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South Florida: RookieTown, USA

MarinoIt says something about South Florida sports when Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez is the dean of professional coaches in our little corner of the world.

Gonzalez, who did manage the Miami Miracle of the Florida State League about a decade ago, is in his second season with the Marlins. Still, that makes him the Old Man of the South Florida coaching fraternity.

The Panthers are the latest to go green with their coaching search, hiring Peter DeBoer to be the 10th coach in franchise history. DeBoer will make his NHL coaching debut come October. Aside from Gonzalez, none of the other four South Florida pro coaches have ever coached in a big-league game.

The Dolphins have Tony Sparano, a long-time assistant coach getting his first shot at being the head man. Few people know more about the Heat personnel than new head coach Eric Spoelstra, but he's never been the main man on an NBA sideline.

Now we have DeBoer, a guy who will have the advantage of having the able assistance of Jacques Martin. That should help with the transition, but there's little doubt DeBoer is going to be his own man and do things his way.

So, Fredi Gonzalez, any advice for the new coach of the Panthers?

"Don't read the paper and don't listen to sports radio,'' Gonzalez said Friday. "Bobby [Cox] gave me that advice and it's true. He'll be alright I think. I knew Barry Trotz when he was coaching the team in Portland and I was with the Sea Dogs. He got his chance with Nashville and he's still there. It's probably been 10 years. I wish him luck and we'll be following them.''

-- Seems like the DeBoer selection was pretty popular, at least with my readers. A whopping 92 percent of our voters have approved the deal. Even the European voters like the move, with all of those votes in the yes category.

-- Was looking at the voting for the Norris Trophy over at James Mirtle's site, and noticed someone -- not this guy -- gave Jassen Cullimore a fifth-place vote. Masterton, maybe. Not Norris. Well, good for him.

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