January 04, 2014

Champagnat's Travonte Valentine decommits from the University of Miami amid coaching rumors

Rumors of coach Al Golden leaving the University of Miami football team to take the helm at Penn State has already affected, literally, the biggest prospect in the Hurricanes’ Class of 2014 recruiting class.


Hialeah Champagnat Catholic defensive tackle Travonte Valentine (6-3, 338 pounds) decommitted from UM on Saturday after participating in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, and named LSU the lead school for his services.

“Since Miami ain't looking so good now, until further notice, I'm decommitting from Miami University because I'm not sure about Al Golden so far,” Valentine said in an interview with The Times-Picayune (New Orleans).

“All of the commotion about Penn State and this and that right now. Al Golden is a great coach. He told me I was going to see things that I've never seen before. So for right now, I'm decommitting.”

Valentine will take an official visit to LSU on Jan. 17, Kentucky on Jan. 24, and to UM on Jan. 31. Many believe LSU was always second place to Valentine behind UM, and now the Hurricanes’ next coach would have less than a month to regain his pledge with National Signing Day on Feb. 5.

Valentine’s coach Mike Tunsil said because LSU does a great job sending defensive tackles to the NFL, and the Tigers’ lack of depth at the position are intriguing factors.

“I’m a hometown guy, so I would definitely love for him to play down here so his friends and family could come see him,” Tunsil said, “but at the end of the day, it’s Travonte’s decision.”

Valentine took to his Twitter account later Saturday afternoon to help clear the air.

“Incase the U fans aint read things all the way , yes Im decommiting until this coaching situation is done until then sorry but im chillin!!” he wrote.

December 27, 2013

Roger Harriott wastes no time joining Florida Atlantic, nabbing star 2015 RB Jordan Scarlett

Roger Harriott is leaving high school football for the college ranks once again, and he's taking one of his star players with him.

Harriott, who led Davie University School to a state title in 2012, stepped down from the head coaching position on Friday to become an assistant head coach and running backs coach at Florida Atlantic, joining first-year coach Charlie Partridge. 

As one of the most articulate and player-friendly coaches in South Florida, Harriott already made his presence felt on his first day landing the best recruit in the school’s history as University School junior running back Jordan Scarlett committed to FAU just hours after the news became official.

“I called Coach Harriott and we talked about today, and it would be a benefit for me to go there as far as staying [close to] home," said Scarlett, an underrated four-star prospect by 247Sports. "I just felt it would be a good move for me to stay with my running back coach, and keep the same routine I’ve been going through.”

Scarlett -- who had a strong interest to stay in Florida and had offers from more than 20 schools including Florida State, Miami, Florida, Alabama and Auburn -- said his closeness to Harriott as a father figure and family friend were also obvious reasons he pulled the trigger so quickly.

Teammate Deonta Fair, a Class of 2015 safety, also announced his commitment to FAU on Friday afternoon. Whether Scarlett and Fair sign National Letters of Intent to play for the Owls in 2015 remains to be seen.

Harriott, a former Boston University and Villanova running back who tallied more than 2,000 yards in his college career, briefly resigned as U-School coach in January 2010 to become the running backs coach at Syracuse, but decided to return home with his wife and four children in mind.

Now Harriott can have his cake and can eat it, too, trying to help FAU make a statement heading into its second season in Conference USA.

FAU officially announced Harriott's hire Friday afternoon. Patridge will also retain associate head coach and offensive coordinator Brian Wright on his staff.

"I am thrilled to bring Roger on board with the Owls," Partridge said in a statement released by the school. "He has been an extremely successful football coach and leader of student-athletes. He will bring leadership principles that will impact our program and his Florida roots demonstrates our commitment to the area." 

With the news, several of University School’s top players in the Class of 2015 are in the process of transferring elsewhere.

Scarlett said he's thinking of attending Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas or Plantation American Heritage if he doesn’t stay at University School.

Defensive tackle Brandon Boyce, who committed to Duke on Friday afternoon, confirmed via his Twitter account he’s headed to Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas.

