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More with Turtle

FIU baseball coach Turtle Thomas took some time out Tuesday to speak about the past few days and the Tt future of FIU baseball.

What was your thought process in declining even interviewing with Maryland and staying at FIU?

TTIt's nice to be wanted, but my heart is at FIU. We had the best turnaround in the program's history last season and I want to develop FIU baseball into one of the top college baseball teams in the state and in the nation. We are building something special at FIU.

I'm very, very happy that [FIU athletic director] Pete Garcia hired to me to be the leader of the baseball program at FIU. When you are the head coach of a program to me you have to stand the test of time. It's not like you win one year, you're a flash in the pan and you jump to whatever else. You have to really put your roots down, put your feet on the ground, roll up your sleeves and get to work.


What was it about Maryland that had you turn them down and remain coaching baseball at FIU?


TT: It was nothing about Maryland. It was our feelings and our love toward FIU and our program. A lot of players and families have made a commitment to FIU and you want to keep coaching these players. I like the players on our team. I like our assistant coaches and I like where our program is going. We want to make something out of this program. We want to make the FIU community and the Miami area proud and happy of the direction the FIU program is taking.


I think we are going to have a very solid ballclub this coming year. I know what this baseball program can be with the South Florida and Florida talent that is available to recruit to our program. We have a lot of good players in our program right now and we are continuing to get good players to our program through the recruiting process.

Other conferences and other schools are taking note that our program is winning and going in the right direction. FIU is on the way up. We certainly know that recruits in Florida and particularly in South Florida Team are taking note of that.


What do you think were the main reasons for the 14-win turnaround last season? As you know that was the greatest win improvement in the 37-year history of FIU baseball.


TT: Many of our players have developed a love, a caring and loyalty toward FIU. They’ve taken a lot of pride. You see them all the time wearing FIU baseball stuff around outside of the ballpark. You could see that we had really good team chemistry this past year. They were all pulling in the same direction. It’s exactly what you want to see from a coaching standpoint. We had good talent, but we had great team chemistry which led in the turnaround from the previous year. We hope this coming year and in the future years to continue that turnaround where we’re thought upon as certainly one of the better teams in the state and in the country. That’s our goal.


Did the positive direction that FIU sports is headed in play any kind of factor in your decision?


TT: FIU has made a total U-turn in a lot of sports, but especially in the big three [football, basketball andMc baseball]. It's the right time at FIU with what Mario is doing in football, with what Isiah is  It going to do in basketball and what every coach here at FIU is doing.  Everybody is pulling on the rope in the same direction and everybody is headed in the right direction, because they are all proud of what FIU is becoming and getting better by leaps and bounds every day that goes by. We all feel tremendous about our great university.

I'm sure there were several moments that stood out from last year's 34-win season, but which one first comes to mind when you think of the 2009 season? 


TT: When we beat [then Sun Belt No. 1] Western Kentucky 2 out of 3 games and our fans were chanting FIU, FIU and they were just pumped. It was an exciting series. All 3 games came down to the last batter of the game. It sends a tingling feeling up your spine and everything like that, because it’s just a lot of fun. That’s what it’s all about right there. The effort that you put in and the effort our players put in and to have that result it’s fist-pumping type of feeling.


Do you see FIU as a long-term job?


TT: I want to coach 18 more years. Absolutely, I see FIU as long-term. I said that at [the introductory] press conference and I still see that today.





Former FIU right-hander Josh Banks, who returned from the disabled list last week, picked up his first win of the season last night for the San Diego Padres against the Houston Astros. This on the heels of another FIU alum and Red Sox 3B Mike Lowell going on the DL,Bankss   because of a hip injury.




Joel: I know that Wikipedia isn't exactly a credible source, but on the FIU football wiki page UCG is listed as an opponent for the 2011 season. Any truth to this or just somebody messing around?


PP: No truth. The only match between the crosstown schools scheduled for this coming year is in volleyball at U.S. Century Bank Arena. Asked TT if there was any progress with the baseball series being renewed and he said "nope". Heard from a very reliable source over at the Coral Gables school that JM took a lot of heat from the boosters after FIU and TT ended the crosstown series Volley with a W in Coral Gables in 2008.


Ultimate FIU Fan: Pete, need an update on Freddy A.'s status for hoops. Finally, since the NCAA cancelled all Alabama victory's since '05, doesn't that mean that FIU's game in '05 becomes a victory for the WINLESS Golden Panthers of that year?


PP: Freddy is not coming back to FIU and FIU is not releasing him from his scholie. Last I heard, FA was stuck in Colombia, because his visa expired and could not get back in the U.S. And since he is not coming back to FIU, the university does not have the responsibility of helping him with a visa. So, it's up to Miami Dade College or whatever JUCO he decides on or FA's handler to get him back into the good, old USA. As far as the situation, feel bad for FA, because he's a good kid, but unfortunately he's not making his own decisions. If you read the Sports Illustrated story, writer Seth Davis didn't have the entire picture when he took shots at FIU, because nowhere did he mention FA's handler and his intentions -- that is the root of this whole situation. I'm not buying the whole wanted to play for SR deal that has become the main excuse, because former FIU players have told me that FA and SR were not always on the same page.


As far as the Alabama sanction, unfortunately it doesn't work that way with FIU getting a win. It is just counted as an Alabama loss. But technically, you could say FIU won by forfeit.


FIUFan: Hey Pete, Hardaway Jr. is going to Meechigan, does this mean that Timmy won't be one of IT's Asst's?


