January 23, 2015

From the Steele Mills

Phil Steele, producer of the most comprehensive preseason college sports magazines, also regularly blogs. His most recent post examined how many starters return for each FBS team after subtracting those that have declared for the NFL Draft.

FIU's 16 returning starters by Steele's count put the Panthers in a 12-way tie for 17th in FBS and tied with Western Kentucky for second in the conference. The Panthers and Hilltoppers each return eight starters on offense and eight on defense, according to him. I count nine defensive returning starters for FIU.

FBS and Conference USA football rookie Charlotte returns 19 starters, nine on offense and 10 on defense, leading each category. Steele says Southern Miss also returns nine offensive starters. 

Time for Russo to Rest

The surprise for many at FIU was that Cindy Russo returned for the 2014-15 season.

Since the start of the 2012-13 season, the standard prediction around the athletic department had Russo's retirement dovetailing with the end of star guard Jerica Coley's eligibility in 2014.

Last season's ineligiblity of 6-3 Marita Davydova infuriated Russo just as much at the end of the season as the beginning. She never flat said it, but she had to know that dropped the ceiling for Coley's last team and her last team with postseason potential. With some semblance of an inside/outside game, FIU could put together a winning season and would hold a puncher's chance in the Conference USA tournament. Without it, you get what happened -- FIU rising only to the level of Coley's superpowers. Once those ran out like a power ring's charge in the 25th hour against eventual champ Middle Tennessee State in the conference tournament semis, that was it.

Russo returned for one more year, I think, almost out of reflex. This is what she's done every fall since 1977. Routines beget full body muscle memory. But fatigue strikes earlier and earlier as the years pass until the time the remembering muscle tells the mind, "Forget this, I'm tired." 

All college coaches essay the role of parent on some level. For years, Russo had been the caretaker for her elderly mother. That's not a Wikipedia example of "sandwich generation" but it's still "sandwich generation." Most "sandwich generation" folks don't go on bi-weekly business trips to places like Bowling Green, Kentucky or Huntington, West Virginia (in January).

Soon after Russo's mother died in late December, rumors began around FIU athletics that she'd retire. Worn down even before being weakened by the flu that refuses to leave her -- I almost wanted to pour chicken soup through the cell phone when we spoke Thursday afternoon, she sounded so bad -- she saw the rest of the season looming like K2.

The vastness of Russo's career can't be overstated, both as far as FIU and women's basketball.

When she began as an assistant coach at 1970s powerhouse Old Dominion, many families actively discouraged their girls from participating in team sports. Heck, many girls actively discouraged girls from participating in team sports. Not feminine enough, you know. Many states didn't have high school girls basketball tournaments. Indiana, home of the most storied boys high school tournament, didn't start a girls counterpart until 1976, the same year the Summer Olympics first included women's basketball. Pro leagues? Please. The NCAA didn't sanction college women's basketball, but rather the AIAW (Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women) did. The first AIAW national championship game to be nationally televised ended the 1977-78 season, Russo's first at FIU, where a few structures dotted a lot of space. Parking not a problem back then.

Now, well, look around. Despite the roles sexism and homophobia still play in college women's basketball, if you don't see the vast differences from 37-plus years ago, you're too obtuse to read this blog. FIU continues to grow an inexorably as The Blob.

Of course, Cindy Russo would've liked to finish this season, though it looks headed for a C-USA tournament one-and-done. No woman in sports Russo's age with any stature got there by leaving anything unfinished. All those women fought more battles than Patton just to get to the game time fight.

Russo's earned the right to say she's too tired to keep fighting.

January 22, 2015

Football's 2015 FCS Victim; Baseball Timing

Needing an FCS punching bag to fill out the 2015 home schedule, FIU will bring in North Carolina-Central, which went 7-5 last year, 6-2 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, 0-1 vs. FBS (52-7 loss to East Carolina) and 0-1 vs. transitional FBS (40-28 loss to Charlotte).

NC-Central will be the only non-conference home game, a stark contrast to the four non-conference home games that opened the 2014 season. The four Conference USA home games will be decided once the league finishes the realignment caused by Alabama-Birmingham football's demise.

BASEBALL

FIU will move its Saturday games back to 6 p.m. from 4 p.m. Smart move. It gives families time to finish their Saturday activities and errands and cuts the roasting time in the stands on sunny days.

