SAN ANTONIO -- Got the news a little while ago that the Canes had inked Frank Haith to a new five-year deal, one that will have him signed at The U through the 2012-13 season.
First of all, the raise and extension are well deserved. Miami enjoyed one of the best turnarounds in the country last season (going from 12-20 to 23-11) and took the kind of step forward Canes fans had hoped for. While I'm sure this will not be the only time the news of a Haith contract will be discussed from now until 2013 (I'm sure other programs are still going make a run at him when Miami continues to improve), I've got to say I'm happy for Haith. He's a good guy who is the type of young, exuberant coach Canes fans ought to be happy to have.
Let's not forget where this program was when Perry Clark left it. Basically, the bandwagon emptied and the team was back in obscurity. Haith picked it up, put it back into the NCAA Tournament and now has a vision to not only take Miami where it once was -- the Sweet 16, but a long-term vision of turning Miami's men's basketball program into a national title contender. He's the type of guy who doesn't just dream of being where I'm at -- The Final Four -- but has a plan to get there. Today's news is just another step forward for Miami in the right direction. There have been a lot of them lately -- the 23-11 season, the signing of one of the country's top swingmen in DeQuan Jones, the building of the new practice facility (yes, Miami needed one to compete with the Joneses) and even the fact the McDonald's High School All-American game will be coming to town in 2009. Those are all signs this basketball program wants to grow and is ready to do so.
But believe it or not, they still need your help. As great a story as Miami was this past season, attendance was still not what it should have been. Yes, UM enjoyed its largest home crowds since it moved on campus five years ago. But if I'm not mistaken there were only a handful of sellouts this season. A 7,000-seat arena should be filled easily. Heck, there were more than 7,000 out for both of the football team's scrimmages. As big as Canes' baseball and football is -- yes I know they got those national titles to show off, Miami's men's basketball team is the type of team fans should gravitate toward, too. Trust me, it's going to be a lot of fun watching this team play next season.
CANES BASEBALL NO. 1: Even though I've been out of town since Thursday and a bit busy out here, I've been following the Canes' baseball team and have to give the guys a big pat on the back for their exciting sweep of Clemson. And now another Monday, for climbing to No. 1 in the country for the first time since 2004.
The Hurricanes (26-2, 12-1 ACC) climbed to the top of the Baseball America and the USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll. I'm hoping to get out and see these guys once I get back out into town.