March 16, 2017

Tales from Tulsa: Ja'Quan Newton hopes to shine in Oklahoma like his dad did

By Michelle Kaufman

TULSA, Okla. -- University of Miami guard Ja'Quan Newton will have extra motivation to play well against Michigan State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night.

His father, Joe Newton, plans to be in the stands at the BOK Center, and he is somewhat of a legend in parts of Oklahoma. Joe Newton was a star guard at Central Oklahoma University and was named the 1998 Division II National Player of the Year. He averaged 26.1 points, 5.6 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 3.4 steals per game.

Newton he is looking forward to facing the Spartans -- especially with his father in the audience.

"I love this building, love the court," Newton said after the Canes' first practice on Thursday. "Court has an extra bounce to it, the rims are soft, basketballs are perfect, I like it. We're all really excited to play. Everybody's loose. Watching all these other games on T.V. .. I can't wait to get out there."

Familiar Face: When Baylor walked onto the BOK Center floor for practice at the end of UM's practice session, one player stood out to Hurricane players -- former UM guard Manu Lecomte, who transferred after his sophomore season. The Belgian guard wanted more playing time, didn't want to sit behind Angel Rodriguez, so he left to play for the Bears. He sat out last season, and has been a key player this season, as the Bears went 25-7, tying a school record for wins in a season. Lecomte averaged 12.4 points per game and ranked fifth in the Big 12 in three-point shooting percentage (42.2) and eighth in assists (3.9).

Lecomte missed out on UM's Sweet 16 run last season, so he is eager to play on Friday against New Mexico.

"This is my first NCAA Tournament game," he said. "I know there's a lot of motivation even though this is the team's fourth straight time. It's all new to me, so we're all really hungry."

Winning Starts: Miami has won its opening NCAA Tournament game in each of its last three appearances, and advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2013 and 2016.

Perfect attendance: Michigan State is making its 20th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance under coach Tim Izzo, the nation's third-longest active streak. The only two teams that have made more Dances in a row are Kansas (28) and Duke (22).

Scouting Report: UM coach Jim Larranaga said some of the Michgan State players remind him of players in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

"When we showed our players videotape of Lourawls Nairn, Jr., and told them his nickname is TumTum, we showed a tape of him and then compared him to John Gillon of Syracuse because the first time we played Syracuse, Gillon torched us with his speed and quickness and ability to score in the open court.

"Then we talked about Miles Bridges and the great player he is and compared him to a Jason Tatum of Duke, of how well he can score from three-point range but what a great athlete he is and how he can score in a variety of ways.

"And then we compared Nick Ward to a Kennedy Meeks, a premier low-post player, a tremendous offensive rebounder, tremendous jump hook shooter. Kennedy is right-handed. Nick Ward is left-handed. But there's a lot of similarities."

Izzo on UM: Michigan State coach Tom Izzo compared Miami to Wisconsin.

"I compare them a little bit to Wisconsin of old days, but Miami will run and is more athletic. But they have the ability to control tempo, and we'd like the tempo to be high. Tum brings that. We're going to try to push it."

March 09, 2017

November 01, 2016

UM women ranked No. 14 in preseason AP poll

By Michelle Kaufman

[email protected]

The University of Miami women's basketball team begins the 2016-17 season with high expectations after being ranked No. 14 in the preseason Associated Press poll, released Tuesday. The Canes are tied with reigning NCAA runner-up Syracuse.

Five ACC schools are in the top 15, including top-ranked Notre Dame, and UM will play seven games against Top-20 opponents.

The Hurricanes were 24-9 (10-6 ACC) last season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in six years. Ten players are back from that team, plus four new players.

The Hurricanes open the season Nov. 11 at the Kentucky Classic in Lexington, Ky., facing No. 19 Kentucky.

October 24, 2016

McClellan makes Wizards' roster; Larranaga, former teammates thrilled

By Michelle Kaufman

[email protected]

University of Miami men's basketball coach Jim Larranaga beamed with pride Monday as he reacted to the news that former Hurricane Sheldon McClellan, who went undrafted, made the Washington Wizards' 15-man roster over the weekend.

McClellan, 23, helped his chances by scoring 20 points in 32 minutes in a double-overtime win against the Philadelphia 76ers last week. He also had four assists, three rebounds and a steal.

“One of the happiest moments of 2016 was to get a text from Tommy Sheppard (Sr. Vice President of the Wizards), and it said, `You have a wall with your NBA players listed and you can now include one more – Sheldon McClellan will be a Washington Wizard this year.’'' Larranaga said. "I’m so happy for him. Deeply deserving of that acknowledgement of his ability to play basketball. He’s such a wonderful kid. I texted him, his mother, his agent.

"He has all the attributes they look for in the NBA. I think he is on his way to a long NBA career."

McClellan posted on Twitter: "Blessed!!! Dream come true was made tonight!!! Excited for my first year and the team."

UM seniors Davon Reed and Kamari Murphy, who played with McClellan last season on the Sweet 16 team, were thrilled with the news.

"I'm extremely happy for him," Reed said. "That's the end goal at the end of the day, and to have somebody you played with be there. That's where we all want to be...It's good for the younger guys to see a former player in the NBA and people have heard about his work ethic, what it takes and that will definitely inspires some of our players."

Murphy added: "It's good to have somebody that close to us in that environment to give us feedback on what to expect, things we need to do to get to that level."



June 28, 2016

UM coaches on Pat Summitt's death

By Michelle Kaufman

Like all college basketball fans, University of Miami coaches Katie Meier and Jim Larranaga were deeply saddened to wake up Tuesday to the news that legendary University of Tennessee coach Pat Summitt had died at age 64.

"I didn't know her personally. I viewed her and her career from afar," said Larranaga. "I thought of her as the Dr. James Naismith of women's college basketball. She put women's basketball on the map. She was the dominant coach for the first 20 years after Title IX."

Meier did know Summitt well, and had this to say:

"Pat Summitt was such an iconic figure in our sport. She just elevated every conversation, clinic or recruiting event. She always reminded the younger coaches to `act right' and to lead with strength and compassion. She inspired a generation of female competitors who will continue to give back."

Back in 2011, when the then-No. 7 Hurricanes played No. 3 Tennessee, Meier was asked about Summitt.