January 21, 2015

Top Dollar

FIU's softball team enters this season as the Conference USA co-favorite with Alabama-Birmingham. Why that's to be expected is detailed in an earlier post. But that got me thinking...

When Jake Schumann left the softball coach last summer with an obvious potential conference champion and NCAA tournament team coming back, he insisted it was because of salary. Living the coaching life with wife and kids in the Broward suburbs, Schumann insisted he needed more than the just-under $60,000 per year FIU paid. He took an associate coach job at Ole Miss for more money in a cheaper area.

So, FIU's last team to be a preseason conference favorite: softball, 2015. Head coach Gator Rebhan's salary: $59,700. 

FIU's last team conference title: women's golf, 2013 Sun Belt tournament. Head coach Joe Vogel's current salary: $58,590.

FIU's last team conference title in a completely team sport: women's soccer, 2011 Sun Belt tournament or 2012 Sun Belt regular season, if you count that. Head coach Thomas Chestnutt's current salary: $63,024.

FIU's highest ranked team nationally: sand volleyball, 2014. Head coach Rita Buck-Crockett's current salary: $60,000 (for being in charge of sand and indoor volleyball).

FIU's best team over the last four years when combining athletics and academics: swimming & diving. Head coach Randy Horner's current salary: $57,590.

FIU athletic director Pete Garcia's bonuses during the 2013-14 academic year: approximately $99,550.

Numbers according to either contracts in possession of The Herald or Florida Has a Right to Know website.

 

FIU Gets Lubin

North Miami Beach wide receiver/defensive back Emmanuel Lubin, Class of 2015, announced his verbal commitment to FIU via Twitter Wednesday. Lubin caught 32 passes for 278 yards at NMB, alma mater of FIU alumnus and current Jacksonville Jags safety Johnathan Cyprien.

Lubin's rated at two stars by Rivals.com, unrated by ESPN.com, 247Sports.com and Scout.com.

Softball C-USA Preseason No. 1 (or 1A); S-Tex Preseason All-Conference

Five of the dozen Conference USA coaches took the easy way out on voting. They saw an FIU team that finished 33-20, 15-9 in Conference USA last season and returns almost everybody, including pitchers Corinne Jenkins and Shelby Graves and C-USA Freshman of the Year Stephanie Texeira.

So those five coaches voted FIU as the preseason conference favorite. FIU shares that spot with last year's conference runner-up, Alabama-Birmingham, which also pulled five first-place votes. FAU and Marshall got the other two. Texeira, who hit .408 with 11 homers, 41 RBI and a .740 slugging percentage last year, was the only Panther on the preseason all-conference team.

FIU hosts the Conference USA tournament this year on Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium. Hopefully, they'll have a replacement for this Reagan Era-locker room building they share with tennis by then.

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Baseball on Fox

Conference USA just announced FIU's regular season finale, at defending conference champion Rice on May 3, will be broadcast nationally on Fox Sports Networks.

By the way, the annual baseball Diamond Dinner, which will have Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson speaking and Miguel Cabrera appearing, will be on Feb. 7. Tickets still available. 

A DC Swap?; Universe Irony; Wet Bucks

These things happen sometimes. Somebody takes Job A, leaving Job B open. The person who most recently had Job A needs work and sees an opening at Job B. When it's all done, it looks like a good old fashioned Ken Stabler-for-Dan Pastorini trade.

Paul Chryst left the head coaching job at Pitt to go back to Wisconsin. First reports put Matt House, Pitt's defensive coordinator the last three years, in the U-Haul as Chryst moved back to Madison. But then Chryst decided to keep Badger incumbent Dave Aranda as defensive coordinator. Meanwhile, new Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi hired FIU's defensive coordinator Josh Conklin and linebackers coach Rob Haley.

So, now, House has no home and FIU doesn't have a defensive coordinator. Wonder if that match is being made.

House's defenses ranked 34th and 33rd nationally in 2013 and 2014, although it helped greatly in 2014 that Pitt's pounding carnivore style of offense ranked fifth in time of possession, shrinking possessions per game and holding down total defense numbers.

Just a thought...

MISS UNIVERSE

Reigning Miss Universe Gabriela Isler visited the FIU volleyball team Tuesday. Though she clearly fit in by height if not athleticism, does anybody see the irony in the symbol of the event costing FIU Athletics around $540,000 visiting one of the athletic department's most underfunded teams?

