25 Years, 25 Favorites

This is my 25th season as the Miami Hurricanes Athletics’ team photographer, and I was a student at UM prior to that, a time period of which I have a few selections for this list.

#25 Howard Schellenberger at Lockhart Stadium

Leading off the list is the grandfather of modern-day Hurricanes Football, the one and only Coach Howard Schnellenberger. Coach is shown here at UM’s annual Spring Game in 2016 at the now-demolished Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale.

Schnellenberger resuscitated the Hurricanes program in the early 80’s, culminating in a national championship in 1983. After stops in Louisville, Oklahoma, and Florida Atlantic, he retired in 2011.

Back in 1999, Schnellenberger was hired by Florida Atlantic to promote support for a football program. I was fortunate enough to have shot several of those appearances when led to becoming FAU’s Team Photographer in 2004, concurrent with my gig at UM.

#24 Tyriq McCord sacks Jeff Driskel vs Florida 2013

Tyriq McCord sacks Jeff Driskel with just over 4 minutes remaining to set up a touchdown run by Duke Johnson to propel the ‘Canes to a 21-16 upset win over #12 ranked “The Gator” in 2013. 

Growing up in Michigan, the only real in-state rivalry was Michigan vs Michigan State, which was a one sided affair for most of my youth. After coming to UM as a transfer student from Hillsborough Community College I was introduced to two great college rivalries: UM v FSU, and the occasional UM vs UF matchup.

There is something glorious about a strip sack photo, with the quarterback’s delivery interrupted mid throw, and the ball hanging in perpetuity in the air. Add the fact our program had been on the downswing for nearly a decade, and this was a significant moment in securing a win in front of a record crowd of 76,869 at Sun Life Stadium.

#23 Frank Gore clinching TD vs Florida 2003

Frank Gore scores the go-ahead touchdown from 12 yards out during the ‘Canes 38-33 comeback win over UF in one of the greatest games in ‘Canes history.

On the following drive with 1:37 remaining, UF drove down to the ‘Canes 20 until Al Marshall sealed the win with an interception of a Chris Leak pass.

Adding to the story is the play of quarterback Brock Berlin, a transfer from none other than UF, who at the 6:10 mark of the 3rd quarter was down 33-10. Berlin led the ‘Canes to four consecutive touchdown drives, culminating in the aforementioned Gore TD run to complete the comeback. ABC’s Brad Nessler said “Once a Gator, always a Hurricane” of Berlin on the final kneel down as he launched the ball into the Orange Bowl stands and the game into the annals of Hurricanes football lore.

#22 Devin Hester blocked field goal return vs Florida 2004

Devin Hester returns a blocked field goal attempt 78 yards for a touchdown during the ‘Canes 27-10 win over UF in the 2004 Peach Bowl.

This was the ‘Canes second appearance in the Peach Bowl, the first being in 1981 against Virginia Tech in a game many consider a turning point in the Miami football program. UM won that game 20-10.

Hester’s return for a touchdown was his fifth of the season and sixth of his ‘Canes career, foreshadowing his stellar career as a return specialist in the NFL.

Hester returned this one right at me, with exasperated Gators players far behind him giving chase, making it one of my all-time favorite images.

#21 Dyral McMillan v Pat Tillman

Legendary defensive back Pat Tillman is stiff-armed by ‘Canes running back Dyral McMillan during the ‘Canes 23-12 defeat to Arizona State in 1997.

McMillan led the ‘Canes in rushing that day with 53 yards on 11 attempts, and Tillman had 7 tackles to lead the Sun Devils.

Tillman went on to play for the Arizona Cardinals for four seasons, then famously turned down a three-year, $3.6 million contract with the Cardinals to enlist in the Army after 9/11.

Tillman was killed in action while serving with the Army Rangers in eastern Afghanistan in 2004.

#20 Jimmy Murphy Tackle in Downpour

In 2018, one of those signature South Florida downpours which seems to occur every season started shortly after kickoff and proved too much for Hard Rock Stadium’s modern drainage system to handle, leaving the field partially under water for most of the first half. 

