Pro Hockey News

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

NFL: Tampa Bay Announces Additions to Coaching Staff

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced the additions of George Edwards as outside linebackers coach, Brad Idzik as wide receivers coach and Skip Peete as running backs coach. In addition, Jeff Kastl has rejoined the coaching staff as offensive quality control coach and Thaddeus Lewis has been promoted to quarterbacks coach.

Edwards joins the Buccaneers for his 26th season of coaching at the NFL level and 34th season of coaching overall. He comes to Tampa Bay after spending three seasons with the Dallas Cowboys (2020-22) as the club’s Senior Defensive Assistant, helping guide a defensive unit that ranked second in interceptions (52), fourth in opponent completion percentage (61.9), sixth in opponent passer rating (86.5) and eighth in sacks (126) over that span. Prior to joining the Cowboys, Edwards served as defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings (2014-19), linebackers coach for the Miami Dolphins (2005-09, 2012-13), defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills (2010-11), linebackers coach for the Cleveland Browns (2004), assistant defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for Washington (2002-03), and linebackers coach for the Cowboys (1998-2001). Edwards has also held assistant positions at the collegiate level, including at the University of Georgia (1997), Duke University (1996), Appalachian State University (1992-95) and the University of Florida (1990-91).

Idzik joins the Buccaneers after spending the last four seasons as a member of the Seattle Seahawks coaching staff, serving as assistant wide receivers coach (2019-20, 2022) and offensive quality control/assistant quarterbacks coach (2021). During Idzik’s time in Seattle, the Seahawks ranked first in completion percentage (67.6), third in touchdown-to-interception ratio (3.45) and passer rating (103.3), fourth in yards per pass attempt (7.7), fifth in passing touchdowns (131), seventh in yards per play (5.75) and ninth in points per game (25.2) Prior to joining the Seahawks, Idzik spent five seasons as a graduate assistant at Stanford University (2014-18).

Idzik is a native of Mercer Island, Washington. He is the son of John Idzik Jr., who spent 11 years with the Buccaneers as the club’s pro personnel assistant (1993-96), director of football administration (1996-2001) and assistant general manager (2001-04).

Kastl enters his second season as offensive quality control coach for the Buccaneers following two seasons as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Indiana State University (2020-21). He previously spent four seasons at the University of Texas-San Antonio where he began his career as the wide receivers coach in 2016, prior to adding pass game coordinator duties in 2018, and later being promoted to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2019. His receivers broke 10 school records during his three seasons mentoring the position group. Kastl spent four seasons coaching in the Power Five conferences, working as an offensive assistant at LSU (2015), defensive analyst at his alma mater (2013-14), and as a graduate assistant at Auburn in 2012. Following a pair of Big Ten titles during his playing career at Michigan (2002-06), Kastl began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Central Michigan (2007) before spending three years at Ashland University (2009-11). He is a native of Clinton Township, Michigan.

Lewis enters his fourth season with the Buccaneers and his third as a position coach. He spent the last two seasons as the club’s assistant wide receivers coach, helping oversee a unit that ranked first in the NFL in receptions (991), second in receiving yards (10,129), third in yards after catch (4,945) and fourth in receiving touchdowns (69) during that time. In the past two

seasons, Tampa Bay has seen wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin each record consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, marking two of the four times in franchise history that multiple players have surpassed the 1,000-yard receiving mark in the same season. In the 2022 campaign, Godwin also recorded a career-high 104 receptions, good for the second-most in a single season in franchise history.

Prior to being named assistant wide receivers coach in 2021, Lewis served as an offensive assistant in 2020 as a representative of the Bill Walsh coaching fellow program. He had previously been an offensive analyst at UCLA (2018-19). Lewis is a native of Opa-Locka, Florida.

Peete joins the Buccaneers for his 25th season of coaching at the NFL level and 35th season of coaching overall. 

He comes to Tampa Bay after spending three seasons with the Dallas Cowboys (2020-22) as the team’s running backs coach, leading a rushing attack that ranked fifth in yards after contact per rush (3.31), ninth in rushing touchdowns (53), 10th in rushing yards (6,205), 11th in rushing yards per game (124.1) and contributing to an offense that ranked third in points scored per game (27.8), fourth in yards per game (378.0), fifth in third down conversation rate (43.2) and ninth in yards per play (5.59). In the 2022 campaign, the Cowboys ranked second in the NFL in rushing touchdowns (24) and eighth in rushing yards (2,298) while converting a first down on 63.9% of the team’s third down rushing attempts – good for the fourth-highest rate in the league. 

The Cowboys were one of two teams whose running backs did not commit a fumble last season, despite recording the sixth-most carries in the league.

Prior to joining the Cowboys, Peete served as the running backs coach for the Los Angeles Rams (2016-19), Chicago Bears (2013-14), Cowboys (2007-12) and Oakland Raiders (1998-2006). He also held collegiate positions as the running backs coach at UCLA (1996-97), wide receivers coach at Rutgers University (1995), wide receivers coach at Michigan State University (1993-94), running backs coach at the University of Pittsburgh (1991-92) and wide receivers coach at the University of Pittsburgh (1988-90).


JU's Nolan Named to ASUN All-Academic Team

 ATLANTA - Jacksonville University men's basketball redshirt-senior Kevion Nolan was voted to the ASUN's annual All-Academic Team, the conference announced Monday

Nolan becomes the first Dolphin since Jace Hoan in 2019 to be named to the team

He currently holds a 4.0 GPA in the Sport Communication certification program as he works through his graduate program work. He received his undergraduate degree in social sciences last spring.

