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It Will Be Isiah & Arena Improvements On The Way (Updated)

Thomas Got some late confirmation that Isiah Lord Thomas III will sign a contract on Ith Tuesday to become FIU's next basketball coach. He will be introduced as the Panthers coach on Wednesday. Yes, Lord is his middle name.

Also, FIU received $5 million to renovate U.S. Century Bank Arena. Designs are being drawn up to re-do the Bank. When we have them, you will see them here.

The former NBA All-Star point guard brings a name, plenty of basketball experience and expectations to U.S. Century Bank Arena.

In five years coaching in the NBA with the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks, Thomas compiled a 187-223 record. He reached the NBA playoffs all 3 years with the Pacers, but did not reach the postseason with the Knicks.

Having never coached in college, we'll have to wait and see how his recruiting and coaching turn out.

Your thoughts?

Comments

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The man is a horrible coach, and has ruined the Knicks. As a Heat fan I appreciate that but this sucks. I'd liek someone with a proven record please.

I admit I am a bit worried, but I guess we'll see. This will definitely help funding, I hope.

He might turn his coaching and our program around.
We will get recognition and maybe some good recruites, let also see who his assistance will be.
SR should switch to coach the women team for the next 2 years until we find someone else for that.

Very good hire, Mr. Garcia. FIU basketball needs an injection of life right now. We need a guy that is capable of being a great recruiter and fund raiser first, a great coach second. We need to worry about how well his assistant coaches will coach.

That's instant credibility type of hire....Heck, I've just seen now...several times...the news on ESPN News...both in the ticker...and by the TV talent mentioning FIU....

I'm concerned a bit just based on his record coaching...but I don't know how that translates into coaching at FIU, both negative or positive...However, the instant infusion of notoriety and newsworthiness is already there. I would think that recruiting will spike as well considerably, along with better attendance numbers.....

I just hope he proves to be a good...great...college basketball coach, as compared to NBA coaches. God knows several great, great, college coaches have mightily struggled at the NBA level....That's my hope!!

Welcome to FIU....Hall of Famer Thomas!!

NCAA and NBA are two different worlds... as a HOF NBA player he will definetly have more respect amongst college boys. He wont have to clash with some of the "Pro" personalities.... it is a definet boost to our reputation.

Plus it is sunbelt b-ball i have faith that he will handle being a good coach in this conference right now.

wow!!!! we actually have Isiah Thomas coaching our team??? How did this happen? I never envisioned someone with as big a name like Thomas coaching at FIU. Its like Brian Billick or Jon Gruden coaching our football team. Its insane.

I definitely think this will be a good hire. The players will definitely respond to this. Imagine being able to play for Isiah thomas!!

Pete, how did all this come about. Just about a week and a half ago you mentioned that Rouco was safe. Did PG call someone or did someone call PG?

www.fiugoldenpanthers.com

Yeah baby!!! I don't care if he's good or not, he is Isiah "MothaPhuckin" Thomas!!!

You know, it just occured to me... FIU is playing at UNC next season... what are the chances that the game will be televised on ESPN or CBS now?? lol

This is incredible!!! I have no idea how Pete Garcia pulled this out. Hiring Isaiah Thomas instantly gives FIU national recognition in every sport. This is going to be all over ESPN.

As for our team, it can only get better. I'm sure HS kids all over the nation would welcome Isaiah Thomas in their homes...just to listen to what this HOF point guard can teach them about the game. Can't say the same thing about SR.

Like Quijote said, this is Isaiah "MothaPhuckin" Thomas!!!

People better start recognizing that the sleeping giant is waking up in every sport.

GO FIU!!!

No more dollar menu, this is a Whopper of a signing for FIU.

Man, i got get some dinner.

woah, that 5 million dollar donation for improvements was a late addition, would love to know where that came from. Going to be an intresting couple of days around UP campus to see what comes out.

Pete Garcia I want to buy SEASON TICKETS now lol..Great signing, cant wait for basketball season to start!!

Wow....$5million donation out of the blue to renovate US Century Bank Arena? Just amazing....

I'm a bit perplexed by this signing. Yes, Isiah brings instant name recognition. Hopefully, he can help us with fundraising.

However, his coaching background is marred by issues and he has zero experience recruiting. If he does do well here he's out just as quickly as he came in. I'm not a big fan of the recycled coaches/players who come down for Florida for renewal -- see Jarvis, Dougherty, etc.

I'd rather have taken a young and hungry assistant coach ideally with ties to the area like Pujol. Gosh I was even willing to give Shakey another shot. Our two NBA alums came from the Shakey tenure.

I just pray that Isiah hires some solid assistant coaches who can recruit and coach.