PP: Not necessarily. Junior gave a verbal commitment. Nothing is signed and we've all seen before that recruits have a tough time picking a Gatorade flavor. Not saying he won't stick at UM, but stranger things have happened. Timmy, Sr. is still in the running to join IT's staff. Except, that Sr. never finished his degree at UTEP and is going to take classes to get that degree (need a degree to work at a state university) so that he could eventually coach. IT has said that he would like to fill out his coaching staff by the end of July.


*Thanks to Alex J. Hernandez for the FIU photos
















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So are you saying Tim Hardaway is not eligible to coach/work at FIU since he has no degree?

Hmmm....did anyone else key in on this comment...

"Other conferences and other schools are taking note that our program is winning and going in the right direction."

Other conferences eh...wonder what inside info PG has been letting TT in on.

Proud to be an FIU baseball mom - TT has really taken our 'kids' to new heights...taught them self-respect, demanded high goals for academics, enforced responsibility, made them proud to wear the uniform, commands discipline, and teamwork; happy to hear he (and his wonderful assistants) are staying. We (the parents) have comaraderie, pride and 'tailgating' to die for :) I dream of the day when FIU goes to Omaha.... I'll be the first in line to buy a plane ticket. I hope the community will support these kids - they are awesome, hard-working young men...their workouts are grueling, they travel & have mandatory study hall ON THE BUS/PLANE, they put in many extra hours in study hall on campus, and all the while, represent YOU! (while maintaining good grades) They are YOUR Panthers...let's see YOU at the games this year!!! GO PANTHERS! Mike's Mom P.S. Look forward to seeing our 'tailgaters' in the near future!!!

I like it Mrs Martinez!!!! A++ post... Thats a great mom right there people.

Definetly agree with c-UM!! Great to hear all that, Mrs. Martinez!! I had a tremendous time watching th team this past season and I look forward to it next year! We really need to do more to bring people out to the ballpark and get the FIU community and Miami behind these guys. They have most DEFINETLY earned it! I can't wait to see what next year brings!

And now it's July!! One month closer to fall!!!

GO FIU !!!

We have a new "mom" in the house!

Did you know that FAU travels to games on a BUS??

That was a great interview, and it is great to see how enthused coach Thomas is about FIU and its future.

Mrs. Martinez, we are all proud of what your son and his team mates are doing out there on the field, and we look forward to rooting for them next year as they win the SBC title.

Anyone else see the news that Lance Stephenson signed with Cincinnati? I guess IT coudn't convince him that he had a good shot of going pro after his freshman year at FIU against second level talent in a noone cares conference.

Nice post fake CrazyCane - maybe the FIU moms who read this blog can also comment on it.

Don't worry Crazy - when the fake CC posts crap like that he just proves the stereotype of the FIU fan and the FIU community as a whole.

Furthermore, the fact that none of the FIU posters on this blog call him out on it as inappropriate, disrespectful and wholly improper further proves the fact that they are hypocrites.

Crazy I guess you missed the article on ESPN a couple of weeks ago where it stated that FIU was no longer interested in Lance.

Much like you are a hypocrite when CC starts his racist rants and you say nothing.

When was that ESPN article? - b/c as of June 16, 2009, FIU Fanatic was still posting the following:

"and for some reason, the zagsblog.com is still putting FIU as a darkhorse to sign the highest un-signed available player, Lance Stephenson....really...can you believe this?"


Start licking your B*ll* and wounds, because UCG has ZERO chance at improvement this season. A brutal 4 games out of the gate and a competitive ACC schedule. 4 wins at best and new head coach for 2010, all the while we go BOWLING and take down the Sun Belt Conf.

What a dumb post U24/7. Yeah, like the UM faithfull are the classiest. They are straight trash and slores, wake up buddy. That campus is filled to the brim with dirtys.

And CC, we have no way of knowing that it actually wasnt you. All your post are pretty retarded so i wouldnt put it past you posting something like that. We really dont pay attention to it.

CC, First off you probably wrote the comment about Sebastian and his balls so that you can talk to yourself since not many other canes fans like talking to you. Second, it wouldn't be a good idea for Isiah to sign Stephenson since he brings so much baggage with him such as his amateur status being in question. Mrs. Martinez that was an excellent post and we look forward to watching your son and the rest of the team play and win next year.

But this year, everybody needs to watch it in person at the stadium, instead of on Live Stats.

Mrs. Martinez, great post! I too have followed FIU Baseball for many years! I've attended ALL FIU NCAA Regional games,except for the Regional @ FSU and the Super Regional vs. Notre Dame, which we beat the Irish (btw, the Irish Coach that season, is the CURRENT LSU coach that just won a National Championship and himself an FIU grad)! I truly hope that we soon will be in CWS because right after you buy YOUR tickets, I'll be buying 4 tickets for wife, 2 kids and me.

Great spirit and energy. See you next season!


Remember that CC posts under at least 2 more names here....maybe more...

Great post and inside information as to how Turtle runs the program. Good luck to your son, and of course, the whole FIU team. Here's hoping we can keep improving offensively, while finding some type of consistent pitching to round up the team.


CC here is the article from ESPN, it came out on June 22nd, a simple search would have turned it up.

I agree with others on this thread, it probably IS crazycane making "fake" posts under his name...we all have gotten to know how pathetic he is so yeah for sure its probably him.

Gpantera, great to meet you the other day. Good to see the FIU energy and enthusiasm!


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