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34 posts from January 2014

January 14, 2014

FIU sweeps C-USA Swimmer & Diver of the Week (again)

Junor Courtney VanderSchaaf won the 50 freestyle (24.67) and 100 free (53.57) at Saturday's dual meet against Central Connecticut.

Senior diver Sabrina Beaupre did what she does, sweeping both the 1-meter and 3-meter events, but added the bonus of a school record 335.85 in the 1-meter win. Beating her own school record, of course.

And that's why they are, respectively Conference USA's Swimmer of the Week and Diver of the Week. It's already Beaupre's fourth Conference USA Diver of the Week honor. Last week, Beaupre and freshman Jenny Alfani snagged both for FIU.


Possible Comings & Goings, II

If FAU running backs coach Kerry Dixon is on his way south to FIU, as CoachingSearch.com suggests, that would be a guy with experience in recruiting Dade County and with ties in Texas. Neither exactly hurts in recruiting raw talent.

American High safety Andrew Soroh, rated at two or three stars depending on the site, switched his committment from FIU to FAU today, announced via Twitter. As commenter FIU Fanatic pointed out, American High coach Corey Bell has just joined FAU's coaching staff. Bell will be the defensive backs coach at FAU.

Wonder if somebody ever suggested, as Ron Turner was putting together his first staff, that it include Bell or Telly Lockette, now running backs coach at South Florida...

Of course, all this is just conversation until Signing Day.


January 12, 2014

Next Spence headed to FIU?

According to a Tweet from former Northwestern coach Stephen Field, now the coach at Citra North Marion High, Northwestern defensive back Shermarke Spence has committed to FIU. Spence wasn't rated by 247sports, ESPN.com (but that site lists him erroneously at only 5-6and at two stars by Rivals.com, which has done the opposite of some recruiting sites and boosted a recruit's rating after he commits to FIU.

He's the younger brother of former University of Miami player Sean Spence.

January 11, 2014

Senior Adult Swim (& Dive); modest Mama Hilton

Today's 146-90 crushing of Central Connecticut came on Senior Day over at the Biscayne Bay Campus pool, the fourth of four home swim meets this year. Too bad the most successful team, if you combine academics and athletics, at FIU has so few chances to be seen by their peers. Plus, the water women do their thing across town from the main campus.

But at least they've got their own venue, unlike the track team.

Anyway, enough with the re-yammering of what I've yammered before. Here's the senior class:

Sonia Perez Arau -- FIU's distance ace holds school records in the 500 freestyle, 1000 free, 1650 free, 400 individual medley and was part of the school record 800 free relay team. She set the Sun Belt Conference record, 4:10.54, in winning the 400 IM at the Sun Belt meet last year and has the best 400 IM time in Conference USA this year.

Perez Arau also made the Sun Belt Academic Honor Roll (3.0 GPA or better) in 2011-12.

Sabrina Beaupre -- The best diver in FIU history. The only record she doesn't hold is in a 10-dive 1-meter competition and 11-dive 3-meter. And she doesn't hold those records because the NCAA discontinued them. Three-time Sun Belt Diver of The Year, which makes sense because she won the 1-meter and 3-meter competitions at all three of the Sun Belt Conference meets and holds the Sun Belt records in each event. She could rack up a hat trick at the Conference USA meet because C-USA has Platform Diving. Beaupre's ranked first in Platform and 1-meter this year, second in 3-meter.

You know the line about "as useful as a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest?" Well, One-Ankle Beaupre kicked butt in all those contests last year before missing the NCAAs for ankle surgery.

She also made the Sun Belt Commissioner's List (3.5 GPA or better) in 2012-13.

Mary Boucher -- Boucher would be FIU's Distance Queen, record-holder in the 1650 free and 100 free, if it weren't for Perez Arau. She's also got the fourth fastest time in the 500 free. She made the Sun Belt Commissioner's List in 2011-12 and 2012-13.

Melissa Moreno -- Moreno has the third fastest time in the 200 butterfly in FIU history. Just writing "200 butterfly" makes me want to call a masseuse for my shoulders and lats. Moreno made the Sun Belt Academic Honor Roll in 2011-12 and 2012-13.

Sarah D'Antoni -- D'Antoni scored points for FIU in the 100 fly and 200 fly at the 2013 Sun Belt Championships, her 200 fly time being second all-time at FIU behind the Panthers all time Fly Girl, Marina Ribi. D'Antoni made the Sun Belt Academic Honor Roll last year, her first at FIU since coming from Indian River College.

