July 16, 2014

2015 QB commit leads 7-on-7 national champs

Looks like Maurice Alexander's pretty acclimated to Booker T. Washington.

The transfer from Homestead High quarterbacked Booker T.'s 7-on-7 team to the South Florida title earlier this year and, representing the Miami Dolphins, the National Football League High School Player Development national championship in Indianapolis.

Each of the 32 teams at nationals took the names of the team whose regional tournament it won. So, Booker T. or "the Miami Dolphins" beat the "Houston Texans" (Channelview) 37-21 for the "AFC" title Tuesday and routed the "Carolina Panthers" (Mallard Creek) 34-14 in the "Super Bowl" later Tuesday.

July 14, 2014

Heberling gets the title; golfers get academic thumbs up

Having saved head track and field coach money by assistant coach Ryan Heberling spending the 2013-14 indoor and outdoor track season as de facto head coach, FIU gave Heberling the actual title last week. Presumably, that means a bump from around $33,000 Heberling was making as an assistant. Former track coach Eric Campbell was making around $53,000.

Heberling, a former FIU javelin thrower, handled the throwers the last five years as an assistant and it's the women's throwers who have accomplished the most over the last few years.

GOLF

The Women's Golf Coaches Association named senior Shelby Coyle, sophomore Meghan MacLaren and freshman Coralia Arias as All-American Scholars. That's four golfers whose academic prowesss received notice last season -- Ashley Shimmel earned the Conference USA Commissioner's Academic Medal.

July 09, 2014

Aramis C-USA baseball's No. 1; FIU CBS Sports' No. 123

Conference USA awarded junior catcher Aramis Garcia its Player of the Year honor. Tuesday, Garcia completed a sweet sweep, being named Conference USA's Scholar Athlete of the Year for Baseball. C-USA names one for each sport.

In the spring, Garcia also received the Conference USA Spirit of Service Award and was on the conference's All-Academic baseball team.

ATHLETICS

Here's two different ways to rank athletic programs' on the field/court performances.

The first is the National Association of College Directors of Athletics Director's Cup, which takes into account 20 different sports. It's sort of like The Herald's All-Sports Award we do for high schools, except no greater significance is given to the more promiment sports. It's designed for the broadest-based athletic programs to reach the standings' penthouse.

In that ranking, 2013-14 FIU came in 257th out of 298 schools.

The other way is the CBSSports.com way, in which you consider only the marquee sports -- football, men's and women's basketballs, baseball and the most successful that season among the other sports at the school (for FIU in 2013-14, that probably would be swimming & diving -- second in Conference USA, scoring a few points at the NCAA meet). Heaviest weight given to football, second heaviest to men's basketball. nly schools with FBS football programs were considered.

Looking at things this way, FIU finished tied with Miami of Ohio, Nevada and Temple for 123rd. Or, last.

Stanford finished first, no matter which ranking was used.

Back to vacation and Argentina-Netherlands...

 

July 08, 2014

Prez sez...

Yeah, I know the Ask Rosenberg Twitter chat was last week. Here's the highlights from President Mark Rosenberg's answers in case you were busy composing songs about Tim Howard or working on getting darker.

To "Will there ever be an outdoor rubber track on campus?": "Hoping this happens soon, having major conversations about additional space on this campus to continue building."

To "A lot of us in the FIU alum community lost confidence in our current AD. Will FIU do anything to remedy this?": "All of us are under continuous review. Nobody is exempt from being accountable."

To "Are we gonna have a chance to beat UM in the near future?": "Our objective is to be competitive and to win regardless of who we play."

Senat on Rimington Watch List

Fifth-year senior center on the field -- graduate student off of it -- Donald Senat has been named to the 64-man Rimington Award Watch List. The Rimington Award, named after 1980s Nebraska center Dave Rimington, goes to the best center in college football.

 

July 03, 2014

Ex-FAU AD Craig Angelos now in charge of...revenue?

FIU has hired former FAU athletic director Craig Angelos as the Senior Associate Athletic Director for Revenue. Between FAU and FIU, Angelos held an also-long title, Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director, at the University of South Florida.

