A Night to Remember, 30 Years On

Craig Howard is led away by authorities after tackling Sebastian the Ibis

The 1992 Miami Hurricanes football team was riding a 18-game winning streak and were the preseason #1 team when Hurricane Andrew rolled through Dade County on August 24. As the first game on the schedule neared the team relocated to Dodgertown in Vero Beach to prepare for the September 5 opener at Iowa.

The following is what Hurricane reporter Jason Molinet wrote following the game:

University of Iowa officials were billing it as “A Night to Remember,” the first night game ever at Kinnick Stadium against the top-ranked University of Miami football team.

A number of the 70,397 people who filled the stadium will remember one tackle more than any other from the Hurricanes 24-7 victory over Iowa.

One Iowa fan attempted to take on Miami single handed, or at least UM’s mascot, Sebastian the Ibis. Standing near the end zone following a failed third down conversion late in the first half, Sebastian, portrayed by John Routh since 1984, was tackled from behind.

Recalling the incident later, Routh said, “I suddenly realized I was on the ground. If I would have seen him coming, he would have never had a chance.”

“I saw a guy running up behind [Routh] and I wondered what he was doing, and he just tackled him. I couldn’t believe it,” Zak Sulkes, a UM cheerleader, said. 

Craig Howard was arrested and charged with assault and battery, disorderly conduct, and public drunkenness.

Molinet also wrote, “It is believed Howard attacked Sebastian as a result of a wager.”

What we didn’t know at the time is who offered the wager.

Actor Tom Arnold, appearing as a guest on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 1993, recalled a drunken fan sitting next to him and his then-wife Rosanne Barr, at the game. In order to get rid of the fan, he bet him he wouldn’t go try to tackle the Ibis.

The rest is history.

And for Howard, it was certainly a night to remember.

Where Have You Gone, Dan Marino?

Dan Marino stands dejected on the sideline after being pulled from the Dolphins 62-7 loss at Jacksonville in the 1999 Divisional Playoffs. It would be the final game of his career.

Today, Jacoby Brissett becomes the 23rd quarterback to start a game since Dan Marino retired after the 1999 season. Below is the complete list of quarterbacks to start for the Dolphins since then:

Jay Fiedler

Damon Huard

Ray Lucas

Brian Griese

A.J. Feeley

Sage Rosenfels

Gus Frerotte

Daunte Culpepper

Joey Harrington

Cleo Lemon

Trent Green

John Beck

Chad Pennington

Chad Henne

Tyler Thigpen

Matt Moore

Ryan Tannehill

Jay Cutler

Brock Osweiler

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Josh Rosen

Tua Tagovailoa

Jacoby Brissett

I was shooting for Dolphin Digest at the time, and we had a seat on the team plane. The league scheduled us @ Seattle for the wild card round, and then for the first game the following Saturday for the divisional round. We arrived home at 2am Monday morning after the Seattle game, and the team had to prepare for the 14-2 Jaguars in essentially four days.

It showed.

The Jaguars, who finished the 1999 regular-season 14-2, led 24-0 after the 1st quarter and 41-7 at halftime. Their dominance was total, out gaining the Dolphins in total yards 520-131, forced seven turnovers, and out gained Miami on the ground 257 yards to 21 yards.

Head coach Jimmy Johnson pulled Marino during the 3rd quarter. It would be the final appearance of his career. Marino finished 11-25 for 95 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions. It was also Johnson’s last game of his career.

Ironically, Jay Fiedler (7-11, 172 yards, two touchdowns for Jacksonville) would become Marino’s successor as starter for Miami in 2000. Fiedler guided the Dolphins to a 23-17 overtime win over Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in the wild card round that season, Miami’s last playoff win.

May 7, 1991

May 7, 1991, Fenway Park. Twins @ Red Sox, Scott Erickson pitching to Wade Boggs.

30 years ago today a friend and I walked up to the ticket window looking for two. It just happened to be precisely 6pm, and unbeknownst to us it was the time when unused player’s tickets were released to the public. This is well before Stub Hub and “Premium Pricing” existed. We scored two right behind home plate, first row.

I was a poor community college student who had just acquired a 80-200mm lens. I think the body was a Nikon N6006. I had them with me, along with some Fuji 800 film.

I didn’t shoot athletics much at Hillsborough Community College, in fact, I wrote nearly as much as I shot. Plus we only published once every three weeks. My student publications scholarship covered my tuition that year, which at $20 a credit hour was a whopping $600. But it helped me afford that lens.

I consider this to be my first sports photograph. It likely isn’t, but it’s the first one that remains in my archive, which nearing 700,000 images online, and likely another 200,000 images in “analog storage.”

After getting my AA, I transferred to Miami, and eventually became their contract photographer. In my first year, Miami baseball went to the College World Series, where the infamous Warren Morris ended our championship dreams with two outs in the bottom of the 9th. Our shortstop was so devastated after we lost he laid on the ground for what seemed an eternity.

That shortstop now occupies the dugout to the right side of this image. He is the manager of the Boston Red Sox.

Life is a crazy ride.

Ron Fraser 1933-2013

Former Hurricanes baseball coach Ron Fraser passed away today after a long illness.

Much has been written about what an outstanding coach and promoter of college baseball Ron Fraser was. Off the field, Fraser was an even better person. One of the many random acts of kindness by Fraser I witnessed over the years was the one that happened after Fraser coached his last game in a 8-1 loss to Cal State Fullerton in a semi-final game at the 1992 College World Series. Under pressure from CBS to play a championship game the next day, on time, the game was played in a nearly constant downpour. An emotional Fraser (below) used the press conference to rail against the NCAA for playing the game in such poor conditions.

The following is what I wrote for UM’s Ibis Yearbook back then:

OMAHA, Neb. – The day from hell.

Upon arriving at NCAA media headquarters to pick up my press credential for the College World Series, the secretary handed me a seat cushion and a poncho.

Noticing the bright and sunny weather conditions outside, she deadpanned about our planned use of the rain gear at the game later that evening.

Little did we know she was a meteorologist. In the third inning that night, the skies opened up and our ponchos came out.

One good moment, though, came following the No. 1 Hurricanes’ dismal 8-1 loss to Cal State Fullerton in the semi-finals of the CWS.

As retiring coach Ron Fraser, after the final game of his 30-year career, left the stadium, he was met by a young boy waiting for an autograph in the pouring rain. Instead of his signature, “The Wizard of College Baseball” removed his hat and gave it to the young fan.

Over the years I came to know “The Wizard,” he did absolutely nothing to change my mind. This great university has lost a legend.


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.

Classic Canestagrams

Classic Canestagrams - Series 1 Composite

With the recent popularity of smartphone app “Instagram,” I have experimented with re-creating the look of the iconic square images using images from my Miami Hurricanes Archive.

I started by making “Canestagrams” out of studio poses of our Volleyball team.

Recently I started working on making “Canestagrams” from my ‘Canes football action archive.

I hope you enjoy the first series of 49. You can view them all individually on the mother site. A square composite print (shown above) is also available.