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Cassano Going Across Town

Cass FIU running backs coach Mike Cassano is going across town to become the running backs coach in Coral Gables.

Cassano re-joins Mark Whipple. The two previously coached together at UMass from 1998-2004 where Cassano was the RBs coach and Whipple the head coach. The Minutemen won the Div.I-AA national title in 1998.

During Cassano's three years at FIU, the Panthers ground game averaged 119.1 yards per game (2007), 98.8 yds per game (2008) and 105 yds per game last season.

Now the running backs job and the recruiting coordinator job are open at FIU. No known candidates as of now, but there's a possibility the positions could be filled from within the Panthers coaching staff.


Before we get to the Q&A, there has been a rowdy and funny group of high school kids that have attended the last 2 FIU basketball home games that give the opposing teamsUff some hell. These kids all had FIU basketball shirts, but appeared to be too young to be FIU students. So after asking around, it's turns out they are Ultimate FIU Fan's sons and their friends. Listen to them at the next home game, they sit in the stands to the right of south sideline table. Here they are with FIU's finest.....


Wes Kendall: Guys, where can I buy FIU baseball caps? There are none in the book store and I want an authentic on the field one, you know similar kind of to what New Era does with the MLB.

PP: I asked TT and his coaches and here is the response: "We will have game hats ready to sell opening day at the game. We are the only ones that have them. They could call our office." (305) 348-7403 or (305) 348-3166.

alt7787: Pete, since MLB has basically forced the Marlins to spend more do you think they will actually hold on to Uggla for the entire season or do you see them trying to deal him regardless?

PP: If they get the right offer during spring training, I could see the Marlins dealing Uggla. If not, then you have to see where the Marlins are in the standings come the trade deadline (July 31). If the Marlins are out of the race, then they would probably trade Uggla to a contending team in need of a power-hitting 2nd baseman.

KJHarris02: Hey Pete, was wondering if your going to go more into depth about the "weight lifting"/training that the FIU Football players are going thru now thru Spring Football! Would love some updates!

PP: Like last year, will get strength coach Rod Moore on here after spring football to talk about the team's strength and speed gains.

u?: It would be great to see the completed view of the new weight room, Pete i heard its stacked with weights can you post up some pics?

PP: Will get some on here.

Baltimorepanther: hey Pete ,Is Cassano going to UM? I heard a lot of rumors about this, also if he goes, who will hire the new RB coach MC or the new OC? who will become the new recruiting coordinator? I might be wrong but it seems that Mirabal would be a good recruiting coordinator.

PP: Your answer on Cassano is above. There could be another move on the FIU coaching staff. Can't say for sure, but if it happens will have it for you.

MC does all the hiring. We'll have to see on a new recruiting coordinator. And yes, Mirabal would be a hell of a recruiting coordinator. He has done a terrific job in his Tampa recruiting area for FIU.

Jimmy: Hey Pete, when do you anticipate the Sun Belt will release its 2010 football schedule?

PP: In 2 to 3 weeks. FIU is expected to open the season on the road vs. a Sun Belt team (North Texas or Louisiana) on Sept. 4.


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Well, I guess good luck to Coach Cassano in his new endeavors over at CG. As baltimorepanther asked, it would be interesting to find out your take, and/or knowledge on any info pertaining to who might be candidates to become FIU's new RB coach and recruiting coordinator....Thanks for the info, as usual...

Being the one that brings these "middle-school" kids to the game, let me tell the GPP Nation something, THEY GET AFTER THE OPPONENTS! They watch all these college basketball games on ESPN and just emulate what they see. The sad thing is NOT one FIU student at the games bother to crank-up the noise with them. The few FIU students that are there just laugh along with the antics of my boys and their buddies.

Does Panther Rage still exist? Do we still have a radio station @ FIU? We were coming into the game Saturday with all these kids and decided to put WRGP in the car. I couldn't get any reception for WRGP ON CAMPUS let alone @ home. Is it still either 88.1 or 95.3? What's happened to student media? These kids I bring would love to listen to the games they can't attend, on the radio, especially during the school week, however not one can get WRGP at home. What a lost opportunity to get pre-FIU fans following our team. Can anyone from Student Media or WRGP give us some in-sight? Thanks.


