Bob Putnam, Times Staff Writer

Bob Putnam

Bob Putnam is a fourth-generation Floridian who was born in St. Petersburg and graduated from Dixie Hollins High School (Class of '91). He went to St. Petersburg College (1991-93) and USF (1993-95) before working at the Times as a staff writer in 1996.

Phone: (727) 445-4169


  1. Preseason football: Largo 14, Dunedin 7; Dunedin 6, Pinellas Park 6; Largo 7, Pinellas Park 6


    LARGO — Dunedin had a lot of positives this summer with reinforcements arriving in the form of players who were previously ineligible or lukewarm about the program.

    But to really signal a turnaround from last year's 1-9 record, the Falcons needed a win against a bona fide playoff contender.

    It almost happened Thursday night.

    In two halves of a jamboree, Dunedin lost to host Largo 14-7 and tied Pinellas Park 6-6....

    Dunedin’s Kendrick Harvey reaches the end zone against Pinellas Park, but a holding penalty negates the score. The Falcons, who went 1-9 in 2013, lost to Largo and tied Pinellas Park.
  2. Class 8A, District 7: 2014 football preview


    We wrap up our daily district previews for all 78 varsity football teams with one including teams from Bradenton, Sarasota and Pinellas.


    If there was ever a time to knock off Bradenton Manatee, it might be this season. After 30 years, legendary coach Joe Kinnan is out. Last year's starting quarterback, Josh Meyer, is off the team due to an arrest in the spring. He accounted for 2,014 yards of offense as a junior. But all three teams trying to beat Manatee have question marks. Can Sarasota Riverview overcome losses on defense to earn a second straight playoff appearance? Does St. Petersburg have enough size to last four quarters? Does Palm Harbor University have enough depth under first-year coach Reggie Crume? If those teams can get rolling, it could make for a competitive district. ...

    Stephen Charron, trying to elude Largo defensive back Jonathan Crawford during the spring game, is Palm Harbor University’s top returning rusher with 644 yards last season.
  3. Palm Harbor University: 2014 football preview


    Palm Harbor University

    Coach: Reggie Crume (first season)

    Last season: 5-5

    Class/district: 8A-7

    Colors: Burgundy, navy and white

    Stadium: Hurricane Stadium, 1900 Omaha St., Palm Harbor

    Playoff history: 2011, 2012

    Last appearance: Lost 24-10 to Vero Beach.

    Season schedule

    Aug. 29 at East Lake, 7:30...

    Stephen Charron is the team's top returning rusher with 644 yards. In the spring, he had 99 yards and scored once in three quarters against Largo. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD
 | Times]
  4. Seminole: 2014 football preview



    Coach: Chris Miller (second season, 3-7; 10th season overall, 51-42)

    Last season: 3-7

    Class/district: 7A-9

    Colors: Orange, green and white

    Stadium: Warhawk Stadium, 8401 31st St. N., Seminole

    Playoff history: 1972, 1976, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003

    Last appearance: Lost 21-20 to Clearwater....

  5. East Lake: 2014 football preview


    East Lake

    Coach: Bob Hudson (12th season, 78-47)

    Last season: 13-1

    Class/district: 7A-9

    Colors: Royal blue and white

    Stadium: East Lake Stadium, 1300 Silver Eagle Drive, East Lake

    Playoff history: 1994, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

    Last appearance: Beat Palmetto 13-12; beat Pinellas Park 45-0; beat Port Charlotte 49-15; lost 31-24 to Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer....

    Jake Hudson looked comfortable running the no-huddle offense in the spring, finishing 12-of-14 for 202 yards and three touchdowns in the first half against Osceola. [WILL VRAGOVIC | Times]
  6. Countryside: 2014 football preview



    Coach: Eric Schmitz (first season)

    Last season: 6-4

    Class/district: 7A-9

    Colors: Garnet and gold

    Stadium: Cougar Field, 300 State Road 580, Clearwater

    Playoff history: 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011

    Last appearance: Lost 28-27 to Venice.

    Season schedule ...

    Slyvester Kimbrough, the top deep threat among a solid group of receivers, finished last season with a team-leading 423 yards receiving and three touchdowns. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD
 | Times]
  7. Clearwater: 2014 football preview



    Coach: Donnie Abraham (second season)

    Last season: 0-10

    Class/district: 7A-9

    Colors: Gray and red

    Stadium: Jack White Stadium, 540 S. Hercules Ave., Clearwater

    Playoff history: 1964, 1969, 1970, 1978, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004

    Last appearance: Lost 39-21 to Boca Ciega...

    TE/LB Rasim Avmet was the team's leading receiver last year with 285 yards and caught a winning touchdown pass  in the spring. [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times
  8. Class 7A, District 9: 2014 football preview


    We're rolling out daily district previews for all 78 varsity football teams in the area. Today we look at a six-team all-Pinellas County district.


