Sports Outside the Beltway

FIU loses to Northwood 71-61

It was the college coaching debut for FIU’s Isiah Thomas. From AP-

Isiah Thomas lost his coaching debut at Florida International on Wednesday night when Northwood, an NAIA school coached by Rollie Massimino, beat the Panthers 71-61 in an exhibition game.

Thomas, the Basketball Hall of Famer and most recently coach of the New York Knicks, faced Massimino, who coached Villanova to the 1985 NCAA title and is entering his fourth season at the West Palm Beach, Fla., school.

Lester Hunte scored 18 points for Northwood, while Patrick Horstmann had 13. Jay Duncan scored seven of his 10 points in the final minutes as Northwood pulled away.

Losing to a little known(I didn’t even know Northwood fielded a basketball team and the school is less than 15 minutes from my home) technical is not an auspicious start for FIU. The real season begins for the Panthers with a game against North Carolina on November 9th. Thomas will be lucky to lead FIU to 10 wins this year.


FIU handing out $500 scholarships to lure football fans

Call it South Florida’s newest raffle. From the Miami Herald-

In an attempt to get students to come out and support their football team during home games, Florida International University is offering some creative incentives.

Here’s the pitch:

During each of the next four home games — starting with Saturday’s contest — three students will be chosen at random in the fourth quarter to receive a $500 scholarship for college expenses.

Another four students will win coveted parking upgrades. The sweet deal would allow the winners to park in faculty parking spots for a month.

“We are doing this because we want to create a fan experience and build an affinity for FIU,” said Sandy Gonzalez-Levy, senior vice president of external affairs.

Admission is free to students at the 18,000-seat FIU stadium at its main West Miami-Dade campus, yet the last home game attracted only about 8,000 fans. The school has 35,000 students and tens of thousands of alumni.

And those who come to the games, usually leave early.

“We’re offering some of the gifts in the fourth quarter to persuade them to stay for the whole game,” Gonzalez-Levy said.

It sounds like a good deal to me but will it work? It may draw more spectators on a short-term basis but long term I am pessimistic. You can’t make people interested in a sport who aren’t inclined to watch it to start with it.

That FIU hasn’t had a football program for long and haven’t been very successful either, aren’t likely to help the school bring fans to its games.


Florida International University hires Isiah Thomas

He was introduced at a press conference today. Since the news of the small-time college basketball school hiring a former NBA and head coach had leaked, something noteworthy had to take place in order for me to blog about it.

At his introductory news conference at FIU on Wednesday, Thomas said his salary the first year from the Golden Panthers will be donated back to the school’s athletic department.


FIU athletic director Pete Garcia said that when Thomas learned about layoffs and budget cuts, he told the university president that the school should keep his salary.

That’s very nice of Thomas. Without a salary won’t he be hard up for money?

Thomas was fired by the New York Knicks last year. The team still owes him around $12 million for the final two years of his deal there.

So Thomas won’t be hard up at all. The same can’t said for Knicks owners who have to pay a former team executive over 11 million dollars after a court ruled Thomas sexually harassed her.

The Sun-Sentinel’s Dave Hyde sees no logic in the hiring of Thomas.

It could have hired a young, hungry, locally known coach like the football program found in Mario Cristobal, who is building the program in a commendable way. Instead, FIU Athletic Director Pete Garcia made the bold move of hiring an older, toxically famous name in Thomas.

Watching FIU basketball will be like going to the circus to watch the strongman or the fat lady. It’ll be less about winning than sordid entertainment.

FIU’s hiring of Thomas makes no sense on many levels, most of all because of his poor track record with the Knicks and Raptors. I do however don’t think FIU basketball should be compared to a circus.

For the main reason, that few people other than alumni care about the school’s sports programs. Secondly, who goes to a sporting event to pay attention to the coach.


Former NY Knick coach Isiah Thomas headed to FIU?

Putting aside the recent success of the Gators, The Sunshine State has hardly been a college basketball mecca. From ESPN-

Florida International is trying to hire former New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas as its next basketball coach, sources have told’s Andy Katz.

Florida International coach Sergio Rouco was fired Monday, and sources confirm that FIU athletic director Pete Garcia made calls within the conference recently to check on the viability of hiring Thomas.

A source close to the situation said that if Garcia is unable to reach a deal with Thomas this week, he would likely pursue another coaching candidate to replace Rouco.

The Sun Belt has recently become a second-chance destination. Florida Atlantic hired former St. John’s coach Mike Jarvis and Arkansas State hired former LSU coach John Brady.

I might also add George O’Leary, once destined to be head football coach at Notre Dame, took a job at Central Florida after his career derailed because of resume padding. So there is some precedent for Thomas coming to South Florida. If he does, I don’t expect his stay to be long.


#9 Georgetown holds FIU to 38 points, wins 76-38

Reminds me of college basketball scoring before the shot clock was introduced. From AP-

On Tuesday night, the Hoyas polished off undermanned Florida International 76-38.

Austin Freeman scored 17 points, Chris Wright had 14 and DaJuan Summers added 13 for Georgetown (9-1).

The Hoyas, who won their sixth straight, completely outclassed the Golden Panthers (4-9), who scored the fewest points in their history.

Florida International dressed 10 players — five of them walk-ons — and it was quickly apparent they weren’t in the Hoyas’ class. Georgetown led 23-4 with 10:31 left and were ahead 43-16 at halftime.

FIU was without its 3 best scoring players and shot barely 30%. This game was basically a warmup for Georgetown who faces #2 UConn on December 29th.


FIU snaps nation’s longest losing streak, defeats North Texas 38-19

Their streak ends at 23 games. From the Miami Herald-

FIU ends 23-game losing streak

Now that is how you close out college football at the Orange Bowl.

Playing in the historic stadium’s final college football game, Florida International used a precise passing game, a stifling defense and a surge of emotion to beat North Texas 38-19 and end the nation’s longest losing streak at 23 games.

Congratulations to the Golden Panthers. I’m sure everyone is relieved the streak is over.

There will be a few more football games played at the Orange Bowl. Including a state high school football playoff game next Friday involving my alma mata, Deerfield Beach. Do I want to see my first HS game in almost 25 years?(I graduated HS in 79, but attended a few games up till 1983)

Note- I just found out one of Deerfield’s most noted alumni is a pornographic actress. No mention of a blogger who gives out Knucklehead awards? Darn!

Now who has the longest losing streak in Division one football?

Southern Methodist, Idaho and Minnesota now share the nation’s longest losing streak at 10 games.

Get it into gear guys. Who wants to be known as the worst of the worst.


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