Make us your home page

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. Late transfers remake high school football rosters in Hernando and Pasco


    High school football programs in Hernando and Pasco counties are just now starting to catch their breath after a frenzied summer of transfers, particularly among offensive skill players.

    The latest notable transfer came last week when Anclote running back/safety Demetrius Barry transferred to Springstead. Barry said the move was made because his mother now lives in Springstead's zone.

    "It was tough to leave," Barry said. "It'll be an adjustment, but I'm just going with the flow."...

    Demetrius Barry of Anclote High School, left, reaches for Daniel Davis of Tarpon Springs High during a preseason game last August. Barry recently transferred to Springstead.
  2. Coach Bob Hudson changes mind, stays at East Lake


    East Lake's Bob Hudson, who walked away as football coach two weeks ago, had a change of heart and returned to the program Monday, athletic coordinator Tim O'Keefe said.

    Hudson initially announced his resignation July 6 to take another job outside of the teaching and coaching profession. But he never signed any resignation papers.

    "I found out I would still be able to coach and accomplish things that I needed to take care of," Hudson said....

    East Lake coach Bob Hudson had stepped down earlier this month but had a change of heart. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD
 | Times
  3. Plant QB Rex Culpepper tears ACL


    TAMPA —Plant High quarterback Rex Culpepper tore his right ACL on Saturday at USF's Sling N Shoot 7-on-7 tournament and is out for the season, Panthers coach Robert Weiner confirmed.

    "Incredibly devastating," Weiner said. "(Rex) is the most amazing kid and one of the hardest workers I have ever met. He does not deserve this."

    Culpepper will have surgery within the next 10 days, Weiner said. The injury is a major blow for the Panthers, who have state title aspirations....

    Plant QB Rex Culpepper during practice at Plant High School on Monday, May 15, 2015.
  4. East Lake football coach Bob Hudson steps down


    East Lake football coach Bob Hudson, who led the program to the state semifinals the past two seasons, said he has stepped down after 12 seasons to pursue a career opportunity outside of the teaching and coaching worlds.

    "It was a tough decision, but now was the time to do it," Hudson said. "It just came down to something that will be better to help my family."

    Hudson told the players about the decision Monday. He went 91-48 during his tenure, which is currently the third-longest in Pinellas County. He led the Eagles to the playoffs eight times, including four straight region final appearances and two straight trips to the state semifinals. The Eagles also own a 25-game regular-season win streak....

    Bob Hudson was 91-48 in 12 years at East Lake including eight playoff appearances.
  5. Veteran QB gives Countryside edge


    Countryside already has an edge over the four other teams in the newly formed Class 7A, District 10 at one of the most important positions: quarterback.

    The Cougars' Trent Chmelik, a senior, is the only quarterback in the district who is returning as a starter after St. Petersburg's Austyn Causey transferred to Admiral Farragut. Last year, Chmelik set the school record with 1,801 yards passing....

    “Having Trent back is huge for us,” Countryside coach Eric Schmitz said of Trent Chmelik. “… As far as teaching, we’re already ahead in a lot of ways.”
  6. Gaither's Samson Moore named Gatorade's state track athlete of year


    Samson Moore was named the state's Gatorade track and field male athlete of the year on Friday.

    Moore, who recently graduated from Gaither, is the first male athlete from the Tampa Bay area to win the award since former Gibbs standout Trayvon Bromell (now at Baylor) in 2013 and the first from Hillsborough County since former Jesuit distance runner Andy Biladeau in 2005.

    Moore, also the Tampa Bay Times' track athlete of the year for Hillsborough County, is eligible for Gatorade's national award, which will be announced this month....

    Samson Moore’s seasonlong domination of the 300-meter hurdles led to a Class 3A title and Gatorade’s top state award.
  7. Michael Frazier, Matt Ramker hope player-agent bond pays off at NBA draft


    Michael Frazier was well aware of what most were thinking. • When he announced in March that he would forgo his senior season at Florida and enter the NBA draft, he was barely on the NBA radar. You couldn't find his name on any mock drafts. NBA and college draft analysts questioned the wisdom of the decision. • Frazier was coming off a season in which he sustained a severely sprained ankle Feb. 7, missed seven games and played sparingly — and in pain — the final three games of the season. UF won just 16 games and failed to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009. • The Tampa native knew the general perception was there was no way he would get drafted. • "I knew what people were saying, but it didn't really matter to me," he said. "I knew that if I could get the opportunity to show what I could do, I would make the most of it. … My concern was just getting into the combine, just getting an opportunity to get into the combine. I knew that if I could just get into that, everything else would take care of itself."...