She said: "I could spend two hours on that. She is obviously the best at her profession. When Pat wins, women's basketball's happy. They (Summitt and her staff) have been so helpful. They're cheering for you, supporting you. If you want to come to a practice, they let you. They're all about women's basketball, especially Coach Summitt.

"I've been lucky enough to have exposure to them and how they operate. I hope everyone in our profession appreciates it. I have a ton of respect and owe a lot of my career to Tennessee, their generosity. If I needed an out of bounds play, I could call (then-assistant) Holly (Warwick) or Coach Summitt right now and they’d give me an out of bounds play to make me a better coach. That’s what they’re in it for, opportunity for young players, and coaches. I wish I’d see more of it in the sport. It is rare and a wonderful thing that they’ve been headliners this whole time for women’s basketball.’’

June 24, 2016

McClellan to Wizards, Rodriguez to Spurs

By Michelle Kaufman

Former University of Miami guard Sheldon McClellan confirmed Friday that he has a partial contract offer from the Washington Wizards that he will sign when he reports to camp on July 1.

McClellan, 6-6, was not selected in the NBA Draft on Thursday night, but had interest from several teams.

Hurricane teammate Angel Rodriguez also got good news on Friday. He was invited by the San Antonio Spurs to Summer League.

"All I need is an opportunity, I'll take care of the rest," Rodriguez said. "I'm always going to bet on myself, that's for sure!"

Tonye Jekiri was still weighing his options.

McClellan awaiting offer, possibly from Wizards

By Michelle Kaufman

Former University of Miami guard Sheldon McClellan watched the NBA draft from his home in Houston, and like so many talented college basketball players, was not among the players chosen Thursday night.

But, reached at 1 a.m., he said he was awaiting word from his agent about a contract, possibly with the Washington Wizards, one of the 11 teams he worked out for in the past month. The Wizards had shown a lot of interest, and let it be known they'd be interested in signing him if he went undrafted. He would join the team for the summer league, which begins the second week of July.

Asked if it was a nerve-wracking night, McClellan replied: "No, not at all. I'm excited about the opportunity and blessed to even be considered. I have several options in front of me right now, so I'm in great shape."

McClellan, 6-6, was projected on some mock drafts as a late second-round pick. He did well at he NBA draft combine. One of the only knocks on him is his age. He will turn 24 in December, and the trend is for NBA teams to go with younger players.

McClellan's UM teammates Angel Rodriguez and Tonye Jekiri also were undrafted. Both also got looks from many NBA clubs and could land in the summer league or overseas.

January 04, 2016

Alumnus Mike Rumph confirmed to be headed to UM as new CBs coach

            Mike Rumph was part of the last national championship team at the University of Miami.

            Rumph is headed back to his alma mater to try and help them win another one.

            Rumph, who spent the past three years as the head football coach at Plantation American Heritage School, is set to join the coaching staff at UM under new coach Mark Richt.

   first reported that Rumph has been hired as the Hurricanes’ cornerbacks coach, a position he played at UM and in the NFL.

American Heritage athletic director Karen Stearns confirmed that Rumph met with his team Monday morning to let them know he would be leaving. Rumph did not immediately return phone calls Monday morning to The Miami Herald.

“Mike called me last night and let me know he was leaving,” Stearns said. “It was an emotional meeting with the kids and obviously we’re sad to lose him, but we’re thrilled for him. It’s very exciting for him, for UM, and for all of us. It’s a great move.”

            Rumph starred at UM where he had six career interceptions and finished his college career on UM’s star-studded 2001 national championship team.

            Rumph, 36, played six seasons in the NFL and had stints with the 49ers, who drafted him in the first round in 2002 and later the Redskins and Rams.

            Not long after retiring following the 2007 season, Rumph went into coaching.

            Rumph became an assistant coach at Miramar Everglades in 2010 and later at American Heritage in Plantation.

In 2013, Rumph replaced former Miami Dolphin Jeff Dellenbach as the school’s head coach and guided the Patriots to back-to-back state championships and a regional semifinals appearance this past season. During that time, American Heritage went 35-6.

Rumph replaces UM defensive backs coach Paul Williams, who has reportedly been hired at the University of Illinois. Williams spent the past five seasons coaching at UM originally under former coach Al Golden.

October 26, 2015

Miami Hurricane recruits react to Al Golden firing

With the firing of Al Golden announced by UM Sunday evening, recruits reacted.

Wellington wide receiver Ahmmon Richards responded in the most extreme way. He decommitted Sunday night with this tweet.

*Three-star cornerback out of Hallandale Deion Jackson said the firing won't affect his commitment, but did say he felt the move was "stupid."

He added: "Golden was a good coach. He had chemistry with the team. He literally used to go on the field and work with the players himself.

"Golden brought a family together. He always used to say, 'This is not just a football program, it's a family.' Half of these college coaches don't care. They don't care. They don't even look some recruits in the eye when they speak to recruits. Golden did and always stayed on top of me with my grades and things like that.

"Other college coaches don't care about building chemistry. If you're good, they want you just to win."

*Jackson's teammate at Hallandale, running back Zack Moss, says the change doesn't affect his commitment.

"I didn't commit to the coaches," he says. "I just look at rosters, mainly my position."

*Lantana Santaluces linebacker Zach McCloud will take a wait-and-see approach. He doesn't have much time as he plans to be an early enrollee in January for the spring semester.

"To be honest, I'm waiting before I make any big decisions. My biggest concern in this process is my future with only three months to decide since I'll be an early enrollee," he says. "I'm not comfortable at the moment, still being patient, though. I want to make an informed decision."

*Four-star St. Thomas Aquinas wide receiver Sam Bruce, who was in attendance to watch UM's 58-0 debacle against Clemson and has also recently taken an Ohio State visit, when reached said: "No comment."

But Bruce later made his opinion known with the tweets below.

The latter of the two statements, of course, is in reference to UM wide receivers coach Kevin Beard who once coached Bruce at University School. 

*Fellow Aquinas wide receiver and legacy Cane commit Michael Irvin II voiced his displeasure with the decision earlier Sunday.

*Teammate at Aquinas and 2017 linebacker Tyler Dunning had no comment but did post this to Twitter.

*Dionte Mullins' mother posted this on Twitter, noting "#StillCommitted" at the end.

*2017 safety out of Jacksonville Bolles Ahman Ross said, "Committed to UM. I will, of course, evaluate the staff, but I am committed to UM."

*Four-star athlete Tyler Byrd out of Naples posted this.

