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A Message from the Athletic Director: February 2020

Hurricane Fans,
As the calendar flips to March, it’s a busy time of year for Miami Athletics. Our winter sports are nearing the end of their seasons, our spring sports are in full swing and our football team is about to head back out to the practice field.
Spring football kicks off Monday morning as Manny Diaz and his staff get their first glimpse at the 2020 Canes on Greentree. It’s the first of 15 practices from now until April 11. The Canes welcome three new coaches and 17 new players and we’re all excited to see this team hit the field for the first time.
We have seven home games at Hard Rock Stadium this season, starting with Temple on September 5, followed by Wagner on September 12 and UAB, which is now a Thursday night game on September 17. We then kick off ACC play with Pittsburgh at home on October 3, followed by home conference tilts against North Carolina (October 24), Florida State (November 7) and Duke (November 28). All ACC games are key as we look to build towards a Coastal Division title. We need your continued support to ensure Hard Rock remains one of the best home field atmospheres in college football. Call 1-800-GO-CANES to purchase your season tickets today!
Two more Canes – Jimmy Johnson and Edgerrin James — will be joining the Pro Football Hall of Fame as members of the Class of 2020. It’s the third consecutive year that the U will be represented in Canton – Ray Lewis was inducted in 2018 and our Chief of Staff Ed Reed was inducted last year. Miami will now have nine players in the Hall of Fame, the fourth most of any college program. Congratulations to both Jimmy and Edgerrin!
Our men’s basketball team has won three of its last four games, led in large part by freshman guard Isaiah Wong, who has earned back-to-back ACC Freshman of the Week honors. Isaiah averaged 19.5 points and 7.5 rebounds last week, including a career-high 27 points in UM’s scintillating triple-overtime victory at Virginia Tech. Next up for Jim Larrañaga’s squad is a trip to Georgia Tech Saturday at 8 p.m. on ACC Network. We close the regular season with two games at Watsco Center – Wednesday, March 4 versus defending national champion Virginia at 9 p.m. and Saturday, March 7 against Syracuse at 4 p.m. Come cheer on the Canes! 
Earlier this week Katie Meier’s women’s team welcomed back Preseason ACC Player of the Year Beatrice Mompremier, who missed 13 games over the course of January and February with a foot injury. Beatrice has been impressive in her return, averaging 19 points over two games, including our 79-63 win at Wake Forest last night. Kelsey Marshall added 18 points as the Canes earned a season sweep of the Demon Deacons. Beatrice will be honored on Senior Day this Sunday at 3 p.m. as the Canes host Pittsburgh at Watsco Center to wrap up the regular season. We hope to see you there!
Gino DiMare’s baseball squad ran its record to 5-3 after defeating USF Wednesday night. UM is ranked in the top 13 nationally of every major poll with a high of sixth in the latest Baseball America poll. Adrian Del Castillo leads UM with a .560 batting average, while pitcher Brian Van Belle is 1-0 and has yet to allow an earned run over 13 innings. The Canes next host Towson for a three-game series starting Friday at 7 p.m. The rest of our 2020 home slate features key ACC series against current No. 3 Louisville, Clemson, North Carolina and Virginia. It promises to be another magical season at The Light so we hope to see you there throughout the spring!
We recently announced a new fundraising campaign to help renovate facilities inside Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field. The $7 million campaign will help fund a new scoreboard, as well as renovations to the Hurricanes locker room players lounge and nutrition center. This marks the second phase of renovations, following the building of a state-of-the-art indoor practice facility that will house batting cages, bullpens and a multi-purpose area. I want to thank Jimmy and Kim Klotz for their naming rights gift for the indoor practice facility, as well as UM baseball alum Tommy Adams for his recent $1 million gift towards the campaign. For more information on how you can make a gift, please call the Hurricane Club at (305) 284-6699.
