Academy at the Lakes has moved quickly to fill one of its high-profile coach openings.
The Wildcats announced Wednesday in a news release that they have hired Diane Stephenson, who once coached at Indiana University, to take over the softball program. Stephenson replaces Jerry English, who retired last week after compiling a 64-25 record in five seasons at the school.
Stephenson, who coached the Hoosiers from 1987-2002 and was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year in 1996, owns Positive Force Fastpitch Academy, which is located in St. Petersburg.
“I’m absolutely thrilled that Coach Stephenson will join our coaching staff,” AATL athletic director Tom Haslam said in the release. “She performed as a player and a coach at the highest level for many years, and her enthusiasm for coaching and her passion for leading student-athletes to reach their full potential is contagious."Full Story
EVE EDELHEIT | Times
Ernie Chatman, arguably the most successful coach in Hernando County history, passed away Sunday at age 66.
Hernando High coaching icon Ernie Chatman, whose uncanny success spanned several Leopards sports and decades, passed away Sunday evening of an apparent heart attack at his Brooksville home.
He was 66.
A 1967 HHS graduate and member of at least two sports halls of fame, Mr. Chatman coached baseball, softball, basketball, track and cross country in a 42-year career, most of it at his alma mater. Success accompanied him to each sport.
"He had the ability to identify talent and be able to communicate it," said Hernando baseball coach Tim Sims, himself a Chatman disciple.
"Whether you wanted to listen to him or not, he had the ability to reach you and communicate with you. He was gonna figure out a way to communicate with you to make you realize you had that talent." …Full Story
Clearwater's Adarius Lemons in action last season.
Clearwater running back Adarius Lemons announced Sunday via Twitter that he was flipping his college commitment from North Carolina to Florida.
The decision comes after Lemons went to Gainesville this weekend as a participant in Florida’s Friday Night Lights.
“Yes I flipped,” Lemons said on his Twitter page. “Please don’t hate me. The grind don’t stop.”
Lemons, who is rated as a four-star recruit by 247Sports, rushed more than 1,000 yards last season while leading the Tornadoes to a district title. The rising senior committed to the Tar Heels, on March 24 but still planned to visit other schools.
There was a hard push on social media this weekend for Lemons to choose the Gators. At one point Sunday, the hashtag “Lemons2TheSwamp” was trending on Twitter.
Lemons named Florida as his leader on Sunday before making his decision.
The Gators have been successful landing bay area recruits this summer. Lemons joins a trio of defensive linemen – Pinellas Park’s Jordon Scott, Largo’s Jaquaze Sorrells and Hillsborough’s Zachary Carter – who have pledged their allegiance to Florida in the past two months. Full Story
Former Gaither standout and University of Virginia rising senior Jimmy Stanger won the prestigious Southern Amateur golf tournament at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, S.C. on Sunday. Stanger, who was the Times 2012 Hillsborough Golfer of the Year, shot a final round 6 under 66 to win the tournament by one stroke. Stanger trailed Oklahoma State's Zach Bauchou by three strokes to start the final round. His overall total was 12 under.
Stanger was an All Atlantic Coast Conference First Team selection for the Cavaliers. Stanger was first or second in scoring for Virginia in nine of 12 tournaments. He helped lead the Cavaliers to an NCAA tournament appearance.
"This is my best (win) by far," Stanger told amateurgolf.com.
The Southern Amateur has been played since 1902. Some of its memorable winners include Bobby Jones, Ben Crenshaw, Tom Kite, Justin Leonard and Tampa's Gary Koch. Stanger is the second local this year to win a major event for Virginia. St. Petersburg's Danielle Collins won the Women's NCAA tennis singles earlier this summer.Full Story
JOEY KNIGHT | Times
Armwood players break huddle following a win Sunday against East Lake at the USF Sling & Shoot. The Hawks reached the semifinals, falling to eventual champ Daytona Beach Mainland.
Another sweltering Sling & Shoot is in the books at USF, where offers were doled out almost as frequently as sideline warnings, or so it seemed. At any rate, here are some notes and observations from the two-day 7-on-7 showcase.Full Story
* Based on the tournament bracket sheet, this year's event -- held in concurrence with USF's Big Man Camp -- attracted between 30 and 40 schools. That's a modest dip from previous years, but shouldn't be surprising.