Now, you might say FIU having a Senior Associate Athletic Director for Revenue would parallel BYU having a Senior Associate Athletic Director for African-American Student-Athletes. According to FIU's 2012-13 NCAA Financials Report, the latest one available, the athletic department received 68.9 percent of its total operating revenue from $19,519,332 in student fees. As far as contributions, the department brought in $2,830,915.

So, the department doesn't raise money so much as collects it.

Anyway, FIU's athletic department already has an Associate AD in charge of Development, Chris Bultinick. Bultinick's responsible for "all fund-raising efforts in the athletic department," according to his bio on the FIU website.

Senior Associate AD Bobby Staub oversees the marketing and ticket sales to the point he's got bonuses in his contract for attendance. So that shouldn't be on Angelos' plate, either.

Anyway, according to this 2012 story in The Palm Beach Post, poor fund-raising and marketing contributed to FAU not renewing Angelos' contract. The story by veteran reporter Tom DeAngelo also points out that Angelos got FAU's impressive $70 million stadium built. He had to raise money for that and the rest of the athletic department during a national economic valley. OK, so by that time that stadium's paid off, the rising coastal waters will have turned it into a beachfront stadium, but it's there.

We'll check after the holiday on what entry that's usually on an athletic director's To Do list is now on Angelos' for at least $141,000 per year. That's what Angelos pulled in at USF according to Florida Has a Right to Know.

So, there's been no track coach for the entire indoor and outdoor seasons. There's no softball coach because they wouldn't give him a big enough bump from $59,000. Various departments in the athletic department have been understaffed.

But the department has another $150,000 suit.

  

June 30, 2014

Should FIU try to get Bethel?

According to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Texas Tech dismissed Nigel Bethel II, a three-star freshman-to-be cornerback out of Booker T. Washington, for what's believed to be punching a women's basketball player.

Bethel drew an Electra 225 trunkload of offers, including one from FIU. He was a hot recruit. He's a radioactive recruit at the moment. He'll find a place in an FBS program. Talent gets many chances. One out of the way, probably, with a small fan base that's too small or apathetic to raise too much of a fuss in comparison with his potential contributions to the team.

Sound like any school you know?

Not saying Ron Turner would pursue Bethel -- in fact, I'm pretty sure he wouldn't -- but should he? I'm not saying he should or shouldn't. I'm not saying Bethel would land at FIU if they were interested. I want to know your opinion on whether or not they should be interested. Should they talk to Bethel, "kick the tires" on him, if you will?

 

June 29, 2014

On Kahlil Welsh

Jacksonville Sandalwood defensive tackle Kahlil Welsh, 6-3, 265 with what looks like very good quickness, reportedly has committed to FIU for the 2015 class.

I couldn't find any ratings on Welsh. But the highlight video is above.

 

June 25, 2014

Predictions for 2014 football

 

Yeah, OK, cliche. But "Eye of the Tiger" remains summer music to me. Also, this clip, the best line from the cartoon that was Rocky III, sums up the preseason magazines' projections for this year's football campaign.

Got to my semi-local Barnes & Noble Wednesday to collect the rest of the prognastications after getting Lindy's and Phil Steele earlier.

Athlon's: 2-10, 0-8 in Conference USA, so they're predicting wins in the first two games over FCS foes Wagner and Bethune-Cookman. Ranked 127th out of 128 nationally, ahead of only New Mexico State. In the unit rankings, puts FIU 13th out of 13 in C-USA at quarteraback and wideouts/tight ends, 12th in running bask and linebackers, 11th in offensive line, defensive line and secondary. Incongruently, considering the wide receiver/tight end rankings, sophomore tight end Jonnu Smith is their preseason First Team All-C-USA tight end.

The quote from an opposing assistant says "Their offense is pretty basic, a pro-style offense. They will huddle and do what Ron Turner did somewhere in the NFL."

Kind of what I said when I found out they were closing spring practices.

The Sporting News: 7th in Conference USA East. Nobody made TSN's preseason all-conference team, although they went with three wide receivers instead of two and a tight end.