*Nick Roberts, 2017 defensive back out of Orange Park Oakleaf, expressed similar sentiments in this post.

*Deltona assistant coach David Williams said of senior tight end/defensive end Evan Hinson: "We're staying committed on our end."

*Fort Lauderdale coach Richard Dunbar said of committed defensive end Jaquwan Nelson, "Jaquwan will stay committed to UM but will take all of his visits. Just not sure what the university is thinking at this point. That's very critical for him."

Dunbar is referring to whether the new staff that comes in will continue to recruit his three-star defensive end, which has recorded 66 tackles and 15 sacks on the year.

*The latest UM commit, 2018 wide receiver Daquris Wiggins, said: "I'm still committed."


October 23, 2015

New Unis for UM hoops...

In case you don't follow me on Twitter (shame on you!..just kidding...but you may want to add me to your list if you care about Canes hoops)...

The men's and women's teams had a Medium-Sized Reveal party last night, attended by UM basketball's biggest boosters. It wasn't quite the extravaganza at LIV that the football team got, but it was a nice affair -- with plenty of lovely appetizers.

Here is what the Canes will be wearing this season....


Be on the lookout early next week for my preview stories on the men's and women's teams.

It should be an interesting season with nearly everyone back, the addition of Oklahoma State transfer Kamari Murphy, and a leaner, quicker Ivan Cruz Uceda (he dropped 20 lbs and went from 24 percent body fat to 9 percent..I want to use his trainer!!)

The schedule has lots of big home games -- Dec. 1 vs. Nebraska, Dec. 8 vs. the Florida Gators, Dec. 29 vs. Princeton, Jan. 2 vs. Syracuse, Jan. 9 vs Florida State Seminoles, Jan. 25 vs. Duke, Feb. 3 vs. Notre Dame, Feb. 22 vs. Virginia and Feb. 27 vs. Louisville.

On the women's team, the Hurricanes are very excited (read: giddy) about the addition of "Double Dutch'' freshmen Laura Cornelius and Emese Hof. They are both members of the Netherlands youth national team, played in the U19 World Championship, and word is they are picking things up really quickly and poised to make an instant impact.

See you at the BUC!

---Michelle Kaufman

March 12, 2015

Pre-game scene @ACC Tourney

About 40 minutes 'til tipoff for the ACC Tournament quarterfinal between UM and No. 11 Notre Dame. Canes are the sixth seed, Irish the third.

A few pre-game scenes...

Ran across this super fan in the parking lot!


Her name is B.J. Abolt, a retired auto tag agency owner who drove up with a friend from LaBelle, Fla., near Fort Myers.

They came up in a motor coach for the women’s basketball tournament and stayed for the men’s. Her brother and sister-in-law went to UM, and she adopted their team. She travels all over the country for UM sporting events. The license tag on her car back home is “CANES,’’ and the tag on her motor coach and Jeep is “2 4 U.’’

Why does she love the basketball teams so much?

“I grew up in Indiana with a basketball in my hand,’’ said Abolt. “I’m a big football fan, but now we have such terrific coaches that we’re involved with the basketball programs and it’s fun. This team, if they’re on, they can beat anybody here. Anybody.’’

She went on to rave about UM women's coach Katie Meier and men's coach Jim Larranaga, saying both are great teachers who make their players better.

A little while later, in the arena hallway, the Canes took over the hallway for some pre-game calisthenics.


Good news for us reporters writing on tight deadline tonight...Duke is crushing NC State 77-51 with 2 minutes to go, which means the UM game should start earlier than last night's 9:43 p.m. tipoff.

Enjoy the game -- Michelle Kaufman

January 23, 2015

UM apologizes for fan shoving NC St. player

During Miami's 65-60 win over NC State Thursday night, a UM fan shoved Wolfpack player Anthony Barber. It was captured on video. UM athletic director Blake James released this statement:

After tonight’s game I was made aware of an incident involving one of our fans and a North Carolina State University student-athlete. First I want to apologize to the student-athlete involved, Coach Mark Gottfried and North Carolina State University.  This type of behavior is not representative of the University of Miami or our athletic program, and will not be tolerated. We will review the video and discuss with the ACC the appropriate actions in addressing this issue. 


December 28, 2013

Russell Athletic Bowl live blog: UM vs. Louisville

ORLANDO -- The Hurricanes (9-3) hope to complete their first 10-win season in a decade with a win over 18th-ranked Louisville (11-1) at 6:45 p.m. tonight at The Citrus Bowl.

It won't be easy. Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, a former standout at Miami Northwestern and once a UM commitment when Randy Shannon was coach, leads a potent Louisville passing attack.

Las Vegas lists the Cardinals as a 3 1/2 point favorite. With good reason, too. Despite facing a pretty weak schedule, Louisville is sound defensively. 

We'll be here to provide live updates as usual on Twitter and in our live blog. 

November 15, 2013

Counting stars: Why Al Golden is still very much trying to rebuild the Miami Hurricanes

It's easy to argue second-ranked Florida State was a deeper and more talented team than the Hurricanes two weeks ago and ultimately that's as big a reason as any why the Seminoles turned a close game at haftime into a 41-14 rout.

And it clearly was. Go back and read the Counting Stars blog I did before the game it shows you the Seminoles were not only deeper but loaded with more overall blue-chip talent position-by-position.

What's been irking most fans about Miami's loss to Virginia Tech (7-3, 4-2 ACC) last weekend at home -- aside from the perceived poor coaching by defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio -- is that UM should be on par with the Hokies in terms of overall talent, if not loaded with more.

This Saturday afternoon's game at Duke (7-2, 3-2 ACC) should be a case where the Hurricanes are clearly the more talented and deeper team. But the truth is the talent gap isn't as wide as one might believe.

Duke's starting lineup for instance features six three-star prospects on offense (QB Anthony Boone, RB Josh Snead, WR Jamison Crowder, LT Takoby Cofield, LG Dave Harding, RG Laken Tomlinson) and six on defense (S Jeremy Cash, CB Ross Cockrell, DE Justin Foxx, DE Kenny Anunike, LB Kelby Brown, LB David Helton). There's depth too with another dozen 3-star prospects as backups.

