Pro Hockey News

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Farmers Insurance® Announces Sponsorships for Three Advocates Professional Golf Association Tour Players

 WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. (January 10, 2024) – Farmers Insurance® announced today new sponsorship deals for APGA Tour players Troy Taylor II and Wyatt Worthington II, as well as the renewal of its sponsorship of APGA Tour player Willie Mack III—the latest in a series of actions Farmers has taken to support the APGA Tour and its mission to grow diversity in the game of golf. The sponsorships will help each player with travel, equipment and other costs associated with competing on the APGA Tour and other professional golf events.

“We are excited to extend our relationship with Willie Mack, while welcoming Wyatt Worthington, and Troy Taylor as additional player ambassadors,” said Jenny Howell, head of brand and consumer marketing for Farmers Insurance. “We’ve been involved with the APGA Tour since its founding and are proud to continue to support talented and inspirational players like Willie, Wyatt, and Troy.”


The APGA Tour was established in 2010 as a non-profit organization with the mission to bring greater diversity to the game of golf. The APGA Tour Board of Directors works to accomplish this by hosting and operating professional golf tournaments, player development programs, mentoring programs and by introducing the game to inner city young people.


In 2024, Farmers will once again host the APGA Tour Farmers Invitational® at Torrey Pines. Now in its fifth year, this 36-hole event with a field of 18 minority players will take place on the Torrey Pines North Course on Saturday, January 27 and the South Course on Sunday, January 28. The event will be staged in conjunction with the PGA TOUR’s Farmers Insurance Open, with Sunday’s play broadcast live on Golf Channel for the third consecutive year beginning at 2 p.m. PT.


Additionally, for the past three seasons, Farmers Insurance has sponsored the three-tournament Farmers Insurance Fall Series on the APGA Tour. In 2023, this three-event series awarded a total of $95,000 in prize money and a $10,000 bonus for the top-performing player across the three events.


“The financial support Farmers Insurance is providing for Willie, Wyatt, and Troy through these sponsorships will go a long way in alleviating concerns about expenses so these talented players can maintain their focus on getting to the next level,” said APGA Tour Co-Founder Ken Bentley. “Farmers’ overall support for the APGA Tour is helping to elevate our product and provide more and more opportunities for minority golfers as they pursue the ultimate dream of playing on the PGA TOUR, and we are grateful.”


Over his 13 years as a professional golfer, Willie's journey is marked by significant achievements that underscore his talent and commitment, including an impressive tally of 76 professional wins. In 2021, after receiving a sponsor’s exemption to the Farmers Insurance Open, Mack enjoyed a career season, including making the cut at the PGA TOUR’s Rocket Mortgage Classic and John Deere Classic and two wins on the APGA Tour. After winning three more times on the APGA Tour in 2022, Mack earned Korn Ferry Tour status for the 2023 season with a T12 finish in the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament. After competing on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2023, Mack will be returning to the APGA Tour in 2024.  


"The support of Farmers Insurance has been integral to my professional career,” said Mack. "Their commitment to amplifying APGA Tour players is making an impact in our lives and the game."


In 2023, Worthington qualified for the PGA Championship as a PGA professional for the second straight year and third time in his career. He also earned victories at the APGA at Las Vegas and APGA Cisco Invitational at Pebble Beach Resorts.


“The expenses associated with traveling and competing in professional golf events can be significant, and it definitely has an impact on the ability for minority golfers like me to get to the next level,” Worthington said. “Farmers Insurance sponsoring me is truly a blessing, and I am proud to be a brand ambassador for an organization that has done so much to support the APGA Tour.”    


The son of Ohio State basketball player Troy Taylor, Sr., Taylor recently graduated from Michigan State and earned status on the APGA Tour by finishing on top of the 2022-2023 Bridgestone APGA Collegiate Ranking. Taylor enjoyed a solid rookie season with six top-10s and no finishes worse than 20th in nine starts. He also earned an exemption into the Korn Ferry Tour’s UNC Health Championship presented by STITCH.

“I was blessed to have access to the APGA Tour immediately out of college last year, and look forward to playing a full schedule of events in 2024,” Taylor said. “The APGA Tour wouldn’t be possible without organizations like Farmers Insurance who are having a substantial impact on our sport. For a young player like myself, it is an honor and a privilege to receive financial backing that allows me to focus on golf and my development as a professional. I’m extremely thankful and grateful to have this opportunity.”