Valeriia Popova -- Popova swam the breaststroke leg of the school-record 200 medley relay team and has the seventh-fastest FIU times in the 50 free and 100 back. She made the Sun Belt Honor Roll in 2011-12 and 2012-13.

Note to those advocating the necessity of babysitting academically deficient athletes in certain other sports: the swim team often is finishing its first workout of the day when other athletes are hitting the snooze bar for the first time and they don't seem to need an army of coaches hounding them about going to class.



In the above story, I made reference that T.Y. Hilton's mother, Cora Hilton, played college basketball. She didn't make any reference to her high school days other than to say she played.

One of the community folks I've known down here since my earliest days at The Herald texted me early this morning that the former Cora Burnett "was one of the best point guards in Miami Central history" as well as "A school leader in our class...everybody had respect in school for CB."

Indeed, some research determines she was a star point guard on strong Central teams before graduating in 1981.






January 10, 2014

Tymell Thursday

The Knicks won; 15 rebounds; 22 points, 20 of them in the second half; a 71-60 FIU win over Rice in the Panthers' first ever Conference USA game.

Yeah, Thursday was a happy day for senior forward Tymell Murphy.

Freshman Jason Boswell set a school record as he went five for five from the line, stretching his streak to 27 consecutive free throws. Cameron Bell held the previous record, 24 in 2011-12. Dennis Mavin put in 16 points with nine boards.

FIU had only 10 turnovers against Florida A&M and six against Rice. They'll need to keep up that improvement Saturday at Louisiana Tech.


January 09, 2014

Comings & Goings

Or Goings & Comings, in order of discussion.

Track coach Eric Campbell is out. I'm working on finding out why.

Michigan State graduate assistant in charge of defense and special teams Rob Harley, a former Ohio State safety, has accepted the FIU linebackers coaching job. CoachingSearch.com first on that report.

January 08, 2014

Coley gets the record


FIU is paying these people?

When I got this e-mail, I thought I was the only person who received it. I forwarded it with a shake of the head to the FIU athletics media relations department.

Then, I found out this comes from a company, JTS Communications, hired by the school (which already has an under resourced athletic media relations department that just got returned to full staff) and this e-mail went out to a busload of media members. This is an embarrasingly slipshod collection of bits and bytes concocted by a mass of misfiring synapses. 

I eliminated the name of the employee, who clearly needed more supervision. Whatever has been paid to JTS Communications by FIU -- which has so much money to throw around -- should be refunded to the school like five-day-old grouper.

The e-mail:


Happy New Year!

I wanted to introduce you to FIU's new head football coach, Ron Turner.

I thought you might be interested in speaking with Coach Turner as he embarks on a very important recruiting season. He is looking to revamp FIU’s football program for a better 2014 season.

After a disappointing 1-11 season, there is only room for improvement. Turner is hoping to turn the program around with fresh recruits and new coaching tactics. 2014 should prove to be an exciting season for FIU! 

This will be Turner's 36th season coaching football, including nine as head coach of Illinois and San Jose State, along with appearances in eight bowl games throughout his 24 seasons at the collegiate level. He previously spent 12 seasons coaching in the NHL.

Click here to download Turner's full bio with additional information and stats.

Please let me know if you are interested in booking an interview with Coach Turner. I look forward to hearing back from you soon!

xxxxx xxxxx
JTS Communications, Inc.
Celebrating 10 Years

2014 Baseball Schedule

The real opening of 2014 baseball season is the Diamond Dinner on Feb. 8 in the Graham Center Ballroom. Former longtime major league pitching good Jim Kaat will be the featured speaker. Also, 15 items will be auctioned off live, another 100 items will be in a silent auction. Tickets are $120 per person, $1,200 for a group of 10. For tickets, call Alyssa Meyer at 305-348-7297 or e-mail her at ameyer@fiu.edu and ask about the group discount. Really, ask about it because there doesn't appear to be one.

Now, for actual action, the baseball team opens up Valentine's Day at University Park with the first of a three-game series against Rutgers. I mean action on the field. As far as other action, your honey's love of baseball and FIU will determine that if you attend.

FIU's first 11 games will be at home against Rutgers, Stetson, Stony Brook, Florida Memorial and Dartmouth along with a Mar. 27 exhibition against the Marlins up at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter. The first home Conference USA opponent will be always-tough Rice on Mar. 14. The FAU games are at Camp Mitch April 18-20 and a non-conference game in Boca May 13.

The Conference USA tournament will be May 21-25 in picturesque Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where there's a Waffle House a half-mile in either direction off the exit near the Southern Mississippi campus

January 07, 2014

And there he goes...