Finally, the most exciting news of all was the $5 million for the Arena. Wow.

where did the $5M come from? lol

FIU baby we ain't messing around. first football, then baseball, now this!!!

ok so it led the sports cast on the channel 7 news...so there starts the pub, whether it be good or bad it is pub for the school

Amazing pub!!!! What about radio?..are they discussing it on WQAM and 790 a lot as well?

$5 million for arena upgrades? I. Thomas has already paid for himself.

there is nothing more irrelevant than FIU basketball. Why did Thomas want to coach at FIU... cause nobody else wanted him...

Yes this might improve recruiting because kids will want to play for him, but he has proven to be an absolutely terrible coach.

And yet, here you are talking about FIU basketball! Hahaha I LOVE IT!!!

oh yeah guys...get ready to for the public outcry of haters!!! Not only is it gonna come from um but throughout the states.

I give Pete garcia props for having the balls to pull the trigger on this one.

This is as BIG a hire as we've ever had...HUGE. I love MC but we got Isiah freakin Thomas man! He will absolutely be able to coach in the SunBelt, he's going to kill recruiting, think about it. This will be a man amongst boys. I am starting the campaign for us to build a PG statue outside the stadium, what this man has done in a couple years couldn't be done in decades of mismangement. Hell, I'll get your dry cleaning PG, holla at me.

hopefully he doesn't hug the interns

Canesfan05 - there is one thing more irrelevant than FIU basketball and that's scUM athletics in Miami in 3 years. Print out those pictures, have em signed, framed them, hang them, dust em every year or so. Done.

I am volunteering for any PG screaming sessions. I'm ready! Go F I U!

"Zeke" welcome to the FIU Family. You have truly found a DIAMOND in the "rough." We all look forward to supporting YOU and the Golden Panthers next season !!!

I hope he hugs me too... I hear the bitterness in canesf@g$ tone...regardless of how he does, I say this is a great hire. He has head coaching experience and is a big name which gets players to want to come to fiu already. Plus he brings major publicity to the university...my only question is, when is the big donation for the baseball stadium coming??? ISIAH 1-TIME!!!!!!!

ZEKE - One hell of a basketball player, one lousy basketball coach, and one pathetic administrator.

What could possibly make anybody think that Thomas can recruit? Has he done it anywhere before? Yeah, probably some kid will sign here just because of the Isiah name.

The hiring of Isiah Thomas does give FIU instant newsworthiness. But, we need to remember that just getting on ESPN as a news item doesn't guarantee squat. (Remember the brawl).

What turns a program around are hard working coaches who know their respective games. (SEE: MARIO CRISTOBAL and TURTLE THOMAS). Coaches with a true passion and love for the college game, that are not looking to use their jobs at FIU as a stepping stone or a quick fix or pick-me-up for their downtrodden career.

Let's get real.

The FIU basketball team that has been supported by convicted felons now in jail, stocked with their present players by a known mercenary, now goes and hires a proven destroyer of pro teams (Indiana, Toronto, NY Knicks)and an entire league (CBA), a man that cost his prior employer (Madison Square Garden) millions of dollars for alleged sexual harrasment and improper sexual behavior; a man that is possibly mentally unstable (recent suicide attempt?), and hires him, not because of his coaching success or enteprenuial abilities (they don't exist), just because of the promise of $$$.

This brings back memories of the initial hiring of Don Strock, because of his friendship with Dan Marino and the "promise" and "lure" of donations that never came to pass. They never took into account that all Strock and his cronies wanted was a paycheck and an opportunity to hit the golf course and make it there in time for Happy Hour.

Anyone else with some sort of negative record, even if it is criminal, that can at least promise to give them some money that is interested in working with this basketball program should contact the Athletic Department immediately if not sooner.

Of course, we all know that this is being done at the speed of light before FIU names a new president. Any president with vision and a commitment to the future of athletics at FIU would never approve the hiring of someone like Thomas.

I sincerely hope this hiring works out in the long run for Pete Garcia and the University, but the odds are stacked against that happening. At least we know that this isn't costing the university any substantial amount of money.

theFIUfan - I can almost, ALMOST, recognize your argument until you question the vision and COMMITMENT (of all things) of our self-made-milloinaire president Madique who has worked relentlessly to help us get where we are today. Give me a break man. Then give Isiah a break, this is the Sun Belt, not the NBA NY Knicks (of all franchises). This is a man who knows about dedication and proving people wrong, if not then any douche could make the NBA hall of fame. Don't underestimate that, he probably hopes others do though.

valid points theFIUfan. But our basketball program wasnt going anywhere any time soon. This is a great hire, Tons of publicity, Isiah is a hall of famer with big connections, we already got $5 million to renovate the arena, we can only go up from the last 5 years, and your comment about the recruiting is kinda funny. If you're a sports fan you know isiah was one of the greatest pg in the nba and you are gonna tell me kids are not gonna be delighted to play for him. If you were aspiring to be in the NBA and I were isiah thomas and i came to your house and asked you to play for me what would your answer be??

