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20 posts from June 2010

June 28, 2010

Talking w/ Chris Coleman

Had a chance to catch up with Chris Coleman and his Christian Life Academy high school coach CarlosColeman Wilson on Monday afternoon -- one day after the No. 10 center in the nation said he will become an FIU Panther.

Here's what the gentlemen had to say....

PP: Chris, what made you decide on joining FIU in 2011?

CC: I wanted to get coached by someone that knows the game. Plus, I loved the school when I went down there. I liked that if you graduate from FIU, because of its international ties, you can basically get a job anywhere in the world. And you can't beat the weather in Miami.

PP: When did you first meet coach Thomas and as a 17-year-old how much did you know about his Hall of Fame career?

CC: I met him last summer and he is great. I've known about what he did on the basketball court for a while, because of my grandma. My grandma loves coach Thomas. She's from Chicago, like coach, and she is a big It Detroit Pistons fan. And my mom and coach Thomas went to the same high school also in Chicago.

PP: Coach Wilson tell me a little about Chris's game.

CW: Chris is a true center that can beat you with his back to the basket or by putting the ball on the floor. He's a multi-faceted big guy. He's going to cause big problems at the five spot for FIU opponents. Chris averaged 15 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks last year. He shot 52% from the field and 64% from the free throw line. He has to be a better free throw shooter.

PP: Chris, it seems like you pretty much have a complete game. But what about the free throw shooting? Do you feel that it's the thing you have to improve on the most?

CC: I thought I did all right at the line last season, but I would love to improve that 64%. I'm going to get fouled a lot down there and I'm going to be at the line a lot. A lot of big guys like Dwight Howard and Shaq have trouble with the free throw. It's just a matter of concentration and focus.

PP: Do you have any ritual you go through at the line to help you out?

CC: Yeah, I think of a song when I shoot free throws. I'm thinking "Lollipop" by Lil Wayne. I like the song andLil it helps me relax.

PP: Coach, how was FIU's recruitment of Chris?

CW: FIU got in on Chris really early and they were consistent and persistent. They did a masterful job.

PP: Chris, are you done growing at 6-10 and how do you feel about the 249 pounds you are carrying right now?

CC: I'm hoping I can get to 6-11 or 7 feet. I come from a big family. My dad is 6-4 and my mom is 5-9. I feel good at 249, but I'm going to add some muscle and get bigger. I love the weight room.

PP: Chris, do you know any of the highly-regarded recruits that FIU is chasing or any of the top players that FIU has signed?

CC: I played with Dominique Ferguson last summer in Detroit. We liked how we fed off each other on the court. We played well together. I really don't know any of the other players. But I think we can get some more top players to come down and play with us at FIU.



Aaapaw Along with the continued recruitment of Rakeem Christmas, the Panthers are pursuing Josiah Turner (No. 4 point guard in the nation). JT will have to decide among: Oregon, UCLA, Arizona, USC, Cal and FIU.

Word is RC is down to four schools: FIU, Oklahoma, Texas and Georgetown. FIU is also after Coral Gables High 6-8 power forward Jonathan Holton -- a 1st team All-Miami Dade player last season.


blkpanther: So Pete this makes two commitments for the 2011 season? Yvan Ngirabakunzi, Chris Coleman.

PP: Yes, so far.

Max: Any news on our schedule for this season? Shouldn't it be released soon?

PP: Opener is at home against Florida Memorial. Big non-conference home game is vs. Florida State. There won't be any 24-day road trip for FIU like last December. Schedule should be out by mid-August.

June 27, 2010

Coleman Commits

Cc Chris Coleman, the No. 10 center in the nation, verbally committed to FIU this weekend and is expected to join the Panthers 2011 class.

Coleman, 6-10, 260 pounds, had been deciding between FIU, West Virginia, UConn, Marquette, Syracuse and UTEP.

CC will finish up his high school career at Christian Life Academy in Houston this fall and sign with FIU in November and head down here for the 2011-12 season.

Will try and get CC on here to talk about the commit and I expect to have some more FIU hoops recruiting news later this week.

June 24, 2010

GW For ESPY; FIU Summer Ball

Garrett Wittels has been nominated for Best Male College Athlete for the ESPY Awards on July 14. ESPY1

Maybe GPP reader FIUJM had a premonition when he thought the last post titled fromGww "90210 to 33199" was about GW going Hollywood.

GW shone this past season hitting in 56 consecutive games.

GW's competitors for the award include: Blake Geoffrion (Wisconsin hockey), Mark Ingram (Alabama football), John Wall (Kentucky hoops) and Evan Turner (Ohio State hoops).

For how to vote for GW for the ESPY go to www.fiusports.com

The ESPYs will take place in the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. The show airs live at 9 p.m. on July 14 on ESPN.

Been told GW will be in attendance on July 14 at the ESPYs..



Apaw Here's the list of where the 2010 Sun Belt champions are playing summer baseball:

(Player - Summer team name - Summer league)

Raiko Alfonso - Luray - Valley; Aaron Arboleya - Stanton Braves - Valley; Yoandy Barroso - Luray - Valley; Jose Behar - Sedalia Bombers - Mink League; Pablo Bermudez - Su Miners - Alaska; Daniel DeSimone - Morehead Marlins – Coastal Plains; Logan Dodds- Stanton Braves - Valley; Rudy Flores - Haymarket - Valley; R.J. Fondon- Su Miners - Alaska; Doug Joyce - Nashville - Prospect League; Jorge Marban - Oilers - Alaska; Mike Martinez - Covington - Valley; Jeremy Patton - Sedalia Bombers - Mink; Sean Reilly- Waynesborough - Valley; Andre Vazquez - Covington - Valley; Garrett Wittels - Oilers - Alaska.