Michael Vasquez's Sunday Herald article quotes FIU AD Pete Garcia, in an interview at least a week past, as estimating the pageant will bring "close to $400,000" to FIU. A Friday release by FIU Athletics estimated $330,000.

SWIMMING & DIVING

Perusing e-mails from a records request, I saw that FIU Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Jessell contributed $4,000 in November to FIU's water women for "the acquisition of training equipment," according to Jessell's e-mail to several athletic department folks. That'll be matched by Athletics to give $8,000 to the swimmers for new training equipment.

If you were wondering -- I was, I figured you might be too -- Jessell's salary is $329,250, according to Florida Has a Right to Know. Still, that's not that's not chump change he's throwing in the pool.

 

January 19, 2015

Another FIU Freshman Honored

Not a bad year for the newbies on campus.

Freshman quarterback Alex McGough started 11 games for the football team while freshman running back Alex Gardner tied redshirt junior Anthon Samuel for the led the team in rushing. Freshman swimmer Silvia Scalia and freshman diver Rebecca Quensel each have compiled four Conference USA performer of the week awards.

And now redshirt freshman forward Kiandre'a Pound has four Conference USA Freshmen of the Week awards. Pound averaged 19.0 points and 9.5 rebounds in FIU's losses at Western Kentucky and Marshall. 

Another Phone Suggestion

UPCOMING HOME GAMES/MATCHES

Swimming & Diving, vs. Florida Gulf Coast, Saturday, 11 a.m.

Tennis, vs. Liberty, Sunday, noon

It's 36 degrees this morning in Albany, New York, the state capital where the University of Albany football team went 7-5 this season playing at the FCS level.

In his first year on staff as assistant head coach/linebackers coach was Bernard Clark, well known in these warmer parts as a former golden era (not Golden Era) Hurricanes linebacker and twice an FIU assistant. Clark applied to be a part of Ron Turner's first staff two years ago. FIU's got a linebackers assistant coach spot available, one that paid Rob Harley $102,000 last year with no state income tax. Clark's done that job several places, with varying levels of success.

Might be worth the kind of getting-to-know-you phone call FIU never made to then-Central coach Telly Lockette, now coaching running backs at Oregon State...

 

 

 

January 18, 2015

Pressing Matters

There used to be a saying among basketball coaches that "you can't press a good team." My first 21+ years in basketball country provided little evidence to the contrary, save No. 14 Cleveland State upsetting No. 3 Indiana in the first round of the 1986 NCAA tournament. I still believe an experienced, well-drilled team dismantles all but the most athletic presses and traps. 

But "experienced" and "well-drilled" rarely describe even the best college-affiliated basketball teams these days. So many rosters get a remix each year. Players declare for the draft as soon as somebody tells them they have a shot. There's almost as much player movement between schools as there is between NBA or NBA D-League teams. Coaches seem to find it easier to get a team trapping and pressuring properly than getting a lineup proficient at dismantling it.

FIU can be a good team. They'd be better than 9-9 without spending eight consecutive road games during 44 days between home games. They're also a new mix of players -- Adrian Diaz, Kris Gulley, Daviyon Draper, Tashawn Desir, Ray Rodriguez all playing significant minutes this year, none on the floor for FIU last year.

That said, Saturday night, in a game between the two Conference USA schools without dedicated video people in their athletic departments, the Panthers looked completely discombobulated by Western Kentucky's press, improperly so. When Daviyon Draper said after the game that the press surprised the Panthers, I thought not sure why it should have, but I'm glad it did. I'd hate for a team to look that stunned seeing something they knew was coming.

Then, FIU either couldn't figure out who was supposed to stay back and help or when they got through, didn't know what to do with the numbers and space. FIU coach Anthony Evans said afterward he thought the Panthers got complacent in the second half and stopped attacking overall.

FIU maintained a lead most of the time Adrian Diaz sat with first half foul trouble, then slowly lost it before halftime. Diaz wound up playing only 25 minutes. After his second consecutive game with limited minutes by two early fouls, Diaz said he's got to stay out of foul trouble. The questionable quality of Thursday's calls on Diaz created a karmic situation satisfied by the way the refs turned a blind eye to Diaz repeatedly committing his fifth foul. Saturday, there wasn't much to beef about either way.

