Pro Hockey News

Friday, January 30, 2015

Armada FC Sign Veterans Pascal Millien, David Sierra

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Armada FC, Jacksonville's new North American Soccer League team, announced the signing of veterans Pascal Millien and David Sierra.

The additions of Millien and Sierra bring the Armada FC's official first team roster count to 14. Millien joins Jaime Castrillón, Marcos Flores, Lucas Rodriguez and Nico Zaldana at midfield while Sierra joins the goalkeeper mix with Miguel Gallardo.

"Pascal and David are strong additions to our squad," said Armada FC General Manager Dario Sala. "They fit in well with our style of play, and I expect their experience against good competition to help our team continue to get better."

AFL: Jacksonville Sharks Announce Schedule of Theme Nights

The Jacksonville Sharks have announced the schedule of Theme Nights and promotions for the upcoming 2015 season. 

The Sharks will again offer a variety of themes decided to encourage fan participation and deliver the ultimate fan experience at Sea Best Field. In addition, the team will incorporate a number of Appreciation Nights and other initiatives to directly benefit the Jacksonville community.

The Sharks’ 2015 home slate opens on Friday, April 3 against the Orlando Predators. Our home opener will mark the return of Redneck Night, our annual tongue-in-cheek payback for a billboard originally put up by Orlando. Tree camo and cutoff shirts are in style, as we will open the season with a statement against our division rivals!

On Friday, April 17, the San Jose SaberCats make their way to the Shark Tank for the return of Shark-A-Ritaville. After a year off the schedule, this popular theme is back and better than ever! We’ll turn Sea Best Field into a tropical paradise as we enjoy some summer sun inside the arena.

The very next week, the AFL’s newest franchise makes its first-ever trip to Jacksonville, as we’ll host the Las Vegas Outlaws on April 24. This game will be Elvis Night, as we pay tribute to the legendary music of the King of Rock and Roll.

On May 16, we will hold our annual Military Appreciation Night as the Sharks take on the Philadelphia Soul. This is our opportunity to honor the sacrifices made by those who serve and have served in our nation’s Armed Forces. The Sharks will once again use this night as a platform to generate donations to Veteran Tickets Foundation.

The next game on our schedule isn’t a typo; the Predators are back in town on June 6! For this game, we are putting a new spin on the tremendously popular pirate theme from last season. Pirates and Princesses Night will coincide with our Education Appreciation Night, and is a perfect way to celebrate your kids’ completion of another school year!

After two weeks without a home game, we’ll be back in the Shark Tank on June 27 for the return of Halloween in June, which has become a fan-favorite theme over the past few seasons. We are once again teaming up with our friends at The Dungeons Scream Park, who will have plenty of spooky surprises in store! There will also be an established “no-scare” zone for those who would prefer to not have a chill run up their spine.

Our July 18 game against the Philadelphia Soul marks the return of Christmas in July! With an appearance from Santa Claus, lights around the goalposts and a whole lot more, we’ll deck the halls to help you get in the holiday spirit in the middle of summer!

The Tampa Bay Storm make their way to town on Saturday, July 25, and this game will see the return of Star Wars Night, as we celebrate the movie franchise that has spanned generations! With Episode VII on the way in December, it’s the perfect time for this theme night to return!

Finally, the 2015 regular season closes with 80s Night, as on August 8 we look back to the unique music and style of that decade. This will also be our annual Fan Appreciation Night, as we will have plenty of great giveaways to celebrate what is sure to be a memorable sixth season of Sharks football!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

UNF's Findel-Hawkins Collects ASun Weekly Tennis Honor

North Florida's Jack Findel-Hawkins went 2-0 against ranked competition last week to earn the Atlantic Sun Conference Men's Tennis Player of the Week award, announced by the league office on Wednesday.

Findel-Hawkins earns his fourth career A-Sun Player of the Week following two straight set victories over No. 73 College of Charleston in the Ospreys only event of the week. In the No. 1 doubles match, Findel-Hawkins teamed up with Norbert Nemcsek for a convincing 6-3 victory. 

The win clinched the doubles point for North Florida. In singles competiton, Findel-Hawkins was the first match to finish and clinch another point for the Ospreys. He defeated Rodrigo Encinas in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 to put the Ospreys on track to a 7-0 team victory.

The Osprey sophomore is now ranked No. 28 in doubles with Nemcsek and No. 72 in singles this week.   

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

AFL: Jacksonville Sharks Add Veteran OL Nyere Aumaitre

JACKSONVILLE – The Jacksonville Sharks announced Tuesday the team has added another veteran free agent, as offensive lineman Nyere Aumaitre has been assigned to the Jacksonville roster on a one-year contract.

The 29-year-old Aumaitre (6’4”, 325) is set for his fifth season in the Arena Football League, most recently spending the past two years with the New Orleans VooDoo. 

Limited to just three starts during the 2014 season, Aumaitre was in the starting lineup 14 times during the 2013 season. Prior to his time with the VooDoo, Aumaitre made 12 starts along the offensive line as a member of the Cleveland Gladiators in 2012.

Aumaitre first broke into the League with the Philadelphia Soul in 2011, making 14 starts during his rookie campaign. Over the course of his 43 career starts, Aumaitre has hauled in a total of seven receptions for 86 yards and two touchdowns in addition to his primary blocking duties.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Armada FC Name Lionel Messi Mentor Guillermo Hoyos as Co-head Coach

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Armada FC, Jacksonville's new professional soccer team, announced today the hiring of highly-experienced Argentinian coach Guillermo Hoyos (Gee-ler-moe Hoy-oss) to work alongside current head coach José Luis Villarreal. 

Hoyos holds an impressive pedigree as a soccer player and coach including coaching international soccer superstar Lionel Messi at FC Barcelona B.