Apaw Besides voting for GW on the ESPN site, drop your vote below on who would be GW's main competition for the ESPY.


blkpanther: Pete, i know Rupert had surgery, is he back at 100% and what is his weight looking like?

PP: Rupert is expected to be ready for training camp in August. He's recovering nicely from surgery and he's around 275-280 right now.

Gold: Can this new player play right away?

PP: Yes sir. Caylin has the ability and tools to be the team's starting left tackle on 9/11. MC and his staff have made it a priority to address both lines this offseason with the additions of White, Delsoin, Faciane, Lee, Davis, Fitch and Senat.

FIUJM: Pete, glad you'll hit us up during football season. We'll have gallopinto, tortilla caliente and carne asada for you.

PP: Love the Nica food. When I'm down in Miami I try to hit Los Ranchos and the fritangas.

What's the biggest hurdle to GW going home with an ESPY?

June 23, 2010

From 90210 To 33199

Caylin More beef arrived on the FIU offensive line on Wednesday morning when massive JUCO transfer Caylin Hauptmann became a Panther as Summer B began at FIU.

Hauptmann, left, (6-5, 318 pounds) is a highly regarded interior lineman out of Beverly Hills. CH played at the College of the Canyons last season and was being pursued by FIU, UCLA, Cal, Washington, Arizona State, Nebraska, Syracuse and Oregon.

CH is likely to play left tackle at FIU alongside Cedric Mack at left guard and Brad Serini at center give FIU plenty of brawn on the line. Add to that another year of development for last year's freshmen such as Dave Istanich and Rupert Bryan and sophomores, plus incoming Ceedrick Davis (305 pounds) and suddenly the O-Line prospects look much more solid.

CH begins his FIU career as a sophomore so he has 3 years of eligibility left and since he's coming from a JUCO he does not have to sit out a season.


Aaapaw Popular questions posed by chiapanther in the latest GPP poll questions. The poll has been up for just 2 days and already more than 200 votes on which FIU men and women's teams will have the most successful seasons next year. As of this post, the baseball team has a slight edge on basketball and football in the men's question. While the volleyball team has more than half the votes to lead the women's question thus far. Poll is still open.

In those poll questions, the GPP readership increased by 1 state and we're now 4 states away from completing the GPP's tour of the USA. A reader in Kenai, Alaska voted for the baseball team......hmm wonder which of the 4 players from FIU baseball is in Kenai right now.

Let's update the scorecard....



41 COUNTRIES: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Mexico, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Panama, Peru, Scotland, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, U.S.A., Venezuela, Vietnam.

1 DISTRICT: Washington, D.C. and 1 TERRITORY: Puerto Rico.


CJ: hey pete was wondering what would we have to do to get the FIU marketing dept. to hand out vovozela's at the FIU rutgers game?

PP: Thankfully, artificial noisemakers are banned by the NCAA. Em

alt7787: Pete, Not sure if this is relevant to what youre writing, but would it be possible to ask El Monstruo what it was going from FIU to a team full of Miami Hurricanes (Ravens)?

PP: Although, EM is very relevant to the history of FIU football, that question is not really relevant to the history of FIU football. However, EM has been asked that before and he's said that those Ravens have accepted him without any issues. When I wrote that story a few years ago on EM when he played vs. the Dolphins for the first time in Miami I asked several of those Ravens teammates about EM and FIU and each player I spoke to said they have taken to EM, because of his work ethic and that it didn't matter where he came from. The only animosity there's been was when EM won 25 cents from Willis McGahee after FIU kept the score in their last game vs. UM within 2 TDs at 23-9. EM said McGahee told him UM would blowout FIU and that did not happen. After that Dolphins/Ravens game in the locker room, EM interrupted an interview with me to ask McGahee for those 25 cents.


June 21, 2010

Summer Kicks

Still another 2 months and 10 days before FIU and Rutgers kickoff the 2010 season, but the Panthers report for off-season conditioning on Wednesday when Summer B begins at the university.

When the team gets together there will be a couple of new kickers joining Jack Griffin in the kickingLynch competition this summer.

Class 5A All-State kicker Dylan Lynch (Fletcher High and Jake Medlock's teammate) has joined FIU. Last year, Lynch made 5 field goals of 52 yards or more.

Lynch (right) is now 1 of 4 kickers vying for the FIU job along with JG and former Florida Atlantic kicker Michael Cal. Former U.S. Army All-American kicker and Homestead High's Julio Moraga is enrolled at FIU and is expected to join the Panthers as well.

Might be some more new players joining the team and when they are confirmed I will have them here for you.



Aaapaw If you haven't seen this GW mini-documentary done by FIU's External Relations, then check it out HERE

Pretty nifty video and narrator Bill Beesting provides a Ernie Harwell-esque voiceover to the piece.

Aaapaw Attention: FIU football alumni, if you have any interesting anecdotes you would like to contribute to theFiufoot story on the history of FIU football that I'm writing for the Sun Belt Conference's football 10-year anniversary magazine, you can send me an e-mail and we'll talk about it.

I have already spoken with many of you alum, but I'm all ears if any of you that I have not contacted have some stories to add. Thanks.

To the GPP readers, thank you for the ideas and suggestions. They have been really helpful.

I've got plenty to get to in the program's 8+ year history. Everything from the flyover plane in the Orange Bowl to the brawl to the new stadium and fieldhouse to the emergence of the solid recruiting classes of the past few years will be covered in the story. Good thing, it's a magazine article, because the space will be needed.


chiapanther: Pete, This is why you are the man. How about a poll question....Which Athletic program will see it's best turn around (or will have the most successful season) on the Next Athletic Year (Aug. 2010 to June 2011? Football, Basketball, Baseball, Softball, W/M Tennis, W/M Soccer, W Golf. Pete, you're welcomed to SECTION 112.