Jimmy Murphy, on the ‘Canes special teams punt coverage, met Duke returner Deon Jackson at one of the flooded sections of the field, as shown here.

Most of us photographers, despite the major inconvenience and threat to the functionality of our gear, love bad weather games for the opportunity to make unique images.

#19 Ed Reed w/ Javelin

Ed Reed.

College football National Champion. NFL Super Bowl Champion. College Football Hall of Fame. Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

So what’s one of my favorite Ed Reed images? 

Ed with a javelin.

When then-head coach Butch Davis made his recruiting visit to see Ed in high school, it wasn’t a football game Ed was participating in, it was a basketball game. Coach Davis loved multi-sport athletes.

Besides basketball, Ed was a standout track athlete. He was a member of the Louisiana state champion 4×100 meter relay team, was a long jumper, and set his high school record with a 56.94 meter javelin throw. With a throw of 66.32 meters, Ed was also the 1999 Big East Champion.

While this image isn’t from the football field, it’s an image related to a sport that helped lead Ed to greatness on the gridiron at “The U.”

#18 Sherko @ The White House

Since the 1980s, one of the perks of winning a national championship in a major sport has been a trip to visit the sitting president in the White House.

Privileged to have been invited along with the ‘Canes baseball and football teams in April, 2002, I was fortunate enough to notice offensive lineman Sherko Haji-Rasouli sitting on a windowsill with the drapes drawn around him.

Sherko was a member of arguably one of the greatest ‘Canes offensive lines ever, alongside Bryant McKinnie, Brett Romberg, Martin Bibla, and Joaquin Gonzalez. This starting unit surrendered only three sacks in all of the 2001 national championship season.

Sherko later returned the favor by taking a pic of me sitting in a chair in the Green Room. I usually don’t like pics of myself but this one was special, as my 4th great grand uncle once occupied the White House.

#17 Flying James Jackson

During the 1998 Micron PC Bowl, running back James Jackson leaps over a defender.

Jackson carried the ball 11 times for 99 yards and two touchdowns. Although this 2nd quarter run only garnered four yards, noted ‘Cane hater Mark May proclaimed it was a “pretty move.” So pretty, in fact, this image was a part of the cover of a future media guide and poster.

The ‘Canes went on to defeat NC State 46-23.

#16 Flying Andre King & Santana Moss

During the 2000 Gator Bowl, wide receivers Andre King and Santana Moss celebrate King’s touchdown.

On the first day of the 21st century, former minor league baseball player Andre King scored on a 15 yard pass from future minor league baseball player Kenny Kelly in the 2nd quarter of the ‘Canes 28-13 victory over Georgia Tech.

King played professional baseball for five seasons with three organizations before coming to The U, while Kelly played professional baseball for 11 seasons for six different organizations.

#15 Mark Richt Fisheye Photos

During Coach Richt’s brief tenure, the stretching portion of pregame warm-ups would always end with a team huddle.

It became a challenge to create different images of this moment, so I employed some old-fashioned one-trick pony lenses to help. 

With its enormous field of view, I used a fisheye lens to get close to Coach Richt, exaggerating the perspective and bringing in more of the scene.

The first image was shot with a Rokinon full-frame fisheye lens. The other was shot with a Lensbaby circular fisheye lens.

#14 Najeh Davenport with whiteboard @ Pitt

Near the end of the ‘Canes 43-21 win at Pittsburgh in 2001, running back Najeh Davenport had some words for the obnoxious Pitt fans who had been yelling at the ‘Canes all day.

Instead of verbalizing those words, Davenport grabbed a whiteboard and scribbled his feelings at those Pitt fans who were yelling at UM for most of the game, then begging for autographs after it.

#13 Gino Torretta on shoulders @ SDSU

Late in the 1992 season, Miami quarterback Gino Torretta and San Diego State running back Marshall Faulk were the leading Heisman Trophy contenders, and were to face each other at San Diego’s Jack Murphy Stadium in the last game of the regular season.