The Anniston, Alabama native finished an impressive three-year career at JU that saw him record 874 points and 259 assists in the Green and White. While a member of the team, Nolan eclipsed the 1,000 point mark in his career midway through the 2023 season. 

He was a member of the All-ASUN first team in 2021-22 in addition to being named to the All-Tournament Team the same season. 

In Nolan's final two seasons, he was the team's leader in points and assists averaging 13.9 points and 4 assists per game in 2021-22 and 13.0 and 4.3 assists per game in 2022-23.

College Football: UF Names Austin Armstrong Defensive Coordinator

 GAINESVILLE - Florida head football coach Billy Napier named Austin Armstrong the Gators next defensive coordinator.

Armstrong, 29, spent the past two seasons as the defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach at Southern Miss. During his first season in 2021, Armstrong was the youngest defensive coordinator in the FBS.

The Southern Miss defense, known as the Nasty Bunch during Armstrong's tenure, ranked sixth in the Sun Belt in scoring defense (23.5 ppg), a mark that ranked 45th nationally in 2022. The Golden Eagles were third nationally in tackles for loss per game (8.3), fifth in sacks (3.38) and seventh in interceptions (17). USM was also third in fourth down conversion defense (.231).

During his first year as the Southern Miss defensive coordinator, USM ranked No. 42 nationally in total defense (385.5), besting their mark by 18 spots from the season before. His defense also ranked in the top 10 in the country in first downs allowed (No. 2), fumbles recovered (No. 4), red zone defense (No. 6) and defensive touchdowns (No. 7) while finishing at No. 15 in turnovers gained and No. 24 in passing yards allowed.

The Golden Eagles held their opponents to under 100 yards rushing in seven games (out of 24 games) during Armstrong's tenure and registered the program's first shutout since 2017 in a 37-0 win over Grambling in 2021.

Seven USM defenders earned All-Sun Belt recognition in 2022 with linebacker Shantrell Latham and defensive back Malik Shorts named to the first-team and defensive back Jay Stanley garnering third-team recognition while defensive lineman Jalen Williams, linebacker Daylen Gill, linebacker Averie Habas and defensive back Natrone Brooks earned honorable mention honors. Four of his defensive players earned honorable mention All-Conference USA in 2021, including defensive lineman Josh Carr, linebackers Santrell Latham and Hayes Maples, and defensive back Malik Shorts.

Armstrong spent the 2020 campaign as the inside linebackers coach at Louisiana, where the Ragin' Cajuns were nationally ranked and the defense held three top-five national rankings through the end of the regular season, including No. 2 in passes intercepted (15), No. 3 in defensive passing efficiency (96.27) and No. 4 in passing yards allowed per game (166.9), in addition to ranking No. 31 in total defense (347.8).

Armstrong returned to Lafayette after spending the 2019 season at Georgia where he worked as a defensive quality control coach, assisting the Bulldogs as they climbed as high as No. 3 in the national rankings. UGA finished the 2019 season with a 12-2 record and a win in the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

Armstrong also served as a defensive graduate assistant coach with the Ragin' Cajuns for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Louisiana claimed its first of back-to-back Sun Belt Conference West Division championships in 2018, played in the Sun Belt's inaugural football championship game and earned a berth in the AutoNation Cure Bowl in Orlando, Fla.

Prior to his first stint in Lafayette, Armstrong was an assistant defensive line coach at West Georgia (Div. II) for the 2016 season.

UNF Men's Basketball Bested at the Buzzer in ASUN Tourney Opener

 LYNCHBURG, Va. - In a season that saw eight games decided by a one possession difference, it was a last-second shot that created the final margin as North Florida men's basketball was bested by Bellarmine's buzzer beater during a 76-74 loss in the 2023 ASUN Championship First Round Monday, Feb. 27.

Seventh-seeded North Florida (14-17, 9-9 ASUN) and eighth-seeded Bellarmine (15-17, 9-9 ASUN) traded leads and blows all game, with the contest seeing no greater than a seven-point lead either way. Both teams had their own runs, but UNF's 9-0 run late in the first frame was the largest for either side.

All told, there were 13 lead changes and seven tie scores, with the last of the ties coming when Carter Hendricksen slammed in a game-tying dunk with nine seconds to go. Bellarmine's sixth-year senior, Juston Betz, got the ball on the wing and had a fortuitous-contested fadeaway carom off the rim and through the net with 0.4 on the clock. 

UNF's 14th-straight ASUN Championship appearance saw a record-breaking performance by Jarius Hicklen. The lethal guard set the North Florida record for three-pointers made in an ASUN Championship game, draining seven of his 11 attempts for 25 points. He broke the previous mark of six, most recently met by Garrett Sams back in 2019, also at Liberty. Hicklen was one three-pointer shy of his career-high eight treys set Feb. 2022 against Liberty.

Monday, February 20, 2023

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Name Dave Canales Offensive Coordinator

TAMPA (Florida Sports Wire) - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers today named Dave Canales as the team’s offensive coordinator.

Canales joins the Buccaneers after spending the past 13 seasons with the Seattle Seahawks (2010-22), where he has helped the organization to 10 playoff appearances, two conference championships and a Super Bowl XLVIII title. 