PP: Your wish is my command, check out and vote on the poll questions below the Pawse. And I'll take you up on your offer and swing by Section 112 and same goes for FIUJM.

SouthPaw: Pete, anything new on the football scholarship front? Curious to know if there are any new walk-ons expected for the Fall?

PP: Besides the new kickers, there are some new, big players expected to join the team later on. When it is official I will have it for you right here.

ThePerfectFan: Can we have a roster from Summer Ball, I mean like to know where every player is at, so that we may follow them?

PP: Working on that. Will try and get it on here as soon as I can.

Aaapaw Now to chiapanther's poll question. I need to split the question into men and women's teams, because the maximum number of answers per poll question allowed by the poll program is 10 and FIU has 13 teams.

So tell me which FIU men's team will have the best season in the coming athletic year (2010-11) and then which women's team will be the most successful in the next year? Vote and post your comments why. Thanks.

June 18, 2010

FIU At The Movies -- Episode IV

Crawl Four years ago in a blog not that far, far away from you....it began as a simple way of recapping the FIU sports year. After smashing box office records, a sequel was called for in 2008. Then, although the GPP did not sign for a three picture deal, there were no issues in making the trilogy last summer.

And now....FIU At The Movies, Episode IV.

A look at the FIU sports year by referring to motion pictures released during the Panthers athletic season (AugustMovie 2009 to June 2010). Cell phones off please. And now your feature presentation.....

The Goods -- FIU softball has the goods as it gets its 1st NCAA Tournament win and features the Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year (Kasey Barrett), Sun Belt Player of the Year (Ashley McClain), Sun Belt Freshman of the Year (Brie Rojas) and Sun Belt Coach of the Year (Beth McClendon).

Four Final Destination 4 -- No. 4's final destination is the end zone. Just ask Kansas (2008) and Alabama (2009) as the first time Goodbye touches the ball in each of his first 2 seasons, he takes it back for 6.

The Open Road -- FIU hoops late November/December schedule where the Panthers spent 24 days on the road.

All About Steve -- Sun Belt voters got it wrong when they picked some dude from North Texas as the winner of the SBC Basketball Tournament halftime dance-off. How could youVanessa not vote for Vanessa (right)?

Play The Game -- Why won't the Coral Gables school play FIU? Nah, never mind, I won't bother anymore.

Gamer -- Scott "El Oso" Bryant (left) breaks the all-time FIU tackles record held by Gamer Oso Keyonvis Bouie.

Whiteout -- What Scott Rembisz's pitching did to opposing Sun Belt bats at the conference tournament.

The Other Man -- The Hooters were looking at Carlos Munera to punt, but fullback John Ellis had the ball on the fake punt and rumbled 25 yards to set up the tying TD.

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs -- The SBC Baseball tourney started cloudy, but once FIU brokeDogpile that "pressure barrier" as TT calls it, the Panthers (right) were hitting meatballs the rest of the way en route to the Sun Belt title.

Bright Star -- Marlon Bright wins the Sun Belt's Behavior Award among his many accomplishments during his FIU career.

Free Style -- Actually, 3 Style for FIU women's hoopster Monika Bosilj, Power who broke the program's all-time record for 3 pointers with 188.

Adventures Of Power -- Jabari Henry (Freshman All-American, SBC Frosh of the Year) leads FIU with 12 HR. Jabari homers in 1st college at-bat (3-run bomba vs. Maryland) and to finish his first season at FIU, Jabari homers off MLB's No. 6 overall pick Barret Loux of Texas A&M.

One Good Man -- Long time FIU media relations guru Rich Kelch retires last December. Don't know much about Rich, then click HERE

Gw Good Hair -- Garrett Wittels' "bird's nest" (left) does not get cut during his 56-game hitting streak. It must be good hair.

AstroBoy -- FIU QB Paul McCall graduates and heads off to Mars training in the desert.Hubble

Hubble 3D -- How Sun Belt Tournament MVP Jeremy Patton's eyes saw the baseball in Murfreesboro.

Saw VI -- Only the Dade County Youth Fair stopped Jeremiah Harden when he turned the corner and saw 6 in the spring game. He'll see more 6s this fall.

As Seen Through These Eyes -- GW and Robin Ventura talk about what only their 56+ hit streak eyes have Yr experienced.

4th The Fourth Kind -- Yarimar Rosa (left), with another out-of-this-world season, is honored with a 4th All-American nod. The first 4-time All-American at FIU and probably the greatest volleyball player ever at FIU.

Storm -- On a scorching Halloween day, FIU storms back in the final minute and wins in OT against Louisiana. PMC hits Greg Ellingson for 6 in the back of the end zone with 10 seconds left in the 4th quarter. Dustin Rivest kicks the winning FG. Tyler Clawson dominates on D in OT and Tourek Williams blocks the tying field goal attempt to seal the victory.Dazzzz

The Other Side Of Paradise -- My day as Dazzlers audition judge (right). I'm ready for 2011.

Legion -- Alex Legion transfers to FIU and the legion of top recruits for the 2010-11 hoops season headed to FIU.

Mammoth -- Mike Martinez's moonshot HR at the SBC tourney. Ball landed inside the Middle Tennessee football stadium which has 2 decks so the ball had to clear the 2nd Green deck. Although, there is a rumor that the ball is still travelling somewhere along the interstate pass Murfreesboro and heading to Churchill's in downtown Nashville.