USA Today: 1-11, 0-8 in Conference USA, so they must like FIU over the male half of Hart to Hart but under everybody else. 125th out of 128 nationally. Smith as the preseason all-conference tight end. They rank this year's recruiting class tied for eighth in C-USA, even with FAU.

It's hard for me to see FIU going winless in Conference USA or losing to Wagner. That's at least two wins right there. Bethune's predicted to win the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference again despite losing a kitchen table full of starters. Still, could be win No. 3. That would be progress.

 

June 24, 2014

On WR Mark Hutchinson

Wide receiver Mark Hutchinson, Class of 2015 out of Wesley Chapel Wiregrass Ranch High, announced Tuesday via Twitter that he's verbally committed to FIU. Last season, Hutchinson, 6-2, 200, caught seven passes for 113 yards.

He's unrated by 247sports.com, ESPN, Rivals.com and Scout.com.

 

June 22, 2014

3-star 2015 QB commits to FIU

Lakeland Christian's Christian Alexander completed 61.7 percent of his passes (127 of 206) in 2013 for 1,865 yards, 22 touchdowns and four interceptions. Alexander's 6-3, 210, the kind of size that speaks more of a pro-style quarterback FIU coach Ron Turner covets than the dual threat quarterbacks in vogue around college football.

So, count it as a plus for FIU that Alexander, rated at three stars by 247sports.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com, unrated by ESPN.com, announced his commitment to FIU Sunday via Twitter.

 

June 18, 2014

Softball staff departs...and why

Jake Schumann is 40 years old with a wife and two kids. He made $59,721 per year according to Florida Has a Right to Know. That wasn't enough to support his family in South Florida, even in Pembroke Pines. and put away any money for college.

Which is why Schumann has left FIU at the end of his contract. The rest of the softball staff -- assistant coaches Gator Rebhan, Sharon Palma, Kelly Kretsshman -- have left with him. They've resigned after a 33-20 season, with a roster losing only two players and elite freshmen in Stephanie Texeira and Gabby Spallone. FIU has posted the job already.

"That's it," Schumann said. "Nothing else. Nothing juicy. Nothing crazy. Nothing that'll turn heads."

He said he'll move to being the associate head coach at Ole Miss, but insisted that's not about SEC but about $$$ -- more money, Oxford, Miss., college town cost of living.

Schumann said if that hadn't come up in the last two weeks, he'd still be leaving FIU for a more affordable job/area combination.

"I loved working there," Schumann said. "(senior associate athletic director) Julie Berg was one of the best bosses I've ever had."

He also talked up the building of new facilities for softball, the current players and the recruiting classes coming into FIU. 

I'd heard the Diamond Dinner, the main fundraiser for the baseball and softball programs, will end after next year. All over FIU's athletic department, money's already tighter than security at Langley. Despite going into Conference USA, baseball's operating budget dropped $5,480. Subtracting the lucrative Diamond Dinner would put both baseball and softball programs below the economic Mendoza line.

But Schumann didn't mention any of that. He just talked about the basic economic reality facing him.

This is the third head coach to leave FIU in the last 12 months and don't be surprised if baseball's Turtle Thomas is applying elsewhere. 

Men's soccer coach Kenny Arena left for a better opportunity with the LA Galaxy, where father and U.S. soccer coaching icon Bruce Arena coaches. Those who knew the situation figured Arena would be done with FIU in a year anyway, new soccer field or not.

FIU's mothballed the plan to turn the soccer field so that it's an east-west field and put a track in around it. But track coach Eric Campbell's resignation has to do with something nobody wants to discuss directly ("I really like him, but you can't allow that," one of Campbell's peers said) and is suspiciously absent from Campbell's personnel file. Whatever it was, count it as a last straw. A year earlier, Campbell was arrested and charged with misdemeanor disorderly intoxication at the 2012 Louisville-FIU football game. 

FIU's going to have turnover just by nature of being where it is as an athletic department. Until it evolves further, it's a stepping stone or penance for most coaches, a longtime home for a few. You don't live in a Mercedes neighborhood on a Hyundai budget.

