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6 posts from January 22, 2013

January 22, 2013

Is FSU offensive coordinator James Coley a candidate for Jedd Fisch's old job at UM?

The rumors are spreading: Florida State offensive coordinator James Coley could be Miami's next offensive coordinator. 

Settle down Canes fans. This Coley story is just rumor-driven for now.

Nothing we've heard out of UM today or even FSU suggests Coley is in the running. We're not even sure he's been interviewed or spoken to UM coach Al Golden yet. But be patient. It's not out of the realm of possibility he could be. 

A source close to Coley told me this morning the 39-year old Miami High graduate and former offensive coordinator under Mario Cristobal at FIU in 2007 is definitely interested in getting into a position where he could call plays and make a name for himself. Right now at Florida State, head coach Jimbo Fisher calls play. Coley prepares the game plan all week and then on game days assists Fisher from the press box. 

Although Coley is a Florida State grad, a return home to South Florida for obvious reasons would be appealing. 

"I grew up on Northwest 4th Street and 18th Avenue, about two blocks from the Orange Bowl," Coley told our Susan Miller Degnan in the days leading up to this year's Orange Bowl. "The Orange Bowl was ‑‑ as kids in that community, that was our playground. Hide and seek and running onto the field and throwing the football, getting chased by the security guards, getting out of there, and parking cars. You might have parked at my house if you went to one of the games."

Coley has always had strong recruiting ties to South Florida throughout his career.

At Miami High from 1998-2000 he coached Roscoe Parrish and Andre Johnson. He then served as the offensive coordinator at Miami Norland when Dwyane Bowe and the Vikings won a state title in 2002. He was then a grad assistant at LSU under Nick Saban for two years before moving onto the Dolphins with him for two more years. At FIU, in Cristobal's first season as coach in 2007, the Golden Panthers finished just 1-11. It was Coley's only season as offensive coordinator (FIU was coming off an 0-12 season and terrible). Coley then moved onto FSU where he's worked as the tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator and now the offensive coordinator.

By taking Coley away from FSU it would also further help Miami's recruiting efforts and hurt the Seminoles, who lost a number of assistants. Is that a reason to hire an offensive coordinator away? No. But it's another reason to give Coley consideration.

Stay tuned to see if this develops into something legit. 

NCAA Bylaw Blog writer John Infante talks positives, negatives for UM with latest developments

With reports surfacing that former basketball coach Frank Haith and football recruiting coordinators Clint Hurtt and Aubrey Hill are expected to be charged with unethical conduct in the NCAA's investigation into wrongdoing done at the University of Miami, I sought the expertise of NCAA Bylaw Blog writer John Infante Tuesday morning to digest what we are hearing and how it might affect the program.

Infante, a former compliance officer at NCAA Division I schools, has been running the Bylaw Blog for over two years and his expertise has been featured on ESPN, Sports Illustrated, USA Today and numerous other media outlets. Keep in mind he isn't privy to the information the NCAA has on Miami. He simply is giving his opinion based on what he's read from published reports.

Here is the transcript of my 15 minute one-on-one Q&A with him:

Q: There were reports Monday that about four former basketball coaches and at least two former assistant football coaches will be cited for violating bylaw 10.1 "unethical conduct" in the NCAA's investigation. How does that affect Miami positively or negatively?

"Well, it sounds like nearly all the assistants are being charged with unethical conduct and it also sounds like Frank Haith is going to be charged with failing to create an atmosphere of compliance, which generally only head coaches are charged with. It can be helpful [for Miami]. The biggest thing is when you have that many coaches [charged with unethical conduct] and go in front of the Committee on Infractions there's going to be a lot of people in the room to spread blame around. When you talk about the presentations and the answers given in front of the COI, I think generally the feeling is amongst a lot of people who have gone through that process is that coaches tend not to perform as well as the institution does. In the end for Miami, it all kind of depends what kind of charges the school is facing. We kind of expect in addition to the specific violations the NCAA feels it has evidence of it's pretty much a guarantee there is going to be a failure to monitor charge. I would also be surprised if there is not a lack of institutional control charge as well. If Miami's cooperation is considered better and the coaches don't perform well in the hearing that could lead to the COI sort of finding that in spite of institutional failings by Miami this was more the coaches fault and bring the penalties down on the coaches more than on the institution -- especially considering the two post-season bans the [football program] has already imposed."

Q: How much does Miami taking a two-year ban help its case with football?

"You're probably looking at no more than [two years]. Three years of post-season ban is pretty rare -- given the USC case, which is some of the harshest sanctions. Being already two years, I'm not sure you add a third one to a school that has self-imposed two. In terms of scholarships or recruiting restrictions, I don't know if it will have as big of an impact there. I kind of feel like they took care of that post-season penalty. The COI will impose other penalties they see fit and not go into any further post-season bans. If they did that's something Miami would probably appeal."

Q: We've heard UM has done a good job cooperating with the NCAA. How much does that help?

"I forget where I saw it reported but I have seen more than just cooperation, but exceptional cooperation. One of the things fans see is that schools get rewarded for cooperating, but there is a level of cooperation you have to do to meet your obligation and then there's a level you get extra credit for. [Cooperation is] making sure you get to interview everybody you want. Going and suggesting you should interview this guy as well because he may have information too -- that's when you see something like exceptional cooperation. It could be that [the NCAA is] giving [Miami] a little bit of praise publicly just because it wants to. But it could also mean [Miami is] reaching a certain level of cooperation that has significance in the NCAA investigation where they might get a break on a penalty as a result."

Q: Would exceptional cooperation be telling former athletes that if they didn't cooperate they wouldn't be allowed back on the sidelines? We've heard that and our Barry Jackson reported that last week.

"If they were able to get people who normally wouldn't have replied to the NCAA or allowed themselves to be interviewed by the NCAA and Miami helped make that happen -- especially athletes UM has no jurisdiction over -- that's going above and beyond what the NCAA asks on the case. That may lead to a lessening of penalties. But there is already a high bar for cooperation. You have to go above and beyond that to get any sort of relief from penalties in front of the COI. Having the coaches there especially if Miami is going along with it and agreeing to the findings of the NOA and the coaches aren't the ones fighting, in the end you are dealing with people who are making a judgement call. Being the one that's not fighting and the ones who want to raise a fuss about stuff makes the school look better in comparison."

Q: Former coach Randy Shannon has not linked to any of this. In fact, we've heard stories and its been reported he was telling his players and coaches to stay away from Nevin Shapiro. Does that help Miami's football program in this case considering it appears Haith was involved with Shapiro.

"It certainly does. We've seen Shannon not being named in any of the violations and him not facing any unethical conduct or failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance charges. Because he is the head coach, he is supposed to be the one as the direct link to the administration and what they do in terms of monitoring and applying compliance. If he did that well, that helps show there was a chain of command of monitoring and promoting institutional control and thus the blame falls on the assistant coaches. If that's the case then, we may see kind of a smaller failure to monitor or lack of institutional control that could end up more centered on the basketball violations where it looks like the head coach was involved in some manner. While charges like failure to monitor are institution violations it can get to be more specific than that. It can focus on what sport led to that charge."

Q: Will UM's history play a factor? The school was still under probation for baseball violations through the 2005-2006 academic year.

"It will. It certainly will be brought up by the COI. But I think it's more important if [Miami] is considered a repeat violator in this case. I believe a lot of that depends on how far back the NCAA is able to prove the violations. I believe they had a case [in baseball] in the mid 2000s. If they did in that case -- as Yahoo! reported -- they would definitely be under a repeat violator status. The thing is we haven't seen with that repeat violator status -- outside of the USC case -- that there have been significantly harsher penalties as a result. UCF is one example. UCF was under repeat violator status -- kind of a similar violation as Miami in terms of a booster or third party who is providing benefits on a smaller scale. But again we sort of saw them impose sort of a standard penalty the COI has been imposing, losing scholarships, a one-year post-season ban, recruiting restrictions, going after the individuals and sort of move on. I think the Miami case is probably a little too big for that. But again, I do kind of think in some ways the COI is going through the motions until the new enforcement program starts up in August. There is a little bit of a sense of the current process having a lame duck quality to it. That play in Miami's favor as well."

Q: How is the NCAA's new process different and how does the fact Miami doesn't fall under the new rules help?

"The new rules are going to be harsher, it's going to be a different kind of process and involve different people. We just saw there are eight new people appointed. So, I think because of this reset almost, the NCAA sees there are flaws in this process and as of Aug. 1, 2013 were going to fix it. While the current cases are taken seriously, the fact the same penalties have been applied in the last two or three cases sort of suggests they're not going with the same fire and brimstone as they did with USC. That helps Miami."

PODCAST: Recruiting talk with InsideTheU's David Lake

Herald Sports Writer Manny Navarro talks recruiting with InsideTheU's David Lake after the Hurricanes' big weekend.

Among the players discussed: South Plantation RB Alex Collins, Port St. Lucie Centennial DL Jay-nard Bostwick, Ely CB Rashard Robinson, Booker T. Washington OL Denver Kirkland and LB Matthew Thomas and new commitment Butler (Kan.) JUCO DL Ufomba Kamalu.


NCAA investigation, Canes' recruiting chatter

Long day Monday and I fully expect the rest of the week to be busy now that the NCAA appears ready to hand the University of Miami and others its notice of allegations any day now. 

> Ultimately what I've come to understand through two sources is that the NCAA reached out verbally to the lawyers of the parties involved in the investigation last week (that includes schools where former assistants are now at) to let them know what they will be receiving in the coming week and to be prepared for it. All parties are expected to receive their notice of allegations via email sometime soon (UM should be in the same boat because this is how the process works). All parties then have 90 days to respond in writing to the NCAA before appearing at a hearing in front of the NCAA Infractions Committee in four to six months. So, as has been reported many times, we are far off from the punishment phase. You can look at it as the first half of this 22-month investigation being over.

> A source close to former UM recruiting coordinator and receivers coach Aubrey Hill told me Monday what what CBSSports.com first reported -- that Hill is expected to be cited for "unethical conduct," better known as a violation of Bylaw 10.1. Hill resigned at the University of Florida prior to the 2012 season and had far less interaction with Nevin Shapiro according to my source than Clint Hurtt. But both will reportedly face the music for not being as forthcoming as they should have been when being interviewed by the NCAA.

> A source told me two former UM assistants who are not expected to be hit hard by the NCAA are Alabama's Jeff Stoutland and Joe Pannunzio because they were honest and up front with investigators. Pannunzio is now the director of operations at Alabama; Stoutland the offensive line coach. What they could and most likely will face as punishment for driving recruits to see Shapiro are suspensions and fines, but not the dreaded 10.1. FYI, information on all coaches at non-private schools is public record. So eventually what all former assistants are facing will come out. UM, being a private school, does not have to share its NOA. 

> Don't be surprised in the end if certain individuals who played big roles in the NCAA's investigation are not named in the report and do not face any charges. As we've mentioned in the past, some who cooperated with investigators are granted immunity. In some cases, as I was told by a source interviewed by the NCAA, people who broke rules may only end up being referenced in the report and not face charges. 

> In the meantime, as the NCAA investigation continues to unfold, UM coach Al Golden and his staff are busy recruiting and preparing for National Signing Day. After it's big recruiting weekend UM picked up just one commitment -- from Nigerian-born JUCO defensive tackle Ufomba Kamalu. But another commitment could soon be on the way this week in Miramar outside linebacker Jermaine Grace.

The Rivals.com 4-star recruit visited Louisville this past weekend and was supposed to announce his college choice Tuesday morning, but Miramar coach Damon Cogdell told me yesterday Grace will now wait until Thursday or Friday. Cogdell said he was "working with TV" to have the announcement broadcast. Grace, who has long thought to be a Hurricanes lean, will choose between UM, Louisville and Tennessee.

