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A Message from the Athletic Director: March 2021

A Message from the Athletic Director: March 2021

Hurricane Fans,

The calendar has flipped to March, which is typically the busiest month for events on our sports calendar. But last March, as we all remember, was quite different.

On March 12, 2020, the NCAA announced that the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments as well as the remainder of all spring sports seasons were canceled. It would be another 182 days before one of our teams took the field again. It has been a long journey back as we continue to navigate this pandemic and I think this March is a good reminder of how so many people have worked so hard to give our student-athletes the opportunity to once again compete safely and proudly represent The U. We have 15 of our 18 sports playing this month and for that we are extremely excited and grateful.

Our women’s basketball team opens ACC Tournament play Thursday in Greensboro, N.C., with a second-round matchup against Virginia Tech. Tipoff is 6 p.m. on RSN. The Canes are coming off a 68-62 win at Clemson, their third straight win to end the regular season. Tune in to root on the Canes!

Our men’s basketball team wraps up its regular season Friday with a Senior Night matchup against Boston College at Watsco Center. Tipoff is 6 p.m. on ACC Network. Thank you to all the seniors and best of luck against the Eagles!

Our baseball team is 3-3 on the young season and the sixth-ranked Canes hit the road this weekend to face NC State. Game one is Friday at 3 p.m. Game 2 is Saturday at 2 p.m. and the series finale is Sunday at 1 p.m. Good luck to the Canes in Raleigh!

We have eight divers competing at the NCAA Zone B qualifying meet Sunday in Greensboro. The top performers qualify for the NCAA Championships, which will also be held in Greensboro later in the month. The Canes captured five medals at the ACC Championships last month and are looking to continue that momentum into NCAAs. Good luck to all of our divers!

Both of our tennis teams are in action in ACC play this weekend. Our men’s team plays at fourth-ranked Virginia Friday at 2:30 p.m. and then plays at Virginia Tech Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Our women’s team faces top-ranked North Carolina Saturday at noon before playing at No. 11 Duke Sunday at noon. Good luck to our tennis squads!

Our volleyball team starts its spring campaign this weekend in South Bend as the Canes face NC State Saturday at 3:30 p.m. followed by a match against the homestanding Fighting Irish Sunday at 1:30 p.m. These are the first of 10 games for the Canes in the spring. Good luck to our volleyball squad!

Our track and field squad is preparing for the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, which kick off next week in Fayetteville, Ark. The Canes qualified four women for five events – Debbie Ajagbe (shot put, weight throw), Kayla Johnson (800m), Tiara McMinn (60m hurdles) and Alfreda Steele (60m). The Canes finished second at the ACC Championships last week on the women’s side and 10th on the men’s side. Good luck to all of our NCAA qualifiers!

Our golf team, currently ranked 15th in the country, is off until March 15 when they travel to Johns Island, S.C., for the Briar’s Creek Collegiate. Our soccer team returns to the pitch on March 14 at Cobb Stadium against FIU. Our rowing team announced its 2021 schedule this week and the Canes will begin their season at Stetson on March 26. We can’t wait to see our rowers back out on the water!

Spring football practice gets underway on March 15 as the Canes hit the field for the first of 15 practice sessions. Manny Diaz has four new coaches on the defensive side of the ball, and I know he and his entire staff are looking forward to getting back out on Greentree to work with their squad. Good luck to the Canes during the spring!

Last month we honored the inaugural class of the UM Athletics Trailblazer Award. We launched the award to honor and recognize current and former minority student-athletes and others affiliated with athletics who have distinguished themselves as pioneers and game changers in sports and life. Three former student-athletes – Will Allen (men’s basketball, 1967-71), Ray Bellamy (football, 1967-70) and Kim Sands (women’s basketball, 1974 and women’s tennis, 1974-78)—as well as former University President Henry King Stanford comprise the 2021 class. Congratulations to all four honorees! We are grateful for their contributions and are a richer and more diverse athletic program because of their efforts.

We recently launched the 2021 Hurricane Club Student Impact Fund annual campaign, which offers a great way to make an immediate impact and help ensure that we support our student-athletes athletically, academically and culturally for years to come. Gifts to the Student Impact Fund support scholarships, academic services, medical care and comprehensive well-being, nutritional programs, and leadership development. For more information on the how you can help us Build Champions by supporting the Student Impact Fund, please call the Hurricane Club at 305-284-6699 or visit www.UHurricaneClub.com.

If you have any questions or need any assistance, please feel free to contact a member of our staff. For the latest information on UM Athletics, please be sure to visit our website – miamihurricanes.com – download our Miami Hurricanes app or follow us on our various social media channels. I hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy. Enjoy this month’s magazine!

Go Canes!

Blake James