Canales originally joined the Seahawks as an offensive quality control coach (2010-12) before being elevated to assistant quarterbacks coach (2013-14) and later wide receivers coach (2015-17), quarterbacks coach (2018-19, 2022) and pass game coordinator (2020-21).


“We are excited to announce Dave Canales as our new offensive coordinator,” said Buccaneers Head Coach Todd Bowles. “I want to thank the various candidates that we interviewed throughout this very thorough process. Dave has done a great job in a variety of roles with Seattle the past 13 years and he brings a passion for coaching and an energy level that players just seem to respond to. He has played a significant part in the development and growth of many Seahawks players who have contributed to their offensive success over the past decade, and I look forward to seeing what he will do with our players on offense. The more we talked, the more it became apparent that we are very similar in how we approach the game, and I am confident that he will find a way to maximize our strengths on offense.”


As quarterbacks coach in 2022, Canales instructed Geno Smith to his first career Pro Bowl selection, in addition to receiving Comeback Player of the Year honors from the Associated Press and Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA). 

Smith was also named the NFL’s Most Improved Player by the PFWA after leading the NFL with a 69.8% completion percentage and setting career highs in completions (399), passing yards (4,282) and passing touchdowns (30).


The Seahawks excelled offensively during Canales’ tenure in Seattle, recording 7.61 passing yards per attempt and 4.53 rushing yards per attempt over the 13-year run. Seattle was the only offense to rank in the top five in both of those categories during that span. 

With Canales’ guidance, former Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson joined Peyton Manning as the only players in league history with 3,000-or-more passing yards and 20-plus passing touchdowns in each of their first 10 seasons. In addition, while Canales was Seattle’s pass game coordinator in 2020, wide receiver Tyler Lockett established a new franchise record with 100 receptions, while fellow wide receiver D.K. Metcalf set a new franchise mark with 1,303 receiving yards.


Prior to his time in Seattle, Canales spent one season as an assistant strength coach and video assistant at the University of Southern California in 2009, while also working with the quarterbacks. 

He made the jump to USC from El Camino (California) College (2006-08), where he was the tight ends coach and special teams coordinator before coaching the quarterbacks in his final season. During that time, he worked as a part-time coach at the annual Pete Carroll football camps where he built a relationship with Carroll. 


Sunday, February 19, 2023

ECHL: Jacksonville Icemen Remain in First Place After Third Straight Win

(SportsDay FILE photo by Nancy DeLander Beecher)
By Mike Bonts

CHARLESTON (Florida SportsDay) - The South Carolina Stingrays (28-14-4-1) dropped a Saturday night matchup at the North Charleston Coliseum to the Jacksonville Icemen (32-15-2-0) by a final score of 3-2.

Craig Martin scored two goals and Brendan Harris finished with three points.  The Icemen remain atop the South Division with the win. 

Jacksonville gained the first lead of the night on Martin’s 11th goal of the season. Martin crashed the net and flicked a quick shot past the blocker of Tyler Wall for the 1-0 lead with 2:50 remaining in the second period.

Martin doubled the lead on his second goal of the contest 1:41 later with a snapshot off a faceoff win from Harris. Martin lined up on the inside of the left circle and flung a shot over the shoulder of Wall for the 2-0 advantage to close out the middle stanza.

Lawton Courtnall cut the lead back to one goal as he buried a shot from the right circle that beat the blocker of Parker Gahagen. Courtnall’s second marker of the year cut the deficit in half only 1:20 into the final period of regulation.

The Stingrays tied the game on a wrist shot from Benton Maass with nine minutes remaining in the third period. Five seconds after the expiration of a power play, Maass sent a shot through traffic that beat Gahagen’s glove for the 2-2 game.

The Icemen regained their one-goal advantage on a power play goal from Harris with 4:41 remaining in regulation on his 14th tuck of the year. Harris received a pass behind the Stingrays’ defense and snuck a shot inside the left post for the game-winning goal.


Despite two goals to open the third period, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits fell 4-2 to the Savannah Ghost Pirates on Saturday night at Enmarket Arena. 

 After a back-and-forth opening 10 minutes, the Ghost Pirates scored the opening goal on a give and go pass from Daniel D'Amato to Alex Swetlikoff at 12:44. Later in the period, at 17:52, Logan Drevitch sliced a cross ice pass to Elijah Vilio for a one-timed goal and the 2-0 Savannah lead. 

After a scoreless second period saw the Swamp Rabbits begin to generate chances, Greenville jumped onto the scoreboard just 20 seconds into the third period, as Brett Kemp sniped his 12th of the season into the net. Just 42 seconds later, Bobby Russell tied the game for Greenville with his first goal of the season. At 5:29, the Ghost Pirates turned a 3-on-1 into the go-ahead goal, as Spencer Naas scored his ninth of the season. At 19:59, Mason Primeau beat the buzzer for the empty-net goal and the 4-2 final.

With the loss, the Swamp Rabbits fall to 26-15-7-0 while the Ghost Pirates improve to 16-25-8-1. 


Florida's Joe Pendenza scored twice in the Everblades 4-3 loss at Allen Saturday night. Cam Johnson made 38 saves...the Orlando Solar Bears host the Utah Grizzlies on Sunday afternoon...the ECHL announced this week that Savannah will host the 2024 All-Star game.

(Mike Bonts writes about hockey for Florida Sports Wire and SportsDay)

South Florida Wins Its Second AAC Regular Season Title in Three Years

TAMPA (Florida SportsDay) — The University of South Florida women’s basketball team got a game-high 27 points from Elena Tsineke, 18 points from Sammie Puisis, and 12 points and 10 rebounds from Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu as the Bulls defeated SMU, 70-62, on Saturday afternoon at the Yuengling Center.