Green Zone -- They may be green by class designation -- freshmen -- but these Sun Belt Freshmen of the Year are not green on the field or court. FIU's Jabari Henry (baseball), Brie Rojas (softball) and Jovana Bjelica (volleyball) all won the conference's Freshman of the Year Award in their respective sports.

Kick Ass -- Once again the FIU volleyball team (right) is at the top of the Sun Belt andVolley coach Danijela Tomic wins another Sun Belt Coach of the Year Award.

Hey Watch This -- GW decides to hit in 56 straight games and captures the nation's attention.

The Good Heart -- FIU DB and Rudy Finalist O'Darris D'Haiti (left)and Od what he does each day for his family.

Touching Home -- What the FIU baseball lineup did a lot of this season with their XBox .337 team batting average.

Oceans -- Actually, it's pools for FIU diver Namiko Shibata, who was named the SunEndgame Belt's Most Outstanding Diver this past season.

Endgame -- The closing abilities of FIU receivers coach Frank Ponce, who was named the Sun Belt's Top Recruiter this past season.

Whiz Kids -- FIU's APR improvements by its teams. Especially, the baseball team that scored an FIU baseball-best 975 and who broke even in practice hours -- yeah, they lost Sleep 2 hours a week, but also gained 2 hours back due to their solid 975 score. No scholarship losses and no postseason ban.

Waking Sleeping Beauty -- Yes, the sleeping giant has been dozing for a while, but in the past year the sleeping giant garned a Sun Belt baseball title and NCAA Tournament appearances by the baseball, softball and volleyball teams. Women's soccer and tennis teams became 2009-10 regular season Sun Belt champions and top recruits arriving in all sports at FIU.


June 17, 2010

Scotty The Marlin

Let's keep the FIU/Marlins theme going on the GPP.Rembisz Flam

Scott Rembisz, who moved up to the executive board of Company Jones with his performances at the Sun Belt Conference Tournament last month, became the first FIU player from this past year's team to sign a contract with a Major League organization. Scott (right, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) joined the Florida Marlins Gulf Coast rookie league team last Saturday in Jupiter.

Scott's been practicing with the rookie Marlins since then at the Marlins spring training complex. He joins former Panthers Chris Dunn (far left, thanks AJH photo)) Dunn Villa (Jupiter) and Elih Villanueva (near left, thanks Danny Kambel photo) (Jacksonville) in the Marlins organization.

The Marlins rookie league team plays their home games at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter where the big league Marlins hold spring training each March.

But don't let me tell you about it, here's Scott with thoughts on his new job.

PP: So how did the process of signing with the Marlins happen?

SR: I was golfing last Friday with some teammates [Jeremy Patton, Corey Polizzano and Phil Haig] in Miami Springs and the Marlins called me. We talked about where I would start. I signed and here I am in Jupiter.

PP: How's your golf game?

SR: I'm terrible. I normally shoot 100.

PP: What were you doing during the draft and did you think you had a shot at getting drafted?

SR: I would check in every so often on the computer to see what was going on, but I didn't really follow the draft from start to finish. I thought I would get drafted, but I didn't. But in the end I pretty much got the same deal, which is a chance to show what I could do at the next level.

PP: So what have you been doing since you signed last Saturday?

SR: I had been throwing on the side just staying loose. The first team practice was last Sunday and we've practiced ever since. Our first game is on Monday, June 21st. I haven't thrown off the mound yet.

PP: You have a brother that plays minor league ball. What level is he at now and what kind of advice has he passed on to you?

SR: My brother, Bryan, is playing for the Pensacola Pelicans. It's Independent League ball. He basically told me everybody tries to throw hard when they're pitching at this level, but very few pitchers work on hitting their spots. I can hit spots.

PP: You had an outstanding Sun Belt Conference Tournament picking up 2 wins with a 3.21 ERA and 11 strikeouts and basically saving the championship game against Troy. Do you think those performances along with what you did at FIU helped you get a pro contract?

SR: I think it helped a little bit, but really none of that would have been possible without my teammates hitting the ball and catching the ball. We really came together in that tournament.

PP: What do you think you need to do most at this level to succeed and move up the Marlins organizational ladder?

SR: I think the biggest thing is throw strikes. That's what everyone looks for in pitchers. And I've been told that at this level not too many pitchers throw their off-speed pitches for strikes and I can do that. I can get my breaking pitches over for strikes.


Aaapaw If you missed GW on the Marlins pregame show on Wednesday before the Rangers/Marlins telecast, you can click HERE to watch it. 


FIUFan: I thought, however, GW was playing in an Alaskan summer league. Any news on that?

Pob PP: GW is playing in Alaska this summer with the Peninsula Oilers. GW said he flys out to Alaska on Friday. Currently, on the Oilers roster from FIU are GW and pitcher Jorge Marban. You can get more info on the Oilers right HERE . Pablo Bermudez is also playingMiners in Alaska, but not for the Oilers. Pablo is playing for the Mat-Su Miners along with R.J. Fondon. And HERE is the Miners website. 

chiaPanther: Any one of the nonqualifiers finally have the grades? Also, Pete we are starving for football info....feed us!!

PP: We won't know about the nonqualifiers until the new school year starts. However, with that terrific 975 APR score (highest ever for the FIU baseball program) that the baseball team posted there's a good chance those players will suit up for FIU next February against UMass. 

Not much going on right now football-wise until the team reports for off-season work next Wednesday. However, I have already reported for off-season work with the Sun Belt. The Sun Belt has hired me to write the 8-year history of FIU football that will be published in the Sun Belt's 10-year football anniversary magazine later this summer. Will give you details later on where you can purchase the magazine.

josh: Pete, Any news of basketball prospects for this upcoming class?