Hoyos and Villarreal, close friends who have previously worked together, will serve the Armada FC as co-head coaches, working together to guide the team both strategically and in player development as the team begins play in the 2015 North American Soccer League this spring. Together, Villarreal and Hoyos bring a combined 67 years of professional playing and coaching experience to Jacksonville.Guillermo

The Armada FC also announced that it is adding three experienced assistant coaches to its coaching staff: Colombian Edison Ibarra (E-bar-ra), Venezuelan Rafael Perez Niño (Neen-yoh) and Argentinian Sebastian Fabres (Fab-res).

Monday, January 26, 2015

No Joke: Weatherly Earns NASCAR’s Highest Honor

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Joe Weatherly’s time in NASCAR’s premier series was short, just two fulltime seasons.

But what an impact the Norfolk, Virginia, native had on NASCAR racing in those brief, 24 months.

Weatherly, previously a winner of American Motorcyclist Association and NASCAR modified titles, claimed back-to-back premier series championships in 1962-63. He posted 25 victories in 229 starts before his untimely death in January 1964 at Riverside (California) International Raceway.

“He would have been as good as any that’s been along,” said one of Weatherly’s early car owners, the late, fellow Virginian Junie Donlavey. “He had quick reflexes and good equipment. He was just a natural born driver.

“He would have been right there with all the greats. He was that good.”

Weatherly also was one of the sport’s characters, a one-of-a-kind practical joker whose antics off the racing surface endeared him to fans and fellow competitors and earned him the nickname “Clown Prince of Racing.” A friendship quickly blossomed with NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Curtis Turner, another larger-than-life figure. The 5 feet 4 inch Weatherly and the lanky Turner made the perfect Mutt and Jeff pair.

They raced hard and – according to legend – partied just as wide open. Both were reputed to have been black-listed by rental car companies for racing and wrecking numerous cars.

“They were fearless on the track but also fearless as far as their habits and lifestyles,” said NASCAR Productions archivist Ken Martin in a Nov. 27, 2014 National Speed Sport News feature written by Ben White. “No one loved to throw a party more than Curtis. Joe was more the comedian and Curtis loved a good laugh.”

Earl Swift, writing in Norfolk’s Virginian-Pilot in 2007, remembered Weatherly as “a rough-and-tumble Southern rogue. Weatherly was the archetype of the early NASCAR hero, an inveterate practical joker and hell raiser.”

No surprise, Weatherly was voted the premier series’ Most Popular Driver in 1961.

Joseph Herbert “Joe” Weatherly was born May 29, 1922. He served in World War II – as did his later car owner and NASCAR Hall of Famer Bud Moore – with the 809th Aviation Battalion Engineers of the U.S. Army Air Corps. Discharged in November 1945, Weatherly raced motorcycles from 1946 through 1950 winning a pair of AMA championships as well as the 1948 Laconia (New Hampshire) Classic that resulted in his posthumous induction into the organization’s Hall of Fame in 1998.

“Little Joe,” as he’d became known, switched to stock cars telling a reporter for Consumer Guide, “I like having something between my head and the ground when I crash.”

Weatherly proved to be a fast learner on four wheels. Between 1952 and 1953, he won 101 NASCAR Modified races as well as the division’s championships in 1953. Weatherly’s first premier division start came in Darlington Raceway’s 1952 Southern 500. He finished 16th driving Donlavey’s Hudson.

Weatherly’s initial premier series victory came on Aug. 10, 1958 in the inaugural race at Nashville Speedway. He drove a Holman-Moody prepared Ford convertible in the “Sweepstakes” event that was open to both hard and soft top cars. Weatherly was no stranger to the open top cars winning 12 times in NASCAR’s short-lived convertible division.

After winning the opening race of the 1961 season in Dr. Bradford “Doc” White’s Ford, Weatherly gave his competitors a taste of NASCAR’s future. Racing in just 25 of the schedule’s 52 events – most of them in Moore’s No. 8 Pontiac – Weatherly posted nine victories, good for a fourth-place championship finish behind champion Ned Jarrett, a NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2011 inductee.

The duo stepped up for a full campaign in 1962. Weatherly again won nine times including his Daytona 500 qualifying race which, at the time, carried NASCAR premier series points. With 45 top-10 finishes in 52 starts, the 40-year-old Weatherly beat NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty by more than 2,000 points to become Virginia’s only premier series champion. Moore also captured his sole owner’s title.

Moore reduced the team’s schedule in 1963 forcing Weatherly to beg and borrow cars from fellow competitors – frequently driving what politely could be called semi-competitive equipment. Weatherly persevered, winning three times and again bested Petty, who counted 14 trips to Victory Lane. What would be his last victory and 20th with Moore came at Hillsboro, North Carolina on Oct. 27.

True to form, Weatherly quipped, “I had greater luck (than Petty), rather than greater skill. I was lucky to get rides when I needed them.”

Weatherly’s luck ran out several months later in Southern California. Laps behind due to an early race mechanical problem, his No. 8 Mercury left the track entering Riverside’s Turn 6 and skidded into a steel retaining wall. Weatherly, without a shoulder harness or window net, died when his head struck the barrier.

Weatherly was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998. He previously was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, National Motorsports Hall of Fame and National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame. Darlington Raceway’s stock car racing museum was christened in Weatherly’s name upon its opening in 1965.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

SEC: Summers Seals Win for Ole Miss Rebels Over Gators

OXFORD, Miss. - Behind a team-leading 16 points from senior guard Jarvis Summers, including two free throws with 3.5 seconds left, Ole Miss knocked off Florida 72-71 on Saturday night at Tad Smith Coliseum. 

The nation’s leader in free throw percentage, the Rebels (12-7, 3-3 Southeastern Conference) went 16-of-19 from the line, and none were bigger than Summers’ last two makes. 