The Canes made history at the ACC Swimming & Diving Championships last week as Randy Ableman’s divers swept the top four spots in the men’s platform, led by David Dinsmore, who won his fourth straight gold medal in the event. David and his teammates now gear up for NCAA zone qualifying as they look ahead to the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis March 26-28. Our swimmers had a solid outing in the conference meet as Alaina Skellett broke the school record in the “B” final of the 200-yard backstroke and also qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team Trails in the 100-yard backstroke. Good luck to the Canes!
Amy Deem’s track and field squad has arrived in South Bend, Ind.,for the ACC Indoor Championships, where the women will be looking to defend their conference crown. The Canes have had a great indoor season thus far led by thrower Kevin Arreaga and sprinter Raheem Chambers on the men’s side, and sprinters Brittney Ellis and Tiara McMinn. Good luck to the Canes at ACCs!
Our men’s tennis team is off to a terrific start, climbing to No. 20 in the most recent rankings – their highest since 2010. The Canes opened ACC play with road wins at Clemson and Georgia Tech, improving their overall record to 9-2. UM next hosts Florida State on Sunday, March 8 at noon. Come cheer on the Canes at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center!
Defending NCAA singles champion Estela Perez-Somarriba is wrapping up a month she will never forget. Estela not only climbed back to No. 1 in the current singles rankings but also had the amazing opportunity to play Coco Gauff in an exhibition match at the ATP Delray Beach Open in front of 5,544 fans – including her UM teammates and coaches. The Canes, now ranked 18th in the nation, head to Louisville Friday looking to improve to 3-2 in conference play.
Patti Rizzo’s golf team returns to the Biltmore on March 2-3 for the Hurricane Invitational. The tournament features some great teams, including Arizona, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. The Canes will be looking to defend their home course after capturing two individual wins in their past two tournaments – Anna Backman at the Sugar Bowl Invitational and Renate Grimstad at the UCF Invitational. Head out to the Biltmore to watch some terrific golf next week!
Our rowing team will start its spring campaign on March 12 at the Cardinal Invite in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Good luck to our rowers!
Four Canes — Dane Dunlap (men’s tennis), Claire McGinnis (women’s swimming), Estela Perez-Somarriba (women’s tennis) and Dejan Vasiljevic (men’s basketball) — were among 50 recipients of the ACC’s Weaver-James-Corrigan Postgraduate Scholarship Award.The Weaver-James-Corrigan is awarded to selected student-athletes who intend to pursue a graduate degree following completion of their undergraduate requirements. Each recipient will receive $6,000 toward his or her graduate education. Those honored have performed with distinction in both the classroom and their respective sport, while demonstrating exemplary conduct in the community. Congratulations to the four recipients as well as our academic support staff!
The ACC Network is providing us with a tremendous platform to help promote and showcase our teams, our student-athletes and our University to a wide audience. Providers across the country are carrying ACCN, including AT&T U-Verse, DIRECTV, Dish, Spectrum, NCTC, Fios, Google Fiber, Hulu, Sling, Optimum and YouTube TV. The lone major cable provider that isn’t carrying the network is Comcast, which has a large footprint in South Florida and throughout the Sunshine State. I encourage all Canes who have Comcast to call them and demand ACCN! We want everybody to be able to watch every Canes game for every sport this season.
The latest phase of construction for the Carol Soffer Indoor Practice Facility — our spectacular new football recruiting area — is nearly complete. I want to again extend my heartfelt thanks to Carol Soffer and her family for the lead gift for this magnificent facility. We have raised more than $37 million of the $40 million we need so we are not done yet — and we still need your support. One exciting way to give is an exclusive opportunity to have your name etched into one of the player chairs in the refurbished Edgerrin James Team Meeting Room. Your donations will continue to ensure that this facility continues to be one of the best in the country. Visit to pledge your support.
For the latest information on each of our varsity teams, please be sure to visit or follow us on Twitter @MiamiHurricanes. I hope you enjoy this month’s magazine!
Go Canes!
Blake James