"He likes them all," Cogdell told me on Monday of Grace's final three. "Louisville is coming off the win against Florida and talking national championship. UM is young, but loaded. Tennessee has a new coach. We're going to sit down tomorrow and figure it out."

I'm fairly confident Grace will elect to stay home. He is close friends with Hurricanes cornerback Tracy Howard, his former Miramar teammate and Miramar's coaches believe he can come in and help UM's defense right away.

> Although the mother of Port St. Lucie Centennial defensive lineman Jaynard Bostwick told Canesport.com Sunday her son's "heart is at The U" and that she thinks he'll end up there, his coach sounded a little less confident Monday it was a complete slam dunk.

"He has a trip to Florida this weekend or next weekend and then he'll make his decision," Centennial coach Ron Parker said. "I think he wants to wait until National Signing Day. I told him if you want to let the coach of the school know ahead of time, that's fine too. But he'll make the announcement on Signing Day. It's between Miami, Alabama and Florida."

Bostwick, 6-3, 305-pounds according to Parker, is the cousin of UM linebacker Thurston Armbrister and has a sister that lives in Broward County. Parker said UM coach Al Golden already did an in-home visit with Bostwick last week. He finished his senior season as a third team all-state selection, registering 60 tackles, two sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss while also being a big-time run blocker at tight end.

"He's a moose -- strong, explosive," Parker said. "We had him mostly on the edge. His junior year he had a better year because he had better players around him. This year we had nobody of that caliber. We moved him around inside and out. If he gets a little more flexible he can play on the edge at the next level."

Parker said Bostwick maxed out at 353 pounds on the bench press and squated 535 pounds. "He's just a big kid -- not fat at all," Parker said. "He's only the third kid I've had to play all four years at the varsity level in my 23 years of coaching."

Parker said Bostwick still has some work to do in the classroom. He said Bostwick, rated a 4-star recruit by both Rivals.com, 247Sports and ESPN, has a 2.3 GPA and scored a 20 on his ACT.

"We don't want him to be close; we want him to have everything he needs," Parker said. "I want him to take on online class to replace some D's he made his freshman and sophomore year. By doing that he'll bring his GPA up."

> Rivals.com recruiting analyst Robert Cassidy said of the three JUCO recruits UM has in its class tight end Beau Sandland is clearly the best and the most ready to contribute right away. Sandland was rated the No. 1 JUCO tight end by 247Sports.com after catching 24 passes for 267 yards and 3 TDs at Los Angeles Pierce College this past season.

"There's going to be some work with [outside linebacker] Devante Bond and Kamalu, but Sandland is more of a slam dunk," Cassidy said. "He's a major Division 1 football player right now. All the tools are there. Good hands. He shines with blocking too, not afraid of laying a guy on his back. He's one of my favorite JUCO players in the country."

Cassidy said he's a bit surprised Sandland ended up at Miami, even though Sandland liked UM's tradition at tight end and sees himself as sort of Jeremy Shockey-type.

"Every school in the country was recruiting him. He had a bunch of offers. But he basically had to ruled out the entire SEC because they don't take online math he took as credit," Cassidy explained. "He really liked Florida. He was all geeked to visit Florida. But it ended up coming down to Miami, Arizona State and Nebraska and he felt like he could make the bigger impact at Miami."

> As far as UM's vacant offensive coordinator position goes, I haven't heard anything serious yet. Some have wondered if Mario Cristobal would do it. That's not happening. Cristobal isn't a play-caller. He's a great recruiter and very good offensive line coach.

Funeral Arrangements Set for Ron Fraser, the "Wizard of College Baseball."

Hello Canes fans,

    Here is the release we just received from University of Miami re: Ron Fraser's funeral arrangements. May he rest in peace.

