let me know how to change my name since I am computer challenged.

Just received my hoops season tickets. Looking toward a hoops season of improvement and positive surprises!


CJ: I get your point, man. I still think it's a waste of time. But to each their own, I guess.

Alt: You're sort of close as to the reason for the Beacon's name. It has to do with the police tower, but not because of the beacon of light. It's more because that's the only building left from the days when the FIU campus was an airport. It's a tribute of sorts. At least, that's what I heard from many of the dudes who were at the Beacon while I was there. I'm sure there's more to it than that, but I wasn't at the Beacon as long as Pete was, so he might know more. All I know for sure is it definitely has to do with the police tower.

As for the name change... nice thought, son, but it ain't gonna happen because of the people at the Beacon. Take it from the guy who pushed to change WRGP's name.

Like you, I really believe that both Radiate and the Beacon's names don't represent the school very well. That's why I tried to change the station's name to something more FIU-ish when I was the station's GM. In retrospect, "Radio Golden Panther" wasn't the catchiest of names (and that's a big understatement), but it is what the "RGP" in WRGP stands for, so that's what ended up being implemented.

Long story short... it was panned. Hard-core. About a year or two after I left, the Radiate came back. Some of the backlash was because of the name, some because I was none too gentle about how it was implemented. (I take blame for that one, for the record.) But most of it was because the WRGP'ers didn't want an FIU-sounding name. Period. They liked having something that separated themselves from the rest of the school. And that probably applies as well for the Beacon. I'm about 99% sure on that one.

With that said... names aren't that big a deal. At least, they shouldn't be. Plenty of schools' media outlets have names that have NOTHING to do with the school itself. It's more important that they do their job properly.

I get your point, and I agree with it, but there's way bigger issues at FIU. Instead of making name changes, the school as a whole should focus more on making the college experience at FIU a pleasant one. That's the real reason why so many alums hate FIU and won't give money or time back. Customer service sucks. Students are treated like crap by a lot of faculty and even more of the bureaucrats and administrators. And SGA is run by idiots who think spending 90 grand to use facilities that students funded in the past is a good idea. THAT's the kind of stuff we should worry about, my friend.

I think recruiting, and commitments, while "non-binding" does mean something. If anything is something to talk about. I've been around all too long to see where a kid changes his mind one thousand times before selecting a school, but also heard/read stories where a commitment withstands time and pressure. Of course, commitments closer to signing day are, by definition, more "reliable" than ones made many months in advance. Just ask the 2 or 3 commitments FIU had until MC got in at FIU in late December last year.

However, the fact we have at least 6 commitments at this point is, in my opinion, very relevant to the "state of recruiting affairs" at FIU. Not so much because of the names (although I DO find it very interesting and newsworthy to follow that), but because of the meaning it has for a 6-year old program with a losing history, and a totally different "history" of obtaining "commitments" in the past. The fact so many have committed so early could, in fact, bode well to the overall final product. After all, we all know the lifeline of a program is recruiting. Now, does talking about recruitng at this stage warrants a blog? Maybe not. However, maybe a comment or two on this topic would be of great relevance.

I also agree with you that talking recruiting is fun after all.... By the way, a story in today's Miami Herald reports FIU got a football commitment from Coral Springs Charter School's Chris Charles, a defensive back.

Hey Concerned Fan - don't change your name or we won't know who you are!
Did not mean to slight Ryan Mollica - sort of expected him to be at second. With the plethora of third-basemen that were recruited, I don't think he or Lozano will be there. Do not be surprised to see a freshman (Sujo or Boza - both have big bats and the coaches are high on them) over there. For a while it was looking like they would be outfield deficient, but now I can't figure how they'll be able to play all the good hitters: Petika, Fuentes, Lozano were all out there but they also have freshman Ty Main and the transfer Karcher. Townsend spent some time in the outfield, too, when Sujo was at DH. I suspect it won't be so much how to REPLACE the bats they lost but how to be able to USE all the ones they have. Nice problem. That's why I am in the stands and not on the field. Let us hope that good fielding accompanys those big bats, though.

FIU fanatic has the right idea when it comes to recruiting.. i mean a blog on it is a bit pre-mature. but hey w/ the season that we are having, i would take it lol

Paradox - great information. Any thoughts on what the order might look like?

btw fiu fanatic good find on the broward side... i completely missed it

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