 

June 17, 2014

On QB Maurice Alexander

Did you do a double take that FIU got a quarterback commit out of Booker T. Washington, considering A) they barely took a look at national championship quarterback Treon Harris and B) the Booker T. and FIU staffs don't exactly hit the same Dunkin Donuts.

Maybe this will help explain: Maurice Alexander just transferred to Booker T. from Homstead High, where The Herald picked him Second Team 5A-Independent All-Dade. Last year, Alexander threw for 2,111 yards on 115 of 204 passing and ran for 90 yards on 63 carries (remember, sacks come off rushing totals in high school and college). He quarterbacked Booker T. to the championship of the Dolphins Academy 7-on-7 last weekend and will be leading them into the Nationals at Indianapolis.

Alexander's rated at two stars by 247sports.com, unrated by Rivals and Scout.com.

 

 

Scholarship for La'Shae White

Track sprinter La'Shae White got some scratch toward her graduate degree tuition when she received one of the 15 Jim Castaneda Postgraduate Scholarship Awards from Conference USA, the league announced Tuesday.

White, who made the Dean's List seven times in her eight FIU semesters, graduated in April with a degree in physical education-sports and fitness and is going for her master's at the University of Tampa in exercise and nutrition science. The award is a $4,000 scholarship.

 

June 11, 2014

Another award for Aramis

The mantle in Casa Garcia might need an addition. In addition to the honors he's already received, including Conference USA Player of the Year, FIU catcher Aramis Garcia received the Conference USA Spirit of Service Award for combining community service with excellent academics and athletic performance.

Garcia volunteered at the 9/11 Day of Service, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Arthritis Walk and during the MLK Day of Service.

As I put in a recent post, Garcia, like women's basketball star Jerica Coley, is a billboard/brochure athlete, the kind schools thrust out front as an ideal example.

June 10, 2014

Kibbles & Bits

 

Tweeted this Monday, but guess I didn't post it here.

FIU pitcher Chris Mourelle was named a Second Team Freshman All-America by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, adding to a postseason awards list that includes Conference USA Freshman of the Year.

FORMER FIU

Former FIU soccer star player, assistant coach and head coach Munga Ekatebi will be the new head soccer coach at Broward Colletge. Ekatebi was in the house for the Ghana-South Korea friendly at Sun Life Stadium Monday.

June 07, 2014

Mike (Starter) to Rays, Mike (Closer) & Silverio to Chisox

Always wanted to use the old-time headline word "Chisox" in a headline.

Anyway, FIU's 2014 ace Mike Franco got selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the seventh round of the Major League Baseball draft Friday. FIU's all-time saves leader Mike Gomez went in the 13th round to the Chicago White Sox.

Later Saturday, with pick No. 978, the White Sox took outfielder Louis Silverio.

With catcher Aramis Garcia's second round selection by San Francisco, that makes four FIU players gone so far in the draft.

FOOTBALL

I thought I did some nice breaking down of the way FIU coaching pay didn't seem to match up the experience or success of the coach involved. But reader Cory Jarrell, with a blog, some free time and the kind of pretty graphs modern media outlets encourage, really went to town.

 

June 06, 2014

Garcia drafted in Round 2

The second of two Conference USA players selected in the first two rounds of the Major League Baseball draft, FIU catcher and Conference USA Player of the Year Aramis Garcia went No. 52 overall to San Francisco.

That's the second highest an FIU player has been drafted. Toronto took Josh Banks with the No. 50 pick in 2003.

More than just a player, FIU lost a showcase athlete, the kind of student-athlete schools like to put on billboards and put in front of the Athletics Committee as the epitome of what a student-athlete can be: well-comported, good on the field and the classroom. Garcia and Jerica Coley fit that role perfectly. Who's next?

 

June 05, 2014

What The Man of Steele Thinks; Coaching $$$ in Black & White

For comprehensively researched college football previews, Phil Steele's yearly production stands above others to the point of peerlessness. Here's Steele's rankings concerning FIU:

Within Conference USA, he ranks FIU 10th (out of 13) at quarterback; 13th at running back; 11th at receivers and tight end; ninth in offensive line; 11th in defensive line; 13th at linebackers; 13th at secondary; fourth in special teams; eighth in coaching.