PP: Last I heard Christmas in late July is when it's supposed to happen for one lucky university. Abron has decided to wait a little longer on his decision. Yvan is now close to 7 feet and still an FIU commit.  

June 15, 2010

GWTV on Marlins/Rangers Wednesday Telecast

Marlins Gw If you can't watch the Texas Rangers/Florida Marlins game telecast on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. on FOX Sports Florida, then tape it because Garrett Wittels will be on both the pre-game show and in the broadcast booth for one inning during the game.

The Marlins pre-game show did a feature on GW that will air before Wednesday's game. GW will also join pregame show host Frank Forte on the Joe Robbie Stadium field for an interview The pre-game show begins at 6:30 p.m. on FOX Sports Florida.

Then during the game, GW will have a headset and a microphone on and be in the booth with the Marlins announcers to offer his take on the streak, the game or whatever the Marlins announcers ask him. FOX Sports Florida has not decided yet what inning GW will be on.


Aaapaw Congratulations to Jabari Henry, who collected another postseason honor when he wasJab named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Freshman All-American Team. It's the 2nd Freshman All-American honor for Jabari along with being named the Sun Belt's Freshman of the Year.

In other FIU baseball news, Scott Rembisz signed with the Marlins and I'm working on getting Scotty to come on here and tell you good people about it.

FIU draftees that signed with MLB teams: Kellin Deglan (Rangers), Wendell Soto (Angels), David Vidal (Reds).

Aaapaw Pack your lunches, we're going to take that field trip I promised you good people later this week.



panther viscosity: what about the news on the 5 commitments fiu just received?

Gooch7: PETE, Any news about recruits that have been picked up during the month of June?

PP: The Panthers are looking to build a Northwestern pipeline with commits from LBs Demetrius Allen and Lyndon Edwards and WR Clinton Taylor. FIU also has commits from WR Ya'Keem Griner (Starke Bradford High) and LB Luis Rosado (Gainesville High). This is a nice start, but we're still 7 months and 3 weeks away from NSD so a lot can happen between now and then.

FIUer: Pete, can you have your blog IT guys add to the blogs whether it's "By Pete Pelegrin" or "By Adam Beasley" so we clearly know who's writing what.

FIU FPL: Please add the author to the end of all blog post. Thanks.

PP: FIUer and FIU FPL, got it taken care of as you can see directly above "FIU Panther Pawse" -- PETE. For all readers, the only way you can see the author's name is if you enter the GPP through the main page -- which a lot of people, including myself, do not do -- so I will add my name in all capital letters at the end of each blog post I write from now on.



June 14, 2010

Wittels, Bermudez, Martinez honored

Garrett Wittels, he of the 56-game on-hiatus hitting streak, has been named to American Baseball Coaches Association South Central All-Region First Team (try saying that five times fast).

Wittels, who can play all over the infield, was named to the first team as a second baseman.  Wittels led the Golden Panthers with a .412 batting average, and set a school record with 100 hits.

Also honored: outfielder Pablo Bermudez and designated hitter Mike Martinez, who earned second-team nods.

Wittels is two games shy of Robin Ventura's Division I record, and will continue to swing away this summer, playing in an Alaskan amateur league.

June 10, 2010

About that APR story

There's been a lively discussion on the blogosphere about Thursday's story about the Academic Progress Report. A lot of FIU fans strongly feel like it's a non-story. Seems like a lot of excitement over a 329-word piece that, to most outsiders, is a pretty straightforward rehash of the NCAA report released Wednesday.

First off, having the most teams penalized of any Division I school in the nation is a legitimate story. The Associated Press agreed.

If I made one mistake, it was by omission. I did not adequately point out that the while the indoor and outdoor track and cross country programs are considered separate teams, they use many of the same athletes, so a couple of poor students can bring down the scores of all three. Fair enough. There's only so much space in the sports section, especially during the World Cup, and things get cut. That's also the reason UM is included in the story.

As for the idea pushed by some that it's sensationalized, "yellow" journalism, I have a question: If it was the Herald's goal to blindly rip FIU, why did we make it one of the shortest stories in Sports Thursday and put it on the ninth page of the section? When writing the story, I went out of my way to mention improvements in FIU's academic standing (check out the first six words of the story). I mention FIU baseball's 975 score this year, and the perfect ratings for men's cross country, women's golf, women's tennis and women's volleyball, as well as a quote from Pete Garcia.

I know some don't want a single negative word of FIU coverage in the Herald, but our job isn't to blindly promote the university. Thanks for reading.

UPDATE: Unless it wasn't clear the first time around, let me explicitly spell out why UM was included. The Hurricanes were not subjected to any punishment, in fact had a very strong APR. So because constraints of space in the newspaper, the department decided to combine the two schools into one story. You might have noticed, but there's a lot more going on right now in the world of sports, and the decision was to dedicate more resources to the actual games on the field right now. Also because of space constraints, I didn't mention that FIU went from having one team penalized in 2009 to seven in 2010. If anything I've said is factually inaccurate, it's my duty to write a retraction. But I've yet had a single person point a factual error out. I know there are many out there willing to have an open mind about potentially critical information regarding FIU, and I appreciate that. For others of my more strident critics, who think that I do not report on positive FIU news, let me close with this:

Despite recent improvement in the classroom, Florida International University is among the nation's most-penalized schools for academic sins of its past, the NCAA announced Wednesday.


So although the baseball team's score was 975 in 2008-09, its multiyear rate was 890 and still subject to punishment. The other reprimanded teams were men's soccer, both the men's and women's indoor and outdoor track teams and women's cross country, according to an athletic department spokesman.

Four FIU programs recorded perfect scores this past year: men's cross country, women's golf, women's tennis and women's volleyball.