“He’s an all-league player,” said head coach Andy Kennedy of Summers. “He’s been there before. We need him to carry us in those situations. We had a situation earlier in the year against Kentucky, and he settled a little bit. Tonight, he did a much job of attacking off the bounce, got it to his strong hand and stepped up and made two huge free throws.”

Three players scored in double figures off the bench, as the Ole Miss bench outscored the Florida bench 40-19. Senior guard LaDarius White led the way with 13 points. Senior guard Terence Smith finished with 11 points, knocking down three 3-pointers, and sophomore forward Dwight Coleby added 10 points and a team-leading six rebounds.

“We have quality depth,” Kennedy said. “I was playing a lot of guys early, but it’s hard to get in any kind of rhythm when you’re playing 10 or 11 guys, so we have shortened it to nine guys. Today, we had to go a little bit deeper, and those guys responded, which is not easy to do.”

It was a game of runs in the first half, as Florida (10-9, 3-3 SEC) opened the game on an 8-0 run and led by as many as 11, before Ole Miss took its first lead of the game, 21-20, with 7:53 left in the half after a 12-0 run of its own. 

Florida answered with an 11-0 run to regain a 31-21 lead, and the Rebels answered back with a 7-0 run, all from White, to get within three, 31-28, with 3:55 left. Florida held Ole Miss scoreless for a 3:48 stretch late in the half and went into halftime leading 36-30.

Ole Miss erased the halftime deficit, taking a 53-46 lead with 11:31 left, after a 13-0 run midway through the second half, a run that included two 3-pointers by Smith and another 3-pointer by junior forward Anthony Perez. 

“Terence Smith stepped up and made some huge shots for us when we made that run in the second half to really give us some life,” Kennedy said. “Florida was up six at the half, and it could have been more. For the first time, in the second half, when Terence knocked down that big three, it energized and it gave him some pop.”

The Rebels led or were tied the rest of the way until Michael Frazier, who finished with a game-high 27 points, knocked down his sixth 3-pointer of the game with 3:29 left to give the the Gators a 67-65 lead. 

Ole Miss regained the lead, 70-69, after a deep, step-back jumper by Summers with 26.6 seconds left, before Florida went back ahead, 71-70, after a pair of free throws from Frazier with 9.8 seconds left.

Friday, January 23, 2015

MBB: UNF Outlasts NKU For Another Road Victory

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. -- The North Florida men's basketball team outlasted Northern Kentucky, 74-66, on Thursday night at The Bank of Kentucky Center to extend their current win streak to five games while remaining unblemished in Atlantic Sun Conference play.

The Ospreys (12-9, 4-0 A-Sun) established a new program record for best start in Atlantic Sun competition after collecting their first ever win at NKU (8-11, 2-2).

Sophomore Chris Davenport, who made his return to the UNF lineup after missing the team's last game, finished with a season-best 24 points on 7-of-9 shooting and Beau Beech hit a late three-pointer to squelch a late surge by the Norse.

Beech's trey stretched the Ospreys lead to 65-58 with 2:10 left and North Florida made 7 of 10 free throws in the final minute to hold on for the team's third conference road win of the year. Dallas Moore added 19 points and Beech chipped in 14 points and seven rebounds.

Chad Jackson had 26 points, Jalen Billups scored 18 and Tyler White added 12 points for Northern Kentucky.

"I'm extremely proud of these guys and the way they continue to demonstrate amazing resiliency," said head coach Matthew Driscoll. "I thought we really were able to step up big and get some key defensive stops down the stretch. NKU was strong on the glass especially offensively and we have to figure some things out in that area. It's a little disappointing to have been outrebounded tonight but I felt like we were able to get some game deciding boards in the final minutes. Chris (Davenport) played one of his best games and Beau (Beech) made a coupld of huge threes. Road wins are always extra important so I'm really excited for the team."

After an early back-and-forth affair, the Ospreys surged ahead midway through the first half on the strength of an 19-6 run. The scoring spurt allowed UNF to earn a 30-22 advantage with a little over a minute left in the opening stanza. The squads traded baskets to the break with North Florida owning a 33-27 halftime lead.

NKU came out of the break with some aggressiveness trimming the UNF lead to two, 37-35, just four minutes into the half. Davenport ignited a decisive 11-2 run by the Ospreys scoring five of the points including back-to-back thunderous slams to cap the run and put UNF in front by its largest margin, 48-37, with 12:14 remaining.

Trailing by double digits an 8-0 NKU run pulled them within a single possession, 48-45, but the Norse never got closer. Jordan Jackson's layup made it just 62-58 with 2:31 to play before UNF secured the victory from the free throw line.

North Florida, who has played 17 of its first 21 games away from home, concludes its current three-game road swing on Saturday against Atlantic Sun co-leader Lipscomb in Nashville, Tenn.

MBB: Lipscomb Sneeks By Jacksonville in 2OT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Jacksonville never trailed in regulation, but was unable to come away with a win at Atlantic Sun leading Lipscomb on Thursday as the Bisons snuck by the Dolphins 80-77 in double overtime.

Lipscomb, which improved to 4-0 in league play, out scored Jacksonville (7-14; 1-3 A-Sun) 14-11 in the decisive overtime period with nine points from the foul line.

Andris Misters (22) and Kori Babineax (21) and Josh Adeyeye (20) all had over 20 points for the Dolphins which held a 14 point, 35-21 lead at halftime. In the first half, Jacksonville held Lipscomb to 34 percent shooting. A 12-3 run to close the half was fueled by five points from Misters and a three-pointer from Marcel White.

"Proud of the way our guys came out ready to play tonight," said Head Coach Tony Jasick. "We’re making progress in our process. I wish it wasn’t such a process, but we are improving. We battled tonight and have to continue to get better."