Visit for more information about the insurer group’s commitment to the game.

FSU's Mike Norvell Named Bear Bryant Coach Of The Year

TALLAHASSEE – Florida State head coach Mike Norvell has been named the winner of the 2023 Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award, it was announced Tuesday evening at the Bear Bryant Awards event in Houston.


Norvell is the first Florida State head coach to win the award, which has been presented annually since 1986 to the coach who has reached a high standard of excellence on and off the field with the ability to inspire, the patience to teach and the gift of leadership.


It is the second national Coach of the Year honor this season for Norvell, who was also named the winner of the Dodd Trophy after leading the Seminoles to a 13-0 record before an appearance in the Capital One Orange Bowl. 

Norvell has also been voted this year’s ACC Coach of the Year, the AFCA Region 1 Coach of the Year, one of five finalists for the George Munger Coach of the Year Award presented by the Maxwell Football Club and one of 12 finalists for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award.

In his fourth season at Florida State, Norvell led the 2023 Seminoles to the seventh undefeated regular season in program history, an ACC Championship Game win over No. 14 Louisville and a No. 4 ranking in the final regular season Associated Press poll. Norvell became the first FSU coach to win ACC Coach of the Year since Bobby Bowden in 1997.


Norvell produced the third 13-win season in Florida State history, joining the 2013 national championship team and the 2014 College Football Playoff semifinalists. Norvell is the sixth different ACC coach to lead his team to an undefeated record in conference play since 2000.


The Seminoles had eight wins this season over bowl-eligible Power 5 conference teams, the most in the country, and also tied for the national lead with four wins in games it trailed by at least 10 points. FSU was the only team that produced a stretch in which it outscored its opponent by at least 17 points in every regular-season game in 2023, and its eight games with a plus-24 scoring run ranked second.


Norvell’s team placed a program-record 25 selections on the All-ACC teams, including at least one at every position, led by Player of the Year quarterback Jordan Travis. FSU’s eight first-team selections were the most in the conference, and Florida State also topped the ACC in second-team and third-team honorees.

The Seminoles led the nation in opponent completion percentage, pass breakups and passes defended while ranking second in fewest interceptions thrown and third in net punting. FSU also ranked sixth in passing efficiency defense, sacks and third-down defense and is seventh in average kickoff return.


Florida State boasted the ACC’s top scoring offense while also leading the conference in yards per completion, sacks per game, kickoff return average, fewest interceptions thrown and fewest total turnovers.


Norvell is the third ACC coach to win the award and first since 2018.

ECHL: South Carolina Defeats Orlando in OT

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC – The South Carolina Stingrays defeated the Orlando Solar Bears 5-4 in overtime on Saturday night. Jarid Lukosevicius scored the overtime winner, and Garin Bjorklund stopped 14 of 18 shots in the victory.

Austin Magera opened the scoring for the Rays 3:47 into the opening period. Magera collected a feed from Lukosevicius off the rush and beat Orlando goaltender Colten Ellis five-hole with a wrist shot.

Garet Hunt made it 2-0 with his first goal as a Stingray. With the Stingrays shorthanded, the South Carolina captain raced after a lost puck and fired a shot over the blocker of Ellis to send the home crowd into a frenzy.

Wilkins made it 3-0 with his team-leading 16th goal of the season. He one-timed a shot in the slot that got blocked, but Wilkins followed up with another shot and beat Ellis clean to extend the Stingray lead.

Mitchell Hoelscher and Alex Frye scored two quick goals in the opening two minutes of the second period to pull Orlando within one. 

Jackson Leppard put the Stingrays back up by two when he beat Ellis five-hole on the power play.

Orlando tied it up at four thanks to two quick goals by Jayden Dureau at the end of the second period.

The Stingrays outshot Orlando 16-4 in the final period, but Ellis made several big saves to keep the score tied.

Fifty-seven seconds into overtime, Lukosevicius ended the game with his third game-winning goal of the season. Wilkins fed the puck to Lukosevicius off the rush, and Lukosevicius beat Ellis's glove side to secure the victory for South Carolina.