 South Florida improves to 24-5 on the year and 13-1 in the American Athletic Conference, while the Mustangs fall to 15-9 overall and 6-6 in league play.

With the victory, the Bulls win The American regular season title and earn the No. 1 seed in the upcoming American Athletic Conference Tournament, March 6-9, at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.


South Florida trailed by as many as eight points, 19-11, midway through the first quarter before using a 6-0 run, capped by a Daniela Gonzalez three-point shot, to cut the SMU lead to two points, 19-17, after 10 minutes of play.  


The Mustangs looked to pull away in the second quarter, extending their lead to seven, however, the Bulls put together another run, this time a 7-0 stretch, which culminated with a Fankam Mendjiadeu three-point play to tie the game at 26-all with just under six minutes left in the half. It wasn’t until Tsineke hit a driving hook shot from inside the lane at the buzzer that South Florida regained the lead, 33-31, and never looked back the rest of the night.


The Bulls started the second half scoring 13 of the first 16 points and pushed their advantage to as many as 12 points in the third quarter, 46-34, on a Puisis layup with five minutes left, and then to as many as 18 points, 62-44, on one of Puisis’ three treys on the night with just over four minutes left in the contest.


South Florida blew the game open in the final quarter on 58.3 percent (7-of-12) shooting from the field, including 75.0 percent (3-for-4) from behind the three-point arc.


Aerial Wilson handed out eight of the Bulls’ 15 assists on the night.

UNF: Regular Season Road Finale Slips Away Late at Austin Peay

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (JaxSportsTicker) - For the second time in as many games on the final road trip of the regular season, the game came down to the final possession, although this time it went to the hosts as UNF was clipped, 73-71, at Austin Peay Saturday.

The Ospreys (12-16, 7-9 ASUN) had a chance to take the lead, down 72-71 with the ball and 13 seconds on the lock. Austin Peay (9-20, 3-13 ASUN) would force a turnover and convert a free throw with under one second on the clock to conclude the game.

The first half was a half of runs for both sides … Jose Placer started UNF's offense early in the game, scoring five points in the first three minutes … Carter Hendricksen gave UNF a 10-9 on a free throw, UNF's first lead of the game at 16:13 in the first half … APSU went on a 13-0 run, its longest of the game, establishing a 22-10 lead at the 12:44 mark … but, UNF replied thanks to a pair of three-pointers from Jarius Hicklen and Oscar Berry, as well as strong defense down low that aided transition scoring chances … UNF completed a 15-3 run with Hicklen's three-pointer at the 6:39 mark, putting UNF up, 25-24 … APSU got the lead one possession later, and despite multiple instances in which UNF got within one, APSU finished the frame up ten points thanks to a 14-5 run … Hicklen had 11 points in the first half and Chaz Lanier had five boards.

APSU retained its double-digit lead through the first media timeout, although UNF slowly got its footing after that, picking up the pace with an 8-2 run to get within 52-47 at the 13:23 mark … Hicklen and Hendricksen hit three-pointers to sandwich a Jonathan Aybar layup during that stint … Austin Peay worked the clock and got some shots to fall from mid-range to widen the lead back to nine at 66-57 … with time dwindling, Lanier and Hendricksen hit important treys, with the latter getting UNF within two at 68-66 with 2:54 to go … the hot-shooting ensued for Hendricksen again as he sunk another three-pointer at 1:44 to go, getting UNF within one at 70-69 … Austin Peay answered with a tough jumper and Placer posted two points on a pair of free throws, but APSU escaped after getting a final possession stop.

North Florida is now 7-9 in league play and in eighth in the conference standings with two games to go in the regular season. The top ten teams make the league tournament.

JU Men's Basketball Falls on Buzzer-Beater at Lipscomb

NASHVILLE (JaxSportsTicker) - Jacksonville University men's basketball fell on a buzzer-beater three-pointer to Lipscomb, 62-59, at Allen Arena on Saturday.

The Dolphins (13-14, 6-10) held the Bisons without a point for the final 5:38 of the game, until surrendering the banked in 25-footer as the horn sounded.JU used a strong shooting first half and an opportunistic defense to take an eight-point lead into the break. The two teams traded buckets early, with the game tied at 12 at the first media timeout. Mike Marsh hit a hook shot and Kevion Nolan swished a stepback three with 11:32 left in the half to give JU its first two possession lead of the night, 19-14.The lead great to nine when Marsh swished a baseline jumper and Gyasi Powell buried a three-pointer, with JU leading 25-16. Lipscomb cut it to one with 5:27 left in the half, but Marsh drew a foul and split two free throws, followed by Jarius Cook draining consecutive threes and Marsh hitting another shot to make it 36-26 with 3:02 left.The Bisons cut the deficit to five, before Powell hit another three just before the end of the half to push the score to 39-31.The second half started much differently. Lipscomb started aggressively double-teaming JU guards on the perimeter, and forced a called timeout just 30 seconds into the half. The defensive intensity paid off, as JU turned the ball over three times in the first two minutes of the half and Lipscomb erased the halftime deficit to go up one 2:24 into the second frame.Powell finally scored the first points of the half for the Dolphins nearly five minutes in on a three-pointer, but Lipscomb tied it and took the lead again a few minutes later. The deficit grew to as many as five, but the defense picked up and the offense took better care of the ball to keep the Bisons from ever pulling away.Nolan tied it at 50 with 9:50 left, and the two teams combined to score just 22 points the rest of the way. Nolan had a free throw line jumper and a driving layup to give JU a 54-53 lead, but a quick three on the other end flipped the lead again. It grew to five once more, but Marsh hit a tough turnaround with 5:05 left to cut it to three. That was the last field goal of the night for the Dolphins, however, getting three free throws to tie it, before Lipscomb hit the winning shot.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

ECHL Notebook: Icemen Pull Away from Swamp Rabbits for 5-1 Road Win

By Mike Bonts

 Despite an early goal by the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, the team fell 5-1 to the Jacksonville Icemen on Friday night at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.