The Bisons caught fire in the second half shooting 64 percent from the field. A 14-1 run cut the Jacksonville lead to a single point with 12:33 remaining in regulation. The Dolphins pushed the lead back to seven just two minutes later after Adeyeye hit back-to-back three pointers. Adeyeye connected on six three pointers for the game in his first start since Dec. 14 at Florida.

Lipscomb would slowly chip away at the deficit before Aaron Korn tied the game with a three-pointer at 1:23. A Dolphins turnover on an offensive foul and a missed jumper by the Bisions in the final seconds forced the first extra session.

Jacksonville trailed by three in the first overtime, but forced three straight turnovers to secure a three-point cushion and the ball with just over a minute left to go. The Dolphins came up empty on the possession despite getting a good look which allowed a three pointer by J.C. Hampton to tie the game once more at 52 seconds. Both teams had a chance to take the lead in the final 20 seconds but couldn’t get the shot to fall.

Hampton would hit another three-pointer after another key offensive foul call against the Dolphins. Jacksonville played catch up from there. Managing to close within three with the ball and 10 seconds remaining but a last second three-point attempt was off the mark.

"We did a poor job of defending in the second half," Jasick said. "Hampton started to get hot and we didn’t do a good job of finding him in our zone in the second half. Give them credit, they are a good team and fought back."
Hampton finished the night with 17 points and 10 assists.

The game marked the first double-overtime contest for Jacksonville since a Jan. 10, 2013 game against Kennesaw State went to triple overtime. It was also the first game against Lipscomb that went to overtime for the Dolphins.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

NFL: Jaguars Add Greg Olsen as Offensive Coordinator

As expected the Jacksonville Jaguars  hired of Greg Olson as offensive coordinator and brought on Doug Marrone as assistant head coach-offense/offensive line coach.

“I’m really excited about the additions of Greg Olson and Doug Marrone to our coaching staff,” Bradley said. “We always talk about wanting a great fit for our team and that also includes our coaching staff. Both Greg and Doug bring a wealth of experience and both possess the qualities that we want in our organization.  Greg is a veteran coach that is very detailed and will work hard to develop our players on the offensive side of the ball. Doug has a ton of experience coaching the offensive line and a strong background in developing players. I think he and Luke Butkus will feed off each other and make each other stronger.”

“I want to thank Shad Khan, David Caldwell and Gus Bradley for giving me this opportunity,” Olson said. “Gus and I spent a lot of time together over the last week as I learned about his vision and the culture he has established in Jacksonville.  It’s easy to see that everybody in the organization is moving in the same direction and committed to getting better.  We will work diligently as a staff to develop our players and play to their strengths.  I’m looking forward to getting started.”

 Olson, who has 28 years of coaching experience, was assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach for the Jaguars during the 2012 season.  His coaching experience includes 13 years in the NFL and 15 at the collegiate level.  His resume includes eight seasons as an offensive coordinator in the NFL with Detroit (2005), St. Louis (2006-07), Tampa Bay (2009-11) and Oakland (2013-14).

A veteran of 23 years in coaching, Marrone has spent nine years in the NFL including the last two seasons as head coach of the Buffalo Bills. Marrone compiled a 15-17 mark at the Bills helm including a 9-7 mark in 2014, the most wins since 2004. He became only the third coach in Bills history to win 15 games in his first two seasons (Marv Levy, 19; Wade Phillips, 21). The Bills had six Pro Bowl selections during Marrone’s two seasons.

Armada FC Signs Experienced Midfielder from Australian A-League

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.  - The Armada FC, Jacksonville's new North American Soccer League team, made another splash on Wednesday with the signing of former Australian A-League and Chinese Super League attacking midfielder Marcos Flores (MAR-khos FLOOR-es), pending international clearance approval.
Flores, a 29-year-old from Reconquista, Argentina, brings his impressive overseas resume to the Armada FC after spending five years in the Australian top division A-League and a short period in the Chinese Super League. He comes to Jacksonville after spending the 2014 season with the Australian A-League's Newcastle Jets.
"I want to thank Mark Frisch and Dario Sala for this great opportunity," Flores said. "I am very excited to bring my experience and strong work ethic to Jacksonville. I cannot wait to start contributing to the team and connecting with the Northeast Florida community."Flores
Flores' honors include an 2011 A-League Goal of the Year, 2011 Adelaide United's Player of the Year, and the 2011 Johnny Warren Medal, which is awarded to the best player in the Australian national club competition.
"We are very fortunate to have signed a player with Marcos' talent and character," said Armada FC Owner Mark Frisch. "He will be a tremendous addition to our club both on and off the pitch."
"Marcos brings a wealth of top-level experience to our club," said Armada FC General Manager Dario Sala. "This is a significant signing for the Armada. I look forward to seeing him make a strong impact not just on the field but also in the locker room and in the community."
Flores made his professional debut in 2003 with Unión de Santa Fe after spending two years in the club's academy system. He scored nine goals over three years with the club before being transferring to Argentinian Primera division side Newell's Old Boys in 2006. He was loaned back to Unión de Santa Fe for the remainder of the 2008 season after 16 appearances.  
A transfer to second division Chilean club Curicó Unido helped Flores attract international attention, and in 2009, Flores was signed by Australian A-League side Adelaide United. In 2010-11, his most successful season, Flores scored nine goals in 31 appearances.  That year he was awarded the A-League Goal of the Year, the club's Player of the Year honor and was part of the club's squad for the 2010 Asian Football Confederation Champions League.Marcos Flores
His performances in the A-League and international competition garnered attention from top division Chinese club Henan Jianye, where he spent one year before returning to Australian soccer. Flores also spent time with Australian A-League clubs Melbourne Victory and Central Coast Mariners.
Flores joins Nico Zaldana, Jaime Castrillón and Lucas Rodriguez as part of the growing contingent of midfielders on the Armada FC squad.
The Armada FC hits the pitch for its historic debut match against Major League Soccer's Philadelphia Union at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7 at EverBank Field. Tickets are available to the general public, starting at $14 per seat, by visiting, or calling the Armada FC ticket office at 1.844.2.ARMADA during office hours. Tickets for the match can also be purchased as part of a six-match half-season ticket from $12 per match and as part of a 16-match season ticket starting at $10 per match