On Steele's preseason All-CUSA teams, he's got sophomore Jonnu Smith as the third team tight end; sophomore Jordan Budwig as the fourth team offensive guard; Justin Halley as the fourth team safety; sophomore Austin Taylor as the fourth team kicker; and redshirt junior Richard Leonard as the fourth team punt returner (I think he's underestimating Leonard both as a kick returner and as a cornerback).

Overall? 7th out of 7 in the East Division, 13th out of 13 in the conference, 123rd out of 128 FBS teams.

"This is a much more experienced and stronger team that shoudl start out 2-0," Steele writes. "While they will be much more competitive (average loss last year 37-10), my most optimistic set of power ratings has them at 4 wins."

He ranked Conference USA as the ninth best conference last year, ahead of only the Sun Belt and the MAC. This year's he's got C-USA tied with the MAC, ahead of only the Sun Belt.

As for FIU, Steele's clearly not impressed with the shifts in titles and money.

FIU finished 123rd out of 123 FBS programs last year in total offense and third down conversions, 122nd in scoring offense...you know all the depressing numbers. Sure, the coaching staff wasn't given much to work with, but...

Offensive line coach/run game coordinator Steve Shankweiler (run game No. 120, No. 122 in sacks allowed) went for the head coaching job at Elon, didn't get it, but did get a $9,000 raise from FIU, $136,000 to $145,000, according to Florida Has a Right to Know. He also got a title promotion to offensive coordinator, as if former NFL offensive coordinator Ron Turner is going to give up the actual duties of that job.

Tight ends coach Kort Shankweiler ($93,000) and Cameron Turner ($106,000) each got $1,000 bumps. Turner got Quarterbacks Coach added to his Wide Receivers Coach title. For those of you who saw FIU's receivers last year and think Turner has his plate full just trying to handle that group, fear not -- the only Turner doing real coaching of the quarterbacks in practice is Ron Turner.

Here's another thing about Cam Turner's take: he made $105,000 last year in his second job as a college assistant.

Defensive line coach Andre Patterson, the current Minnesota Vikings defensive line coach, had 10 years of NFL coaching experience and nine years as a college defensive line coach. He made $110,000. Linebackers coach Tom Williams, with three years as an NFL assistant, 12 years as a college assistant, three as a college head coach, made $100,000. Running backs coach Andrew Hayes-Stoker had been an NFL assistant for three seasons and is in the NFL again with Tampa Bay. He made $99,000. Secondary coach Jason Brooks, off four years as a Baltimore Ravens assistant, during which he "worked first hand in the coaching of the wide receivers in 2009 and 2011 and running backs in 2010 and 2012" according to his FIU bio, made $92,000.

Brooks got the uniform $1,000 bump to $93,000 this year. Defensive coordinator Josh Conklin went from $100,000 to $200,000, according to the Right to Know website. Big bump.

 

 

 

 

 

June 04, 2014

Staying In The Pocket

Let's talk money, shall we?

First, the Fifth Annual FIU Athletic Department Golf Tournament is June 27. $375 per person, $1,500 per foursome, which is no savings for a foursome so really just $375 per person. This fundraiser for the entire athletic department includes an auction boosted by over 100 items that were supposed to be sold at the Diamond Dinner, the big fund raiser for the baseball and softball programs.

The baseball program saw its operating budget cut by around $5,000 this year, one of several programs whose budget remained stagnant or got cut as FIU moved up in overall quality with the jump to Conference USA. They didn't fly to the Conference USA tournament in Hattiesburg, but bused what's 11 hours, 38 minutes if you go 70 mph with no stops. Clearly, this is a program that can use all the financial help it can get.

Instead, baseball and softball must throw a large amount of the goods and services donated for their event into an event that raises money for the entire athletic department. That's other programs, administration, facilities, etc. I'm all for sharing, but that doesn't seem quite fair.

Oh, in an answer to a question posed a while back in the Comments about the athletic director's salary and bonus: it comes out of the athletic department pocket.