Cornerback Rashard Causey told the Miami Herald on Friday he’s also “likely” to follow Boyce, but Plantation American Heritage is also an option. Causey told 247Sports it was likely he, Boyce, Scarlett, and star 2016 slot receiver Sam Bruce could possibly enroll to Aquinas.

December 16, 2013

Coral Reef hires Billy Rolle as new football coach

            Billy Rolle is one of only two Miami-DadeCounty football coaches to win state championships at different schools.

            On Monday, Rolle was officially given the opportunity to try and make another team great.

            Rolle, who has led Northwestern and Killian to state championships in his career, was hired at Coral Reef’s new coach. Rolle coached the Barracudas’ final regular season game this year on an interim basis after the school released former coach Chevas Clements.

            “I’m back in the water, and this time, I’m a barracuda,” Rolle said. “Coaching is in my blood. I thought I could sit out and watch. But that didn’t last too long.”

            Rolle led Northwestern to state championships in 1998 and 2007 and was an assistant coach during the Bulls’ state title run in 1995. Rolle also led Killian to a state title in 2004. He is also one of four coaches to win at least three state titles in the modern era (Walt Frazier - Carol City; Ice Harris - Booker T. Washington; Nick Kotys - Coral Gables).

     Rolle resigned at Northwestern after the 2011 season when the Bulls missed the playoffs for the first time in 20 years.

            Rolle takes over a Coral Reef team that went 6-4 this past season, but missed the playoffs. The Barracudas reached the second round of the playoffs in 2011.

            “It’s a great academic school and it has a lot of talent,” Rolle said. “I missed the game and want to give back. I was reading an article and didn’t realize [Central coach] Roland Smith had been away for six years. I don’t know how he did it.

“This school has a championship attitude and I think it’ll be a great challenge.”

December 08, 2013

September 29, 2013

Miami Hurricanes land oral commitment from Booker T. Washington sophomore Mark Walton

Miami Booker T. Washington running back Mark Walton orally committed to play for the University of Miami on Sunday. 

Walton — only a sophomore — becomes the second Class of 2016 recruit for the UM coaching staff, joining Cocoa cornerback Chauncey Gardner (5-11, 170 pounds).

Walton said he called linebackers coach Micheal Barrow while the UM coaches were in a meeting and head coach Al Golden was ecstatic about receiving Walton’s pledge.

“I told Coach [Golden] ‘I’m ready to join the family,’ ” said Walton, who also had brief conversations with wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Brennan Carroll, offensive coordinator James Coley and running backs coach Hurlie Brown during the call.

Walton grew up a Hurricanes fan, and picked up a scholarship offer from the coaching staff during the summer. He knew he wanted to announce his pledge Sunday and consulted fellow Booker T. Washington teammates and UM commitments Nigel Bethel II (cornerback) and Chad Thomas (defensive end) before calling the Hurricanes coaches.

“It’s a family thing going to the University of Miami,” said Walton, whose defensive end teammate Demetrius Jackson is also a UM commitment. “I always said if I had the opportunity to go there, that’s where I wanted to be.”

Although Walton has more than 2 years to sign his National Letter of Intent, he said he’s not worried about how his commitment is perceived in the meantime.

“If you know where you want to be, then why not [commit]?” he said. “I haven’t thought about it in a negative way.”

For now, Walton is just trying to enjoy his moment.

“I’m very excited,” Walton said. “Right now, I’m speechless.”

September 25, 2013

Western coach Derek Segaloff resigns after players' protest

Davie Western coach Derek Segaloff resigned from his post Wednesday after a tumultuous start to his first season as coach.

Segaloff, 29, stepped down after meeting with school principal Jimmy Arroyo and his players, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Segaloff’s reign came to an end Monday when as many as 30 players protested his leadership by skipping the team’s practice.

The Wildcats have only scored three points in four games this season, while surrendering 114 total points to Cardinal Gibbons, South Plantation, Monarch and Everglades.

Wide receivers coach Jermaine Hollis, who was South Broward’s boys’ basketball coach last year, will replace Segaloff as head coach.

Western athletic director Cathy McCarthy reffered any other comments regarding the situation to Arroyo. Segaloff and Hollis did not respond to any phone calls or text messages.