In one of the season’s ugliest games, punctuated with two bench-clearing brawls, a scary injury, a player ejection and a death threat against Miami coach Dennis Erickson, Faulk ended up missing the game with an injury and Torretta went 19 of 35 for 310 yards and was carried off the field by teammates Mark Caesar and Kip Vickers.

“They said they wanted to carry me off,” Torretta remembered. “Nah, you don’t have to do that.” Mark Caesar replied, “We’re going to carry you off no matter what.”

#12 Our 12th Man In 12th Man Land

In football, the term “12th Man” is generally considered to reference the fans, who as a group can have a tremendous impact on how their team performs. 

The first known use of the term “twelfth man” was in a campus magazine published by the University of Minnesota in September, 1900, that referred to “the mysterious influence of the twelfth man on the team, the rooter.”

The term can also refer to individuals who have an impact.

Kyle Field, home of the Texas A&M Aggies, considers themselves the “Home of the 12th Man.” In 1922, playing in the Dixie Classic in Dallas, a student named E. King Gill came down from the press box and donned a uniform when coach Dana X. Bible realized his injury-depleted bench was dwindling. Over the years the legend has grown to the point the school has trademarked the term “12th Man.”

In 2008, the ‘Canes handed Texas A&M its worst non-conference defeat at Kyle Field in 20 years, beating them 41-23. I’d like to think the victory was due, in part, to this unidentified brave soul who was seated high above the press box in a Corps of Cadets.

#11 Miami Magic Miracle

Trailing Georgia Tech 24-22 late in a rain-soaked 2017 game, the ‘Canes faced a 4th and 10 from the Yellow Jackets 43 yard line. On an under thrown pass from Malik Rosier, Darrell Langham made a juggling off the helmet catch to convert the 4th down, leading to Michael Badgley’s game winning field goal to keep UM unbeaten with a 25-24 win. While I chose one image for some platforms, the entire sequence is worthy of inclusion. See the GIF of the sequence on my Caneshooter Instagram page.

#10 Sebastian Smoke

Before a game in 2002 colloquially known as “Wide Left I,” Sebastian the Ibis leads the ‘Canes onto the field to face rival Florida State before a record crowd of 81,927. Seminoles kicker Xavier Beitia missed a 43-yard field goal attempt to the left as time expired and the ‘Canes prevailed 28-27.

In the 1950s, UM transportation director Bob Nalette came up with the idea of using fire extinguishers and welded pipe to produce the now-famous smoke that Hurricanes run through as they enter the field.

Before other schools copied our recruitment of speedy athletes and our fourth quarter four-finger signal, they copied our entrance through the smoke.

#9 Sean Taylor Hit @ Pitt

In Miami’s final Big East appearance, Sean Taylor had two interceptions and three tackles, including this hit on Pitt tight end Kris Wilson, during their 28-14 victory over the Panthers.

Taylor helped the ‘Canes defense limit Heisman Trophy candidate and future NFL Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald to 3 catches for 26 yards – 18 of which came on a late meaningless touchdown.

“We’re not going to let any one player come in and dominate us,” Taylor said.

#8 Ice Cold Rock

Dwayne Johnson, known by millions as “The Rock,” is a wrestling legend and an A-list actor in Hollywood.

Before Johnson was known as the wrestler “The Rock,” he was a Hurricanes defensive end who everyone called “Dewey” and loved to sing country music tunes – in his campus apartment, at practice, and even on the team plane.

In Dewey’s wrestling days, he was known for phrases such as “can you smell what The Rock is cooking?,” ”just bring it,” “know your role,” and “candy ass.”

Here is Dewey knowing his role and just bringing his candy ass to a sideline heater during a game @ Pitt in 1993.

P.S. Hey Dewey, I’m just kidding.

