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21 Months Ago....

Wasn't exactly the way anyone would have liked to start a new job, but at that time new FIU athletic director Pete Garcia was hired. On his first day on the job, PG had to dole out suspensions forPg  the Rocky VIII auditions against UM in the historic stadium FIU closed out the right way with a win.

Now with a new on-campus stadium on the way and having overseen a full calendar year of FIU sports, PG talks Golden Panthers athletics to the GPP.

GPP: What are your thoughts on the past year of FIU sports? Is it what you expected or not?

PG: Growing. Getting better. Hectic. Exciting. Challenging. It was kind of what I expected. These programs you hire the right people. You let them do their jobs. They have to bring in the right student-athletes and once they start getting their student-athletes in there then you start seeing the difference. You start seeing it in a lot of areas. You start seeing the improvement right away academically and then you start seeing them in wins and losses.


GPP: As far as the teams, in the past year which team surprised you a little bit in the way they performed and which team did not perform like you expected it to?


PG: I would say beating the No. 1 ranked team in baseball is obviously a good accomplishment for our Base_2 baseball program. I would have liked to see us do better in men’s basketball and everything is else is kind of what we expected.


GPP: Were there any teams that maybe you didn’t expect much from this year and they overachieved?


PG: No, because we expect a lot from all our teams.


GPP: How do you feel about the stadium progress?


PG: The main thing is that we’re still on time for September 20th. Every day I go out to the stadium and it’s exciting and the closer it gets, the more complete the stadium gets. It’s hard not to get excited about it.


GPP: In the original drawings of the stadium it didn’t seem like it was going to be tight around the field and there was going to be a gaping hole on the north side, but I’ve been by it now that the west side is going up and it looks very tight. What do you think?


PG: People heard us say before that we had put it right on top of the teams and they don’t really realizePmac  that until they go out to the stadium. Once it’s complete and they see where the seats are and see where the teams are, they can almost reach out and touch this team. It’s right on the field. There’s not too many stadiums around the country that have that feel to it.


GPP: What about the progress of the fieldhouse?


PG: The fieldhouse has been started and right now we’re hopeful that fieldhouse will be completed by January 2009. The stadium has to be ready to go by September 20th, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t going to be things in there that we’re not working on through the season when there are no games being played. Other than the 5 weekends, they keep working the rest of the time.


GPP: What do you expect from the football team this season?


PG: I know they will be improved just because they have one year under their belt of the new coach, the new coaching staff and the players' off-season conditioning program and then the new recruits that have been brought in here. Then the improvement of the kids that were already here. I think it will be an improved team. We still have a challenging schedule, but I would say that we’re always going to have a challenging schedule. That’s how you get better and that’s what we expect to do – get better game by game.


GPP: What about the men’s basketball team, what do you expect there?


PG: I expect to have a great year in basketball.


GPP: Because of the new recruits, returning players?


PG: I expect to have a great year in basketball.


Opp GPP: What do you expect in Turtle’s second season?


PG: I expect to have an improved year in baseball. Turtle has done a phenomenal job recruiting-wise. I’m real excited about the kids he has signed and all the pitchers he has signed. I wish baseball season was starting now.


GPP: You’ve been 21 months on the job. What’s been the toughest part during that time?


PG: Just trying to do all things that have to get done, at once. With the staff that I have here, we’re taking on the challenge to not wait. If it needs fixing we’re doing it, no matter what area – compliance, academic support, improving the teams themselves, whatever it’s been, we’ve gone out and got it. It’s not like we could only fix 2 things at a time. We’re trying to fix a lot of things at the same time and build a stadium.


GPP: Did you encounter something along the way you didn’t expect when you became AD? Hd_2


PG: I knew it was going to be a program that had to really be built, not re-built, it had to be built from the ground up according to Division I standards. So no, I haven’t been surprised. You just have to hire the right people and put them in the right areas and let them do their jobs and if we do that we’ll be OK.


GPP: What’s been the most rewarding part of the job so far?


PG: I love building. So here you’re building everyday. Literally, everyday. I go home and my shoes are dirty, my pants are dirty. They know I’ve been to the stadium. You can’t hide it.




The MC Q & A that you good people submitted the questions for has been taken care of and we'll have the first of several parts on here this coming week. Don't know how many parts we'll break it into, because I haven't gone through the tape and MC's answers for the majority of the questions were very detailed.


MaXx: When I get a hold of a photo of the new football helmet, it will be on the GPP. The entire logo will be on the helmet, but the difference from the logo you see above left next to the words Golden Panther Pawse, is that the block FIU letters on the helmet will be white with gold outline. The entire new Golden Panther logo will adorn the helmet and the helmet is a darker blue.


FIUFan: Yes, it is a slow time of year. No coaching searches going on. Golden Panthers football training B camp is still about 47 days away, but the GPP will still be here all summer. So don't worry the MH has not cut my hours, but I do have 3 weeks of vacation time that I'm going to take in the next 46 days before the MH football previews and the season gets going. I will still be blogging when I have downtime during myG  vacation and throughout the summer. There's only so many beaches and golf courses a man can go to.


Miri: Both the football and baseball wins in the previous poll were significant. FIU football won't see the OB again (neither will anyone else) and FIU baseball won't see UM again.


FIU0406: Thanks for your understanding. I'll let the people at the MH know about the old FIU logo on the Golden Panthers' MH web page.


Let's make it 27 states now that the GPP is read in after our latest poll tracker Indy indicates Shreveport, Louisiana and Indianapolis, Indiana have joined the GPP.


Grab a pencil to adjust your scoring at home....The 27 states the GPP is read in: ALA, CA, COL, FLA, GA, IDAHO, IL, IND, IOWA, KAN, KY, LA, MASS, MD, MICH, MIN, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SC, TEN, TEX, VA, VER, WIS.