Please enjoy the summer. And thanks as always for reading.

June 09, 2010

More Honors for GW & Jabari (Updated)

The postseason honors keep rolling in for Garrett Wittels as he was named Ping! 1st team All-AmericanGw today. GW (right) has already been named Louisville Slugger 1st Team All-American and the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year.

Jabari Henry (left) became a Freshman All-American today as Louisville Slugger honored him. It marks the second straight year a Panther is named Freshman All-American as Mike Martinez achieved the feat last season.

Jh Jabari was also named Sun Belt Freshman of the Year last month.


Aaapaw As of Wednesday night, among the FIU draftees, only Kellin Deglan has signed. Wendell Soto has been offered close to $500K but has not signed. Although, he is expected to sign with the Angels. And yes, it is just a matter of time before Manny Machado signs with the Orioles.


FIUer: Pete, or others, which of these guys were not expected to be drafted that were? If they enter the draft but renege can they still be eligible to play college baseball?

PP: They were all expected to be drafted. The baseball draft is not like the NFL or NBA draft. Players don't have to declare like they do in the NFL and NBA and then lose their eligibility if they go through with the process. One key draftee will be Mike Ellis -- Kellin Deglan's teammate. He might be the most complete pitcher that FIU signed. He's got a choice -- 35th round with the San Diego Padres or FIU?

You Got Gold: Pete, aside from the 11 players who signed during the early-signing period, who else did TT sign? I see Ravelo and Hernandez, any others?

PP: Kyle Fitzpatrick, a JUCO pitcher from Tallahassee. But with Machado, Deglan and Soto all but gone, 3 FIU scholies just opened up. Ravelo won't qualify at FIU and is going to sign with the White Sox. Hernandez is not expected to qualify either.

TXgoldenpanther: Thanks for the MLB draft recap Pete... With the Baseball season done, my attention is once again shifting to Football. There has been plenty of conference realignment talk lately, Pete, what do you see in the future for FIU on that front?

FIUer: Pete, what do you think about this crazy college football conference shake up that's looking imminent? Seems like the Big Ten expansion will kick off trickle-down poaching throughout D1. How could this affect FIU?

PP: The next logical move for FIU would be Conference USA, but if that gets blown up by the Big East or the shakedowns in other major conferences (see Big XII about to be destroyed), then FIU might be a Big East candidate. Not in the immediate future, but eventually.

Yes, FIU has to consistently win first -- which is most important -- but the Panthers have a lot going for them off the playing field and courts: big media market, huge alumni base, one of the 25 largest universities in the nation, etc. There are a lot of theories out there about conference realignments. Too early to tell to say for sure how this will all shake out, but FIU does have a lot going for it.

Aaapaw Time for you good people to play baseball scout....

June 08, 2010

FIU/MLB Draftees Day 2 & 3

So far only one more signed Panther to add to the list for FIU signees or commits on the final day of the MLB Draft. Taken on the 1st day on MondayLogo night were Manny Machado and Kellin Deglan. Rangel Ravelo was taken off the list, because he was not headed toward FIU, regardless of his draft status. Here is theMlb complete updated list:

1st round - Manny Machado, SS (Orioles); Kellin Deglan, C (Rangers)

3rd - Wendell Soto, SS (Angels)

8th - David Vidal, 3B (Reds)

12th - Daniel Hernandez, P (Royals)

23rd - Andres Perez-Lobo, P (Rangers)

35th - Mike Ellis, P (Padres)

50th - David Vazquez, OF (White Sox)

June 07, 2010

Opening Game Time; FIU/MLB Draft

The time has been announced for the Rutgers/FIU football season opener on Sept. 11. The Scarlet Knights and Panthers will kick it off at 8 p.m. as the game will be televised by ESPN GamePlan and ESPN3.com.

The game will also be shown on tape delay locally on Channel 39. Here is the fiusports.com release

Post your thoughts on the opening game kickoff time and vote down below.


Tonight is the 1st round of the 2010 MLB Draft. FIU signee and Brito shortstop Manny Machado was picked 3rd overall by the Baltimore Orioles.

FIU signee and catcher Kellin Deglan was taken No. 22 overall by the Texas Rangers.

Looks like two scholarships just opened up.

Texas A&M righthander Barret Loux, who defeated FIU in the regional last Friday, was taken No. 6 overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

You can check back here to see should any other signed Panther or future Panther go in the 1st round. And I will also post here any other Panthers that get drafted in the next two days of the draft which runs through Wednesday when the 50th round is completed.


Aaapaw You good people are more than welcomed to post whatever you like on the GPP, but please keep it clean and stick to 1 screen name.

anonymous you had a conversation with yourself in the last post when you used xyz. And you've also used jli, jl and fiuer (not FIUer, who has been posting on here since the blog started).

gabster, you joined the GPP as Miguel Alfonso, then went to cane4life, fiu2big2tall, throwback.

You are both welcomed on here, but use one name.


UltimateFIUFan: Hey Pete, let us know the status of FIU football players in NFL. I've heard rumors of trade talks with Antwan Barnes. How about Chandler Williams, is he with the Chiefs? Last season's players Levine, Bryant, etc., what their status? Thanks.

PP: Antwan could be moved, because the Ravens drafted Sergio Kindle, who would take some snaps from El Monstruo. CW is still in KC. Nothing new on Andy or El Oso.

Gooch7: PETE: I think GW season is one of the best by ANY FIU athletes in school history but don't forget Tayna Lawerence 2nd place finish in the 100m Dash (Track)! Then followed it up with One Bronze, Two Silver, and One Gold Medal in TWO olympics.. Not bad for a Golden Panther!

PP: And let's not forget former FIU track star and Olympian Ronald Forbes.

Aaapaw Lot of debate in the last few posts about TT's decision to hold back Scott Rembisz for a possible Sunday matchup with Texas A&M or UM. My 3 cents on it is that if FIU could not beat a team (Dartmouth) with a team ERA of nearly 7.00 (6.97 ERA before the game vs. FIU) then the Panthers have no business playing Sunday against either top 25 team.

Should FIU have won against the Big Green, Rembisz gave the Panthers the best shot of defeating either the Aggies or Hurricanes.

Right now, I don't think any other pitcher on the FIU staff could have hung with A&M or UM if Rembisz defeats Dartmouth and FIU plays Sunday.

Yes, it's a roll of the dice that did not come up for FIU, but like TT said he was thinking of winning the entire regional and not just one game.

This kind of debate is the beauty of sports where everyone has their opinion on how they would have played it. It's great.

What's your opinion on this and the Sept. 11 kickoff time?

June 06, 2010

Canadian Spoon

Former FIU safety Jeremiah Weatherspoon signed with the Calgary Stampeders. Been told theSpoon Stampeders like Spoon as a starter. He is currently in rookie mini-camp north of the border.

Aaapaw Will have a wrapup post on the 2010 FIU baseball season in the next few days

Once again, congratulations to Garrett Wittels (below, right, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) on his active 56-game hitting streak. The greatest season by an FIU athlete that I can recall. Although, T.Y. Hilton's freshman season and Yarimar Rosa's All-American seasons are both a close second.

Mark your calendars, GW's historic run continues February 18, 2011 when FIU opens the season against UMass in a 3-game series at FIU Baseball Stadium.

Been assigned to MLB Draft duty the next 3 days so I will keep you updated on which current Panthers and which future Panthers get picked and when they are selected.

Of course, the first FIU player drafted Monday -- well what could have been an FIU player -- will be Brito shortstop Manny Machado, who is projected to be taken by the Pittsburgh Pirates as the No. 2 overall pick.


Aaapaw Pack your lunches, we're going on a field trip later this week.

TheChampionUnderdog: Hey pete, is Garrett going to continue letting his hair grow out until next season?Gw

PP: If he goes hitless in one game during summer ball, he might cut it. If he puts together a hitting streak during summer ball, then you might see hair coming out of No. 10's batting helmet next February.

I'll give you my thoughts on the 2010 FIU baseball season later this week. For now let's get your thoughts and your vote....

June 05, 2010

LIVE BLOG: FIU vs. Dartmouth -- CG Regional Game 3

FIUlogo FIU faces the Mean Green on an annual basis. Well, now the Panthers are going to have toDart knock off the Big Green of Dartmouth if there is going to be a Sunday baseball game in Coral Gables for FIU.

We know what happened on Friday with the Panthers as they lost by two touchdowns to Texas A&M. Meanwhile, Dartmouth after down 11-0 to UM rallied, but still lost 12-8.

The Worldwide Leader has first pitch scheduled for 12:04 p.m. The GPP has LIVE BLOGGING underway at 11:44 a.m.

Winner stays, loser goes home.

June 04, 2010

LIVE BLOG: FIU vs. Texas A&M -- CG Regional Game 1

Logo Good morning as FIU is back in the NCAA Tournament for the first timeAm since 2002. The Panthers open the Coral Gables Regional against Texas A&M at high noon.

R.J. Fondon toes the slab for FIU and Aggies ace Barret Loux tries to tame the Panthers' hot bats.

The pitching seems to be better on paper in this regional than last week's Sun Belt Conference tournament. So FIU will likely need solid pitching and defense, because this regional may not be about gorilla baseball.

First pitch is at 12:05 p.m. Will be firing up the LIVE BLOG at 11:45 a.m.

June 03, 2010

GW 1st Team All-American

Gw Garrett Wittels has been named a 1st team All-American and becomes the second Panther in as many years to garner the All-American nod. Tyler Townsend was an All-American last season for FIU before moving on to the Baltimore Orioles organization.

You all know by now why GW is an All-American. Streak, Sun Belt Player of the Year and here's more details on GW's season.

Apaw Brunch with the GPP on Friday morning for a LIVE BLOG of the FIU vs. Texas A&M regional. Will be on line at 11:54 a.m. 

Fondon to start Friday for FIU

Just got back from FIU's media availability, but wanted to let you know ASAP: R.J. Fondon (5-3, 4.40 ERA) will start against Texas A&M in the opener. While Scott Rembisz (9-4, 4.76) has clearly been the hottest pitcher on FIU's staff, coach Turtle Thomas said that Fondon had grown into the Friday starter role, plus was the staff's most rested, having thrown just a handful of innings since last Wednesday. Full transcript to come.

UPDATE: Here's the transcript:

Coach Turtle Thomas’ opening statement:

“Our starting pitcher tomorrow is going to be sophomore left-hander R.J. Fondon, who has been our Friday night starter for quite some time now. We started out the season really well. We wont the first seven games in a row, sweeping Maryland, sweeping Oral Roberts .And then for about two months, we went about .500 ball. Win one, lose one. Lately, we won nine out of our last 12, really starting with South Alabama. We swept them in a nice three-game series at home. We went over to FAU and only won one out of three, but all three games could have gone our way. And then once we got through that first game in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, we really took off and won five games in a row, literally on the brink of elimination. Obviously, you lose another game in the losers’ bracket, then that’s pretty much it. Our guys played pretty well. We swung the bat really well. Our pitchers threw as good as they could possibly throw in the conference tournament, so we feel like we’re ready to go this weekend.”