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

ReliaQuest Bowl Goes to LSU Tigers over Wisconsin Badgers, 35-31

(Photo by Nancy Beecher/Florida Sports Wire)

 TAMPA (Florida Sports Wire) - Garrett Nussmeier showed why LSU is confident he's capable of thriving as Jayden Daniels' successor.

The 13th-ranked Tigers (10-3) launched the team's post-Daniels era with a 35-31, come-from-behind victory over Wisconsin in the ReliaQuest Bowl on Monday, with a calm Nussmeier leading a 98-yard drive to produce the winning touchdown in the closing minutes.

"You do what you have to do to win the football game. It doesn't matter if you start from the 1, the 2 ... you just stick to the process play-by-play, move the chains, move the chains and put the ball in the end zone," the third-year sophomore said.

"That doesn't just speak to me, it speaks to our entire group," Nussmeier added. "You can't do it by yourself. And to go 98 yards with the game on the line, that means a lot to me. To be the leader of the offense, that matters more."

Stepping in to make his first college start after Daniels - the 2023 Heisman Trophy winner - opted out to begin preparing for the NFL draft, Nussmeier completed 31 of 45 passes for 395 yards, three TDs and one interception.

The 21-year-old, who backed up Daniels for two seasons after the Heisman winner transferred to LSU from Arizona State, tossed TD passes of 14 yards to Chris Hilton Jr. and 38 and 4 yards to Brian Thomas Jr., whose second score put LSU ahead for the first time with 3:08 remaining.

Nussmeier fueled the eight-play winning drive with completions of 37 yards to Kyren Lacy and 43 yards to Hilton. Thomas finished with eight catches for 98 yards, while Lacy had six receptions for 97 yards.

"He hasn't had many of those rehearsed situations. His ability to manage the moment. His ability to be calm in those situations speaks of a guy that's only going to excel and get better as he plays more football," LSU coach Brian Kelly said.

Nussmeier rallied the Tigers from a 14-point second-half deficit to overshadow a stellar performance by Wisconsin's Tanner Mordecai, who threw for a season-high 378 yards and three TDs for the Badgers (7-6), who played without star running back Braelon Allen.

"This hurts, We had every opportunity. This is what we wanted. We wanted an opportunity to get this thing to the fourth quarter and find a way to finish," Wisconsin coach Luke Fickell said. "That's probably been our Achilles' heel all year. We just couldn't get it done."

Nussmeier, who turns 22 in February, had appeared in 17 games over three years at LSU, including five this season while Daniels was compiling dazzling statistics - 3,812 yards and 40 TDs passing, 1,134 yards and 10 TDs rushing - on the way to winning the Heisman.

The Tigers started slowly - trailing 14-0 after one quarter, 21-14 at halftime and 31-28 heading into the fourth quarter.

"I can't underestimate how important this win is for our entire football team and our defense. They needed some confidence, they needed some key stops," Kelly said after Wisconsin's final drive stalled in Tigers territory. "All of this builds toward confidence and evaluating what you need to do in the offseason to be the kind of defense and offense to win a championship."

Mordecai, playing in his final college game, finished 27 of 40 passing without an interception for the Badgers, who gained a season-high 506 yards despite playing without Allen, who opted out of the bowl game because he's declaring for the NFL draft.

The sixth-year senior who began his career at Oklahoma threw for 7,152 yards and 72 touchdowns in two seasons at SMU before transferring to Wisconsin. His arrival - along with the addition of multiple transfer receivers and Air Raid disciple Phil Longo as offensive coordinator - created expectations that the Badgers were on the verge of abandoning their traditional staid run-oriented offense and would throw the ball more.

But Mordecai, who missed three games with a broken throwing hand, threw for just six touchdowns during the regular season.

Will Pauling caught two of Mordecai's three TD passes and finished with eight catches for 143 yards. Bryson Green gave Wisconsin and early lead with a 20-yard TD reception and had seven receptions for 105 yards.

Those were the first two 100-yard receiving performances of the season for Wisconsin.

"Today was just a rollercoaster, up and down," Mordecai said. "I think that's kind how our year was, a rollercoaster. Lots of ups, lots of downs. I wouldn't trade it for anything. The guys in that locker room was what makes it so special. I think this program is in good hands."