The Panthers have 12 days to sharpen themselves against the defensive schemes that caused their offensive malfunctions three of the last four games. This would've been the second travel partner game week, when you have one conference game because you're playing your travel partner, FAU in the case of FIU.

(For those unfamiliar with the travel partner system, it works thusly -- when FIU plays on a Thursday at, say, Marshall Feb. 26, FAU will play at Western Kentucky. Saturday, Feb. 28, FIU and FAU will switch opponents, just as Marshall and Western Kentucky did this week. So, there's only one conference game travel partner week, which was the first week of conference play and will be this week for everybody but FIU and FAU.)

The moving of the game from next Saturday to Feb. 3 to accommodate the Miss Universe pageant creates the almost-fortnight gap followed by five games in 10 days. At least the last two, Feb. 5 against Texas-San Antonio and Feb. 7 against UTEP, are at home.

Great crowd again, by the way. I think three of eight cabanas were in use.

January 17, 2015

Dealing With Streakers

Here's what both FIU basketballs face today against Western Kentucky:

Neither gender of Hilltoppers has lost to a team from outside the state of Kentucky since Thanksgiving. The women lost to Mississippi State Nov. 23 and the men lost to Stony Brook Nov. 25.

The last basketball game Western Kentucky lost was to Louisville. That's correct for either gender. The women lost to now-No. 4 Louisville 89-67 on Nov. 25 (apparently, the last truly bad day for Western basketball). The men's team lost to now-No. 6 Louisville, 76-67, on Dec. 20.

Since then, they've gone 18 for 18, 12 in a row for the women and six in a row for the men. The women sit just outside the Associated Press Top 25, atop the "Others Receiving Votes" group. The chances at Western for still-struggling FIU clearly rank around "Chaminade."

Western's men, who face FIU today on Lime Court at Formerly Sunblazer Arena, don't have that stature, but have been playing the best ball in Conference USA along with Louisiana Tech.

FIU could cause them problems, especially 6-10 Adrian Diaz inside. Western's got 6-10 Aleksej Rostov and 7-1 Ben Lawson to counter Diaz, but they combined for just over 27 minutes per game. Diaz plays 29.3 but unless he gets in foul trouble, look for him to get 35 or 36 minutes. Also, he'll need to help defensively on 6-6 senior forward George Fant, last week's Conference USA co-Player of the Week.

Both teams observed Casual Friday after winning overtime games Thursday night. Another reason besides winter weather the FAU-FIU travel partner swing ranks as the confrence's favorite: just get on the bus the next day for an hour. No lounging around in cramped airport seats. No possible plane issues. Western came down and broke a sweat.

FIU coach Anthony Evans put his name on the bottom of a letter asking for the same kind of crowd that filled the arena's lower sections for Thursday's win against Marshall. Could help -- before Thursday, the Hill People's last game outside Kentucky was Dec. 13 and they've played only five road games all season.

 

January 16, 2015

Home Balling

FullSizeRender (5)

A happy Panthers bunch grinned and hugged through the alma mater Thursday night as if not quite ready for the come down usually already embraced by the time this closing credits tune sails.

And why not? In their 66-62 overtime win, they really made two comebacks to win in the kind of game where you usually get only one shot.

Down 38-21 early in the second half, FIU went on a 12-0 run as the Panthers got to Marshall on the defensive perimeter. As Marshall works inside about as well as NASCAR (and, frankly, aren't the most basketball intelligent team at either end), taking away the three turned the Thundering Herd into the Blundering Herd.

Center Adrian Diaz's points (two) matched his fouls (two) in the first half.

"When he's in foul trouble, I try to take him out," FIU coach Anthony Evans said. "Especially if he gets two quickly, we can't afford for him to get the third early because in the second half, I have to play more conservatively. So once he got two, he and Dennis (Mavin), I took them out and we had to ride it until halftime."

Early in the second half, Diaz's fouls edged ahead. Marshall's 6-9 Cheikh Sane threw himself into the part by throwing himself to the floor as Diaz got position for a rebound of a Marshall miss. A Diaz pass deflection launched Mavin to a hoop-and-harm three-point play on a fast break the previous possession. Now visibly roused by the bad call, Diaz blocked Sane the way an older brother blocks a younger one and whipped a pass out to Kris Gulley for another fast break layup.