AFL: Sharks Sign Veteran QB Grady

JACKSONVILLE – The Jacksonville Sharks announced that veteran quarterback Tommy Grady has joined the team, as Grady has been assigned to the Jacksonville roster on a one-year contract. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We just got a lot better as a team today. Every championship team that I’ve been a part of has had great competition at every position, and great competition brings out the best in great competitors,” Sharks head coach Les Moss said. "We are very excited to have Tommy become part of our organization this season, as he has an established track record of being an elite quarterback in this league. We are glad to have Tommy as the latest addition to the talented roster that we are continuing to build to win the ArenaBowl in 2015.”

The 29-year-old Grady (6’7”, 240), has firmly established himself as one of the Arena Football League’s top quarterbacks, earning League MVP honors during an incredible 2012 season with the Utah Blaze. 

That year, Grady established new all-time single-season AFL records for passing touchdowns (142), attempts (743), completions (507), and yards (5,870), also tying the all-time record for touchdown passes in a single game (12). Grady has thrown for a total of 512 scores over the course of his five-year AFL career, crossing the 100-touchdown mark in three different seasons.

Most recently, Grady spent the 2014 season at the helm of the Pittsburgh Power offense, leading Pittsburgh to a 15-3 regular-season record. In his one year with the Power, Grady completed 60.4 percent of his passes, amassing a total of 4,717 yards and 115 touchdowns against 17 interceptions. Grady finished second among all AFL passers in touchdowns, yards and yards per game (262.5).

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

NFL: Jaguars Hire Marrone as Assistant Head Coach

Mobile, Ala. -- Former Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone will be an assistant head coach for offense and offensive line coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2015.
Marrone probably expected to land a head coaching job elsewhere after he opted out of his contract with the Bills at the end of the season. He reportedly interviewed for vacancies with the Jets, 49ers, Falcons and Bears.
As part of the opt-out clause, Marrone will still get paid $4 million he was due from the Bills in 2015, as well as whatever the Jaguars are paying him.
The 50-year-old Marrone spent the past two seasons in Buffalo. He went 15-17 with the Bills, including a 9-7 record this past season, but the change in ownership from the Ralph Wilson Trust to Terry and Kim Pegula triggered the opt-out clause in his contract.
Prior to joining the Bills, Marrone spent four seasons as the head coach at Syracuse. He served as Sean Payton's offensive coordinator in New Orleans from 2006-08 and was the New York Jets' offensive line coach from 2002-05.

Armada FC Tops Off Inaugural Schedule with Release of 2015 NASL Slate

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Armada FC, Jacksonville's new professional soccer team, topped off its inaugural North American Soccer League slate on Tuesday with the announcement of the 2015 fall schedule.

After a two-week break in June that follows the end of the spring season, the NASL kicks back into gear July 4 weekend. The 20-match fall slate includes 10 home dates, all of which will take place at Community First Park at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

In addition, the Armada FC has also announced additional preseason match-ups following the club's inaugural match on Feb. 7 against the Philadelphia Union at EverBank Field with matches at Community First Park against NASL foe Fort Lauderdale Strikers on Saturday, Feb. 28 at 7:30 p.m. and USL PRO club Charleston Battery on Sunday, March 8 at 4 p.m.

The Armada will also host a four-team NASL preseason challenge tournament at Jacksonville University exclusive to season ticket owners, featuring the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, FC Edmonton and Tampa Bay Rowdies in double-header action on Wednesday, March 25 and Saturday, March 28 in final preparation for the spring season.

In the fall, the Armada FC opens at home Saturday, July 18 against former Real Madrid and Spanish National Team legend Raúl and the New York Cosmos following road matchups with Ottawa Fury FC (July 4) and the Atlanta Silverbacks (July 11). Jacksonville stays home the next weekend to take on U.S. Men's National Team striker Miguel Ibarra and 2014 spring champion Minnesota United FC Friday, July 31.

The Atlanta Silverbacks, who recently hired former MLS Cup winning head coach Gary Smith, will make their Jacksonville debut on Saturday, Aug. 15. The Carolina RailHawks, a 2014 U.S. Open Cup semifinalist, will step foot on the Community First Park pitch Wednesday, Aug. 19. The Armada FC finishes August with a Saturday, Aug. 29 home showdown with defending NASL champion San Antonio Scorpions.

The fall schedule also includes two mid-week home games at Community First Park, against Carolina on Wednesday, Aug. 19 and Wednesday, Oct. 21 against Ottawa Fury FC.

After three straight weeks on the road to begin September, the Armada FC will return home for matches with Tampa Bay (Sept. 26) and Indy Eleven (Oct. 3).

The Armada FC will wrap up its fall home dates for the season in late October and early November by taking on FC Edmonton (Oct. 17), Ottawa (Oct. 21) and Fort Lauderdale (Nov. 1).

All 20 of the Armada FC's regular season matches in the fall season, home and away, will be broadcast live on CW17 with home and select road matches also broadcast live on SportsRadio 930-AM.