 Greenville need just 1:51 into the game to take the lead, as Max Martin scored his seventh of the season, a power-play strike from the blue line, for the early 1-0 Rabbits lead. At 9:10, Jacksonville answered back with a power-play goal from Ara Nazarian.

In the second, Jacksonville took the lead with a  Christopher Brown goal at 5:10, before Luke Lynch added a second Icemen goal in the period at 19:19. 

In the third, the Icemen added another goal by Nazarian, an empty-netter, at 17:26, before Brendan Harris added a late power-play goal at 19:22 to solidly the 5-1 score line.

With the loss, the Swamp Rabbits fall to 26-14-7-0 while the Icemen improve to 31-15-2-0. 

The Icemen play at Charlseton tonight. 

the last time these two teams faced off nearly a month ago, Jacksonville has gone 8-3-1 and forced their way into the top spot in the South Division, three points ahead of the Stingrays. 

Christopher Brown, captain, leads the Icemen with 17 goals and 44 points to go along with 27 assists this season. Ara Nazarian and Brendan Harris lead the way against South Carolina this season as the only two Icemen that are over a point per game and have played in each of the first five games of the season series. 

Jacksonville is a team that thrives on their defensive style of play and takes advantage of their opposition's mistakes, allowing a league-low 27.40 shots per game.

(Mike Bonts covers hockey for SportsDay and the Florida Sports Wire.

L’Damian Washington Named Wide Receivers Coach for USF Football

 TAMPA (Florida Sports Wire)  University of South Florida Head Coach Alex Golesh has named L’Damian Washington as the Bulls’ wide receivers coach.

A former NFL receiver and standout for Missouri, Washington comes to USF from Western Kentucky, where he was named receivers coach and passing game coordinator in January of 2023, and having served as wide receivers coach at Oklahoma in the 2022 season.


“L’Damian has an incredible background in overcoming the adversity he has faced in his life and going on to become a highly successful player and now coach,” Golesh said. “He played the wide receiver position at a high level and his tremendous life story and experience as a motivational speaker will have a positive impact on our players. I am excited to welcome L’Damian to our Bulls family as we build one of the most explosive offenses in college football.”


At Oklahoma (2022), Washington worked with an offense that produced 32.9 points per game and averaged 8.14 yards per reception. His top pupil at OU was Marvin Mimms, who caught 54 passes for 1,083 yards and six touchdowns on the season. Mims averaged just over 20 yards per reception on the year, sixth best in the nation, making him one of the elite deep threats in all of college football.


Before making the move to Oklahoma, Washington worked as the receivers coach for one season at Southern University (2021) and served one season as the director of player development at his alma mater, Missouri (2020). Before joining the ranks of collegiate coaching, Washington was the head coach at West Middle School in Columbia, Mo. for two years.


As a player at Missouri, Washington was a four-year letterwinner for the Tigers. For his career, he totaled 100 catches for 1,735 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns. Ten of his 15 touchdowns came in his senior year of 2013 when he helped Missouri win an SEC East Championship and posted 50 catches for 893 yards.


Washington graduated with a bachelor's degree in psychology from Missouri.


Washington signed an undrafted free-agent contract with the NFL's Dallas Cowboys in 2014. He played for seven different teams in the NFL from 2014-15. He also played the 2017 season with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League. Washington's playing career concluded with stints with the Birmingham Iron of the AAF and the St. Louis Battlehawks of the XFL.


Washington is well known for his perseverance in life after losing both his parents by the age of 15. The Shreveport, La. native has spent time since his graduation from Mizzou sharing his story and inspiring many as a motivational speaker.

UNF Newcomers Shine in Season-Opening Walk-Off Win Against Murray State

JACKSONVILLE (SportsTicker). - After pre-game rain pushed the start time of the season opener back one hour, North Florida baseball made the wait count for those in attendance, defeating Murray State, 3-2, on Jakob Runnnels' walk-off pinch hit single in the bottom of the 10th Friday, Feb. 17.

Murray State (0-1) was rolling with a 2-0 lead behind a no-hit bid through six innings, but freshman shortstop Alex Lodise catalyzed UNF's late push with an opposite field solo home run in the seventh. Newcomer Gabriel Esquivel eventually tied things up, 2-2, with a two-out, two-strike single back up the box in the seventh. After three more shut down frames by the UNF bullpen, Cade Reich started the 10th off with a single and eventually scored on Runnels' frozen rope into the left field corner. Peter Holden spun a solid outing in his season debut, allowing just two earned in five innings. UNF newcomers accounted for all three RBI and four of UNF's seven hits. Lodise became the first true freshman to hit a home run in their UNF debut since Tyler Marincov did so Feb. 25, 2011 against Liberty.
North Florida has had the flair for the dramatic in season openers, playing to a one-run decision in four of the last six season openers. It was also UNF's second walk-off win in the season opener in four seasons.