Ultimate FIU Fan, You're the BEST!!!!

It's really cool that you take all those kids to see FIU basketball games. It instills a little bit of FIU pride in the future generation. Far too many kids grow up fans of "The U", even though in many cases one or both of their parents went to FIU. Truly a travesty...

As for Cassano, I think he did a good job at FIU with what he had. Julian Reams and a busted up A'mod Ned for two years and we still had 100 yds or so rushing per game. I've always believed that the running game is about 80% dependent on the O Line and the rest up to the RB. Obviously our O lines over the years have been subpar so the kind of production that he got out of our backs was the best considering the line we had.

That's fantastic news about Cassano leaving. He did NOTHING for our running game since arriving on campus. We went from being ranked 98th in rushing offense in 2007 to 107th in 2008 and 107th in 2009. Dariett Perry regressed last year under his tutelege.

We are really upgrading our coaching staff for next year. Love the changes!

I am split on Cassano leaving, on the one hand the lack of production by our running backs was a very serious issue, on the other hand he is a very good recruiter, but oh well. Given how we upgraded both our defensive and offensive coordinators I think we will be fine.

Ultimate FIU Fan definitely does his part. My seats are on the other side of the arena, but I make my way over there on occasion and his cheering section is louder than our students. This is the kind of thing we need to do though to instill FIU pride in the community.

I actually think lossing Cassano is not a good thing for our Golden Panthers but regarless of who gets the new RB position job, he should have a blast coaching some of the Best RB in school history. Our first 3 RB's are just amazing. We better finish in the Top 50 or 60 in the nation for Yards per Game..

Ulitmate FIU Fan:
You are Man!! That is great to see future Golden Panthers up on the stands. If we had 10 more fans like you we could fill up the Arena.. Im assuming you are a Middle School Teacher (I teach High School) and Im planning on taking some of our student-athletes from our school to one home game (football) next year. My goal is to get at least 75 students to go..


I noticed the kids chanting at the last game and thought they were great. I was sitting across the arena and while I try to get defense chants going, it is definitely tough. Something about FIU fans that they are just quiet! It's very annoying!

I like the changes. We need to get this team fired up for the new season so more people support this team. FIU is a great school.

Ultimate FIU Fan, first off let me say that I have seen your kids at the games and I was thinking the EXACT same things that you posted above. And your family and friends at those games have the kind of spirit that ALL FIU students should try to exemplify.

As a member of FIUSM Sports, I can tell you that we have had problems with our radio station due to contract issues with the radio tower. We hope to have this problem solved soon, but sadly these decisions are made above me and we have no idea when the tower issues will be resolved. We wish SGA would be more supportive of student media's efforts to improve our sports coverage but on radio and on game day, but for reasons beyond my understanding we haven't received much support. Although we try our best to get that coverage out to our listeners and followers, it is still a work in progress and we hope to get those things fixed not only for you and your family and friends, but for everyone else on this blog and the rest of the FIU community.

I believe people can still listen to most of our sports coverage on WRGP.org. Panther Sports Talk Live normally airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 10 A.M. and in fact, for those who can not listen to the shows live, Stephanie Gabriel and I will try to have our Friday morning show posted up on my blog starting next week so you can listen to what we are talking about and get your input on what you would like to listen to and talk about.

Know that the Sports Dept. at Student Media, at least on my end, is working together to try and bring you all the best possible coverage we can on FIU Athletics and we are more than willing to listen to any opinions and suggestions you may have.

We apologize for the inconvenience and we trying to do what we can with what we have. We hope you will continue to support us and listen to us.

Hey sc-UM'ers,

While you're added I can recommend some future replacements for you.

Take coach Galiano
Take coach Cassano
Take coach Donnie Marsh
Take coach Bob Weltlich
Take coach Danny Price

Thanks... you've done us a great service. Now Mario can focus on a REAL coach and not a buddy.


This Cassano hire at UM really seams like a case of "hooking your boy up".