Tickets, starting at $10 per match, are currently available for the Armada FC Inaugural Season and Philadelphia Union match by calling 1.844.2ARMADA or by visiting

Monday, January 19, 2015

SUNS: Former Jaxpo Randy Johnson Elected to Hall of Fame

Former Jacksonville Expos pitcher Randy Johnson was one of four players elected on Tuesday to the 2015 Hall of Fame class for induction to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Johnson is part of a talented 2015 Hall of Fame class that includes pitchers John Smoltz, Pedro Martinez, and second baseman Craig Biggio.
Johnson was originally drafted by the Montreal Expos from the University of Southern California in the second round of the 1985 draft. Two years later, Johnson made his Southern League debut pitching with the Jaxpos in 1987.
During his time in Jacksonville, Johnson went 11-8 with a 3.73 ERA in 24 starts. Johnson worked 140 innings with the Expos where he walked 128 batters compared to 163 strikeouts.
The 1987 Jacksonville Expos, led by manager Tommy Thompson, were one of the most memorable teams in Suns' franchise history, going 85-59 in the regular season and winning the Second Half Eastern Division title. The Suns fell one game short of the Southern League Championship Series, falling to the Charlotte O's in a hard-fought five-game Eastern Division Championship Series.
12 1987 Jacksonville Expos went on to play in the major leagues, with eight of those players pitchers led by Johnson. The 1987 club also included future All-Star Larry Walker who would go on to be the 1997 National League Most Valuable Player.
Johnson never returned to Jacksonville after 1987, and did see his first major league time with the Expos in 1988. He would go on to pitch in 22 major league seasons, going 303-166 with a 3.29 ERA. His long major league tenure where he was a 10-time All-Star included pitching for the: Expos (1988-89), Seattle Mariners (1989-1998), Houston Astros (1998), Arizona Diamondbacks (1999-2004, 2007-08), New York Yankees (2005-06), and San Francisco Giants (2009).
He won the Cy Young Award five times (1995, 1999-2002), and was shared the World Series Most Valuable Player Award with rotation mate Curt Schilling as their pitching helped the Diamondbacks beat the Yankees in the seven-game 2001 World Series.
Johnson ended his career with 4,875 strikeouts which is second-most all-time behind Nolan Ryan, and his 303 wins are the fifth-most by a left-handed pitcher.
Johnson and the Class of 2015 will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown on July 26.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

NFL: Greg Jones Retires as Member of Jaguars

Jacksonville, Fla. -- - Fullback Greg Jones signed a one-day contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday and retired with the team that drafted him in 2004.
Jones spent the 2013 season with the Houston Texans after nine seasons with the Jaguars. He went to training camp with the New Orleans Saints last year before getting cut.
A second-round draft pick in 2004, Jones played in 115 games with 67 starts during his tenure in Jacksonville. He blocked for Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew, star running backs that made a combined four Pro Bowls.
Jones rushed for 913 yards and 10 touchdowns in his career. The Florida State product also caught 73 passes for 471 yards and three scores

COLLEGE BOWL NEWS: East Kicks West In 90th East-West Shrine Game

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The 90th East-West Shrine Game was a defensive battle showcasing the “visiting” kicker from just across Tampa Bay. The East team prevailed 19-3 in front of 22,296 at Tropicana Field.

Kicker Marvin Kloss, from the University of South Florida, hit four field goals from 19, 30, 39 and 47 yards to lead Mike Singletary’s East all-stars.  

Kloss added an extra point after Louisville RB Dominique Brown scored the game’s only touchdown with 27 seconds left in the game. Kloss’s performance earned The William H Coffman Award for Most Outstanding Offensive Player.

Damian Parms (S, Florida Atlantic) had a pair of interceptions, including one with 4:27 left in the fourth quarter. He returned that interception 23 yards to the West’s 28 setting up the late touchdown drive.

Za’Darius Smith (DL, Kentucky) was named The E. Jack Spaulding Award for Most Outstanding Defensive Player with a sack of Arizona State QB Taylor Kelly, a hurry and an afternoon of disrupting the West’s offense.

Brown led all rushers with 70 yards on 19 attempts, with teammate Terrence Magee of Louisiana State the game’s second leading rusher with 27 yards on 11 attempts.

The game’s leading receiver was Arizona’s Austin Hill with 41 yards on 4 receptions, followed by the East Andre Davis (USF) with 36 yards on three receptions. Davis elicited the most excitement from the “home” crowd on a 14-yard slant delivered by Georgia QB Hutson Mason.

MBB: Second Half Drought Upends Dolphins at Florida Gulf Coast

FT. MYERS, Fla. - A stretch of 11 straight misses early in the second half sealed the fate of Jacksonville on Saturday as the Dolphins dropped a 79-50 Atlantic Sun contest at Florida Gulf Coast in Alico Arena.

Andris Misters (19) and Kori Babineax (15) led the way combining for 34 points for Jacksonville which will continue a three-game road swing at Lipscomb and Northern Kentucky next week.

"Give a lot of credit to FGCU, I thought we made it a game for 17 minutes," said Head Coach Tony Jasick. "Then they got going and we got loose defensively. Against these guys you can’t get loose on the defensive end."

With Misters and Babineaux combining for 25 of the Dolphins 28 points at the break, the first half stayed tightly contested featuring six ties and five lead changes over the first 16 minutes of action. The Dolphins held a 25-22 lead following a jumper in the lane by Babineaux at 6:29. 

A lay-up by Antwon Clayton tied the game again with 4:07 to go before the break. The Eagles would then get hot from beyond the arc, hitting four three-pointers as part of a 14-1 run to end the period. Jacksonville shot 48 percent for the half despite hitting just one of the final seven field goal attempts.

"For us we were not able to finish possessions late in the first half and to their credit they capitalized," added Jasick.

The shooting drought continued into the second half as the Dolphins hit 2-of-16 before a Misters three-pointer with six minutes remaining. With Jacksonville unable to get into a rhythm offensively, Florida Gulf Coast pulled away for the win.