At the next media timeout, with FIU closed to 38-31, FIU assistant coach Louis Rowe appeared to be telling Diaz to calm down and Diaz seemed to be saying, "I'm all right, I'm all right."

"Dennis was penetrating, getting to the basket," Evans said. "They were going to pay a lot of attention to him. They were downing the ball screen on the side so I thought the best advantage for us was a middle ball screen. Once he started doing that, he was able to penetrate, dish to somebody else, dish to Adrian. So it started to create some havoc with them."

After FIU closed to 38-33, Marshall got together a 9-2 run to go up 47-35 with 11:41 left. Running out of time wasn't so much a concern as running out of mental gas. Pick your sport, teams making big comebacks often have one in them, if that. If they get back into the game, they can ride that positive momentum and energy until either the end or the other team answers. If the other team answers, then you get saggy shoulders, the drained feeling. It's why it took until last weekend for an NFL playoff team to erase two 14-point deficits to win. Marshall had answered.

And the Panthers had something else for The Herd. Mavin ran off eight consecutive FIU points in the middle of a 16-4 FIU run that ended with a Diaz leaner in the lane to put FIU up for the first time all game 51-50.

The Panthers deserved to win. They outsmarted and outgutted Marshall. But they did get two important pieces of zebra help.

Diaz got his fourth foul with 10:16 left in regulation. Apparently, to get his fifth, he would've needed to use weaponry and insult each referee's mama. You can say that's karmic balance for some of the lousy calls on him earlier. Or, you could point to Marshall's laughably pathetic six for 16 from the line -- making FIU's 16 of 27 (59.3 percent) look like a team of Rick Barrys and Steve Alfords -- and 10 for 39 shooting from two-point range to conclude it flat didn't matter.

Also, the Mavin miss that Diaz jammed home for a 63-62 lead with 58 seconds left in overtime, the most important overtime bucket? Mavin didn't just travel on penetration. He ran for a first down.

The final book of game statistics and play-by-play didn't include an official attendance. A second quad set of cabanas now grace the east side of the court, giving the house eight cabanas to not sell. That moved the pep band over to Section A, the Lincoln Road section, while keeping their playlist back in 1967-87. That helped fill in the student section, on the south side. So, there was good noise for the first home game in Originally Sunblazer Arena since America had hope Annie wouldn't be the disaster it was.

 "Hopefully, for our game Saturday, they'll all come back," Mavin said.

Just looked this up: last season's official average attendance, 1,474, placed FIU 265th in the nation and earned athletic director Pete Garcia a bonus of approximately $7,613.

This is the track team boarding a bus for their workouts. Behind them sit two of the four massive, parking lot cramping trailers that have something to do with getting FIU Arena ready for Miss Universe. Not sure why the scene struck me as metaphor, but...

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January 14, 2015

Miguel Cabrera at Diamond Dinner? And FIU Gets Some Juice

UPCOMING HOME GAMES/MATCHES

Men's basketball, vs. Marshall, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

Men's basketball, vs. Western Kentucky, Saturday 6 p.m.

A Camp Mitch source says The Miguel Cabrera Foundation -- yes, the foundation of the future Triple Crown winner the Marlins traded away back in their more penurious days -- will sponsor the 2015 Diamond Dinner fund-raiser for the baseball and softball programs. Cabrera himself tentatively is scheduled to attend.

The Diamond Dinner, at the Graham Center Ballroom, Feb. 7, 7 p.m., will include Brooks Robinson as the this year's keynote speaker.

SPONSORSHIP

The athletic department's letting everyone know about their sponsorship deals these days. The latest is JuiceBlendz, a 10-year deal worth $345,000 according to the school (that's $34,500 per year, for those of you bad at moving decimal points).

Now, before you think that's straight cash, homey, it's signs online, at FIU Stadium, at Still Unsponsored FIU Arena; sample table space at some events; and in-game promotions.

Which reminds me, the $2.6 million five-year Adidas deal...

That breaks down to $520,000 per year. Talking with some folks who've lived with these numbers at the mid-major level, Adidas will devote about $155,000 per year to just the football team. And the FIU Stadium suite costs about $40,000.

So that's $195,000 right there, or about 37.5 percent of the yearly deal, leaving $325,000. There's also signs around Ocean Bank Field at FIU Stadium, Lime Court at Originally Sunblazer Arena and FIU Baseball Stadium as well as online advertising. Not exactly sure what that's worth, but after you subtract that, you get what's left over yearly for the other 17 sports.