JU Baseball Rallies for a Season-Opening Win

JACKSONVILLE (SportTicker) - Jacksonville University baseball dove into the season on Friday night with a win over the Kent State Golden Flashes, 6-5.The Dolphins (1-0) scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth to come from behind for the victory.Freshman Evan Chrest got the opening day start for the Dolphins, striking out nine batters in five innings on the mound.After a scoreless first inning, the Golden Flashes led off the top of the second with a leadoff double off the left field wall. A base hit to left put runners at the corners with no outs. A sacrifice ground out on a fielders choice, (4-6) plated one run for the Golden Flashes giving them an early 1-0 lead. Chrest settled down and got the next two batters to get out of the inning.The Dolphins got their first runner in the third on a Cam Ridley base on balls. He stole second base and advanced to third on a wild pitch, but was be stranded there after Kent State struck out the side.With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Blake DeLamielluere reached safely on a throwing error and advanced to second. After a long fly out to left field, Chandler Howard dug in with two outs. A long drive to right center field would left the ballpark for not only the first hit of the game, but the first home run of the season to give the Dolphins a 2-1 lead.Blake Barquin came out to relieve Chrest in the top of the sixth inning. A lead off single to right and a two run home run allowed Kent State to regain the lead, 3-2. A double followed it up and the runner advanced to third on a groundout to first base. Another double score a third run of the inning, giving Kent State a 4-2 lead. A hit batsman followed and that ended Barquin's night. Tommy Allman relived Barquin with two outs in the top of the sixth and got a ground ball to second base for the final out of the inning.Allman continued into the seventh inning. A two out single got the Golden Flases on the base paths, then an error put runners at the corners. However, a ground out on a fielders choice (6-4) got the Dolphins out of the inning.Jacksonville was not ready to go away quietly, as Ridley led off the bottom of the eighth with a single to center field. Howard followed that up with a walk to set up Chase Malloy with two on and nobody out. On a full count, Malloy walked to load the bases for the top of the order. Justin Nadeau delivered with a RBI single to left to cut the Kent State lead to two, 5-3. After a Kris Armstrong strikeout, a walk to Hogan McIntosh cut the Kent State lead to 5-4. A one out ground out (4-6) by Tommy Joseph tied the game 5-5. A throwing error on a pick off attempt to first base allowed another run to score, giving the Dolphins a late lead, 6-5.Allman went 2.1 innings, giving up one run before he handed the ball over to Chris Lotito in the ninth. Lotito got a quick one-two-three inning to pick up his first save of the season.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

XFL and ESPN Announce Debut for Original Docuseries

 ARLINGTON, TX,  (Florida Sports Wire) – February 15, 2023 – The XFL today announced the debut of its original, nine-part docuseries, Player 54: Chasing the XFL Dream, in partnership with its exclusive broadcast partner, The Walt Disney Company and ESPN. Directed by Peter Berg, the series follows the creation of the League under new ownership and highlights the unique stories and development of its players and coaches throughout the entire season. 

Player 54 will have its linear debut on Thursday, February 16 at 5pm ET on ESPN2. It will also air on ABC on Saturday, February 18 at 2pm ET leading into the XFL’s opening game between the Vegas Vipers and Arlington Renegades. Episodes will be available to stream exclusively on ESPN+ immediately after each debuts on ESPN2.

With eight teams, 400 players, 40 coaches, and a new ownership group, Player 54 is a visual manifestation of the League’s motto: where dreams meet opportunity. The original series takes fans behind the scenes of what it takes to build a League and its eight teams from the ground-up, showcasing the human stories that exist within the XFL on and off the field. It is a character-driven look at the inspiring, unconventional, and even heartbreaking journeys of the players and head coaches whose professional aspirations are just beginning – or getting a second chance. 

"The opportunity to use our partnership with Disney and ESPN to showcase these dynamic stories and demonstrate the XFL’s potential is a pivotal aspect of our mission," said Dany Garcia, Chairwoman and Owner. “Player 54 is the culmination of many of the things that make the XFL special, but, most importantly, it focuses on our players and coaches – the soul and heartbeat of our League. Since the beginning, we’ve been committed to elevating these players, providing them with a platform to share their stories, cultivate their individual brands, and establish themselves as professional athletes. This docuseries is a powerful tool in telling these athletes narratives, connecting with our fans, and building a ‘League of Tomorrow’.”

“Player 54 is a deeply personal reality for me,” said Dwayne Johnson, Owner. “There are 53 players on an NFL roster – I was number 54. I was good, but not good enough. I was ready, I was hungry, and I waited for that NFL phone call that never came. I never got that shot to prove myself. And that seminal moment in my life put a chip on my shoulder that has never and will never go away. Years later, life has brought me to the XFL today, and I’m grateful to share my experience with our players - all of whom have that same chip on their shoulders. I hope everyone enjoys watching our XFL process as much I’ve enjoyed this ‘life comes full circle’ ride.”

Filming takes place primarily at the XFL Hub in Arlington, capturing unprecedented access into the day-to-day lives of the players and coaches – from the Draft and roster cuts to season kickoff and the Championship – immersing viewers in the competitive environment as players prove that they deserve a chance to win with the XFL. 

“The passion and determination from Dany and DJ are utterly infectious,” said Peter Berg, Filmmaker. “They are playing to win, and I am honored to be a part of this stellar team.  The love of the game is real!”