Both CoachingSearch.com and FootballScoop.com, citing unnamed sources, are reporting what I heard yesterday and couldn't confirm -- FIU running backs coach Andrew Hayes-Stoker will join Lovie Smith's Tampa Bay staff as the wide receivers coach.

Coaching staffs remain in flux for the next month or so and FIU is where FIU is on the coaching scale, so more exits could be imminent.


January 06, 2014

All State Commits

The Associated Press Florida All-State high school teams came out over the weekend. They included a few FIU commits.

Plant City defensive end John Broome (no, not THAT one) made the Class 7A First Team and Booker T Washington offensive lineman Jordan Ingraham got onto the 4A First Team. Frostproof defensive back Jarviel Hart made 3A First Team. Tampa Tech linebacker Fred Russ is on the 7A Second Team

Hialeah running back Henry Bussey, Flanagan defensive back Mark Bruno both were among the 8A honorable mentions. Largo wide receiver Raheem Harvey's a 6A honorable mention.

Coaching shakeouts...

FIU running backs coach Andrew Hayes-Stoker held the offensive quality control position on Lovie Smith's Chicago Bears staff for two seasons and was wide receivers coach for Smith's final season in Less Than Zero-ville Today. Smith's being introduced as Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach today. So, it's not unreasonable that Hayes-Stoker might be headed to greener (as in green paper) NFL pastures with Tampa Bay as Smith puts together his staff there.

That would leave FIU head coach Ron Turner having to fill linebackers, running backs and special teams coach positions. On salary, those positions accounted for $314,000 last season.

January 05, 2014

Hilton heading up; swimmers finish second

T.Y. Hilton didn't have a Roc Alexander to punk Saturday in the NFL playoffs. He didn't have a Marvin Harrison to suck attention. But he knew how to take advantage of a sitaution for 13 catches, 224 yards and two touchdowns against Kansas City Saturday.

When Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne scorched Denver for 10 catches, 221 yards and two touchdowns in the 2004 Wild Card round, Wayne benefitted from the circumstances. After Peyton Manning was nearly perfect in the 2003 playoffs against Denver, the Broncos traded for cornerback Champ Bailey. Denver stuck Bailey on Marvin Harrison in the 2004 playoffs and had a safety checking in also on Harrison, but left rookie Roc Alexander on Wayne. Manning and Wayne buried poor Alexander that day.

Saturday, as has been the case for just over half the season since he went down with a season-ending injury, Wayne was out. Hilton, already drawing occasional double coverage before Wayne went down, has become even more the focus of opposing defenses in a league where winning turns on making or preventing big plays. Hilton owned the Colts first drive. And the 64-yard winning touchdown bomb encompassed the essence of kid football: go long and I'll heave it to you. Or, if the kid throwing happens to be Andrew Luck, I'll whistle it along a wire to you in stride.

Kansas City lost Pro Bowl cornerback Brandon Flowers during the playoff game against the Colts, subtracting from an already-banged up secondary. There was clear confusion on the game-winning touchdown. Yet there was also just slow reaction to too much speed. Still, that's a good secondary. KC won't be spending multiple draft picks on cornerbacks, as Denver did after the Manning-to-Wayne beat down.

Hilton's put on size, which he'll need for durability. Because just as Harrison retired and Wayne became the No. 1 guy in Indy for Manning to target, Wayne's years remaining are few and Hilton's next in line to be Luck's main man wideout (if he isn't already).

And with each game, a few people will ask and learn, "What's Florida International?" Good marketing.


FIU finished second to New Mexico in Saturday's 10-team FIU Invite.

Sabrina Beaupre won both diving events, which meant she was a bigger winner in South Florida during break than her beloved Canadiens were on the ice against the Florida Panthers. Freshman Jennifer Alfani won the 50 butterfly and the 200 freestyle relay with juniors Klara Andersson, Johanna Gustafsdottir and freshman Jennifer Deist.


January 03, 2014

Report: Special teams coordinator Wolthausen to UConn

I've been wallowing in Dolphins, Heat and Orange Bowl stuff the last few weeks. The good folks at CoachingSearch.com say FIU special teams coordinator Kevin Wolthausen is headed to the UConn staff.

That's all. That and I expect free throw shooting will get some extra practice time after the FIU men blew Thursday night's game at Florida A&M on bad free throw shooting late in the game. 

Guys, keep it to one name in the Comments. 


FIU finished second to Michigan in the six-team Orange Bowl Classic swim meet. Senior Sonia Perez reeled off three third-place finishes -- the 400 freestyle, 100 backstroke and 200 Individual Medley.

Today, FIU hosts the FIU Invite at 1 p.m. 

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