In today's summer football climate, similar events are staged in every nook of the state, on every weekend. This year, USF was going head-to-head against a Polk County 7-on-7 tournament in Auburndale, and a tourney sanctioned by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (featuring Pasco and Hillsborough schools) at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz.
* Daytona Beach Mainland topped Spoto in Sunday afternoon's final to capture the title. The Spartans, who upset Armwood earlier in the day, exited campus with no offers; Coach Dale Caparaso said his roster is loaded with solid players but no elite ones -- yet. Mainland, meantime, was sparked by DB Cyrus Fagan, a prominent FSU commit.
* Armwood entered the weekend already loaded with offers from USF. According to Hawks coaches, every Hawks offensive skill starter -- and four defensive starters -- already have offers from the Bulls. Among them: rising sophomore LB Ricardo Watson.
* A handful of current Bulls were spotted milling around the Morsani Practice Complex including QB Quinton Flowers, who appears slightly thicker than the 209 pounds at which he was listed on USF's post-spring depth chart. (Our guess: He's a solid 215 these days).
* Sickles rising junior QB Jordan McCloud -- younger sibling of Hillsborough County all-time rushing leader (and Clemson receiver) Ray Ray McCloud -- landed a USF offer, according to his dad. So too did Gryphons rising junior Jontrey Hunter (6-2, 185), whom new Gryphons coach Patrick Murphy says is "one of the best athletes I've ever seen." …
The 2016 high school football season is still a couple months away, but hundreds of athletes in the Tampa Bay area had the opportunity to work on and showcase their skills Sunday at the Sound Mind Sound Body football camp. Among them were Sickles QB Jordan McCloud and Hillsborough CB Ken Montgomery, both of whom are new to positions they'll likely be playing come August.
McCloud, brother of current Clemson running back and Hillsborough County all-time leading rusher Ray Ray McCloud III, was listed as a running back and played a little bit of cornerback last season for the Gryphons, but this season he'll likely start under center.
McCloud said the drills Sunday at Jefferson High School were a good opportunity for him to grow into his new position.
"It went well, just overall learning new stuff with new coaches and stuff," he said. "Just getting the ball out of my hands quicker at quarterback and then just staying more patient at quarterback." …Full Story
This spring, Clearwater Central Catholic quarterback Jakob Parks picked up his first offer from Eastern Kentucky.
That did not did not generate scholarship offers from other schools despite an impressive showing in the spring game against Clearwater.
So Parks decided to go to them.
He will be on a whirlwind tour this month, visiting as many colleges as possible to show off his skills at camps. This past week there were stops Indiana, Marshall, Memphis, Miami (Ohio) and Western Kentucky.
On Sunday, he attended the Sound Mind Sound Body camp at Jefferson High.
It does not end there. Parks will attend camps at Akron on Wednesday and Ball State on Thursday. He might go to Eastern Michigan on Friday.
Parks said he plans to attend more than 15 camps in June.
“This month is just crazy,” Parks said. “I’m to going as many camps as I can to get as exposure as possible for myself and my team.”
In today's high-pressure world of college football, potential recruits try to gain an edge by mailing letters, sending out a DVD of highlights or investing in recruiting services. …Full Story
Dixie Hollins senior quarterback Dakovin Cann, Jr. attended Sunday’s Strong Mind Strong Body satellite camp at Jefferson High School to not only prepare for his final season, but also to be seen by the numerous college coaches in attendance. Cann, 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, was one of 400 players attending the camp. After throwing for 1,454 yards last season, he is hoping to surpass 2,000 yards this season and help the Rebels have a winning season. They were 1-9 last season.
“There’s a lot of talent out here,’’ Cann said. “I love competing against players like this. When I am at these camps I don’t get nervous. I just play my own game and work on improving.’’
This was Cann’s first satellite camp of the summer. He threw several tight spirals in the afternoon’s one-on-one passing drills. He plans on attending camps at Central Florida, Florida Atlantic, Florida International and perhaps Miami throughout the summer.
While Cann is preparing for his final season as starter, Indian Rocks Christian sophomore quarterback Andrew Roberts is preparing for his first. He will take over for Garrett Ross-Johnson after serving as the backup last season. …Full Story
Daniel Wallace | Times
Nelson Agholor (seen here playing for Berkeley Prep in 2011) is the subject of a rape investigation, according to a report.