This guy did an awful job, our run offense was one of the worst in the country, dead last if you subtract our "good" running games against upstart Western Kentucky and NO D North Texas.

Im not worried about the recruiting part of it, since the selling points of FIU dont change with Cassanos departure, in fact they are only getting better each day.

I've also seen the Ultimate Fan boys in action. They act like true college students should act, and I hope our students and the leadership would try and do the same, and join them for the following games, particularly the one against FAU.

When we went there, Isiah and his family were subjected to not just normal heated behavior, but some really rude chants (Rapist!) against our coach. This in front of Isiah's wife. Apparently, this has created a stir within/between the school's presidents and FAU's fans:


Above is the latest blog by FAU's Sun Sentinel beat writer, Ted Hutton. What do you think?

I loved seeing the kids cheering as well. Max and I always try to get a chant going as well, but it is just so tough.

Panther Rage is another story. I am a member, however, sadly I have stopped going to meetings because of work and class time. I do think they need to step up and start showing up to more games. There was a time that it was pretty good, but still a select few would show up. They need to show up and be loud!

About the "racist" chant... that's just sad. I think Ted Hutton is a little too late in saying that FAU is the West Virginia of the SunBelt. They already have a horrible reputation.

I meant to say that Hutton doesn't want FAU to become the WV of the SunBelt. ;)

Screw FAU.... lol look at this article from February of LAST YEAR claiming the stadium might be ready for the 2010 season hahahahaha. As of TODAY, they don't even have their financing in place hahahaha


What a joke they are, seriously. Howard is the overachiever of the century. Once he's gone, so will their football program.

Honest piece on IT and the state of FIU basketball. Even Pete gets a mention.


That piece is certainly with an agenda, and while it points out some truths, it lacks way too much correct information, with too many "errors", omissions, and misstatements, to be considered honest.

It seems to me that anything that pseudo newspaper writes, in particular when dealing with FIU, has an agenda against our university.

I think IT is doing an amazing job with absolutly NOTHING to work with. The crap he got handed down is bigger then the crap that MC received. His 2010 recruiting class is Top 20 in the Nation, and 2011 will be even better. FIU fan cant think we will go from 95 ranked team in the nation to Top 25 in one year or even two.. If we can make the Semi's or the Finals in the Sunbelt next year then we had a great year. If IT and the boys can bring their first Sunbelt Title in the next 2 or 3 years then he is WAY ahead of the game. We are extremly lucky to have someone like IT with us even if he is at FIU for only 5 to 10 years..

Can you imagine making the Big Dance in 2013.. Damn that sounds good already!

Go Golden Panthers!

IT was found innocent on all charges but that part of the story gets very little coverage. These are just last gasp attacks from the wannabees and hanger'ons.

It's always darkest before the dawn. I think a new day is about to break for FIU.

Just because we don't like what we read shouldn't always lead us to suspect an agenda. The article does go into IT's recruiting successes but let's face it, FIU basketball is as abysmal right now than it's ever been. And I'm not referring to fan support because no one can expect attendance and support for a perpetually abysmal product. When wins come by the truckload then so will the support.

"It's always darkest before the dawn. I think a new day is about to break for FIU."

the season ticket #'s for FB were surprising and not a good sign that the new day si coming.... 6k down to 2500??? MC better win...

What do you mean ridgepanther? Are you saying that last season season tickets for football was only 2500?

IT is definitely doing a great job. Everyone expected basketball team to struggle this season. That will change next year, team will be much talented and improved.

Hey Pete, when will you be coming out with a baseball blog? Season starts in nine days!

The 2500 season tickets is horrible but understandable. I've been a season ticket holder since year 1 and I certainly questioned myself this past year. It's basically a donation at this point because the product and results have not warranted the support to date. Football gets what little support it does get because of the emotional attachment to school and the desire to see the program excel, otherwise, if it was like any other business or product trying to market itself based just on its laurels, there wouldn't be one person sitting in the stands on saturdays. MC and PG need to show results already to back up all that talk, or those numbers will deteriorate further.

I am not quite sure why we are blaming Mike Cassano for our running attack. He is a good coach and they are talking about him becoming their OC when (not if) Whipple leaves.