“The Player 54 docuseries greatly complements our robust slate of live games,” said Tim Reed, ESPN Vice President, Programming & Acquisitions. “The powerful storytelling will help fans better understand the motivation and inspiration of the XFL players they’ll watch throughout the season. We’re thrilled to provide another dynamic offering to football fans on our platforms, providing unprecedented access on the field and behind-the-scenes stories.”

NFL: Miami Dolphins Name Fangio Defensive Coordinator

 MIAMI GARDENS (Florida Sporst Wire) – The Miami Dolphins today named veteran NFL coach Vic Fangio defensive coordinator.

Fangio has 36 years of NFL coaching experience and has spent 22 of the past 28 seasons as either an NFL head coach or defensive coordinator. He has coached three Hall of Fame players – linebacker Kevin Greene, linebacker Rickey Jackson and linebacker Ray Lewis – along with the 1991 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, linebacker Pat Swilling. Fangio has coached 29 players who have a combined 48 Pro Bowl selections.

As the defensive play-caller for San Francisco (2011-14), Chicago (2015-18) and Denver (2019-21), Fangio led top 10 scoring defenses in eight of his past 11 seasons. He also led top 10 total defenses in seven of his past 11 seasons as a full-time coach.

Fangio was named AP NFL Assistant Coach of the Year in 2018 as his Bears defense led the league in scoring (17.7 points allowed per game) and was third in total defense (299.7 yards allowed per game). From 2011 to 2013, the 49ers finished top three in scoring defense each season.

He has helped seven different organizations reach the postseason 15 times.

Fangio most recently served as a consultant with the NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles during the 2022 playoffs. He was previously the head coach of the Denver Broncos from 2019-21. In his final season in Denver (2021), the Broncos were third in scoring defense (18.9) and eighth in total defense (326.1). They led the NFL in red zone defense in both 2019 (39.1) and 2020 (47.5) and finished third in the category in 2021 (50.0). The Broncos were top five in the NFL in fewest defensive penalties in both 2020 (T-3rd, 30) and 2021 (T-2nd, 25).

Prior to being a head coach, Fangio served as a defensive coordinator for five different NFL franchises – Chicago (2015-18), San Francisco (2011-14), Houston (2002-05), Indianapolis (1999-2001) and Carolina (1995-98). He also was the defensive coordinator for Stanford University’s Orange Bowl season in 2010 and served multiple roles on Baltimore’s staff from 2006-09.

Fangio’s first NFL position was linebackers coach for nine seasons (1986-94) for New Orleans. He also spent time as a defensive assistant for the Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars of the USFL from 1984-85 and was a graduate assistant at the University of North Carolina in 1983. Fangio began his coaching career at Dunmore (Pa.) High School as linebackers coach in 1979 before being promoted to defensive coordinator from 1980-81 and assuming the same position at Milford (Conn.) Academy in 1982.

Fangio was inducted into the Northeast Pennsylvania Hall of Fame in 1993. He’s a graduate of East Stroudsburg University.

USF: Brutcher Named to 2023 Bobby Bragan National Collegiate Slugger Award Watch List

 TAMPA (Florida Sports Wire) – University of South Florida junior outfielder Drew Brutcher has been named to the 2023 Bobby Bragan National Collegiate Slugger Award (BBNCSA) watch list. The award, created by the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation, is based on performance at the plate, academics and personal integrity.


This year's watch list consists of 51 players representing 19 conferences around the country, including all five power conferences. The list includes 11 seniors, 35 juniors and five sophomores.


“Drew has a chance to be one of the premier college baseball players in the country,” said head coach Billy Mohl. “He is a huge part of our program’s success and I’m looking forward to seeing his continued progress while helping to push our program forward.”


Brutcher, a 2021 Freshman All-American, was also named to the Preseason American Athletic Conference Preseason All-Conference Team for the second year in a row.


One of the best five-tool players in the country, Brutcher has batted .297 with 15 doubles, 21 homers and 57 RBI over the past two seasons, despite missing time with injury in each of the last two years. Over 75 total games the last two seasons, he has totaled 60 walks with a .436 OBP and slugged .582.


Brutcher ranked 29th in the NCAA in walks per game last season and 77th in home runs per game.


He enters the 2023 campaign rated the No. 1 MLB Draft prospect in the American Athletic Conference (No. 28 overall outfielder) by


South Florida opens its 2023 slate with a three-game series against No. 13 Maryland beginning on Friday, February 17 at 6:30 p.m. at USF Baseball Stadium in Tampa.


The Bulls’ have put together a loaded schedule this season which features games against six different opponents that reached the NCAA postseason in 2022. Those teams include Maryland, Florida, Florida State, Army, VCU and ECU.


USF looks to return to an NCAA Regional in 2023 after falling short of the postseason last year. The Bulls most recent NCAA appearance came in 2021 when USF stormed through the AAC Tournament for a conference championship, won the Gainesville Regional and advanced to the program’s first-ever Super Regional.


Local: Ribault Trojans Take Second Straight High School Heritage Classic

JACKSONVILLE (SportsTicker) – The Ribault High School Trojans bested the Raines High School Vikings 8-3 in five innings on Wednesday at 121 Financial Ballpark to win the High School Heritage Classic, taking the A. Philip Randolph Cup for the second time in the four-year Classic history. 