Former Berkeley Prep star Nelson Agholor has been accused of rape, according to a report by Philadelphia magazine.
An exotic dancer at Cheerleaders Gentlemen's Club told police that the Eagles receiver raped her Thursday afternoon, according to the magazine. At least two other teammates were at the club, and police are seeking video footage.
Agholor has not been arrested or charged with a crime. Read the magazine's full report here.
The Eagles said in a statement that they are aware of the incident. The 6-foot, 198-pound Agholor had 23 catches for 283 yards and a touchdown in 13 games as a rookie last year.
Agholor was the No. 20 overall pick last spring after a successful career at USC. Before that, Agholor won the Guy Toph Award in January 2012 as the top high school football player in Hillsborough County.
Our Joey Knight profiled Agholor when he was a five-star recruit. As a senior at Berkeley, he rushed for 1,983 yards and 28 touchdowns to help his team advance to the Class 3A state semifinals. Full Story
Here are the Western Conference softball as selected by the public school coaches in Hillsborough County
P Marcella Parrado, Sr., Leto
P Hailee DeCicco, So., Gaither
IF Kayla McGory, Sr., Plant
IF Jessica Louth, Sr., Alonso
IF Bethany Kursch, Sr., Gaither
C Elizabeth Mason, Sr., Gaither
OF Kristen Hawkins, Sr., Alonso
OF Lauren Lastres, Sr., Plant
OF Marcella Copeland, So., Leto
1B Jennifer Oliva, Jr., Robinson
DH/UTIL Samantha Conlan, Jr., Robinson
P Natalie Zweig, Fr., Sickles
P Dana Rowley, Sr., Plant
IF Caila Weisman, Sr., Alonso
IF Justine Fernandez, Sr., Jefferson
IF Alexis Smith, Fr., Robinson
C Hayley Mongoy, Jr., Robinson
OF Olivia Longshore, Jr., Robinson
OF Amelia Iacovino, Jr., Steinbrenner
OF Cassidy Scott, Sr., Blake
1B Alyssa Rowe, Jr., Leto
DH/UTIL Cassidy Renninger, So., Robinson
Coach of the year: Robin Kopp, Alonso
P Scottie Todd, Sr., Strawberry Crest
P Gabby Vallee, So., Chamberlain
IF Alex Quinonez, Jr., Chamberlain
IF Hope Hernandez, Jr., Chamberlain
IF Kasey Locke, Sr., Strawberry Crest
C Maddy Hall, Sr., Freedom
OF Maddie Lewis, So., Chamberlain
OF Gracie Seidl, Jr., Freedom
OF Brandy Ashmore, Jr., Strawberry Crest …Full Story
First team: 1B Jordan Butler, Jr., Alonso; INF Jose Ciccarello, Jr., Alonso; C Adrian DeArmas, Sr., Leto; P Gavin Gillespie, Sr., Gaither; OF Robby Martin, So., Jefferson; OF Ryan Mejia, Sr., Alonso; Andreas Morales, Jr., Leto; DH Ryan Russell, Sr., Steinbrenner; OF Conner Scott, So., Plant; INF Matthew Steckel, Sr., Robinson; P CJ Van Eyk, Jr., Steinbrenner
Second team: OF Jose Cadenas, Jr., Gaither; DH Ryan Drumheller, So., Alonso; P Ryan Fernandez, Sr., Alonso; P Zane Hedaya, Sr., Plant; INF Bradley Hession, Sr., Steinbrenner; INF Chipper Holland, Jr., Gaither; C Shawn McGory, Sr., Robinson; 1B Patrick Morris, Jr., Steinbrenner; OF Mike Paule, Sr., Alonso; OF Kenny Rodriguez, Jr., Gaither; INF Peyton Woble, Sr., Alonso
Coach of the year: John Crumbley, Steinbrenner
First team: OF Tyrek Ball, Jr., Brandon; 1B Zach Barfield, Sr., Durant; OF Nate Chevalier, Jr., Bloomingdale; OF Keith Harden, Jr., Lennard; INF Jonathan Hermann, Sr., Durant; INF Spencer Nelson, Sr., Durant; P Jonah Scolaro, Jr., Durant; C Jake Sullivan, Sr., Durant; INF Freddy Tarnok, Jr., Riverview; P Antonio Velez, Sr., Brandon …Full Story
Here is the SAC East and West All County teams, as voted on by Pasco County public school coaches:
Coach of the Year: Jeff May, Land O’Lakes
Player of the Year: McCabe Sargent, Land O’Lakes
P Kirby Osborn, Sr., Land O’Lakes
C Dillon Sink, Sr., Wesley Chapel
INF Michael Wu, Jr., Sunlake
INF Max Law, Jr., Land O’Lakes
INF Zach Ghelfi, Sr., Wesley Chapel