#7 Sean Taylor @ FSU

Sean Taylor intercepted two passes, returning this one 50 yards for a score, and Miami built a 22-0 lead and held on to win 22-14 in a torrential downpour in Tallahassee in 2003.

In a game with weather conditions barely suitable for water fowl, Taylor intercepted a duck from FSU QB Chris Rix, ran down the sideline and dove over the goal line and into the virtual lake on his way into the end zone to put the ‘Canes ahead 19-0 late in the 1st half.

“Our motto was, ‘We’re going to come in here and punch them in the mouth,” Taylor said after the game. “And we weren’t going to stop punching them in the mouth.”

This game ranks at the top of bad weather ‘Canes football games I’ve worked, edging out the 2018 Georgia Tech game featured in image #20.

#6 Hester’s Home Debut

Devin Hester returns the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown during the ‘Canes 38-33 epic comeback win over UF in 2003.

This was Hester’s first home appearance in his Hurricanes career.

Hester’s return for a touchdown was his first of 7 special teams touchdowns of his ‘Canes career, foreshadowing his insane total of 20 special teams touchdowns in the NFL.

I don’t think I ever felt the Orange Bowl ground shake as much as it did during this play. The stadium was electric and this play is one of the all-time plays in ‘Canes history.

#5 Ed Reed @ the Rose Bowl

Defensive back Ed Reed dances through the paper rose petals after one of the greatest college football teams ever assembled won the 2001 National Championship with a 37-14 win over Nebraska at the Rose Bowl.

Reed led Miami with 9 tackles.

Six members of the 2001 Hurricanes were all-americans. 38 were drafted by the NFL, and 17 of those selections were first round picks.

And one is in the NFL Hall of Fame. Ed Reed.

Reed’s backup for the Rose Bowl? Sean Taylor.

Horribly underexposed, this photo had previously been unpublished. Always one of my favorites, only recently have I been able to process it into a displayable image.

#4 Andre Johnson @ the Rose Bowl

Wide receiver Andre Johnson holds the Sears Trophy after one of the greatest college football teams ever assembled won the 2001 National Championship with a 37-14 win over Nebraska at the Rose Bowl.

Johnson led Miami with 199 years receiving and two touchdowns, earning co-MVP honors with quarterback Ken Dorsey.

Of the 38 players from this team who were drafted by the NFL, 13 made the Pro Bowl a total of 43 times. Four Miami running backs on this roster have combined for 35,505 yards rushing in the NFL (as of today, as Frank Gore is still active), which are double the total of NFL Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton, who held the career rushing record for almost two decades. 

Oh, and Payton’s son Jarrett was also on the 2001 ‘Canes roster.

#3 Juice & Surge

In 2014, the Hurricanes received a complete uniform makeover from Nike, including two alternate helmets nicknamed “Juice” and “Surge.”  The “Surge” helmet comes in Miami’s classic green and features tonal stripes to represent the ibis, the schools mascot, and also includes the iconic “U” logo across the side. The “Juice” helmet features the same design but done up in a full orange scheme.

During a short break while shooting the new uniform combinations prior to the season, I noticed the two helmets sitting on the turf, so I casually placed my iPhone 5 in the turf, angled it up and popped off a few shots.

Yes, I said iPhone 5.

After tweaking the image in the iPhone app Snapseed and tweeting out the image, it took off like wildfire. Numerous publications ran it, including the Washington Post, and I sold hundreds of downloads.

And it was shot with an iPhone 5.

#2 Vince Wilfork Will Eat You

A rematch of the regular season game between the ‘Canes and hated rival FSU took place in the 2004 Orange Bowl and was aptly named “Wide Right IV” due to more continued ineptness by a Seminoles kicker.

Despite another missed field goal, my favorite moment of the game is this image of defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, who is seemingly devouring FSU running back Leon Washington.

#1 Rix Wrecked

In a game that produced so many fantastic moments, Orien Harris stands over a seemingly defeated Chris Rix during the ‘Canes 22-14 victory over FSU in 2003.

The win was Miami’s fourth in a row over FSU and they would add two more to the streak before losing in 2005.

Every fall during rivalry week, this image makes the rounds on social media, for good reason, as this image aptly reflects the dominance the 2000-04 ‘Canes had over their most hated rival.

As for Rix, his career performances vs the Hurricanes says it all:

2001: 13-30 222 1/4 Loss

2002: 8-19 83 1/0 Loss

2003: 20-42 235 2/2 Loss

2004* 6-19 96 1/1 Loss

2004: 12-28 108 0/2 Loss

*Orange Bowl Classic

Hi, Felicia!

Angela Means-Kaaya

Bye Hi, Felicia!

Last night in Atlanta, this Georgia Tech fan had no idea he was getting the ultimate photobomb until we told him to turn around. When he did he saw Angela Means-Kaaya, the mother of ‘Canes QB Brad Kaaya and the actress who played Felisha (the actual spelling) in the movie “Friday” back in 1995.

In the movie, Means-Kaaya’s character Felicia would come and ask Craig (one of the main characters) for random things like if she can borrow his car, or use his iron. One day she asked him for some money and he says “Bye, Felisha,” and after she refuses to leave he says it again with emphasis. The phrase has become a popular meme on the internet and a part of modern-day pop culture.

The Source of the “Surge & Juice” Photo May Surprise You

2014 Miami Hurricanes Football – “Surge & Juice” Helmets

Most ‘Canes fans by now have seen the “Surge & Juice” photo I shot during the “New Uniform Shoot” last July. Most of you don’t know the story behind how I shot it.

During a short break between players, I looked down at my feet to see the new orange (Juice) and green (Surge) helmets juxtaposed just right on the brand new Field Turf practice field surface.

Without giving it much thought, I pulled out my iPhone, opened the “Pro HDR” photo app, stuck the phone horizontally in the turf and shot a few frames. I processed one of the frames with the “Snapseed” app and posted it online, hoping for a few eyeballs.

Yes, I said “iPhone.”

I’ve used that phrase a lot since that July day when asked about the image came about. The image quickly caught fire on the internet, appearing on several national blogs, in countless tweets and threads on Facebook. It even has nearly 3000 views on Caneshooter.com!

The Gators Victory Through Our Eyes

Football capped an exciting September by defeating USF 49-21 to move to 4-0 on the season. The month included the big win over the Gators and we documented the game with our latest time-lapse film, which can be seen in higher resolution on our YouTube channel with our other short films and time-lapse footage.

We also produced a commemorative print of the event from a still image pulled from the time-lapse. You can order a print here.

We collected so much material from the Florida and Savannah State games we split them into separate galleries. We also started to post the “best of” gallery from each game as the massive amount of material we needed to edit kept us from posting the games for a few days. All of the galleries from the 2013 football season can be accessed here.

360º

If you were at the last home game vs. FSU and were in your seat between the 1st and 2nd quarters, you may be able to find yourself in the 360º panorama we shot.

You can view and interact with the image at this link.

Is it a GigaPan, the iconic panoramas made popular in part from Major League Baseball’s “TagOramic” and the famous image of the Obama Inauguration?

No. Despite being hosted on GigaPan’s server, it is technically not a GigaPan. In order to capture the image, our own Eric Espada had only about 45 seconds to capture the images needed by going to midfield between quarters and handholding the camera. After a test pass of a portion of the stadium, he has just enough time to make adjustments and shoot 26 images, starting and ending with the 50 yard line on the FSU side of the field. Typical GigaPans can take upwards of 10 minutes to capture.

Late last week I used GigaPan’s software and server to assemble and upload the image, after tweaking the images in Photoshop.

NSD = National Signing Drama

I’ve witnessed plenty of National Signing Day drama through the years, shooting exclusively for Canesport every year since 1996. What has changed in those 16 years is kids are learning to take advantage of their initial 15 minutes of fame and play to the media with dramatics better suited for acting school. For some, it’ll be the only 15 minutes they’ll ever get.

Therefore, don’t sweat the ones that get away, because more often than not, we don’t hear much about them afterwards. I present these three examples I’ve witnessed firsthand:

Kayvon Webster, DB, Pace HS, 2009 NSD.

Pace Monsignor High School defensive back Kayvon Webster stuffs his Miami Hurricanes tie underneath his South Florida Bulls hoodie before signing his National Letter of Intent with USF on February 4, 2009 at Pace Monsignor High School in Miami, Florida.

Dressed with a USF hoodie and a Miami tie on the outside, Webster sat down with two of his classmates and placed a Miami and USF hat in front of him on the table. Webster then flipped the Miami hat behind him, put on the USF hat and then tucked in his Miami tie under the USF hoodie.

In three years at USF he has a grand total of two interceptions, although he does have a 96-yard fumble return for a touchdown on his resume.

Deonte Thompson, WR, Glades Central HS, 2007 NSD.

Glades Central High School wide receiver Deonte Thompson makes a phone call with family members behind him after signing his National Letter of Intent with the University of Florida on February 7, 2007 at Glades Central High School in Belle Glade, Florida.

Thompson also chose to dramatize his moment for the cameras. He had been wearing Miami gear and downplaying Florida before he appeared for the media with offers from UM, UF, USC & Ohio State on the table in front of him. No one, except his family, saw what was coming, the shocking reveal of Gator hats for he and his girlfriend.

Thompson had only one 100 yard receiving game in four years at UF, and even that was against a Division 1-AA opponent.


Jonathan Colon, OL, Miami Central HS, 2000 NSD.

Jonathan Colon signs with someone during National Letter of Intent Day at Miami Central High School, February 2, 2000.

Colon’s story is in a league of its own, and might be one of the all-time bizarre NSD stories.

Torn and conflicted, Colon was near tears as he signed with Florida on NSD in front of the media and his very unhappy father, who wanted him to go to Miami. But a signed Letter Of Intent also showed up on Miami’s fax machine that day. Colon had signed with both schools.

While UF and UM haggled over where Colon belonged, the NCAA spent a week sorting through the mess before finally making the ruling Colon belonged to the Gators, as he had signed his Miami LOI the night before signing day – making it invalid.

Ironically, Colon ended up at Bridgton Academy in Maine in the fall of 2000 and re-signed with the Gators on NSD in 2001.

Colon started only 22 of 43 games during his career with the Gators.

Zooming Through Ohio State

The Ohio State Buckeyes visit the Miami Hurricanes at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on 9/17/11

See a larger version of this image with expanded web tools here.

The world just does not fit conveniently into the format of a 35mm camera.  ~W. Eugene Smith

Last Saturday I took those words to heart when I climbed up to the overhead camera position just before the start of our game against Ohio State.

While I took a standard fisheye shot of the stadium with a modern digital equivalent of a 35mm camera, I had something else in mind and in hand.

I had a GigaPan Epic robotic unit holding a Canon G12 camera, which shot 66 individual pictures across a grid from that same overhead camera position at the top of Sun Life Stadium early in the 1st quarter. Those images were then downloaded to a personal computer where software stitched, rendered, and projected the image together into a single image. The massive image was then uploaded to the free user community site gigapan.org, which allows high-resolution images to be stored, shared, annotated, commented, linked, geolocated, and embedded on any website.

The GigaPan process is far from perfect at public gatherings, such as a football stadium. It’s impossible to keep people from moving for a second, let alone the seven and a half minutes it took to complete this image. You’re going to find duplicate people who appear in more than one frame, or parts of people who were at the edge of a frame. Items that move during the process also can oddly appear. There were also a few spots where frames did not align correctly.

There is also new technology which allows users to tag themselves and/or their friends to post on Facebook. Licensing of that technology is still a bit pricey for us.