Why are we blaming him for the OL?
We had 3 OL coaches last year, MC, ex-OC who played OL, and ex-OL coach who played OL at UM. This year we have 2 of the 3 back, MC, ex OL coach moved to TE and a new OL coach. Makes me wonder why we are having such a problem with our OL.

Maybe this year we will finally have a good OL. If not are we going to blame our new RB coach?


FIU pays a lot of money to a ticketing person, a marketing person, an ex Miami Dolphin executive, and others. Why aren't they told to fill up the stadium or come up with a plan to fill up the stadium. From what I hear there are plenty of excuses on why the ideas can't be done because of the NCAA. I am sure there are plenty of marketing methods that are approved by the NCAA. Free tickets were given out to a game against FAU a few years ago. Kids are coming to the BB came and creating excitement. Get every Junior High School and High School kid within 5 miles at the games. Sell 2 for 1 or drop the price. Fill up the stadium or find another job.

10,000 tickets at $10 /ticket for 5 home games = $500,000.

Hire some retiree or marketing company and pay them a few dollars plus a commission on every season ticket or game day ticket sold. DO SOMETHING! Offer the alumni, the fraternities, the sororities, the band, high school clubs, Burger King, Publics, a commission for every 100 tickets or 20 season tickets sold.


Yes fellow FIU fans, I am disappointed. We have a tiny stadium, We aren't talking about filling about a 50,000 seat stadium, we are talking about a 18-20K seat stadium.


Gooch - If IT has any success at FIU in 2 years he will be on the first flight to a Big 10 school or some other university. You think FIU is his dream NCAA coaching job?

Step 1 – turn up the sound on your computer

Step 2 – watch the video in 480pix definition

Step 3 – smile, take pride and enjoy !!!

Step 4 – forward this link to your personal (FIU) network


Can't wait for spring ball to start.

Damn that video made my day.

FIURage - forward the link to your network


About the IT Miami New Times Article:

It was mentioned today on PTI. FIU was heavily criticized by Tony Kornheiser for the supposed allegation that $55 Million have been invested in athletics, but that $32 Million has been cut from academics. To my knowledge the $55 Mil comes from bonds(basically money we dont have), whereas the money for academics comes from the state, tuition, contributions (or lack of). In other words athletics and academics derive their monies from two completely seperate sources. So to try and spin it as FIU cutting academics while propping up athletics is very misleading.

Im not sure where the writer of the article found the numbers he cites (actually he doesnt), but the $32 million seems inflated.

I am very disappointed that our BB season has gone the way it has, but I expected it. I have confidence that with better players Isiah will have our team relevant in two or three years.

FIU is doing right by FINALLY investing in its athletics program. The cutting of academic programs and budgets has nothing to do with athletics. If people want to blame someone for that they can look toward the Florida Legislature. Years of relying on property taxes, tourism, construction and giving tax break after tax break has finally caught up to us and left the state with no revenue.

What sucks the most is that now thanks to this story and PTI a national audience must think FIU is a terrible school for cutting "$32 Million" from academics while investing $55 Million in athletics. If it helps Michael Wilbon acknowledged that nothing sells out in Miami, especially basketball...

Mike - I hear ya, but it's just not as easy as telling these marketing guys to go fill up the stadium and it gets done. I'm sure they have plans and are executing some of them, also sure they're probably not doing the best job that could be done, be if the product is depressing and the team is highly likely to lose on any given night, you're not going to fill it up no matter what you do. Even the scUM across town struggle to fill up rent-a-stadium to even half capacity every week, and they actually went to a bowl...and lost, badly, but still they went. Point is, until MC and his recruits and coaching staff back up all the hype they spew with mountains of wins, that stadium will never get filled up consistently nor will alumni donations increase measurably. But when we do win, they'll pour in like you never imagined possible. Alums just need a reason to pound the chest and open their wallets for FIU. But first, win.

In this day some of the trendsetting vocabulary is athleticism, length and high ceiling. Coaches can say all they want about looking for "players," but they still get so enamored with the player that makes a pass you don't always see, hits a shot only an athlete can make, make an athletic play that turns heads.

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