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A Message from the Athletic Director: July 2021

Hurricane Fans,

Our South Florida community is still reeling from the devastating condominium tragedy in Surfside. One of the victims was former UM men’s rowing captain Marcus Guara, who passed away with his wife, Ana, and two young daughters. Our thoughts and prayers are with our rowing program and everyone else who has been impacted by the tragic event. I would like to recognize and thank all the courageous first responders throughout our community who are assisting during this time of need.

Members of our football team have made two trips to Surfside to bring food, water and supplies. Thank you to those student-athletes for their time, effort and compassion.

Miami Athletics recently wrapped up another remarkable school year in 2020-21 — a year that began with so much uncertainty but ended with so much promise. Our accomplishments are a tribute to the hard work and dedication of our student-athletes, coaches and staff.

Michelle Atherley (women’s heptathlon) and Estela Perez-Somarriba (women’s singles) both placed second at their respective NCAA Championships. Michelle was named ACC Outdoor Field Performer of the Year and Estela was named both ITA National Player of the Year and ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

That duo joined nine other Canes — Jose Borregales (football), Zach Cooper (diving), Emma Gulstrand (diving), Carson Palmquist (baseball), Isabella Pfennig (tennis) Jaelan Phillips (football), Brodie Scapens (diving), Alfreda Steele (track and field) and Mia Vallée (diving) – as first-team All-Americans in their respective sports. Debbie Ajagbe repeated as ACC Indoor Field Performer of the Year and Nataliya Guseva became the first Canes golfer to earn ACC Freshman of the Year honors.

Our football team went 8-3 and advanced to its eighth straight bowl game. Ten other programs advanced to the postseason, led by our baseball team, which made its 47th NCAA Tournament appearance. Men’s and women’s diving, golf, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s indoor track and field and men’s and women’s outdoor track and field also advanced to NCAAs. Congratulations to all of our student-athletes and all of our programs!

Our football team kicks off its 2021 campaign at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta against defending national champion Alabama in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game on Saturday, September 4. Tickets are available now and you can click here for more information. We hope to see you in Atlanta!

After the season opener we have a seven-game home slate at Hard Rock Stadium, which we expect to return to full capacity. For season ticket information click here. We can’t wait to see all of our fans back at Hard Rock!

In conjunction with the Florida Name, Image & Likeness bill, which went into effect July 1, we have launched our Ignite NIL program to help our student-athletes build their personal brand and take full advantage of NIL. We partnered with Opendorse on Ignite and will utilize their entire suite of NIL products to empower our student-athletes to build, protect and maximize their personal brands with the industry’s leading education, marketing, and compliance technology. If you have any questions about NIL and how it affects our department going forward please click here.

We recently announced the launch of the Athletic Director’s Society, our next step in strategically building and developing the future of the department.

The Athletic Director’s Society will enhance the pool of resources to build state-of-the-art facilities, attract and retain the nation’s best student-athletes and coaches, and provide those who wear the “U” an unparalleled collegiate experience.

This much needed philanthropic giving society is for donors who commit to a major gift of at least $50,000 payable over a five-year period. While the Athletic Director’s Society is philanthropic in nature, members will enjoy unique stewardship opportunities and a deeper, more meaningful engagement with UM Athletics. To learn more about the Athletic Director’s Society, please click here or contact Parker Poliakoff at the Hurricane Club at 305-407-5794.

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 – – 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