Western hosts Miramar (4-0) on Friday.

August 23, 2013

May 02, 2013

Stranahan hires alum Willie Hill as new football coach

Courtesy of Miami Herald writer Concepcion Ledezma

Stranahan has announced the hiring of former Dragon Willie Hill as its
new head coach on Thursday.
   A former standout as a defensive back and track star at Stranahan, the
31-year-old Hill hopes revive a struggling program which is coming off an
3-7 season.
   "This was an opportunity I couldn't pass up, and I had others," said
Hill, who will be moving from Clewiston and will be on the Stranahan
faculty as a graphic photo shop teacher and head the STEM program (dual
enrollment).
   "My wife (Erin) and brother are Dragons, I come from a long line of
Stranahan graduates. I don't see our program as struggling, as much as just
having some down years. While I plan to keep most of the assistants, I am
targeting some assistants positions to fill in with guys with college
experience"
   He plans to add his brother Renaldo, also a former Dragon standout,
among his coaching staff.
   After graduating from Stranahan, where he played alongside Asante
Samuels, Hill went on to letter at Central Michigan University as a
standout receiver and track athlete while earning a degree in graphic
design.

April 11, 2013

New Central football coach Roland Smith excited about opportunity to return to sidelines

Roland Smith called me back this morning to talk about his new job coaching the defending state champion Miami Central football team.

The Rockets officially hired Smith Wednesday to replace Telly Lockette, who was hired to be the running backs coach at the University of South Florida in March.

Smith returns to coaching high school football in Miami-Dade County after six seasons away. Smith had been teaching at North Miami Middle School.

"I’m very excited for this opportunity and grateful to Miami Central for offering it to me," said Smith in a phone interview Thursday morning. "I’ve got a lot of energy and I’m excited to get back and help these guys try to win another state title and excel on the national level."

Smith guided his alma mater Northwestern to a state championship and a perfect 15-0 season in 2006. Smith was then removed along with the majority of his coaching staff at the time by former Dade schools superintendent Rudy Crew in the wake of the scandal involving former Bulls running back Antwain Easterling.

Smith and his coaches were cleared of all wrongdoing in the matter in the ensuing months.

During his six seasons as Northwestern’s coach, Smith led the Bulls to a 69-13 record (best of any team during that span), a state title, a state runner-up finish in 2001, and state semifinal appearances in 2002 and 2005.

Smith had been rumored to be in the running for a few premier coaching vacancies in recent years, including Northwestern and Booker T. Washington, before they hired their current coaches.

"I didn’t want to rush into just any situation," Smith said. "When Central contacted me I was at the Youth Fair with my son, and I was excited they had me in mind. I told them I needed a little time to think about it. The great thing is I get to coach again with a lot of guys that coached with me in the past and have done an excellent job here [at Central]. I’m so proud and happy to get a chance to coach with them again."

Smith takes over a Central program that ranks among the nation’s best, having won two Class 6A state championships in the past three seasons under Lockette, who guided the Rockets to a 60-10 record in five seasons.

Smith said he was set to meet with his new team Thursday afternoon.

Central has advanced to three consecutive state finals and have not lost to a Dade opponent since 2008.

In hopes of making it three championships in four years, the Rockets will take on a challenging schedule this coming season that includes a trip to New Jersey to take on national powerhouse Don Bosco Prep and games against defending Class 4A state champion Booker T. Washington, Class 3A champion Davie University School, Plantation American Heritage, Norland, Northwestern, Carol City, Homestead and Coral Reef.

April 09, 2013

Blanche Ely basketball coach Melvin Randall named Coach of the Year

Blanche Ely boys’ basketball coach Melvin Randall was named the Florida Dairy Farmers Association’s Florida Coach of the Year Tuesday.

Randall led the Tigers to their second consecutive state championship, third during his tenure and fourth in the program’s history this past season. Ely went 27-1 earned a national ranking and recently participated in ESPN’s National High School Invitational.

Randall is the second Broward coach to earn the award joining former Ely coach Wade Edmond (1996).