    This district could be one of the most competitive in the area. Five of the six teams either won or tied in their spring games. Last year, East Lake was dominant, sweeping its district foes by a combined score of 250-51. The Eagles graduated some key players, including defensive back Devin Abraham, left tackle Mason Cole and receiver Artavis Scott. But there still is enough top-level talent to stay at the top with players such as receiver George Campbell, linebacker Carson Lydon and defensive back Justin Strnad. Pinellas Park returns 15 starters from last year's team that went 10-2 and won a playoff game for just the second time in school history. The run game will be among the area's leaders, led by Donte Maxson and Kal-El Williams. After missing the playoffs the past two seasons, Countryside has the talent to be in the mix. Trent Chmelik is in his first full season as a quarterback and directs an offense capable of big numbers. Clearwater, Northeast and Seminole, which were a combined 4-26 last season, are likely on the outside looking in when it comes to competing for a playoff spot. The Tornadoes' Donnie Abraham and the Warhawks' Chris Miller are both second-year coaches whose teams showed improvement in the spring and summer. First-year coach Jeremy Frioud has brought some energy to Northeast....

    TE/LB Rasim Avmet during Clearwater High School's football practice Wednesday morning 8/13/14.
  9. Three questions with Countryside running back Dante Satcher


    As the 2014 high school football season openers approach, Countryside senior Dante Satcher is ready to break through for a 1,000-yard season.

    The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder led the Cougars in rushing yards with 695 a year ago. That total does not raise too many eyebrows, but Satcher showed the potential of what he can with the ball in his hands by rushing for more than 100 yards in each of his final two games. Now he is poised for even bigger things. He'll run behind an improved offensive line, and the wide-open offense will prevent defenses from keying on him. Once he finds a little wiggle room, Satcher plans to show his speed to get past opponents and into the end zone. He ran track in the spring and worked out with legendary track coach Eileen Givens on getting faster. He hopes all of that will get Countryside get back into the playoffs after missing out the past two seasons. The first test comes tonight when the Cougars host rival Clearwater Central Catholic in a preseason game. Satcher talked to the Tampa Bay Times recently about his preparation for this season....

    Dante Satcher says that he and his teammates at Countryside High School are focused on the playoffs.
  10. Former East Lake star DiNovo set to start for UCF


    When the University of Central Florida opens its season Aug. 30 against Penn State in Dublin, Ireland — the first game of the post-Blake Bortles era — the Knights' high-octane offense will be placed in the hands of former East Lake High School standout Pete DiNovo. • Not only will DiNovo, a redshirt who the school does not allow to talk to the media, perform in the shadow of history, but he'll also have the chance to make some of his own as the first freshman to start for the Knights since Daunte Culpepper in 1995. • There are easier scenarios than succeeding Bortles, who led UCF to its first-ever BCS bowl win and was drafted third overall by Jacksonville. To add even more glare to the spotlight, DiNovo's debut comes in a nationally televised game nearly 1,000 miles from Orlando....

    Orlando Sentinel
  11. Three questions with a CrossFit global champ


    For three months, Dan O'Donnell ran, lifted weights and performed gymnastic maneuvers, all for a competition that bills itself as the sport of fitness.

    The work paid off. O'Donnell, 57, finished ninth in the world in the men's masters category (ages 55 to 59) at the CrossFit Games, held July 25 in Carson, Calif.

    CrossFit is a varied mix of aerobic exercises, gymnastics and Olympic weight training. The CrossFit Games, which started in 2007, have grown rapidly, with overall winners earning $275,000. Competitors are given random workouts, including some surprise elements that are not performed in most CrossFit regimens....

    Dan O’Donnell is in CrossFit’s Top 10 in the world in his age group.
  12. Largo: 2014 football preview



    Coach: Marcus Paschal (first season)

    Last season: 8-3

    Class/district: 6A-7

    Colors: Light gold and royal blue

    Stadium: Packer Stadium, 410 Missouri Ave., Largo

    Playoff history: 1974, 1975, 1977, 1985, 1991, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

    Last appearance: Lost 25-17 to Jefferson....

  13. Class 5A, District 8: 2014 football preview


    We're rolling out daily district previews for all 78 varsity football teams in the area. Today we look at a five-team all-Pinellas league.


    On paper, this looks like Lakewood's district all the way. The Spartans reached the Class 5A state semifinals last year and only lost by two points. But every other team in the district appears improved. Gibbs could have one of the best secondaries around and has added even more athletes. Tarpon Springs has one of the top backs in the county in Michael Ford. And new coaches Matt LaPain (Dunedin) and Max Smith (Boca Ciega) have instilled new life into those programs. It should mean a much more competitive race for the top two district spots....

    Tarpon Springs at Lakewood, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22. Tarpon Springs #6 Michael Ford breaks away in the first half.
  14. Tarpon Springs: 2014 football preview


    Tarpon Springs

    Coach: Ron Hawn (third season, 13-15*)

    Last season: 7-5

    Class/district: 5A-8

    Colors: Maroon and white

    Stadium: Sponger Stadium, 1411 S. Gulf Road, Tarpon Springs

    Playoff history: 1970, 1972, 1975, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013...

    Tarpon Springs' Michael Ford runs during the Class 5A regional quarterfinal at  Anclote in November. [WWILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  15. Dunedin: 2014 football preview



    Coach: Matt LePain (first season; fourth overall, 20-13)

    Last season: 1-9

    Class/district: 5A-8

    Colors: Scarlet and white

    Stadium: Dunedin Memorial Stadium, 1651 Pinehurst Road, Dunedin

    Playoff history: 1979, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1987, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008

    Last appearance: Lost 20-10 to St. Petersburg....

    Dunedin coach Matt LePain talks to his players during the spring game at Seminole. [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]