 

 

 

January 13, 2015

Scalia (Again) & Quensel (Again) Get C-USA Weekly Honors

Freshman swimmer Silvia Scalia won the 100 backstroke, 200 back and 200 individual medley in a meet with Texas Christian and Central Connecticut State. Then, at the FIU Relays, she set a Biscayne Bay Aquatic Center record  of 54.78 in the 100 back while leading off the 400 medley relay and was part of the victorious 800 freestyle relay team.

Freshman diver Rebecca Quensel's 305.2 score in the 1-meter event and 288.28 in the 3-meter event are the best in Conference USA this year. Quensel also won the 3-meter in the meet earlier in the week.

And that's why Scalia is Conference USA's Swimmer of the Week for the fourth time this season and Quensel is Diver of the Week for the fourth time this season. 

January 12, 2015

Who The Heck Is Luka Mustafic?

He's the new FIU and UAB Blazer Invite shot put record holder after shoving the shot 18.01 meters (59 feet, 1 inch) to win the event by a fat 1.7 meters (about 5 feet, 7 inches) in his first FIU meet this weekend.

Here's also who Mustafic is:

A 22-year-old junior from Croatia whose U.S. college career began at Virginia Tech, where he finished fourth in the 2012 ACC outdoor championships in the shot and third in the 2012 indoor championships. He made All-ACC for the latter and Academic All-ACC, so he's something the track team needs in the circle and in the classroom.

From there, Mustafic transferred to Florida, where he finished ninth in the 2013 SEC Indoor Championships. He threw for Croatia in the Under 23 European Championships in 2013.

 

 

January 09, 2015

In The (Cat) House

Didn't get to talk to early enrollees quarterback Christian Alexander, defensive end-linebacker-to-be Fermin Silva or all-purpose explosive Anthony Jones today after I ran into them on campus as they went through early enrollment and orientation. So, the story I had planned got scrapped.

Still, they're in the Cat House already along with Carol City defensive back Tyree Johnson, a 2014 recruit. Some brief physical impressions:

Alex McGough looked the quarterback part the moment he dropped back last spring. Alexander, also considered a "pro-style" quarterback, really looks the part just walking across the room -- looks bigger and thicker than his official 6-3, 205, but not ponderous. Just as FIU coach Ron Turner described him, "a smart kid, good athlete, more a thrower than a runner." Turner also pointed out he was a five-year starter at Lakeland Christian, starting as a eighth grader.

Silva's got the wingspan of an outside linebacker, although his defensive line experience might help in the middle. Plenty of good middle linebackers had great length.

Jones lists at 6-0. That's a lie. I'd be surprised if he's 5-10. But another 10 to 15 pounds without losing speed gives you about what T.Y. Hilton gave you -- a speedster with moves and vision (remember, he was a running back this year) who'll make opposing coaches reach for the Pepto with every punt or potential reverse. He's not a guy you give the ball to every play, but his big play potential can affect each play.

"You want to get guys that win," Turner said. "We've got a lot of guys who have won numerous state championships."

And FIU's got one Central, two Booker T. Washington and one St. Thomas Aquinas commit still on board.

I was critical here of last year's Dade recruiting under Turner. Obviously, it's improved greatly this year. The big change this year is A) FIU coaches are more visible and establishing deeper relationships and B) FIU brought in assistant coach Kerry Dixon from FAU, where he recruited Dade County for the Owls.

How important have they been? Check out this blog by Manny Navarro, who covers both high schools and the University of Miami for The Herald (when he's not covering the Marlins, too).

 

Ballers On Campus

UPCOMING HOME GAMES/MATCHES

Swimming & Diving, FIU Relays, Saturday, 1 p.m.

Women's Basketball, vs. Alabama-Birmingham, Sunday, noon

Elsewhere on The Herald news platform, it was noted that the HBO show Ballers shot over at the University of Miami. We must note here that, before going over to Coral Gables, the show shot at FIU Stadium and used FIU staffers as extras for scenes of practice.

While on the subject of on campus, I'm hoping to talk to the early enrolling football recruits today, all of whom are on campus and going through the registration process (for those eternally predicting last minute flips).

Pitt officially announced Josh Conklin as its new defensive coordinator this morning.

 


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