Virginia Tech's offense featured four 4-star prospects in the starting lineup (QB Logan Thomas, TB Trey Edmunds, WR DJ Coles, RT Brent Benedict) and five other 3-star prospects. The defense featured 5-star recruit Kendall Fuller at outside linebacker, four-star safety Kyshoen Jarrett and three-star recruits everywhere else. The only players considered hidden gems: LB Jack Tyler (no stars) and defensive tackle Luther Maddy (2-stars). The Hokies were also loaded with experience (309 career starts on defense and 149 on offense).

The recruiting star-system obviously isn't a perfect science. Some 5-star kids bomb and some two-star kids turn into gems. But what the system does tell you at least pretty clearly is how heavily recruited each player is.

Five-star recruits are blue-chippers with offers from many, if not all of the country's top BCS programs. Four-star recruits aren't far behind, and three-star recruits generally have between five to 10 offers from decent Division I programs. Two-star recruits and below are players considered reaches and usually players with only one or two legit offers to play at the FBS level.

The Hurricanes have had higher-ranked recruiting classes (15th in 2009; 16th in 2010; 36th in 2011; 9th in 2012; 20th in 2013) than Virginia Tech (23rd in 2009; 23rd in 2010; 33rd in 2011; 22nd in 2012; 23rd in 2013) and Duke (51st in 2009; 71st in 2010; 76th in 2011; 52nd in 2012; 67th in 2013) over the last five years according to

But that only explains a small part of the story.

Miami signed 118 players over the last five seasons and 42 that helped make those classes Top 25-worthy ran into trouble at one point or another, cutting their careers at UM short. That's nearly 36 percent.

Some never or haven't made it into school, some transferred, some were forced out because of discipline issues and some had injuries they never recovered from. All the while for the past three years, UM has had to also deal with an NCAA cloud over its head.


A look back at Randy Shannon's last two recruiting classes (2009 and 2010) and Al Golden's first three (2011, 2012, 2013) better illustrate the point below.

> Of the 48 players Randy Shannon signed in his final two recruiting classes, three left early for the draft (Lamar Miller, Brandon Washington, Olivier Vernon all 4-star recruits) and three used up their eligibility (3-star TE Chase Ford, 4-star CB Brandon McGee and 4-star RB Mike James).

> The more eye-opening number? A total of 21 signees from those two classes either transferred or ran into academic or discipline issues. Two were 5-star recruits (defensive backs Ray-Ray Armstrong and Latwan Anderson) and another six were 4-star recruits (defensive tackle Tavadis Glenn, linebacker Travis Williams, offensive lineman Jermaine Johnson, defensive end Dyron Dye, defensive back Jamal Reid and running back Storm Johnson).

> Of the 21 players Shannon recruited still at UM, one is a 5-star recruit (OL Seantrel Henderson), four are 4-star recruits (OL Malcolm Bunche, RB Eduardo Clements, OL Brandon Linder and DT Luther Robinson), a dozen are 3-star recruits (QB Stephen Morris, WR Allen Hurns, OL Jon Feliciano, FB Maurice Hagens, C Shane McDermott, DE Shayon Green, S Kacy Rodgers, LB Tyrone Cornelius among the notables) and four are two-star recruits (TE Clive Walford, TE Asante Cleveland, LB Kelvin Cain, LB Jimmy Gaines).

> UM recruited 24 defensive players between 2009 and 2010. A total of 13 either transferred or ran into academic or discipline issues. Two are in the NFL (Brandon McGee, Olivier Vernon), six are still here serving as starters (Curtis Porter, Shayon Green, Tyrone Cornelius, Kacy Rodgers, Jimmy Gaines, AJ Highsmith) and three are career backups (Luther Robinson, David Perry, Kelvin Cain).


Golden had six weeks after being named UM's coach in December 2010 to wrap up the Hurricanes 2011 signing class, which makes up UM's juniors and redshirt sophomore class. He reeled in 18 recruits including 13 on defense.

Only two were four-star prospects: defensive ends Anthony Chickillo (12.5 sacks in 30 career starts) and Jalen Grimble (transferred to Oregon State this fall).

Of the eight 3-star defensive recruits, one (Dallas Crawford) was switched to running back, five are no longer with the program (CB Thomas Finnie, LB Gionni Paul, DE Ricardo Williams, LB Eddie Johnson, LB Antonio Kinard) and only two start (LB Denzel Perryman, DE Olsen Pierre). The other recruits: defensive tackle Corey King, linebacker Thurston Armrbister and JUCO defensive tackle Darius Smith (graduated) were late additions and nowhere on the recruiting radar.

The other five recruits in the 2011 class were receivers Phillip Dorsett (3-star) and Rashawn Scott (3-star), running back Kevin Grooms (3-star, now at Marshall), JUCO punter Dalton Botts (now gone) and Matt Goudis (2-star, now 7 of 11 on FGs in 2013).


Where Golden has finally begun to catchup is in his last two recruiting classes.

The Hurricanes signed 33 players in 2012 (at least three more than any other program in the country).

Of that group a dozen have made instant impacts either as starters or backups. Those are: five-star prospects RB Duke Johnson and CB Tracy Howard, four-star prospects LT Ereck Flowers, WR Malcolm Lewis, S Deon Bush, DE Jelani Hamilton, LB Raphael Kirby and DE Tyriq McCord and three 3-star additions WR Herb Waters, S Rayshawn Jenkins, CB Antonio Crawford and CB Ladarius Gunter.

Another 11 serve as reserves (all 3-star prospects): DE Dwayne Hoillett, WR D'Mauri Jones, QB Gray Crow, OL Danny Isidora, OL Taylor Gadbois, DE Dwayne Hoillett, DT Earl Moore, LB Jawand Blue, TE Jake O'Donnell, CB Nate Dortch and CB Larry Hope.

But another group of 10 either never got in, aren't here anymore or ended their football careers early. Among those: 4-star WR Angelo Jean-Louis (never got in) and WR Robert Lockhart (transfer) and 3-stars prospects WR Jontavious Carter (transfer), RB Danny Dillard (transfer), QB Preston Dewey (back), QB David Thompson (baseball only), CB Vernon Davis (West Virginia), DT Jacoby Briscoe, DT Dequan Ivery (Northeast Mississippi) and LB Josh Witt (concussions).

> The 2013 class featured 19 recruits including nine four-star recruits. But of that group, only 16 are physically at UM (ATH Ryheem Lockley, WR Derrick Griffin and LB Devante Bond aren't).