“I want to congratulate Ribault High School for again winning the A. Philip Randolph Cup and Raines High School on a very hard-played game,” said Jumbo Shrimp executive vice president/general manager Harold Craw. “The Jumbo Shrimp want to sincerely thank everyone who has helped make the High School Heritage Classic a continued success in our club’s salute to Black History.”  

Both teams wore customized Jacksonville Red Caps uniforms to commemorate the Negro American League team that played in Jacksonville from 1938 until 1942. Ribault High School won the A. Philip Randolph Cup, which honors the legacy of local Civil Rights icon Asa Philip Randolph.  

After Raines opened the scoring with two runs in the top of the first inning, Ribault plated three in the bottom of the first inning to grab the lead. The Trojans added two more tallies in the second to put some distance between them and the Vikings. Raines scored once in the top of the third, but in the bottom of the frame, Ribault again answered, this time putting two more runs up to make it 7-3. Another run in the fourth set the final margin at 8-3. 

The Jumbo Shrimp will play as the Red Caps for select games during the upcoming 2023 season presented by FIS. The club’s home opener at 121 Financial Ballpark is on Tuesday, April 4. Season tickets, mini plans and group outings are on sale now by visiting or calling 904-358-2846. 

Saturday, February 11, 2023

ECHL: Greenville Outlasts Jacksonville, 4-3 (OT)

(SportsDay photo by Nancy DeLander Beecher)
JACKSONVILLE (SportsDay) - The Greenville Swamp Rabbits picked up their third win as in as many nights with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Jacksonville Icemen Saturday night before 8,436 at Veterans Memorial Arena.

Brannon McManus sored his sixth goal of the year at the 1:20 mark of overtime for the win. Jacksonville is 12-2 in overtime games this season.

The game was tied at two heading into the final period. Brendan Harris (12) gave the Icemen a short-lived lead. One minute later Tanner Eberle (19) knotted the game at three.

The Icemen's Easton Brodzinski (7) opened the scoring on the first period. Alex Ierullo (17) tied the contest on a power play goal in the second.

Josh McKechney (7) gave the vistitors their first lead of the night. Zach Jordan's 15th goal of the season tied it 3-3.

Jacksonville's Charles Williams replaced Parker Gahagen in goal after the first period. Gahagen did not return after stopping seven shots. Williams made 17 saves.

Ryan Bednard fininshed with 22 saves for the Swamp Rabbits.

Both clubs are back in action Wednesday. The Icemen host Orlando. Greenville plays host to Utah.

Follow the Jacksonville Icemen and ECHL on


Golf: Round Two of VyStar Credit Union Gators Invitational Suspended

GAINESVILLE (SportsTicker) - Round two the VyStar Credit Union Gators Invitational was suspended due to inclement weather on Saturday. The resumption of the round will start at 9 a.m. tomorrow immediately followed by round three.

Currently, Florida leads the field at 13-under and is thru 15 holes in round two as Florida 'B' is in second at 12-under followed by Liberty (-9), Georgia Southern (-8) and North Florida (-4).The Flames and Gators entered the second round tied at 9-under and battled throughout the second round as Florida erased a four-stroke deficit to regain the advantage.Florida 'B' used a second-round surge to leap Liberty and No. 25 Georgia Southern. The group made the jump from finishing 5th in the first set of 18 and is 12-under in its round right now.Three straight birdies to start the second round moved Ricky Castillo into a tie for the solo lead that he currently shares with Georgia Southern's Mason Williams at -9. The 2020 Gators Invitational Champion, Castillo, did not record a bogey on the day and made nine birdies as he is one away from career No. 400.Six of Florida's 11 players shot even or under par in round one highlighted by a 65 (-5) from Fred Biondi, who had his first bogey after 34 holes. Castillo (67), Yuxin Lin (68) and Ryan Hart (69) all shot rounds in the 60s.Both Quentin Debove and Tyler Wilkes are tied for 7th with Lin and Biondi T11 rounded out by Miguel Leal and Giovanni Manzoni tied for 15h.

Florida Panthers To Host ‘Pucks & Pints’ Beerfest on March 4

 SUNRISE, Fla. - The Florida Panthers today announced that their bi-annual ‘Pucks & Pints’ Beerfest presented by Funky Buddha Brewery will take place on Saturday, March 4 at FLA Live Arena when the Panthers host the Pittsburgh Penguins at 6 PM. 

‘Pucks & Pints’ Beerfest begins at 2:30 PM in the CITY Lounge by CITY Furniture for all purchasers with the event concluding around 4:45 PM. Fans can enjoy beer samples, live music and Panthers hockey following the event.  


The Panthers Foundation’s biannual event requires all to be 21+ to enter and a portion of all proceeds will benefit the Florida Panthers Foundation. The four pillars of the Foundation include: building the game of hockey for children and youth, supporting health and education initiatives for children, advocating for and supporting veterans' issues, and raising awareness about the endangered Florida panther. 


The general admission ticket includes unlimited sampling from participating breweries including: Barrel of Monks, Big Storm Brewery, Chido, Funky Buddha Brewery, Gulf Stream Brewery, New Belgium Brewing, The Tank Brewing, Tripping Animals Brewery, Wynwood Brewing Company, Veza Sur Brewing and Yuengling. 


Fans can purchase a general admission ticket which includes: 

  • Upper Endzone Ticket    
  • Access to Beer Garden from 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM 
  • 4oz Pucks & Pints branded sampling mug    
  • Unlimited sampling from 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM 


Season Ticket Member add-ons are also available.  


For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit