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And so it begins; Thomas watch; TV update

Hi everybody,

First and foremost, I would like to introduce myself. I am Justin Azpiazu and starting today (July 28) I will be taking over Pete Pelegrin’s duties covering FIU sports on Golden Panthers Prowl.

As many of you know, Pete left The Miami Herald last week. Personally, I feel, Pete and I were always friendly in the newsroom and I want to wish him the best of luck in his new endeavors.

I know Pete built GPP from the ground up and I want to promise to readers that I will cover FIU with the same vigor.

FIU beat writer Adam Beasley and I are very excited for this coming sports year. GPP fans please don’t fear, we will not disappoint you.

Please feel free to ask questions or suggest story ideas in the comment section. Adam or I will answer them as quickly as possible.

That being said, lets get started.

Isiah Thomas watch

Still no word on what, if anything, will happen with Thomas. After a flurry of activity a few days ago (including a story by Beasley and Barry Jackson link here about it) things have settled down.

FIU football TV update

FIU season opener on Saturday, September 11th against Rutgers will air on ESPN+  pay-per-view and ESPN3.com (formally ESPN360.com). As of right now, the only other games on TV will be Western Kentucky (Oct. 9) and at North Texas (Oct. 16). Both will be on the Sun Belt Network. According to Media Relations Coordinator Ivan Irizarry both games might get picked up locally by CSS. 

Response to comments

Guys and gals, thanks for the kind words. All Beasley and I are asking is for you guys to give us a chance. I want to try and make the transition as smooth as possible. I don't plan on changing the blog much, but I am going to give it my own personal flavor. If anyone has any ideas for the blog, feel free to share. I hope everybody is ready for football season.

@2006PA I was born and raised in Miami (Westchester) a few blocks away from FIU. I graduated Columbus in 2001 and am still working on finishing college. Most of my family graduated from FIU, so I have a pretty good understanding of the school.

@Gpantera Will do. Thanks.

@SouthPaw Several stories came out of New York a few days before Le Batard's tweet. A reader asked in a previous post if there were any updates on Thomas. Also Thomas still has not confirmed or denied the story. Hope that answers your question.

@SouthPaw I grew up in Miami and follow ALL South Florida teams (most of them on facebook). As for the school part, I DO NOT go or have ever gone to UM. Also, I have about six years of journalism experience.

 @Fiu panthers Yes on the fall camp. I plan on going to all home games. Beasley will travel to away games.

@Trueblue I applied for the job. I think FIU is going to do big things in the future. 

@SouthPaw Yes I am a Canes fan and a FIU fan and a Heat fan and a Dolphins fan. I hope all Miami teams do well. Currently I am not attending school. I have gotten a lot of good opportunities at the Herald and I am trying to focus on my career. Getting back to the Thomas thing. The main reason Le Batard's tweet was followed with a story was because it was true. Thomas was in New York and did meet with the Knicks. Also Thomas never denied the story. 

@FIUFan Thanks

@Southpaw Yes I am friends with Manny, we work together. That's not a bad story idea. For whatever it's worth, I was also ecstatic when the Heat signed LeBron James. I haven't been to a UM game as a fan in years. I filled in for Manny on short notice and live blogged the Miami-Clemson game last year (work related).  

@roary Nice Scarface reference

@Southpaw That is all I can ask for, a shot to win you guys over.

@roary I don't even want to know what that is.

OK guys, that was a productive first day. I hope you guys got to know me a little.


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Welcome Justin. I was a great fan of Pete Pelegrin as were many others. I hope you and Adam will bring the same energy to the blog as Pete always did. Looking forward to both your and Adam's work.

Justin... Welcome to the GPP! Mind telling us a little bit more about yourself? College you attended, how well you know (or would like know) FIU, etc.... I think Pete was a hardcore dedicated FIU writer. His passion for the school, and the skill to deliver the positive and negative views, makes him the great sports writer that he is (hopefully he somehow keeps on writing!). Anyway, I'm sure you'll do a great job. I figure learning more about you and your interest in our school would help us get back on track with this blog. Pete's departure from the blog was like losing a friend... We all identified ourselves with him through his journalism skills and the love he had for the school. It was a hard loss, but I hope you can bring back that passion. I'm sure you can. Once again... Welcome to the GPP!

Welcome, Justin. Good to know we have someone else giving us updates on our beloved school. All the FIU faithful ask is that you are fair in your reporting and have the same enthusiasm as we do about FIU.

welcome justin, all I hope for is FIU coverage in an unbiased manner.




I checked out your Facebook page. You’re a Cane fan. That doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker, but you’re starting off with a strike against you.

Fijate lo que te voy a decir. You may be a good guy, a model citizen, etc., but this is the blog Pete built in the face of anti-FIU headwinds compliments of your Miami Herald. As such, Pete rules and to many in the FIU community, he’s graduated from reporter to ally to friend. With that said, you can win us over and here’s how:

BE PROACTIVE – like all sports fans, we’re hungry for info – feed us often

BE A REPORTER – tell us what we don’t know – if you are going to tell us what most of us know, what’s your value?

BE FAIR – we know FIU is full of potential but we are also acutely aware of the obstacles we must overcome as a growing sports program (funding, fan support, etc) – you can remind us of these obstacles in terms of what is being done (or not done) to help us overcome them, but also tell the story of our potential (skies the limit) and our progress (Baseball and Women’s Volleyball Sun Belt Championships, the incoming basketball class, Garrett Wittels hitting streak, etc.).

DON’T BE A CANE FAN – On your time, root for whomever you please. However, when addressing the FIU community on the FIU blog, please resist the temptation to compare us to UM to make a point – they are not a peer institution for a host of reason – unless they are playing us in something or we’re recruiting the same players, there’s no need to refer to UM at all.

Good luck Justin.

Welcome Justin, looking forward to what you have to say here on the blog.

Welcome Justin. I hope you find your connection with the fiu football community this upcoming season.


Why don't you start telling us why the Coach Thomas twitter rumor was worth printing and trying to make a story? There's nothing to "watch". If you have something more than a twitter rumor, then print it. Otherwise, there's nothing to "follow" or "watch".

And Mr. Rojas puts a 'Canes fan without a journalism degree to cover FIU to replace Pete? Another Manny Navarro? Is this a joke?

OK, point blank. Are you a 'Canes fan? And what college are you pursuing your degree at currently?

Southpaw I think we should give him a break, lots of ppl including some of the fiu fans are canes fans as well. We shouldn't judge him just for being a canes fan.

hey are you going to cover the fall camp? and will you being going to all the FIU games to cover them?

You didn't answer the questions. Where are attending college? Are you a 'Canes fan?

So Beasley is going to dare to get on the same plane as Cristobal and the entire team that he is quick to ridicule... Should be interesting... I wish I could see his face when 6'5" Cristobal looks him in the eyes and makes his soul quiver

Did you choose to cover FIU or did Rojas just say tag you are it?

Beasley gets to have the fun traveling.

I'm not sure how much fun Beasley will be having... I expect he receives the silent treatment from the staff and players

Welcome Justin. Hopefully we can get off on the right foot and have fair conversations about our beloved FIU Sports.

Glad to see you had nice words to say about Pete in your introduction because, as you can see, he is some what of a hero to us.

Let's start looking forward to the BIG FOOTBALL SEASON to come.

Justin, here's a suggestion for a story to drill into: why won't your 'Canes play FIU in football or baseball any longer? Find out the real story, don't just regurgitate the same nonsense as other 'Canes fans.

And its real nice to see on Facebook that you were ecstatic to see Seantrel Henderson join your 'Canes. How many games to you attend each year? Are you friends with Manny Navarro, the clown that had the audacity to sit in FIU stadium before the first home game ever in our new stadium and mock FIU and its fanbase with condescending comments BEFORE the game even started and then left before it was over?

This is the beginning of the Miami "Chavez" Herald. Libertad, Libertad... ReBEnga

Justin welcome to the loserville..these fiu fans are the worse..a true reflection of fiu athletics..good luck

does anyone know if PP has another blog somewhere?

Justin, I'll give you one shot. Beasley has already lost me with his negative spin on anything FIU. I just don't know how any FIU fan can be a fan of the 'Canes. They are everything that we aren't.

1. they are over-rated academically;
2. their student and alumni base doesn't represent Miami (more like New York);
3. they have tried for years to keep FIU down so they would keep hold of their stranglehold on Miami (to which the Herald is an active accomplice);
4. their football team is viewed nationally as convicts and delinquents while they try to prop up themselves academnically;
5. they run from challenges instead of embracing them (see my idea for a story).

Here is a story you should cover: ROARY tryouts...

Guys, as a diehard FIU fan, please let the FIU vs UM stuff die. We should be able to establish ourselves off of our own merits, not be dependent on them for our identity. Look at a school like Boise State, they carved out a nice niche for themselves, we need to follow their example. Let's just win, then everything else will fall into place.

As for Justin, welcome to the blog. While I don't know you personally, I do know that you have ties to FIU and look forward to seeing your take on our program.

I'll also extend a welcome to Justin. It's not the easiest job at the UMiami Herald, that's been seen. But you just may learn a little about how hard work, perseverance, and loyalty pays off (or so we shall see). As far as GPANTERA's comments, I echo those. Keep them in mind. Otherwise look elsewhere now. Let's see what you got.

Just read your responses. That's a good start.

Since you are a Columbus Alum as am I c/o 1999...Lets give it a shot. It's your time to shine. Good luck. In case you don't know. Follow FIU coaches on twitter. Mirabal just got one.

Where did Pete go?

NYC, Pete basically told the herald to go suck a fat one and left town.

Justin congrats on getting the Job from another Columbus Alum (Class of 04). as long as you keep good insightful views and give us something that is not as plain as day to see (the team will be better if we win more. etc) i believe this blog community will welcome you ... all be it slowly ... maybe not at all in southpaw's case... damn southpaw give the kid a chance lol alot of people in this market grew up canes fans because there was only one team to root for. Off topic TrueBlue and Gpantera made me laugh at their comment (ur a canes fan strike 1!!!).. anyways that was off topic good luck justin now find us something to hold us over till training camp... (i actually would like to see a list of players (not obvious) that you feel would have to break through to give FIU a good year. and which Frosh u think will have a good year contributing

Congratulations Justin from another Columbus alum ('99). I'm sure you will do a great job but you have big shoes to fill!

So, you're not a fan of the Marlins? What do you have against the fish? I can see the bias coming through already.

Sorry I had to.

Max its cause they win something and then sell it off lol

Pete will be hard to replace if not impossible but I think everyone deserves a first opportunity. Welcome to the FIU Blog, and I hope to read some great stories from you and Beasley in the next several months..

BTW I thought Pete was heading to the West coast of Florida (something like Tampa), not NYC.. Im pretty sure we will hear from Pete before we kick-off against Rutgers..

JUSTIN: First question, when will you be able to get a Q & A with Coach Cristobal so some of the FIU fans can get an opportunity to ask the main man some questions?

Go Golden Panthers!

Adam Beasley is still covering FIU sports. I thought he went to Minessota. BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Best of luck to you, Justin. Some of these people here can be down right horrible. I don't expect you to be a cheerleader, just a fair journalist. The more information you give the better. Thanks in advance.

"All Beasley and I are asking is for you guys to give us a chance."

Welcome Justin! As for Beasley, he already had his chance. We all saw the garbage he wrote.

I really hope you know your FIU info, if not you are in serious trouble. Many are very passionate and informed about FIU Sports.

Child Pleeeeeeez..

I've flown with team on a few occasions over the last few years. Don't recall if Pete was on the plane with us, I think reporters travel on their own- but I did fly with him on some flights to other away games on my own.

I don't think Adam will be coming anywhere near the team charter anytime soon. You can also bet he will get ZERO love in the team hotel.

Justin best of luck...hate to say it - but any CANE collaborators covering FIU Sports is just a bad start.

Just what FIU needs... another Canes fan. Take your writing elsewhere so we can get a real Golden Panthers fan to do this job. We deserve someone who is passionate about FIU. Not some fairweather fan.

And at least update the iPhone wallpapers. That hasn't been the school logo in over a year.

Hey guys, I root for the Canes. I root for FIU first, though. What does that make me?

Chill the hell out and let the man do his job. Innocent until PROVEN guilty and all that jazz. If he sucks, he sucks. For now, we don't know if he sucks yet.

THREE EPISODE RULE, people. You don't say a TV show sucks until you give it the three episodes it deserves to win you over.

give him a chance ppl.

Child Pleeeeeeez.

Couldn't agree more nothingxs and panther viscosity. We're not helping ourselves. Whatever our feelings about the Herald, lets represent our university well.

Lol....roary asking for coverage on roary tryouts....lol

You had the chance to thrash the bs story on Coach Thomas... that's a strike... could of won our hearts at hello.
First impressions.... now its uphill...

Welcome Justin, looking forward to read your blogs, I have some suggestions, be yourself and try new things, but before you try a new thing use some of the stuff we are used to, like interviewing coaches, interview some players, the prediction contest is something we all look forward to. Cover the other teams like volleyball, softball, soccer, track, etc.
We also like lots of pictures, specially of the dazzlers. I think it would be a good idea to have interview with the new coordinators and Mirabal about the expectations before the beginning of the season, and another interview after the season to evaluate it, to see what went well and what didn't.
Bring a lot of passion and pride in your writing to this blog, and since you haven't graduate from college maybe take a class or two a FIU to get a better feel for the school. I think that would be a good idea, because it might bring the point of view of a current student rather than an alumnus.

"I thought he went to Minessota. BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!"


They should've shipped both Beasley's to Minnesota. Pete Pelegrin put the PP in GPP! No one can replace the guy. You have huge shoes to fill, Justin. Where did you go to college?

Man, the Herald sure has dropped its standards by essentially putting an intern in charge of FIU sports. Of course, they hired Manolo Navarro and he never went to college...

In any case, I wont rag on Justin for not actually having a Journalism degree. What I will do is say that this job will not be easy and Justin better be ready for that. I dont know how Pete was able to endure so many years of FIU sports losing and still love them. Well, actually I do know. It's called loyalty. There will be losses and they may be ugly at times, but do not let that take away from your enthusiasm for FIU sports. In time we will start winning and for now we have to put up woth the growing pains. So Mr. Justin, stay the course.

Also, dont like you responding to each and every single person without referencing what they asked you. Pete's "Panther Pawse" was a very effective way of answering readers' questions. Stick to that please. Its annoying having to go to another page when answering questions on the main blog will suffice.

Good luck Justin!

Im an FIU fan and also an alumni. I read this blog almost every single day but usually never comment. I must admit that alot of you guys are a little too sensitive. We know what we got (a university with lots of potential) and we know were we're heading. That's all that matters!! Lets give Justin a fair shot at this.

Give the guy a shot, STOP WHINING GUYS!!! Fellow panthers don't be so quick to bite, panthers go on the prowl before they bite.


First and foremost, welcome and good luck. You are reading here, a collection of opinions that vary from "lets give you a chance" to "the hell with him and all!" GPantera said it perfectly in his post and I'll add my two cents. What happens with the GPP Nation is that Pete is the ONLY one who has ever taken the task of writing for the herald (small type for a small paper!) about FIU, who truly cared deeply about the university.

The vast majority of those who have covered UM since the mid 80's for the herald have been unabashed fans of that institution. They've (UM) have won national titles in football and to a lesser degree baseball and so its OK to root for the local team that you cover, AS LONG AS IT’S UM. Your facebook (FB) page cheers the signing of some UM player, Manny Navarro poses with the "U" sign on his FB page and its OK. Dan LeBatard routinely states that as a graduate of UM, he is a fan, etc. I don't have a problem with any of that, however I do have a problem when you start hearing from folks inside the herald and sportstalk radio that Pete was stripped of his duties that forced him to resign because he was too close to the FIU program! He was PRO-FIU. To be honest, I don’t know how they gave you the job being that your cousin Maegan works at FIU. I’m surprised the herald would allow someone who may actually know where FIU is located to write on FIU. The sarcasm is meant to make a point on the herald double-standards regarding both institutions.

What is unacceptable to me is Navarro can look like an idiot posing his allegiance, Cote, Jackson and rest can show their support, the herald can make UM colored banners to be displayed, however our writer, who is a GRADUATE of FIU shows his passion, creates a POPULAR (or at least was!) blog for the large but unrepresented FIU community and he's stripped. It's a NO-GO Justin, and that is why I'll look elsewhere like rivals.com for my FIU information. I'll stay in touch with GPantera, Jules and some of the other old guard of the GPP blog. If they inform me that this blogs is worth returning too then I may revisit, however this will be my last post on this blog while the status-quo remains. My many thanks to the hardcore FIU fans that have posted on this blog over the years (i.e. Clawing Cancer, Jules, GPantera, quiote, PikeDaddy, etc.), I look forward to seeing you guys this season and many seasons after. Lets stay in touch, you’ve got my info!

GO FIU!!!!

Justin you want to make it past week one... don't make a first story an FIU bash fest and then talk about how much better UM is in it.

Get past this and I'll listen.

UFF, say it ain't so! You were the old guard of this blog. You brought stuff to shut up these UM poster that was classic. Your point of reference to the brief FIU history, being that you were the FIRST diehard was always great read.

I'm willing to give Justin a shot, Beasly your toast! UFF, 1) hope you read this and 2) hope to get you back!

Got to love a good train wreck! You guys sure don't disappoint, but sometimes it just borders on pity.

Great post UFF...long live the double standard (tounge firmly in cheek).

Looking forward to your perspective on my beloved FIU. I'm reading your blog from out of North Carolina so please give me something that I can't just look up on the fan message board. Looking for honest and fair reporting like PP did for so many years.

Uff and everyone else....
There's no way I'm running away from this blog... not when when we are this close. Uheralds moves, all of them specially of late are prove of it.
Pete's sacrafice was meant to inspire our effort, i'm sure of it.
Its almost the fourh quarter and you're walking out... to be part of the other 120k voiceless alumni.. bull$hit!
Pete be Reed, join us as an independent and post on.
I love fiugoldenpanthers.com, but the voiceless do not go there.... so this is the only medium .... this is where we must take our stand...

welcome justin

Welcome Justin to cover FIU. I hope you are successful with this, but the post that Ultimate FIU Fan said ring so true for all of us FIU diehards, especially all of us old timers (UFF forgot about me...LOL), and I think it would be positive for you to understand where we are coming from.

Good luck.

I've seen some epic implosions in my day, but this one take the cake. I'm sorry to see Pete go, just because he was a talented writer, and he kept the FIU fanbase sane. Now, with Pete gone, the "UMiami Conspiracy" people are coming out in full force. Contrary to popular opinion, we have bigger fish to fry than you. I think FIU would be better off if the fanbase worried more about writing checks to the athletic department, and showing up for everything, than thinking of crazy conspiracy theories.

Pete's comments were right on target, and for anyone interested who hasn't read them they are here.


I wish the new crew good luck but putting a Canes fan in charge of Panther Prowl is ridiculous. Does the Herald not know there are 37000 students at FIU every day?


Looks like Jorge Rojas instructed one of his writers to take more shots at Pete yesterday. This article doesn't mention that Pete was taken completely off of the blog initially and then covered up by Jorge Rojas' blog post saying that FIU's coverage was actually increaing when Beasley was added to the beat. It also fails to include any comment from an FIU official because the were "on vactation."

To insinuate that Pete possibly wasn't qualified for the "promotion" to FIU beat writer after 9 solid years of covering FIU sports is insulting.

How pathetic U have become, Herald.

Some of you people really need to get a life.

Justin is a good guy and a good worker. To ask him what college he went to, what team he supports, if he has a degree and the rest of that nonsense is a slap in the face to him.

You are lucky the Herald covers this horrible athletic program. FAU gets no coverage and has enjoyed much greater success. I graduated from FIU, and I can honestly say I could care less about the athletic program. I follow the University of Miami. Always have. Always will. FIU is nothing more than a secondary story.

You mostly bemoan Pete's departure. I celebrate it. His coverage of FIU was a joke and it made the newspaper look bad. Pete was a cheerleader. He sat in the press box with pom poms. (I am being figurative here.) Others nicknamed him "Press Release" because of how slanted his coverage was.

As for the criticism of Manny Navarro and Jorge Rojas, you guys need to grow up. They have jobs to do, and they do them well.

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