A group of seven are already in the two-deep: WR Stacy Coley (4-star), RB Gus Edwards (3-star), FB Walter Tucker (2-star), TE Beau Sandland (4-star), CB Corn Elder (4-star), DE Ufomba Kamalu (2-star), CB Artie Burns (4-star).

Another four play in reserve duty and on special teams: DE Quan Muhammad (4-star), DB Jamal Carter (4-star), LB Jermaine Grace (4-star) and OL Alex Gall (3-star).

And another five appear headed toward a redshirt: TE Standish Dobard (3-star), QB Kevin Olsen (4-star), CB Ray Lewis III (3-star), OL Sunny Odogwu (3-star) and OL Hunter Knighton (3-star).


Even if you believe UM's recent struggles have to do with poor coaching, player development or play-calling, you can't ignore the amount of attrition the Hurricanes have endured the last five years.

Just because UM has had decent recruiting class rankings the last five years doesn't mean the shelves are loaded with enough talent for this program to be "back."

I spoke to three different recruiting analysts Thursday who all said the same thing: Miami is not deep enough anywhere and the overall talent isn't good enough to be a legit contender this year. And it probably won't be for another year or two at least.

Why? In part because Golden was dealing with an NCAA mess and in trying to do so probably took some players early in the recruiting process that normally wouldn't be at UM if they were sanction-free. 

The 2014 class, however, appears to be the start to the road back. The defensive line haul is impressive. Brad Kaaya is considered by many to be UM's best quarterback recruit in some time. The offensive line is also very good.

What talent is here now is young and growing. The older talent? One could argue Golden and his staff tried to squeeze as much out of it as they could.

I spoke with Tony Pauline of Wednesday. Who does he like among Miami's draft-eligible 2014 class of seniors and juniors?

"None of them really," he said. "I liked Morris a lot going into the season. He's shown some ability at times this year, but at other times he just makes passes and you scratch your head and say 'What the [heck] was that all about?' Too much inconsistency.

"Seantrel Henderson. He's the same thing to a much greater degree. Off the field issues. He just hasn't seemed to elevate his game.

"I do like Perryman a lot. The thing with him is going to be size, speed issues. I think Linder is going to be a late day steal. I think Linder in the right system can be a 10-year pro. I think he's going to be a guy drafted somewhere in the later rounds.

"I do like Jimmy Gaines. In the sense he's elevated his game, his head is in the right direction. Gaines you're thinking at best a late round pick or somebody who works his way onto the roster as a free agent. And then Allen Hurns, who is probably a last day guy. That's it."

November 09, 2013

Golden after loss to Virginia Tech: "Whatever I say is an excuse. At the end of the day, we have to fix it."

On the difficulties in fighting uphill after falling behind early...

“Huge. You can’t spot them 21 points like that. At the end of the day, we executed the punt return and kick-off return exactly what we wanted - one was 30 [yards], one was 50 [yards], and we fumbled both of them. Just inexcusable. We had a low snap and gave them a short field there, and now you’re playing uphill the whole time. They’re basically playing keep-away at that moment. We didn’t get off the field well enough on third down. We didn’t convert enough plays on offense. Just really disappointed in those mistakes.”

On lopsided time of possession in the first quarter affecting chances of success...

“There isn’t any question about it. We had two fumbles and basically what amounted to a fumble on the low snap that we were down on. To start out the game like that, I don’t think there’s anybody in this business that would see that coming. There’s just no way that should happen. I’m really disappointed there.”

On the general issues that he sees with his team’s defense...

“We didn’t get off the field enough on third down. We missed too many tackles - too many egregious third downs that they converted. Really against the odds plays for them that they converted, and we didn’t stop them enough in the red zone. Even with the mistakes that we aided them [with] in the half, I think we were still only in the 30’s going into halftime play-wise. Not that that’s great, but it’s not like it was 40 or 50 plays. Again, just really disappointed. We didn’t deserve to win. We didn’t protect the ball, a low snap, three big blunders to start the game, and as I just said to them, don’t let anyone say we weren’t ready, we weren’t focused. If everyone is blocking who they’re supposed to be and we return it 50 yards, we’re ready to play. We fumbled the ball. We had a good scheme and we fumbled the ball. We score early on a screen, we’re ready to play. Just really disappointing. It’s impossible to overcome those odds.”

On how the weather affected his team’s gameplan...

“None. Zero. Don’t let anyone say the rain affected those fumbles. They started to get in traffic, you have to cover that up, and the ball should be higher. Something we work on constantly. The ball was just too low, the point was down. I’m embarrassed by it, to be honest with you.”

On any systemic issues he sees with the defense...

“We need to help them on special teams and on offense. There are a lot of things we need to fix. We had too many guys open, we didn’t tackle well enough, we didn’t get off the field, we didn’t get a red-zone stop, and we didn’t get enough pressure on the quarterback.”

On if the same issues that plagued the defense last week were recurring against Virginia Tech...

“The numbers would say yes. There were too many third-and-longs, too many against-the-odds third downs they converted. It was the function of two things: we blew a coverage – a man got free or cut a guy loose - lost leverage in the zone, or we didn’t tackle real well.”

On the play of the Virginia Tech wide receivers...

“We had some guys running free. We got out-leveraged a couple of times. As I said, we didn’t tackle. There’s no excuse. It has to be better, it wasn’t good enough, and it’s my responsibility to get it fixed.”

On what his team needs to do better offensively...

“We needed to get the ball. Obviously on the two occasions that we fumbled it, those two possessions certainly could help. We’re not good enough right now on third down. We’re not converting enough on third down with enough consistency, and obviously that’s an excellent defense we’re playing [against]. [When] you spot them 21 points, you’re fighting an uphill battle. It gets skewed when you make those kind of mistakes. It’s really tough. We didn’t convert enough of our shots down the field.”

On if he anticipates making any changes to his defensive scheme...

“We have to look at it. It would be premature to say we have to change things when we really had too many unforced errors, to be honest with you.”

On if the cushion for Virginia Tech wide receivers on third down was the product of mental errors...

“I know twice we got rubbed off and didn’t stay on our man, the other one we missed a tackle. We’re playing man [coverage] a couple of times, so it wasn’t like we weren’t being aggressive. We didn’t get it done. There’s no excuse. We’ll examine it, look at it, from top to bottom.”

On the Coastal Division race...