INF Marcus Gonzalez, Soph., Wesley Chapel
OF Colton Bierly, Soph., Wesley Chapel
OF Jake Starling, Sr., Pasco
OF Austin Forest, Sr., Land O’Lakes
DH/Util McCabe Sargent, Jr., Land O’Lakes
P Tommy Mace, Jr., Sunlake
C Jacob Ortiz, Jr., Sunlake
INF Marcus Gonzalez, Jr., Zephyrhills
INF Ethan Nuebling, Sr., Sunlake
INF Dustin Harris, Jr., Land O’Lakes
INF Corey Mills, Jr., Pasco
OF Dylan Gobel, Sr., Pasco
OF Jeremy Moser, Sr., Wiregrass Ranch
DH/Util Hunter Moye, Jr., Wesley Chapel
Coach of the Year: Scott Wilcox, Mitchell
Player of the Year: Jakob Mattos, Mitchell
P Jakob Mattos, Soph., Mitchell
C Zack Witfoth, Sr., Hudson
INF Jake Treloar, Sr., Ridgewood
INF Kyle Haglund, Sr., Fivay
INF Ryan Oneill, Soph., Gulf
INF Ryan Delnegro, Jr., Mitchell
OF Mike Smith, Jr., Gulf
OF Jaden Cooper, Sr., Ridgewood …Full Story
BRENDAN FITTERER | Times
Central High School tackle Lyndell Hudson, right, blocks a teammate during spring football practice in May.
As concern about concussions mount, Florida is set to enact its first restrictions on full-contact practices for the state's high school football players.
The Florida High School Athletic Association plans to limit live contact - drills where teammates tackle each other to the ground - to 80 minutes per week during the season. Live contact could take place three days a week for no more than 30 minutes each day.
During the preseason, live contact will be limited to 40 minutes per day. There are no restrictions to the amount of limited contact drills that involve bags or pads or end without a hit to the ground.
The FHSAA, the state's governing body for high school sports, discussed the idea with coaches, trainers and administrators across the state and received little blowback.
"We feel like this is a really good fit for our state," FHSAA athletic director Frank Beasley said.
Most coaches already operate within the guidelines to keep players fresh, Beasley said.
Pasco High coach Tom McHugh said the policy change works within most coaches' practices. He has restricted his full-contact practices over the years to reduce injuries. …Full Story
Shawn Brown is the new head baseball coach at Countryside. Brown spent the past three years as head coach at Largo. He takes over for Kemo O’Sullivan, who was relieved of his coaching duties at the end of the season. O’Sullivan had been the Cougars head coach for nine seasons.
“This wasn’t something that was planned,’’ Brown said. “I was happy at Largo and they were going to get a new field in the coming years. It was a good situation. But (Countryside) came to me. Once I heard about the tradition they have, I was excited to take over.’’
Brown, who is self-employed and does not teach in Pinellas County, said he will meet with returners from this year’s team before school lets out next week. While at Largo, Brown was 28-52. This season, the Packers were 6-21.
Countryside was 19-8 and won the Class 8A, District 7 tournament. The Cougars graduated six players but return a good corps of starters, including top pitcher Matt Adams.Full Story
Former Northside Christian golfer Anna Newell recently finished tied for fourth at the NCAA tournament in Eugene, Oregon. Newell shot a four round score of 6 under, 282. It is the best NCAA tournament finish in the history of the Tennessee women’s golf program and just the third time a Tennessee golfer has finished in the top five.
Newell, a sophomore, shot under par in three of her four rounds, including a second round score of 5 under 67. Duke’s Virginia Elena Carta won the tournament by eight strokes with a score of 16 under 272.
Newell was homeschooled but played golf for the Mustangs. She is currently ranked 21st in the country.Full Story