The GPP is also global with these 8 Countries logging on: Australia, Brazil, Hungary, Italy, Panama, Spain, United Kingdom, U.S.A. and the GPP is also followed in 1 Territory: Puerto Rico.


You read what the AD expects from three Golden Panthers teams this coming season. Now let FIU Nation know what are your expectations....




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Great interview Pete. Anyone surprised by Garcia's very basic answers about basketball?

I guess Sergio better work this year ot get an assistant that can coach, so he can keept his job.

ya that simple answer... it says soooo much. its win, deep run in the conf. champ... or go home sergio

That's not exactly a shocker of a statement from PG on Rouco. Last year was a major disappointment. Sergio's contract is expiring soon (I think) and everyone and everything that's there is either things he brought or things he chose to keep. It's his baby now. The Marsh years are gone. He's got to make this work this year or it's probably curtains. PG wasn't the one who hired him, and if he fired guys like Price, he'll can Rouco, easy peazy Japanesy. Hell, were it not for the contract Mello gave him, it might've happened already.

now that we know the specs for the new football helmet (...the block FIU letters on the helmet will be white with gold outline. The entire new Golden Panther logo will adorn the helmet and the helmet is a darker blue) is anyone willing to sketch this out on their computers and give us an unofficial look our the new helmet?

Pete, I've heard through the grapevine that the BYU transfer Otero tore his knee. One, is it true? Two, if yes is he gone for the season? Please let us know. That would hurt Sergio, eventhough his squad seems primed for a breakout season.


Thanks for the interview and enjoy your vacation. There were rumors swirling months ago about UM's Charie Jones jumping ship and joining FIU. Is that rumor legit? There hasn't been much talk about FIU's transfer students and I thought that there was going to be a few.

Also, FIUsports.com has NOT been doing that great of a job in keeping us updated on the progress of the stadium. So thank you for all of your hard work, it is appreciated.

I heard the same about Otero. I heard he tore his knee playing in the Arena. Parts of that floor are inadequate! My kids are in Sergio's camp. They tell me how several parts of the floor are really slippery. Pete, PG needs to redo that floor.

On Otero, I heard he should be back by Dec.


That's a no-brainer....get a new floor in there asap !!!

I'm looking forward to basketball this year.

Great blog, Pete....It sure feels as if men's hoops are expected to win..and win plenty, accordint to PG's answers. It's yet another hit about Otero's apparent injury...Here's hoping that team pulls it together and have a rewarding season next year...

wow sounds like do or die for bball...its about time. id like to see some upgrades to our complete bball facilities....pete please try to get an answer from our man in regards to my concern.


The floor there is in bad shape and has been since before I was at FIU (and that was some moons ago).

Lots of dead spots... and it gets used a lot for all kinds of rec games, tournaments and such. Maybe not so much anymore, what with the new rec center, but when I was a student there, the place always seemed to have some kind of game going. Hell, I played a few there myself.

That arena also gets used for lots of other non-basketball events, and I'm sure that doesn't help the floor any.

I kind of doubt it was the floor that caused the injury, though, if indeed the injury happened. You can slip on perfectly good floors, y'know. But regardless, that floor definitely needs to be replaced. That ought to be priority one for the "FIU Arena".

(Seriously... why didn't they just change the name back to GPA? Would've been easier.)

Thanks for the interview Pete. Glad to hear that PG is expecting a good showing from basketball team this year. Last year, FIU basketball was a big disappointed. They had the big men to be competitive, but they could never get it going. I'm looking forward to your interview with MC.

CC you're right about using the b-ball court for non-basketball events. There still doing HS graduations on the court.

Pete, enjoy your vacation!!!



I heard that there are many baseball guys NOT returning...some of these guys like Ellison, Trezona and Santana could have been more helpful if they had been given more than ten innings to help out a losing cause. Obviously those three are gone and word is that Ramos, Mirabal and Ruy Rodriguez were cut and many took their releases (Boza, Marban, Garcia, Santana and Arrojo). So, given some of these crazy facts, is this accurate? This sounds like 90% truth and just want it cleared up.

Any news on who enrolled for this current Summer B term other than the original recruits? It's been widely rumored that former 4-star UCF recruit Alphonso Bryant has been on the verge of signing and enrolling at FIU..Anything new to this? Any other 'surprise' enrollee..be it a transfer and/or walk on?

Thanks....Go FIU!

ya... hey pete when are you goin to have the MC interview going up? im leaving to Nashville for the weekend tom. fam. wedding and all so wanted to see if i got something to read before i leave lol

Hey Pete,
Do you know if the new stadium is going to have grass or turf? I don't know about the rest of you guys, but i think it would be great if the new stadium had grass.

how bout that hybrid... the one that is grass and turf mix... i think thats the best one isnt it?

Hey Pete I know this is the GPP, but I noticed you've been covering the Marlins lately and I have question. Do you have any idea whatsoever if the Marlins are planning on upgrading their bullpen before the trade deadline? Tonight's 5th inning fiasco was an illustration that FLA's bullpen can't hold the score. actually the last 5 games have been illustrations of that. Thanks Pete.

Congrats to Fresno State and their CWS National Championship. Good to see a mid-major take it to the top!


Any insight on the QB we just signed? Saw it on CNN truth and rumors

Yep. It appears that Jacksonville's Raines HS Quarterback, Cedric McCloud has become 2009's first commitment for next year's FIU class....Congrats to him....

Read the brief bio on him at Scout.com, not too much info or stats...

However, I do know that his high school is very competitive in most sports and they put put great athletes year after year...

Congratulations and welcome to the FIU family !!!

fiu a punk school

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