“We’re going to go to work tomorrow, like I just told the team. I’m going to be in there, getting back to work. They have to decide which direction they want to go – there’s a lot of football left. They have to get their minds right and move on. I don’t want to hear anything about last week’s game affecting this week’s game. We were ready to play. We did not take care of the football, and it really was the equivalent of three turnovers early in that game when you look at the two kick plays and the knee down. We didn’t tackle well enough, we didn’t get out of the field well enough, we didn’t get a red zone stop on defense. On offense, we didn’t run the ball well enough, we didn’t convert on third down, we didn’t hit the shots when we had them down the field, and we dropped a few [passes], to be honest with you.”

On the differences he sees from his team’s win against Florida to the loss against Virginia Tech...

“Whatever I say is an excuse. At the end of the day, we have to fix it. We have to go back to work and fix it. I’m not even going to go down that path. We’re all responsible for it, I’m responsible for it, and we’re going to go to work tomorrow on getting it fixed and getting this thing right, and do all the little things right to move forward and move the program forward. That’s what we have to all get going tomorrow.”

September 07, 2013

Gameday blog: Canes vs. Gators

It's the big day. 

We'll be hosting our live chat as usual. Join us in CoverItLive. 

Kickoff is at noon. Gators are a three-point favorite. Game can be seen on ESPN and heard on WQAM (560 AM locally). Make sure to follow me on Twitter @Manny_Navarro. I posted plenty of pregame Vines and photos.

June 04, 2013

Report: Incoming UM quarterback Kevin Olsen charged in one-car crash

BY SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN, [email protected]

Kevin OlsenThe University of Miami’s quarterback of the future, Wayne Hills, N.J., High School senior and soon-to-be graduate Kevin Olsen, was charged with “leaving the scene of an accident after he smashed his car into a vehicle in his hometown of Wayne” on May 25, according to court records reported Monday by The Wayne Patch local newspaper. 

Olsen “was additionally charged with failure to report an accident and careless driving” after the incident was witnessed by a bystander who said the quarterback “crashed his car into a tree and drove away,” according to the Wayne Patch. 

After checking out the damage, the report said, Olsen hit another car “parked on the road” in the neighborhood while leaving the scene. 

According to the paper, the police report said Olsen’s face appeared to have blood on it and that he “appeared to be under the influence of something.” 

He is reportedly scheduled to appear in Wayne Municipal Court on June 20. 

Olsen’s older brother Greg was a tight end for the Hurricanes and now plays for the Carolina Panthers in the NFL. Kevin Olsen is scheduled to report to UM to begin his collegiate career this summer.

The university said Tuesday it was unaware of Olsen's legal situation. "We are still trying to gather information about what happened," said Chris Yandle, UM's director of communications for athletics.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Tampa Bay Times, Lara Cerri

February 19, 2013

Shalala releases statement on NOA


“The University of Miami deeply regrets and takes full responsibility for those NCAA violations that are based on fact and are corroborated by multiple individuals and/or documentation.  We have already self-imposed a bowl ban for an unprecedented two-year period, forfeited the opportunity to participate in an ACC championship game, and withheld student-athletes from competition.

"Over the two and a half years since the University of Miami first contacted the NCAA enforcement staff about allegations of rules violations, the NCAA interviewed dozens of witnesses, including current and former Miami employees and student-athletes, and received thousands of requested documents and emails from the University.  Yet despite our efforts to aid the investigation, the NCAA acknowledged on February 18, 2013 that it violated its own policies and procedures in an attempt to validate the allegations made by a convicted felon.  Many of the allegations included in the Notice of Allegations remain unsubstantiated. 

"Now that the Notice of Allegations has been issued, let me provide some context to the investigation itself:

> Many of the charges brought forth are based on the word of a man who made a fortune by lying. The NCAA enforcement staff acknowledged to the University that if Nevin Shapiro, a convicted con man, said something more than once, it considered the allegation “corroborated”—an argument which is both ludicrous and counter to legal practice.

> Most of the sensationalized media accounts of Shapiro’s claims are found nowhere in the Notice of Allegations.  Despite their efforts over two and a half years, the NCAA enforcement staff could not find evidence of prostitution, expensive cars for players, expensive dinners paid for by boosters, player bounty payments, rampant alcohol and drug use, or the alleged hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and gifts given to student-athletes, as reported in the media.  The fabricated story played well—the facts did not. 

> The NCAA enforcement staff failed, even after repeated requests, to interview many essential witnesses of great integrity who could have provided first-hand testimony, including, unbelievably, Paul Dee, who has since passed away, but who served as Miami Athletic Director during many of the years that violations were alleged to have occurred.  How could a supposedly thorough and fair investigation not even include the Director of Athletics? 

> Finally, we believe the NCAA was responsible for damaging leaks of unsubstantiated allegations over the course of the investigation.   

Let me be clear again: for any rule violation—substantiated and proven with facts—that the University, its employees, or student-athletes committed, we have been and should be held accountable.  We have worked hard to improve our compliance oversight, and we have already self-imposed harsh sanctions.   

We deeply regret any violations, but we have suffered enough. 

The University and counsel will work diligently to prepare our official response to the Notice of Allegations and submit it to the Committee on Infractions within the required 90-day time period. 

We trust that the Committee on Infractions will provide the fairness and integrity missing during the investigative process.”

A timeline of the NCAA's inquiry into UM, Shapiro, his lawyer and the conduct of the enforcement staff

In case you didn't have the time to read all 52 pages of the external review committee's findings into the conduct of the NCAA enforcement committee on Monday, here's a timeline of facts and events as it pertains to the UM investigation.

It might provide a clearer picture for you of who, what, when, where and even why as we move forward in all this. 


> August 2010: Former booster Nevin Shapiro tells our Barry Jackson he's prepared to write a tell-all book that will bring the University of Miami football program down. 

> February 2011: Shapiro sends email to Rich Johanningmeier, Associate Director of Enforcement at the NCAA. Shapiro makes allegations that over nearly a 10-year period he colluded with student-athletes and coaches to provide improper benefits. The NCAA buys Shapiro a disposable cell phone and expends roughly $8,200 to fund communications with Shapiro. At one point they transfer $4,500 to his prison to pay for the communication expenses.

> April 2011: Johanningmeier makes contact for the first time with Shapiro's attorney, Maria Elena Perez, after Shapiro requests she be informed of his cooperation with the NCAA investigation.

