From the Desk of Dan Radakovich
The landscape of college athletics is constantly changing as evidenced by Thursday’s news that UCLA and USC are moving to the Big Ten Conference. Rest assured we continue to work closely with the Atlantic Coast Conference to ensure that Miami Athletics is in the best possible position to succeed going forward.
The start of July gives us the briefest of windows in college athletics to reflect and recharge. But in just a few weeks’ time our campus will be buzzing with activity once again as our fall sports will be training in earnest for their season openers. We can’t wait to see what the upcoming year has in store for the Canes!
We closed the book on the 2021-2022 season competition wise at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., where three Canes earned first-team All-America honors. Jeff Williams placed sixth in the discus, Debbie Ajagbe finished seventh in the discus and Décio Andrade took seventh in the hammer throw to score team points for Miami. Amy Deem was also named 2022 ACC Women’s Outdoor Coach of the Year, her fourth such honor. Congratulations to Amy and all our student-athletes who competed at nationals!
Our baseball team earned a national seed and hosted NCAA Baseball Regionals this past month for the first time since 2016. Ole Miss advanced out of the Coral Gables Regional and eventually captured the College World Series. It was still a great season for the Canes, who led the country with 13 victories over top-25 teams during the regular season and hit our most home runs in 12 years. Closer Andrew Walters earned consensus first-team All-America honors. Congratulations to Andrew and the Canes!
We have hired Janice Olivencia as our new head women’s golf coach. Janice arrives in Coral Gables after spending the past 10 seasons at Florida, serving as assistant coach from 2012-18 and associate head coach from 2018-22. She is a former All-American at the University of Texas and played professionally on the Ladies European Tour and LPGA Futures Tour. Janice has had tremendous success as both a player and a coach and she has a clear vision for how we can build on the success of our golf program.
We have also hired James Mulcahy as our new head rowing coach. James comes to UM after spending the past six seasons as assistant coach at Alabama, where he helped the Crimson Tide earn their first-ever top-10 ranking and NCAA Championships berth in 2021. A former rower at Columbia, James also served as the head coach at the University of Toronto for two years and has worked with the Canadian National Team. James has an impressive track record of program building at the collegiate and international level and we are confident he can continue the momentum we have been building with our rowing program. Welcome to Janice and James!
Head coach Mario Cristobal hosted our first Legends Camp at Greentree Practice Field this past weekend and it was star-studded event. Canes greats such as Michael Irvin, Reggie Wayne, Antrel Rolle, Brett Romberg, Jon Beason, Rohan Marley, Bennie Blades, Greg Mark, Jeremy Shockey, Hurlie Brown, Martin Bibla, Lamar Thomas, Tolbert Bain, Duane Starks, Roscoe Parrish, Randal Hill and Bryant McKinnie were in attendance, as well as current NFL stars Greg Rousseau, Jaelan Phillips, Duke Johnson, Deon Bush and Jonathan Feliciano. It is always rewarding to see our football alumni come back to campus to show their support for our program.
The ACC announced this week a new football scheduling model which will start in 2023. The new model is based on a 3-5-5 structure in which each team will play three primary opponents annually and face the other 10 league teams twice during the four-year cycle, once at home and once on the road. Our three primary opponents will be Boston College, Florida State and Louisville. The new schedule eliminates divisions and allows our student-athletes the opportunity to face all 13 conference opponents home and away at least once during the four-year cycle. I think the new model is a great step forward for the conference, our student-athletes and our fans.
As a reminder we kick off the 2022 season against Bethune-Cookman on September 3 at Hard Rock Stadium at 3:30 p.m. – the first of seven home games. Click here for season ticket information. We hope to see you at Hard Rock cheering on the Canes all season long!
June 23 marked the 50th anniversary of Title IX legislation. Our mission in college athletics is to impact young people by giving them opportunities to pursue the sports they love while earning an education. Since its inception Title IX has created millions of opportunities and millions of women have seized those opportunities to change our world for the better. I could not be prouder of our female coaches and staff members who have helped blaze that trail, and our current female student-athletes who will continue to accomplish great things and impact our future. We continue to support gender equity on and off the field through our Together 4 Her campaign. Please click here to find out how you can help.
We take great pride in Athletics serving as one the University’s three pillars, and we also take great pride in our role in the University’s Ever Brighter campaign. Ever Brighter is UM’s most ambitious fundraising campaign ever, a $2.5 billion initiative that is accelerating our drive to shape a brighter future. As part of this campaign, Miami Athletics has an overall campaign goal of raising $225 million by 2025 which will directly impact our 400-plus student-athletes and equip us with the resources to compete at the highest level. Please visit miamihurricanes.com/everbrighter to learn how you can help!
We continue to work on a very deep dive into an athletics master plan that will affect facilities and sport sponsorship.
Our Canes Community is stronger than ever thanks to your continued support. My first six months as athletic director have flown by and I look forward to continuing to meet the great fans and investors in our program. I hope you have an enjoyable and safe Fourth of July weekend. Thank you from all of us at Miami Athletics and Go Canes!