FIU B-Ball has only one way to go...up.

Fair questions by theFIUfan that I fear myself. However, those are the cons in hiring him, withouth extolling the pros...and potential...of hiring him....

Only one thing we can do now...Enjoy the limelight...and seize it for the good of the program...and hope this hire turns out to be a shocking great one...just as shocking as all of us talking today about us hiring Thomas to be our next hoops coach...

I think this is a great hire in terms of publicity for our program, hopefully Thomas will be a good coach for younger players who will look forward to coming to FIU in order to play for him. Let's hope for the best, but only time will tell how this works out. Go FIU!!

PG leads by example, he gets things done, and he wants all his employees to follow that example and work hard to get things done. All the staff at the athletic department should know how lucky you are to work to create something big and important for FIU, no just to sit on a desk and wait for a pay check.
TDAOS, now is a new day and our athletic program is moving to the speed of a championship team.
Welcome coach Thomas and GO FIU

It can't hurt.

Don't know how Garcia pulled it out, but everything that happens with the program will be more magnified now. Thomas has always been a good talent evaluator so this could work.

While not the ideal hire... its a good short term hire!

Great name recognition, national press time, donations will most likely increase from Isiah's connections and FIU alumni, $5M donation already in the works, and he's coaching college students in a weak conference.

This will help put our program in the spotlight so that when the time comes when a top assistant coach leaves a top 10 school, we can offer a position in the "Now recognized" FIU.

All the pro-Isiah comments are based on "Wishing and Hoping" and ignoring the history of his tenures elsewhere. Let's wish and hope that the donations come in, let's hope that recruits want to come in and play in this program with no history of success and a famous coach who may be here or may not be here in two years time, etc.

I just would have preferred using recent history as a guideline in the hiring, and not rushed out and hired a guy with this undeniably poor track record.

Pete Garcia has had success in replacing the coaches in football and baseball with two recruiting and extremely hard working individuals, who understand that it takes hard work and perseverance to succeed.

If anybody out there truly believes that Zeke is going to put in the number of hours and the effort that is going to be needed to make this basketball program relevant is truly an optimist. If we base it on past history, it just ain't gonna happen.

Like I said previously, I sincerely hope that this works out for Pete Garcia and the university. This basketball program has been going nowhere since Shakey and FIU parted ways, so they definitely needed a shakeup and a wake-up call. Hiring someone with Thomas' name qualifies as just that. It's not going to be a slam dunk that will automatically turn this program around.

There will be more immediate publicity for the program, perhaps fans will finally go to the arena to watch FIU basketball next season. Remember when FIU beat Michigan in front of a packed house? The thought of that happening again would really be sweet.

This can only help. I trust PG hes got every sport improving since he took over. EVERY SPORT!

Well we BETTER wish and hope that this move works. It securely take FIU basketball to a whole other level! Right now we have no choice but to trust in what Pete Garcia is doing... and I think he knows better than we do. We can't really know if this will be successful until the season starts, but right now let's enjoy the free press we are getting and the $5 million we're getting for the arena. So far I'm liking this deal a lot! So far...

Cannot wait!!!

On 790 the Ticket, talk has been about FIU all morning. Great hire!!!

Love the bashers call in on 790. They just can't stand it, competition, fans and alums calling in, the realization that our school is the biggest in town with the largest potential fan base, they hate seeing what's happenning. But it's happenning. Just like you can't stop the tide from rising, you can't stop this.

I believe some of you are over-analyzing the entire situation without giving the man a chance. Isiah did manage a very potent Indiana Pacers team for three years. In NY, Thomas had to endure a torment in Starbury. Doesn't anyone realize how devastating a bad coach to star-player relation can be for an entire basketball organization? If your star player will not respect or listen to you, then what do you expect from the rest of the team? I'm not saying that the man did no wrong in NY. He had some very questionable moves at best. But the last time I checked, the savior Mike D'antoni didn't have the greatest season in NY. We still need to give the guy a chance to blossom in the college system.

Lets make this very, very clear, Isiah is going force all of the UM basketball recruits to second guess their commitments. He already has (in less than 24 hours) and will continue to bring fame to our university. What more can you guys want? This is a monumental moment in FIU's athletic history, lets enjoy the publicity and worry about the basketball season when it comes in the winter.

BTW, anyone else think this is perhaps the missing piece to the Big East move?

LonePanther - Isiah plus the $5m is surely perking the ears of the Big East.

look we are all getting WAY too ahead of ourselves here... this is what the AD is hoping for w/ this hiring:

step 1: like you all have been saying I.thomas gives FIU instant Recognition.
step 2: FIU will steal 1 or 2 Mid-major Recruits to come play for a big name. paired up w/ Freddy.
Step 3: FIU makes a quick run next year and possibly the following... (2 or 3 talented players can win on the court w/o a solid x and o coach and letst not kid ourselves... besides freddy we really didnt have much)
Step 4: local recruits NOW start lookin at FIU as a possibillity
Step 5: repeat step 3
Step 6: national Recruits start lookin at FIU seriously.

this is the real hope ad a fresh paint job / renovation to lure the kids/fans. but it is still a high risk situation. as far as coaching goes.. I.Thomas didnt do anything in NYC, and as an administrator didnt do any better. i hope w/ the absence of Pro Ego things work out better

and seriously can we store the Big East talk till we actually DO SOMETHING i dont care IF that is the plan for the future.. the fact of the matter is we have yet to do anything besides sign coaches and slightly improve 1 season. all this big east talk is pre mature and give all of us a bad image of "o hey we havnt done anything but we are goin to move because people want us" it does not happen that way. we need to focus on winning constantly in the Sun Belt before even SNIFFING the big east

CJ:

Okay, it's a high risk situation as far as coaching goes... and your point is? If you're looking for a coach that will be here 6 - 10 years and build a program from scratch, then Isiah is not your guy. It would be foolish for anyone here to expect that.

College sports is about hype and fame, that's what we're getting in this deal. For example, look at USF; they were ranked the #2 team in the nation for ONE week and they're suddenly mentioned in the same breath as UM, FSU and UF.

CJ:

The bulls began their football program in 1997 as a division I-AA school. They then moved to division I-A in 2001 where they entered conference USA. They've been playing in the Big East since 2005 now.

USF never dominated in any sport but managed their way into the Big East with some growing pains, but are now doing quite well for themselves overall. If they can do it, then why can't we?

If you wish to settle for mediocrity, then suit yourself. Not everyone carries your same rational.

CJ you need to set your sights on bigger goals in it opinion. No one is saying a move to the Big East is imminent but it needs to be in the operating plan, or some conference move. You can't run an institution or a business without forecasting intermediate to long term moves and goals. Man, with that kind of thinking, if you were our President we'd still be playing flag football at tamiami airport. Come on, we all know what the end game here is.

Worst. Hire. Ever. Are we so desperate for name recognition that we hired a washed-up NBA player whom no one else will touch? He's unstable mentally, a poor coach, and he cost his last employer literally millions of dollars. FIU's legal office is going to need to hire several more attornies -- just to deal with the lawsuits that will come, courtesy of that loser. I'm embarrassed that our president allowed this to happen. Are there no other former NBA players we could have hired? This is a sorry day in the history of FIU athletics.

LonePanther get off your high horse im not saying that a move to the big east is not possible.. however, im just sick of hearing everyone saying "o big east this and big east that... when in reality we probably havnt even gotten so much as a phone call to even hint that we are under consideration for the big east... the only way you can force that issue is by winning... and for right now even though our football team had a great turnaround we still had a losing record, basketball is starting new, and baseball is having a good season following a bad one last year.. now i am a big time supporter for FIU but for right now im saying lets focus on winning more.. the rest will come by itself.

and as for the hiring of I. Thomas.. there was no point i was just thinkin outloud of the thought process that was going on.. again i want the program to suceed however, you cannot tell me that you are not worried at all about the hiring.. everywhere he has gone has ended badly i agree that this move is to generate a "buzz" about our program and thats fine however we are not in it for the short run my friend... we are in it for the long haul... so im hoping Zeke turns out to be a good hire but im not goin to Beat my FIU drum saying we are goin to rock the Belt now that we got him when truth be told NONE of us know how his hiring will affect recruiting, or how he will handle coaching the college game

"SNIFF SNIFF "

Some valid points were made about the difference between the NBA and college... he won't have to deal with trades and other administrative duties that he had to worry about in NY. It's a completely different animal. He is a pretty good judge of talent and that is magnified at the collegiate level... the more I think about it, the more I think this just might actually work. As long as he behaves off the court we should be fine.