Funeral Arrangements Set for Ron Fraser


“Wizard of College Baseball” died Sunday at age 79

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Funeral arrangements for Ron Fraser, nicknamed the “Wizard of College Baseball”, who guided the Miami Hurricanes baseball program for 30 seasons, have been set by the Fraser family.

 Visitation will be held from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sun., Jan. 27 at Stanfill Funeral Homes in Miami (10545 S. Dixie Highway). A funeral mass will be held at 10 a.m. on Mon., Jan. 28 at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church in Southwest Ranches (5601 S. Flamingo Road).

 The burial will be private for the Fraser Family in Ron’s hometown of Nutley, N.J.

 “A Celebration of the Life of Ron Fraser” will be held Sat., Feb. 23 on the University of Miami campus. Details will be announced at a later date. The Fraser Family be in attendance and will receive friends following the program. Afterwards, the celebration will move to Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field for Miami’s baseball game against Milwaukee. The game has been designated as the “Remembering Ron Fraser” game, with game proceeds donated to the Ron Fraser Wizard Fund.

 Fraser, who led the Hurricanes to the 1982 and 1985 College World Series titles, coached Miami from 1963-92, amassing a 1,271-438-9 record and ended his career as the third-winningest coach in NCAA history. He was the NCAA Coach of the Year four times while at the helm at ‘The U’. He was named World Amateur Coach of the Year for leading the U.S. to its only World Amateur Championship in 1973.

 Fraser led Miami to 20 consecutive NCAA Regional berths and 12 College World Series appearances. More than 100 of his former players went on to play professionally in Major League Baseball.  In 1990, he was named “Coach of the Decade” for the 1980s by Collegiate Baseball. Fraser also enjoyed international success in leading the U.S. National Team to a Silver Medal at the 1971 and 1987 Pan American Games. He also served as head coach of the first U.S. Olympic baseball team in 1992. He led the Netherlands to three European Baseball Championships in 1960, 1962 and 1973. He is a member of 10 different halls of fame, including both the University of Miami and Florida State.


In lieu of flowers, the Fraser Family has requested that contributions be made to the Ron Fraser Wizard Fund. 

Established by the University of Miami in recognition of his lifetime of accomplishments and a distinguished legacy of helping others, the Ron Fraser Wizard Fund will honor the Hall of Fame coach with a bronze statue to be placed at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field, and help maintain the Hurricane Baseball program as the nation’s finest.

Friends and fans of the man nicknamed “The Wizard of College Baseball” can make contributions to the Ron Fraser Wizard Fund by clicking here. All gifts are tax-deductible. For more information or to make a donation by check, contact Rick Remmert, UM's Director of Alumni Programs, at 305-284-9517, or by e-mail at r.remmert@miami.edu.





8:13 a.m. Tuesday: statement by Frank Haith's lawyer reaffirming what he told us last night. Still hasn't gotten notice of allegations


   Michael L. Buckner, an attorney on former University of Miami and current Missouri head men’s basketball coach Frank Haith’s legal team, issued the following statement just now in response to CBSSports.com’s January 21, 2013, report:

“Until my client, Frank Haith, receives a notice of allegations from the NCAA, the CBSSports.com report is premature. The NCAA’s investigation in the University of Miami enforcement case is ongoing. Thus, if the NCAA had completed its inquiry, then Coach Haith would have received a notice of allegations. However, as of the morning of January 22, 2013, Coach Haith has not received the notice of allegations. Any speculation or information attributed to anonymous sources cannot be relied on until the NCAA makes a final decision on the evidence and issues the notice to the University of Miami and any other persons at-risk in the case. It is unfortunate that CBSSports.com’s unnamed source believed violating the NCAA confidentiality rules was worthwhile. The report did not advance anyone’s interests (except the source’s) and is making a mockery of what is supposed to be a fair process. Nevertheless, based on the testimony of my client, the media reports of other persons’ statements and the voluminous records we shared with the NCAA, any allegations asserted by Nevin Shapiro against my client cannot be supported.”