Thursday, September 20, 2018


Ernest Hooper

Ernest Hooper

Ernest Hooper is the East Hillsborough Bureau chief and columnist at the Tampa Bay Times. Hooper joined the Times in 1992 and has worked as a prep sports writer and editor, TV/radio sports columnist, NFL writer, news columnist and unofficial ambassador, representing the Times as an emcee, judge or keynote speaker at hundreds of nonprofit events and civic functions. Hooper added the role of East Hillsborough Bureau chief in 2012. He oversees news content for the Times' regional edition east of Tampa, the SouthShore & Brandon Times, and writes two columns a week. His commentaries about family, community issues and political perspectives have helped Hooper connect with readers over the years, but he's probably best known for his signature tagline: That's all I'm saying.

Folks who used to frequent Tampa dance spots like the Baja Beach Club in the late 1980s and early 1990s understand why the Sept. 15,2018 Freestyle Express concert with acts like Stevie B., Expose and Lisa-Lisa held such appeal. TIMES FILES

Hooper: Nothing wrong with a night train to the past

They say you canít live in the past, but I do believe itís fine to pay a visit.I recently gathered with friends from my grade school, Tallahasseeís Trinity Catholic, and reveled in the moment. It was the first time we...
Published: 09/17/18
Bucs quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick earned NFC offensive player of the week for his performance in Tampa Bay's 48-40 victory Sunday at New Orleans. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)

NFL picks Week 2: Our Bucs coverage team makes its predictions

The Bucs enter stage 2 of their season-opening gauntlet against defending champions.The Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles arrive at Raymond James Stadium. They were 3.5-point favorites as of Thursday morning and the Bucs -- already...
Published: 09/13/18
Updated: 09/14/18
Holly Kachler is a Blake High graduate and freshman at Barry University in Miami Shores. ERNEST HOOPER | Times

Hooper: Donít overlook collegeís most valuable learning opportunities

MIAMI SHORESFor Holly Kachler, itís not so much what drew her to the performing arts program at Blake High School, itís what she took from the experience. All around Hillsborough County, the school district maintains magnet programs that...
Published: 09/11/18
Updated: 09/14/18
South Florida Bulls running back Duran Bell Jr. (22) and his teammates produced a significant victory against Georgia Tech on Sept. 28, but the empty seats at Raymond James Stadium also proved notable. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times

Hooper: Is football fascination fading before our eyes?

USF won, Florida State struggled and Florida lost, but one commonality connected all three of Saturdayís games.Empty seats.Sure, USF played under a sweltering sun, FSU battled a thunderstorm delay and UF took the field...
Published: 09/10/18
Dirk Koetter is entering his third season as Bucs head coach. He has won 14 games and lost 18. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]

NFL Week 1 picks: Our Bucs coverage team makes its predictions

It’s week 1 of the NFL season. Things get started Thursday night with the Eagles-Falcons and won’t end until late Monday when Jon Gruden makes his coaching return official when the Raiders face the Rams in Oakland.In between,...
Published: 09/06/18
Frank D. Murphy will host the â\u0080\u009CPut Down Your Fake ID Youth Leadership Conference

Hooper: Conference looks to boost teensí identity search

We worry about identity theft these days with good reason. But teensí search for their identity can be just as concerning. Society seems to come up with new ways to pull them in self-defeating directions.While I often believe...
Updated one month ago
Andrew Gillum addresses his supporters Tuesday after winning the Democrat primary in the race for governor. [AP photo/Steve Cannon]

Ernest Hooper: Gillumís win may be payback for put-down of progressives in presidential race

Andrew Gillumís victory in the Democratic primary stunned some, but not those who bought into Gillumís message and vision early and never swayed.In fact, they may bristle at the description of his win as stunning, even though he did defeat a...
Updated one month ago
Bucs quarterback Austin Allen (8) prepares to throw during practice Aug. 3. (CHRIS URSO | Times)

Donít say the preseason is meaningless to these guys

TAMPA — Any visitor to the Bucs locker room will find the typical items: pads, helmets, stools, tape.There's also a ping-pool table, loads of incredible athletic talent and perspective.Reams of thought-provoking,...
Updated one month ago

Hooper: Make a choice — ‘No We Can’t’ or ‘Watch This’

Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lopano often speaks about how the airport, and really Tampa Bay, enjoys new success because it’s gone from, No We Can’t to Watch This.
Updated one month ago
\u201CI still feel like nobody can do it better than me,\u201D defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul says as he heads into his ninth NFL season.

TAKE nothing for granted

Bucs defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul brought energy to the engagement. After a particularly grueling day at training camp last month, he accepted the challenge and joined teammates in cheering on more than 70 Special Olympic athletes.The...
Updated one month ago