Photographer and UM alum (and my old college roommate) David Bergman embraced the technology early, creating this famous GigaPan image of President Obama’s inauguration, and these GigaPans for Major League Baseball. Ironically, Bergman was at the game Saturday, shooting conventional images for Sports Illustrated, and can be seen in my GigaPan image.

You can access all of GigaPan.org’s tools to explore this photo here. We are also making a print of this image available for purchase at Caneshooter.com.

GigaPan Statistics for this image:

Date Taken: September 17, 2011
Size: 0.58 gigapixels
Field of View: 144.7 degrees wide, 59.1 degrees high
Panorama size: 581 megapixels (37720 x 15404 pixels)
Input images: 66 (11 columns by 6 rows)
Field of view: 144.7 degrees wide by 59.1 degrees high (top=24.0, bottom=-35.1)
Camera model: Canon PowerShot G12
Single image size: 3648×2736 (10.0 megapixels)
Capture time: 2011-09-17 19:41:53 – 2011-09-17 19:46:50
Aperture: f/4.5
Exposure time: 0.004
ISO: 800
Focal length (35mm equiv.): 142.3 mm
Digital zoom: off
White balance: Automatic
Exposure mode: Manual
Horizontal overlap: 7.4 to 20.6 percent
Vertical overlap: 6.6 to 8.4 percent
Computer stats: 4096 MB RAM, 2 CPUs
Total time 7:33 (6.9 seconds per picture)
Alignment: 1:06, Projection: 28 seconds, Blending: 5:59

Forty Scored Seven Years Ago

Today marks the 7th anniversary of the ‘Canes last appearance in Morgantown, WV. Why is this significant, you ask?

It’s not that the ‘Canes amassed 524 total yards in the 40-23 victory over the Mountaineers.

Nor is it that it was Miami’s 800th game, or that Miami tied a school record with its 29th straight win, or even that Ken Dorsey moved into the top spot on Miami’s all-time list for passing yards, completions and total offense, surpassing Gino Torretta in all three categories.

The real reason for celebration is that we won’t, in the foreseeable future, have to go back there!

Since this blog is a positive blog, we won’t tell you about Danyell Ferguson’s fan-fueled rocky ambulance ride (1996), Randy Shannon taking a garbage can to the head (hurled from the upper deck, also 1996), the student section’s propensity for tossing liquor bottles at the opposition (pick a year!), or even my personal experiences with a drunken fan breaking my monopod in a post game celebration (1993), the thrown orange I took in the back (1998), my several run-ins with frat boys, fans or alumni spitting tobacco at me (1993, 1996, 1998, 2000) or any of the other welcoming behavior we experienced on the campus of West Virginia University.

I know that not all West Virginians, or even all Mountaineer fans, are represented by the examples I named above; those we did encounter were bad enough that I am happy not to have to go back there again, even though we are 7-1 all time on their tobacco-stained turf.

WVU fans’ classlessness isn’t limited to Miami. Jay Coulter writes: “Talk to an Auburn fan who made the trip to Morgantown last year and you’ll almost certainly hear a bad story. Many that made the trip say the fans were the worst they’d encountered in all their years of traveling to games. They were described as rude, classless and mean spirited.”

That’s a lot of swagger from a team whose all-time greatest accomplishment includes spending one entire week of being ranked #1.

So today marks the celebration of seven Mountaineer Field-free years; here’s to many, many more. I can’t think of anything more positive!

Our Own “Rudy”

Yesterday Dave Hyde’s column in the Sun-Sentinel told the story of Chris Hayes, a walk-on for the University of Miami Football team who had his “Rudy” moment during a game against Wake Forest last season.

Chris’ moment came the day after his father’s funeral, who had committed suicide earlier in the week.

Ever wonder why you see those “U Family” slogans around? This is one reason why.

Have you ever wondered why I had a suicide prevention ad on my blog and occasionally tweet about it? Suicide touches many more families than you can imagine, mine included.

You can read the article here.

 

2008 Miami Hurricanes Football vs Wake Forest