FIUer im not saying not to look at the future but as a fan i pride myself at not running before i can walk... meaning i know where i want to get to but i know there are certain steps on how to get there. you think that the big east will accept FIU if it keeps drawing such little fan base to their sporting events? the big picture is all about $$$ our football program which to this point has a strangle hold over all news FIU (sporting wise that is) can barely get an 18000 half filled and a a basketball arena that cant even get a quarter to capacity.. we know how to fill that stadium/arena... its by winning. sure the big name will attract a decent crowd at the begining.. but he needs to win.. all i stated in my original comment was what I thought the mind set on the I. Thomas hiring was. and my big east rant is basically to state before we can move up the latter to a bigger conf. we have to win and draw fans.. to use the ex. of USF as was used to me earlier.. THEY ACUTALLY get a big crowd at the games.

This "douche-bag" Jonathan Zaslow on 790am is an absolute IDIOT. Instead of looking at this with an objective perspective, he focuses his amateur analysis on the negative (CBA, NY Kinicks and sleeping pills..) He's also saying that this is a desperate move for attention by FIU.

Two things to consider for all the cynics. Zeke will go after the blue-chip recruits & get badly needed $$$ support for the program(s) at FIU. Thomas one and one with kids and their parents is very compelling. Yes, he has some baggage, but this is clearly a decision to start over fresh. The connections he has brings opportunity for fringe players to get to the league. Let's also see how the rest of the coaching staff shakes out.

In closing, 790am needs to do something about their radio line-up...Zaslow ??? VERY WEAK for the size of this media market...Seriously.


In regards to getting the big crowds, winning is a major component but in this town that alone is not enough. Even if we win the Sun Belt you won't see a sellout against Louisiana Monroe, that's just the way it is here, Tampa as well. But you throw in some games against Pitt or WVU and even if we aren't winning we'll draw more. I think we can safely say our administration is not waiting for Sun Belt sellouts to dictate their moves or strategies nor are they pouring tens of millions to upgrade facilities just to bethe shining star of the Sun Belt. They got their plans laid out and they're playing their hand until the time comes to go all in.

I listen to 790 The Ticket all the time, but you're right...Zaslow is easily the weakest. In my opinion, he got the job because of Boog.

Zaslow hates the Knicks and that's why he doesn't like Isaiah. Regardless, no excuse for him to make a comment like FIU is desperate. If he had half a brain he would understand our athletic department is taking it to the next level.

GO FIU

you guys are getting upset over some1 talkin bad about FIU look we all knew this was goin to happen if we hired I. Thomas.. hes a polarizing figure either you like what he brings or not.. however, 790 i think has done a great job covering this though.. wether its good or bad opinions.. they are covering FIU

Just like Zaslow has his own opinion, we are allowed to have opinion as well.

CJ, i agree with you 790 has the best coverage of FIU sports and it was great that they were there when we played our first game at the Cage against USF. But Zaslow is weak compare to Sedano, Lebatard, and especially when they had Sid.

The PR has been great for FIU, just need to win on basketball court now.

GO FIU!!!

PETE

Just call Vitale Jr.

Worst. Hire. Ever.

FIUer,

I agree 100%. A title game against Troy and no one will come out to watch it. But a big game against known opposition and the whole town will go nuts.

As Pete P. stated in a previous blog, Miami is bandwagon country. Everyone likes a winner, just look at the Marlins.

Kinda wish we could've gotten Tim Hardaway (name recognition without the controversy?)

FIU-Fiji-Drew.. timmy comes w/ the baggage of saying something along the lines that he is homophobic... like 2 yrs ago

I partially agree with CJ, we shouldn't count or chickens before the eggs have hatched. We have scheduled games against better out of conference opposition, which will serve to bring more attention our way, and will most likely attract better recruits, especially if we start winning.

The hire of Isiah, and the great work put in by MC and TT is helping to build a very solid sports program that will ideally make the jump to the Big East or another major conference in the very near future.

Strange hire if you ask me

Big time hire for FIU- The entire program is taking huge steps. Pete Garcia has made some great moves- Mario Cristobal, Turtle Thomas, and now Isiah Thomas... wow! Three big time coaches that will take the athletics program to places the UCG could only hope for.

For the people who are second guessing whether FIU will be successful in Basketball... just look at schools like Memphis and Gonzaga. Conference USA and the obscure West Coast Conference! The sun belt already is home to a WKU team that went to the Sweet 16 last season, knocked off a 5th seeded Illinois team this year, and received votes in the final top 25 poll--- in the past 2 years those are better numbers than storied programs such as DUKE and Kentucky not to mention the beloved Hurricanes! Basically, You can build a powerhouse in the Sun Belt and Mario Cristobal, Turtle Thomas, and Isiah Thomas are the guys to do just that!

GO FIU!!!!

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