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A True "Golden" Panther

It's a bye week for FIU football. FIU hoops does not play again until the weekend and the FIU volleyball ladies are back on the court Saturday against Florida A&M. On Sunday, the volleyball team learns when and where it would play its first and second round games of the NCAA Tournament -- likely at either Florida State or at FIU.

So with a short break in FIU sports, I wanted to use this post to salute FIU media relations maven RichKelch Kelch, who after 31 years at the helm of FIU media relations, worked his last FIU home game on Monday night as the Panthers hoopsters played Murray State.

Rich started as a student-intern in early 1978 and was hired by FIU in July 1978 and has not stopped since making life a lot easier for the media.

Whether it was getting a player or coach on the phone at the last minute, printing out a football media guide when no media guides were going to be printed or handing out hot dogs at halftime, Rich was a tireless and outstanding asset for those who cover or covered FIU.

And even when he was understaffed at games and he was handing out food or doing stuff that many media relations heads should not be doing, Rich always did it with a smile. I would always say to him, "Rich, you shouldn't be doing that, get someone else to hand out the in-game box scores." His response was: "Pete, I'm getting my exercise in."

Rich has won 6 CoSIDA awards -- which is sort of the media relations version of the Heisman Trophy -- during his 31 years. It should have been a whole lot more, but FIU is not in a BCS conference and Rich's 40-yard dash time was a 6.3, which is 2 whole seconds slower than T.Y. Hilton -- so that probably worked against Rich's favor.

Rich also won FIU's Co-Employee of the Year in 1998. Just one question for those in charge of handing out that award at FIU........Where the hell are Rich's other Employee of the Year awards? 31 years and just one EOY award. C'mon!!

FIU should name all the press boxes at all FIU playing venues: the Rich Kelch Press Box and at the Bank name it Rich Kelch Press Row.

Like a lot of athletes, Rich will tell you it's not about the awards. But unlike a lot of athletes, Rich means what he says.

Many of you good people might not know Rich, because he works behind the scenes at the FIU games and does not diagram plays, throw a curveball or set a volleyball, but if you see him at FIU football's final home game on Dec. 5 at the Don Shula Bowl at FIU Stadium, then stand up and give Rich an ovation or a pat on the back, because he certainly deserves that and much more. 

Last year, FIU came out with its very popular "I Am FIU" campaign, but the university should re-work it for Rich,, because "FIU is Rich Kelch".


Aaapaw You good people got a 2-for-1 deal blog-wise yesterday and I was not able to get your pulse on the new FIU/Pitt football series. Tell us what you think and cast your vote below in the poll.


FIU010: Pete, Please explain to me a few things.
1. Why is it that when I look to the sidelines at the FIU-UF game in Gainesville, I see our impressive coaching staff wearing the colors of the following schools (Arkansas, Arkansas State, Army, Central Florida, Cinci, Georgia, Houston, Iowa, Louisville, Missouri...) You get my point *BLACK* It is embarrassing that our coaching staff wears black and not Blue or Gold. Who makes these wardrobe decisions?
2. What was up with the play calling on two fourth and short attempts. An option...on the short side of the field...against one of the is not the fastest defense in the country!!!???
A Daunte Owens run up the gut with a defensive line that engulfs our sunbelt caliber O-line!!??
3. Lastly, Who does Antoine Walker think he is...I'm sorry wrong Antoine, I meant Antoine Watson. Does he realize that he maybe shouldn't shoot everytime he touches the ball? He is not 3-point sharp shooter like Antoine Walker haha but tried to be. .235 FG% & .200 3P% is unacceptable!.

PP: First of all, good job stomping on the floor at the Bank and leading the cheers at the basketball game on Monday night. Somebody had to get the wine & cheese crowd going. As for your questions:

1) The coaching staff makes wardrobe decisions. I'm sure if FIU was 8-3 instead of 3-8, then you'd be thinking black is the new blue & gold in fashion talk.

2) Not sure about that will ask after practice this week.

3) This basketball team has more issues than Watson's shooting. Without any height or depth this season, it could be a long season. It certainly does not help when you have to rely on the 3-pointer so much offensively, because when the team goes cold so does the opportunity for a W.

PANTERA NATION: Pete I don't know what do u think? Maybe we can have a little survey on this...With changing the nickname to PANTERAS, we wont have to change the logo plus we get to distinguish ourselves from all the other Panthers around.

PP: I don't like the PANTERAS nickname, but it's Thanksgiving and I'm thankful for your readership so I will put a poll question below the Pitt poll question to see what the rest of GPP Nation thinks.

Concerned B-Ball Fan: Pete this hiring is looking more and more like media hype for IT and FIU then it does about building the program. I was not expecting us to be this bad. Were you?

PP: Let's see no height, no depth, IT hired on Signing Day when all of the best recruits were already signed somewhere else and not much inherited talent, yeah, I was and am expecting a bad season from FIU hoops. IT has a 5-year deal. If it is a Marsh-like FIU team 3 or 4 years from now, then you may be right. But FIU was not going to compete for the Sun Belt this season.

Were you the same guy who told me in Gainesville that FIU should be embarrassed losing to Florida? Might be time for a reality check for you.

Aaapaw With 1 game left in the season, Fomenter has clinched the Win A GPP Blog extravaganza. There are 6 contestants left competing for the 2009 Sun Belt Football Media Guide. 

WIN A GPP BLOG WEEK 11 STANDINGS (Florida Atlantic/FIU scores due by Dec. 5 at 6:59 p.m. Eastern GPP Time)


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