"They are really good when the ball is moving and they are going in a transition setting," Jasick said of the Eagles. "We didn’t do a good enough job as the game went on of getting quality offensive possessions so that we could get our defense set in the open floor."

Friday, January 16, 2015

Florida Cup at EverBank Field to Feature Four Soccer Powerhouses

JACKSONVILLE – Tomorrow, four Brazilian and German soccer powerhouses will compete in Jacksonville for the Florida Cup. The tournament matches two teams from Germany and two teams from Brazil, representing the most successful nations in the FIFA World Cup, in a double-header match day at EverBank Field.

The Florida Cup will be broadcast to 215 million households in 125 countries, propelling Jacksonville onto the international stage and introducing it to viewers around the world.

The teams, featuring some of the top players in the world, playing in the Florida Cup are:
·  Two-time FIFA World Champion Corinthians (BRA) featuring players Renato Augusto, Jadson “Jadson” da Silva and Nicolas Lodeiro 
·  Current Champions League Club Bayer 04 Leverkusen (GER) featuring players Lars Bender and Heung-Min Son 
·   Four-time Brazilian Champion Fluminense (BRA) featuring players Frederico “Fred” Guedes and Jean “Jean” Moreira 
·   Three-time German Champion 1 FC Koln (GER) featuring players Adam Matyszczyk and Miso Brecko 

The Florida Cup is a two-city, “clubs for nations” tournament. A semi-final double-header between the clubs will take place in Orlando on Jan. 15, followed by the final double-header in Jacksonville on Jan. 17. Each match win delivers three points, with one point for a tie in regulation and one additional point for a penalty shootout victory. 

At the end of the tournament, there will be one champion club and the points will also be aggregated for each nation to determine a national victor as well. Therefore, every single match represents points for club and nation, with the pride of two rich soccer cultures at stake.

Tickets to the Florida Cup start at $25 and are available now at Ticketmaster®.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

NASL: Armada FC inks Hrustic, Krizanovic, Zaldana to contracts

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Armada FC, Jacksonville's new North American Soccer League team, announced on Wednesday the signing of local and regional standouts Nurdin Hrustic, Tommy Krizanovic and Nico Zaldana to its roster.

The signings mark the launch of a long-term strategy by Armada FC Owner and CEO Mark Frisch and General Manager Dario Sala to stock the club with an abundance of Northeast Florida and greater Florida talent for years to come.

"We are excited to announce the signing of Nurdin, Tommy and Nico," Frisch said. "This is a great day for our club because it signifies the launch of our long-term vision to have much of our roster come from the Jacksonville area and greater Florida."

Sala, who himself was discovered at an open tryout before signing with Argentinian first division powerhouse San Lorenzo in 1995, believes in discovering talent through tryouts and developing a strong local talent base.

"I believe in the importance of finding and developing local talent," Sala said. "We want to eventually have a talent pipeline like FC Barcelona where a good portion of our roster is local talent. When you have players who are from your team's region, they will have a stronger sense of pride and play harder for the jersey they are defending."

The Armada FC expects to round out its roster over the next several weeks and plans to announce additional local signees.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

CFB: FSU's Northrup to Undergo Knee Surgery

 TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State junior linebacker Reggie Northrup will undergo surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee later this month.

The Jacksonville, Fla., native injured the knee against Oregon in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.

Northrup started all 14 games in 2014, leading the Seminoles and ranking fourth in the ACC with 122 tackles. He was a two-time ACC Linebacker of the Week and captured All-ACC Third Team honors this past season.

For his career, Northrup has appeared in 40 games and made 178 tackles, including 7.5 TFLs.

Monday, January 12, 2015

AFL: DL Sykes Assigned to Jacksonville Sharks

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Sharks announced Monday that the team has made another major addition to the team via free agency, as defensive lineman Joe Sykes has been assigned to the Jacksonville roster on a one-year contract. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Joe’s track record as a dominant pass rusher in this league speaks for itself,” Sharks head coach Les Moss said. “He has shown the ability to provide consistent pressure off the edge throughout his career, and we’re excited to have him lining up on our side this season.”

The 32-year-old Sykes (6’5”, 290) enters his fifth Arena Football Season as perhaps the most decorated pass rusher in recent League history. He earned Riddell Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2012, won the Game Tape Exchange Defensive Lineman of the Year award in both 2012 and 2013, as was tabbed as a First Team All-Arena honoree in those two seasons as well.

Most recently, Sykes played in seven games with the San Jose SaberCats during the 2014 season. Joining San Jose in May after a stint with the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders, Sykes racked up 6.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, an interception and three pass breakups in those seven contests.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

GOLF: Bevacqua Named Chairman of the World Golf Foundation

 Pete Bevacqua, the PGA of America’s Chief Executive Officer, has been named Chairman of the World Golf Foundation (WGF)’s Board of Directors for 2015. Bevacqua succeeds Tim Finchem, Commissioner of the PGA TOUR, who served as the 2014 Board Chairman.

Bevacqua became the PGA of America’s third CEO on Nov. 12, 2012. He guides the staff of the world’s largest sports organization in their dedication and service to the Association’s 28,000 men and women PGA Professionals, as well as to the golf industry.

In addition to his WGF role, Bevacqua serves as a member of leadership teams for the PGA World Alliance, GOLF 20/20 Executive Committee and the International Golf Federation’s work that will return golf to the Olympic Games in 2016. Before joining the PGA of America, he served as Chief Business Officer of the United States Golf Association (USGA) and Head of Global Golf for CAA Sports.

“Since joining the PGA of America over two years ago, I’ve enjoyed working closely with leaders of the game’s most influential organizations to create a more collaborative industry,” said Bevacqua. “It’s an honor to be selected as Chairman and I look forward to furthering our work in creating greater accessibility and sustainability to ensure golf’s continued vitality.”