> April 21, 2011: NCAA asks for copies of Shapiro's FBI 302 reports. A week later, Perez tells the NCAA she is not able to provide copies of the FBI 302 reports but offers to "extract the information regarding any reported NCAA violations or the like." In a email later, Perez tells the enforcement staff she can prepare summaries of Shapiro's 302 reports at a rate of $575 per hour and provide a retainer for the agreement.

> May 2011: After speaking to Shapiro for months, NCAA enforcement staff members Ameen Najjar, who heads the NCAA's investigation, and Johanningmeier meet with Shapiro in jail twice. Najjar visits alone a third time. In one visit, Shapiro provides the enforcement staff with four boxes of documents related to his allegations.

> Aug. 2011: The enforcement staff briefs NCAA President Mark Emmert for the first time in the investigation. Shortly thereafter, Johanningmeier and Najjar meet with UM President Donna Shalala to present her with a notice of inquiry.

> Aug. 15, 2011: UM equipment manager Sean Allen is interviewed for the first time. He later tells The Miami Herald and other publications he lied through his teeth in the initial interview.

> Aug. 16, 2011: Yahoo! publishes its expose of Shapiro's allegations. A day later, UM coach Al Golden said he was blind-sided by the story and had no idea when he was hired UM was facing an investigation.

> Aug. 25, 2011: UM declares 13 football players ineligible and eight serve suspensions.

> Sept. 28, 2011: Perez proposes the idea of leveraging the subpoena process in Mr. Shapiro's ongoing bankruptcy proceedings to compel certain witnesses to provide the testimony they were seeking. Perez tells Najjar that Shapiro wants to help because it helped the Bankruptcy Trustee and because it would help Shapiro "get revenge on the University of Miami and its student-athletes who had turned their back on him."

Despite the advice of the NCAA's legal staff not to retain Ms. Perez, the enforcement staff proceeds with Perez's idea. The notes from the NCAA investigation case strategy meeting suggest the Bankruptcy Trustee did not intend to depose Shapiro's former bodyguard Mario Sanchez, Allen (UM's equipment manager) or Michael Huyghue, Shapiro's business partner at Axcess Sports Agency. That evening Najjar reports the idea to Julie Roe Lach, the Vice President of Enforcement, and Tom Hosty, the managing director of enforcement.

Lach later tells the outside counsel hired by the NCAA she could not recall Najjar's email had not heard of Shapiro's lawyer before that date. Hosty said he did not know about the UM case until August 2011, but he had been briefed on interviews with Mr. Shapiro and knew of Ms. Perez prior to receiving the September 28, 2011.

> Oct. 4, 2011: Perez provides the NCAA with a written proposal to conduct depositions of nine individuals including Huyghue, Allen and Sanchez and her "expenses and legal fees" are estimated to be at $20,000.

> Oct. 10, 2011: UM's counsel of Judd Goldberg and Michael Glazier knew of Perez's proposal before it is presented to the NCAA supervisors for approval. In a conference call with Najjar and Johanningmeier they raise three concerns: 1. That Perez would leak information because she was not bound by the NCAA's confidentiality policy; 2. Perez was not trustworthy; 3. Perez was not listed as an attorney in Shapiro's bankruptcy and did not have the authority to issue the bankruptcy subpoenas.

In another email, Najjar tells Perez the NCAA only wants to depose Sanchez, Allen, Huyghue and only two other individuals of the nine mentioned in her proposal. Another person not named by Perez, but named by the NCAA is basketball booster David Leshner.

Najjar then sends an email to Lach and Hosty about hiring Perez to conduct depositions of the six individuals he previously listed and informs them it could cost roughly $20,000 for the work. Najjar tells the outside counsel later he sought approval simply for the expenditure and to get the guidance whether the arrangement was permissible under NCAA bylaws.

Hosty replies to Najjar's email that same day saying: "Most intriguing. I don't know what we can afford from costs, but this could be a creative solution for bigger breakthroughs on evidence."

Lach emails Isch to green-light the funding. She then emails Hosty to clear the proposal with Naima Stevenson, a member of the NCAA's legal staff.

> Oct. 13, 2011: Hosty forward's Najjar's email to Stevenson asking her if she saw any legal issues. She promptly reviewed the email and said it raised two concerns: 1. Only the legal staff could hire outside counsel and 2. She saw the arrangement as an effort to circumvent the limits on the NCAA's authority to compel cooperation from third parties. She emailed Najjar and Hosty to touch base so she could receive additional information regarding the proposal.

> Oct. 21, 2011: After consulting with her boss, Donald Remy, Stevenson sends an email to Najjar advising him not to use Perez in the proposed manner and offered several explanations for why she and the legal staff believed it was inappropriate.

She warns Najjar using a criminal attorney to conduct depositions would be inappropriate. "Any information obtained through such a manner for use in the NCAA process would be subject to significant scrutiny to the extent any decisions were based on that information if those decisions were to be subsequently challenged," she wrote. Lach, Hosty and Najjar explained the advice "created a significant impediment to our investigation" and asked for a meeting.

> Oct. 25, 2011: After exchanging emails, Najjar and Stevenson agree to meet to discuss the Perez proposal. Stevenson, Remy and Najjar attended the meeting. Lach participated via phone. Remy spoke during the meeting and reiterated Stevenson's message, saying they could not retain legal counsel to represent the interests of the NCAA, but could attend any public depositions or copy transcripts thereof. They also cited concern Perez's proposal could be an inappropriate circumvention of the NCAA's investigative limits. Lach later couldn't recall the meeting and said she was out of the office that day sick. But Stevenson said Lach did "appear to accept" the legal opinion.

A review of Lach's cell phone records show she received a call from the NCAA and was on the phone during that meeting for 11 minutes. Najjar later said he had no recollection of that meeting, but did recall the email of rejection.

Minutes after that meeting, Najjar sends Perez a text message saying he ran into a legal problem retaining her but "there's a way around it.

> Oct. 27, 2011: Najjar has Perez send him her tax information so she can receive payment. Less than a month later he texts her to assure her "everything was approved." Lach later says it was her understanding from emails through Najjar that her and Hosty were told the legal staff had approved the circumstances under which Perez had been retained.

> November 19, 2011: UM self imposes a bowl ban and then announces it will extend the contract of coach Al Golden through the 2019 season.

> Dec. 7, 2011: Perez provides Najjar a list of seven individuals she is prepared to depose.