Q. Turtle, what went into the decision of starting R.J. over Scott Rembisz?

THOMAS: “Basically speaking, R.J.’s been the Friday night guy all along. He’s our Friday night starter, actually our Friday afternoon starter coming up. R.J.’s just been the Friday guy for a while. He deserves that spot. We could have thrown Aaron [Arboleya], we could have thrown Scott. All three of them are good. And obviously, all of them had pretty good conference tournaments, with Scott actually having the best of the three.”

Q. How fresh are their arms?

THOMAS: “Well, we did push them pretty hard during the conference tournament. We hope they’re going to be able to bounce back and recover. You’ve got to think R.J.’s only thrown three innings since last Wednesday. So literally, over the course of nine to 10 days, he threw about five, six innings that first game, and then three between now and then.”

Q. Turtle, how much do you know about Texas A&M?

THOMAS: “The unknown in regionals is, you have a situation that you have played that team this year. None of the three teams we played this year, but I think the situation is the same for anybody in this tournament. What you do, is when the tournament is announced on Monday, you try to get as many scouting reports and talk to as many people as you know that have played that team, and try to figure out how to pitch to them, try to figure out the starting pitcher and their main reliever, their closer, try to make a game-plan how to hit against them. That’s what you do. We’ve gotten five or six scouting reports, just like I’m sure A&M has against us. It’s a situation where you think you know them, but as the game goes on and on, you learn more about how they’re swinging against your pitcher and how our hitters can hopefully solve their starting pitcher.”

Q. This is a question for Garrett Wittels. They’re going throw their ace tomorrow, Barret Loux. What’s the challenge of facing one of the best pitchers in the nation?

WITTELS: “We’ve prepared for him. We’re ready to go. I’ll take our lineup against anyone, really. We’re just trying to go out there and swing the bats like we’ve been swinging it, and just go out there and play the game hard, have fun. Hopefully we can score some runs and our pitching can hold them down and we can hold a game. I know they’re a great team. I know they come from Texas, which is great baseball. We’re just going to go out there and try to win a baseball game.”

Loux to start for Aggies Friday

Texas A&M junior Barret Loux, a potential first-round pick, will get ball for the Aggies Friday when they face off against Florida International. Loux has gone 10-2 with a 2.53 ERA this season. A&M coach Rob Childress announced that and spoke about his team’s matchup with the Panthers.


Coach Rob Childress

“We’re excited to be here. It’s a very good regional. The University of Miami has a storied tradition and a very good tradition. I’ve had the opportunity to play them in the past on the road. I know Jim Morris and their team have had a very good year. Florida International has a very good team. Everybody in the country is talking about Wittels’ 54-game hitting streak. They’re much more than just one player. They’re hitting .339 as a team for a reason. And Dartmouth obviously won their league. It’s going to be a very good tournament. We’re excited to be here.

“Our starter for tomorrow will be Barret Loux.”

Q. Rob, have you ever been to a Regional or a Super Regional where the focus isn’t just on the bracket, but also on a player going for some sort of record?

CHILDRESS: “I think there’s an awful lot of storylines in this tournament. Obviously, Wittels has had a great season. Everybody asks, ‘Is that your focus?’ No, our focus is Florida International. If Garrett Wittels has four or five hits in the game, hopefully they’re not the big ones. That’s what we’re trying to do, just go win the game. Whether he gets two or three hits tomorrow is irrelevant to me. I know Florida International and Miami haven’t played in some time, and I know there’s an underlying story there too, as far as the local media goes.”

Q. Barret, what are your thoughts of facing a guy that has a hitting streak like this? Does it change your approach at all? What would you like to do to stop it?

LOUX: “No, not really. Like coach said, that’s not really our focus. My focus tomorrow is winning the game, and really, what he does is irrelevant. It would be nice to stop it, but it would be a consolation prize if it happens.”

Q. Have you got a scouting report on him at all? Do you know what his tendencies are?

LOUX: “No, not really. I’m sure we’ll have a scouting report tonight that you can look at and see some things, but it’s just going out there and making pitches.”

Q. Coach, can you talk about the way your team’s playing ball coming in?

CHILDRESS: “You know, I’m very proud of our team. We got off to a great start and went through a stretch in the middle of the season where a lot of people counted us out. But they stayed together, continued to work, and played the game we expect it to be played. We played extremely well for the last six weeks. I’m looking forward to playing again. After Sunday’s game, I wish we were playing on Monday. We have to wait for tomorrow to play.”

Q. Rob, FIU batted .385 in the Sun Belt Tournament. You’ve got a heck of a pitching staff. Do you see this as strength vs. strength?

CHILDRESS: “For Florida International, all anybody talks about is Wittels. They’re hitting .339 as a team. They can hit one through nine. Against them, you have to avoid the big inning, where they string five or six hits together, and that fifth or sixth hit is a home run. Turtle does a great job coaching hitters and there’s nine guys in that lineup is a home run.”

June 02, 2010

Garrett Meet Robin

Gw Rv

Got a chance to sit down with Garrett Wittels on Tuesday night in a Bay Harbor Islands office and we then dialed up Robin Ventura to join us in a conference call.

I just threw out some questions for both and let them talk: streak, hair, close calls and an unusual autograph request.

Turns out RV, who is an ESPN college baseball analyst, was assigned by the worldwide leader to broadcast this weekend's Coral Gables regional, but RV's daughter is graduating and that comes first.

Here's what the players with the two longest hitting streaks in NCAA Division I baseball had to say: Garrett and Robin Talk

Log-on all weekend during the Coral Gables regional as I will be LIVE BLOGGING all FIU games that the Panthers hope last until Monday.

Friday's Game 1 is against Texas A&M at high noon. Let's do brunch and be on-line at 11:54 a.m.

Team Stats

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