“Pete has a wealth of golf industry experience in a variety of roles and we look forward to his leadership in 2015,” said Steve Mona, CEO of WGF.

Along with Bevacqua and Finchem, other WGF Board members include: Mike Davis, Executive Director of the USGA; Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of The R&A; Will Jones, Executive Director of The Masters Tournament Foundation; George O’Grady, Chief Executive of the PGA European Tour; and Mike Whan, Commissioner of the Ladies Professional Golf Association. Chris Normyle, Manager, Sponsorships and Events of the Shell Oil Company, also serves on the WGF Board as a representative of WGF’s Founding Partner.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

RUGBY: Americans Right at Home in Rhinos Jacksonville Camp

River City Rumble Rivalry Renewed as UNF Visits JU on Saturday

JACKSONVILLE -- The North Florida basketball team heads into Atlantic Sun Conference play on Saturday looking to build on a record-setting victory and a program record win total during non-conference play. 

UNF tips off league play against rival Jacksonville in Veterans Memorial Arena at 3 p.m.

The Ospreys (8-9) are coming off an offensive explosion on Tuesday night that saw UNF notch a 106-60 victory over Trinity Baptist. It marked just the second triple digit output in the program's Division I era, while the 46-point victory marked the largest margin as a Division I team. 

The team established a pair of all-time program records, shooting 66.7 percent from the field and blocking 11 shots. In addition, UNF established several Division I benchmarks including 30 assists and 16 three-pointers made.

Against TBC, sophomore Romelo Banks netted a career-high 26 points making 9 of 11 shots from the field to pace the UNF offense.

Jacksonville enters the first of the the two regular season match-ups between the rivals at 6-11 following a 79-56 win at Florida A&M on Tuesday. The Dolphins have won four of the last six games and own a 5-3 mark in home games this year.

The game will be carried live on the internet on ESPN3 and is also available on the WatchESPN app.

After facing rival Jacksonville, North Florida tips off the home portion of its Atlantic Sun slate by welcoming preseason favorite Florida Gulf Coast to UNF Arena on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Friday, January 9, 2015

HOCKEY TALK: Red Berenson Closing in on Win No. 800

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – It will be a Mount Rushmore moment when Michigan hockey coach Red Berenson wins his 800th game, becoming only the fourth to accomplish that total in the college ranks.

Berenson, in his 31st season, rests on 798 victories headed into this weekend's Big Ten series with Minnesota. He won NCAA championships in 1996 and 1998 amid a national-record streak of 22 NCAA Tournament appearances, reached 11 Frozen Fours and won 11 Central Collegiate Hockey Association titles.

He didn't break .500 until his fourth season. But three years after that, in 1990-91, Berenson began a streak of eight straight 30-win seasons at his alma mater, and his legend grew.

And now he's about to join three long-time adversaries and friends on the 800-win plateau. Current Boston College coach Jerry York, still active and at 974 victories, tops the list. Former Michigan State and Bowling Green coach Ron Mason is next at 924 wins, followed by recently-retired Boston University icon Jack Parker at 897.

What will No. 800 mean to Berenson?

"It means I've been around a long time," Berenson, 75, said with a chuckle. "When I came here, I didn't know how long I would be here. I really cared about Michigan. And as I grew into the job, I cared about the players. I wanted to give back, and I wanted other players to have the same experience I had -- which I considered more than just a four-year thing. It became a lifetime relationship with the program and the university and the alumni. So, here I am all of these years later.

"The good thing is we've had some good teams and good seasons. And it was my intent from the start to help Michigan become a hockey dynasty. Now that's easier said than done, and we're still working on it."

He's coached two Hobey Baker Award winners -- Brendan Morrison in 1997 and Kevin Porter in 2008 -- and continues attracting top talent such as Detroit Red Wings first-rounder Dylan Larkin. But the Wolverines are 10-7 (2-1 Big Ten) this season with a very young team.

The wins are going to take care of themselves," Berenson said. "I can tell you the losses are a lot tougher than the wins are enjoyable. So, to me, it was about not losing. The losses -- and you can ask any coach -- I can't believe I survived that many losses."

He's lost 391 times with 84 ties.

And it's hard for Berenson to recall his greatest triumphs in the 1996 and 1998 championship seasons without remembering the loss in the 1997 semi-final game to Parker and Boston University.

"They were huge," Berenson said of beating Colorado College, 3-2, at Cincinnati in '96 and Boston College, 3-2 in overtime, in '98 in Boston. "And there were years when we should've won. And our best team was the '97 team that never won. The ones that you let slip away, too, that you should've, could've won. Like I've said before, the best team doesn't always win."

But the year after failing to win with the '97 team, Berenson beat all-time wins leader York in the most thrilling, high-stakes game he ever coached.

"That was at the FleetCenter," said Berenson. "It was in overtime, and both teams are hitting crossbars. And they had the better team. But we had (goalie Marty) Turco, and we had 10 freshmen. We'd just graduated Brendan Morrison. So, we had no chance against this team. But we had our goalie and Billy Muckalt and Matt Herr -- and they just took over the team. They were seniors, and they were terrific."

Those three seniors and the two freshmen who scored all the goals in the championship game -- Mark Kosick, with a pair, and Josh Langfeld -- were among 12 players on that squad to play in the NHL.

Chris Fox set up Langfeld from behind the net, and Langfeld circled in front of goalie Scott Clemmensen to beat him on the short side of the net through an opening just wide enough for a puck. And 17:51 into the overtime, the Wolverines had won it all for an NCAA-record ninth time.

Muckalt made his way to Berenson on the bench and placed a hug on his coach that said it all. It was a can't-let-go embrace of jubilation and gratitude. And after the biggest of his nearly 800 wins, it was a scene that said the most about what Gordon "Red" Berenson accomplishes from behind the bench.