> Dec. 13, 2011: Perez contacts Najjar to inform him Allen's deposition had been set for Dec. 19, 2011 and Huyghue's deposition was scheduled for Dec. 28, 2011. She also noted a deposition for Leshner on Dec. 27, 2011 and was in the process of trying to serve a fourth witness, Mario Sanchez.

Najjar and Perez also discuss the preparation of questions for the depositions. She tells Najjar that if he is unable to attend he should send questions. Although, she noted, "I believe Mr. Shapiro has all the questions covered."

> Dec. 18, 2011: Najjar provides Perez with a list of 34 areas they would like for her to "explore" with Allen. It was focused on identifying student-athletes who may have received prohibited entertainment and gifts from Shapiro. Najjar's list of areas to explore included questions such as "When Allen was employed/associated with Axcess Sports, which UM players did he recruit for Axcess and what monetary benefits did he provide or was aware were provided for them?"

UM's counsel of Goldberg and Glazier later say Najjar was reluctant to disclose information about the depositions and noted that Najjar never mentioned to them that Allen's deposition had taken place.

> Dec. 2011 to July 2012: Perez sends four invoices to the NCAA (Dec. 20, 2011; Jan. 3, 2012; Jan. 10, 2012; July 13, 2012) requesting reimbursement for court reporter fees, copying costs and conference room rental for a total of $8,467.

> May 2012: Johanningmeier retires from the NCAA. Najjar is fired. Stephanie Hannah takes over the investigation.

> July 20, 2012: Yahoo! reports links Golden to using Allen to help him recruit local players.

> Aug. 2, 2012: Perez sends nine invoices requesting payment of billatable time spent on the NCAA's investigation from Oct. 11, 2011 to July 31, 2012 at an hourly rate of $350. She requests a total payment of $57,115.

> Aug. 29, 2012: Hannah forwards Perez's email to Lach who says the NCAA agreed to pay far less, roughly $15,000.

> Sept. 18, 2012: The NCAA pays Perez for six invoices of her work, totaling $10,500.

> Sept. 28, 2012: Hannah reviews Pere'z invoices with Stevenson for the propriety of certain charges. Stevenson is surprised to learn that Najjar had retained Perez after she and Remy had told him not to. Stevenson meets with Lach and they agree to discontinue all work with Perez in the bankruptcy proceedings.

> Fall 2012: The Enforcement and Legal staff undertake a series of measures to review what happened and agree to pay Perez a final amount of $18,000. To ensure that the parties at risk of the investigation suffer no prejudice from the use of the NCAA's bankruptcy proceedings, the NCAA's Enforcement and Legal staffs decide to remove any information directly or indirectly derived from the work of Perez.

> Oct. 2012: The Legal Staff, in consultation with the NCAA President and Chief Operating Officer agree to remove evidence derived directly or indirectly from the Perez depositions. Remy explains the decision to exclude information was not based on a particular NCAA administrative Bylaw or policy, but instead inspired by the criminal law concept of excluding illegally obtained evidence and its "tainted fruits" to ensure that investigative targets are not prejudiced by any improper investigative techniques.

The staff determines any statements made by Allen in his voluntary interviews with the NCAA, both those that occurred before and after his sworn deposition, would be excluded as well the 13 subsequent interviews of others. They also determine portions of 12 additional interviews conducted after Allen's deposition would be excluded.

> Late November 2012: UM self imposes another bowl ban and announces it will also skip the ACC championship game in football.

> Jan. 11, 2013: The enforcement staff notifies UM and the subject parties of its conduct involving Perez and its decision to exclude any evidence directly or indirectly derived from them.

> Jan. 22, 2013: NCAA retains Cadwalader to conduct an outside investigation of its NCAA enforcement staff and its conduct with Perez.

> Jan. 23, 2013: The NCAA holds a press conference and issues a press release describing the enforcement staff's missteps in conjunction with Perez.

> Feb 18, 2013: Cadwalaer attorneys release their 52-page finding to the public. Lach is fired from the NCAA.

Based upon the review of over 75 interview transcripts and voluminous other records (including bank accounts, receipts, photographs and other records) it is the opinion of Cadwalaer the NCAA's investigative record on UM is not based on evidence that was improperly derived directly or indirectly from the depositions done by Perez. The outside hired counsel estimates 20 percent of the case against UM has been tossed out.

Emmert says the NCAA will continue with its case against Miami and there will be no settlement. He says the Committee on Infractions will have to determine the validity of the case.

UM President Donna Shalala releases a statement firing back at the NCAA, showing signs for the first time in the 22-month investigation the school may actually be digging in its heels for a fight and taking legal action. Shalala says in her statement she wants a quick resolution to the matter.

February 08, 2013

Blake James sheds interim title, hired as full-time athletic director at Miami

The University of Miami announced Friday that Blake James has shed his title as interim athletic director and been hired for the position full-time. James had been serving as the interim AD since October 2012.

“Blake James has proven that he has the experience, skills, leadership and especially the love for the University that we need in Athletics,” University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala said in a statement released by the school.

James came to UM three years ago as Senior Associate AD after spending seven years the University of Maine, where he served as Senior Associate Athletic Director before serving as Director of Athletics from July 2005 to September 2010. In that role, his primary responsibilities focused on marketing, ticketing, retail operations and athletics development, along with men's and women's track and field, cross country, men's soccer, men's basketball and baseball.

“I’m honored to be named the Director of Athletics here at the University of Miami,” James said. “I want to thank President Shalala and the Board of Trustees for the opportunity as we continue to move forward through these difficult times. We have assembled a great athletics staff with tremendous head coaches and I am grateful to be a Miami Hurricane.”

During his tenure at Maine, athletics experienced tremendous success, including three trips to the Frozen Four for the men's ice hockey program and NCAA playoff berths for football, baseball (two), women's basketball and softball. Additionally, James implemented a comprehensive $17 million facility improvement plan, which included an indoor practice facility and numerous other facility upgrades and renovations. Academically, the program flourished, earning the conference academic cup twice and maintaining better than a 3.0 GPA.

Prior to his stint at James worked in athletics development at Providence College, where he established the "Friars Forever" campaign and the Friar Athletic Fund.

No stranger to South Florida, James began his athletic career with UM, working in ticket sales, corporate sales and athletics development while a graduate student at St. Thomas University.

He graduated from Minnesota State University-Mankato with a bachelor's degree in marketing in 1992 and received his master's degree from St. Thomas University in 1994. He and his wife Kelly have two children, Haley and Ryan.