    Michael Frazier, left, and Kenny Smith are both represented by the ASM Sports agency in their bid to be drafted by an NBA team. Both are local products. Frazier is from Tampa and Smith graduated from Boca Ciega High School. 

Photos courtesy of ASM Sports
  8. Tampa Catholic's Kevin Knox makes mark internationally


    Last week, Tampa Catholic's Kevin Knox went to Argentina, his first trip to a foreign country. He visited the beaches in Buenos Aires before heading to Bahia Blanca to tour the Land Plaza Hotel, which is owned by San Antonio Spurs star Manu Ginobili.

    Mostly, though, Knox played basketball. After all, it was the reason for the trip.

    Knox, a junior, was one of 12 players selected for USA Basketball's under-16 national team, which played for the FIBA Americas Championship in Argentina. Knox played a pivotal role, averaging 10.6 points and 4.6 rebounds in five games — all wins — to help the Americans win the title. They beat Canada 77-60 in the final....

    Tampa Catholic's Kevin Knox  recently helped his USA 16U team win gold in an international tournament. Photo courtesy of Kevin Knox
  9. Tampa Bay Times' all-county softball teams



    Player of the Year: Logyn Lilley, Sr., Palm Harbor University

    Pitcher of the Year: Kama Woodall, So., Canterbury

    Coach of the Year: Jerry King, Osceola

    First team

    P Aubrey Ehlers, Sr., Dunedin

    P Corynn Miner, Jr., Admiral Farragut

    P Stella Preston, Jr., Countryside

    P Riley Randolph, Sr., Northeast

    C Danielle Romanello, So., Canterbury...

  10. Tampa Bay Times' all-Tampa Bay softball teams (with video)


    Pinellas Player of the Year: Logyn Lilley, Sr., Palm Harbor University

    Why we picked her: Lilley was the veteran on a team with a combined 13 freshmen and sophomores on the roster. She provided leadership, as well as some pop at the plate. This season, Lilley hit a career-high .729 with 50 RBIs and 38 runs scored. Her play helped PHU keep its seven-year playoff streak alive with a district title and an appearance in the region semifinals, where the Hurricanes lost to eventual Class 8A state champion Newsome. ...

    Our players and pitchers of the year, from left: Springstead’s Louisa Disi, Hernando’s Megan Lane, Newsome’s Claire Feldman, Chamberlain’s Jenna Brownell, Canterbury’s Kama Woodall and Palm Harbor University’s Logyn Lilley.
  11. Lakewood High alumna Kala Funderburk finds 400-meter form at FSU

    Track and Field

    Kala Funderburk shot out of the blocks in the 400 meters, surging to the lead at the NCAA East Preliminary Championships on May 29. Her start was good, her form was even better.

    Gaining speed, the Florida State redshirt junior curled around the track comfortably ahead of the other competitors in her quarterfinal heat and won with ease.

    Afterward, Funderburk raised her hands in disbelief, knowing the perfect race had just unfolded beneath her feet. It was a moment of unfiltered joy, not only for her win but for her time....

    Former Lakewood High standout Kala Funderburk, now at Florida State, recently ran the 400 meters in a season-best 51.09 seconds. She's a favorite in the event at this week's NCAA Championships. (Courtesy of
  12. Fast hoops ascent for Tampa Catholic's Kevin Knox


    TAMPA — Kevin Knox is only listed as a two-star recruit by He is not even ranked by major recruiting services such as ESPN, Rivals and Scout.

    Expect that to change.

    The Tampa Catholic small forward is coming off a sophomore season in which he averaged 24 points and 10 rebounds. His stock continued to climb after a strong performance in the off­season with his travel team, Each1Teach1....

    TC’s Kevin Knox, right, averaged 24 points and 10 rebounds this past season.
  13. East Lake player's mission: Prove that linemen have brains


    EAST LAKE — For the past two years, East Lake High School offensive lineman Alex Caputo played with some of the most talented players in the county. Together, they helped the Eagles survive a challenging schedule to go undefeated in the regular season during that span.

    In the classroom, Caputo's record is almost as pristine. The recent graduate had As in every class except one. That helped Caputo to a lofty academic perch: valedictorian....

    Alex Caputo is top of his class in East Lake High’s traditional program.
  14. Tampa Bay Times' all-Tampa Bay boys track teams


    Hillsborough Athlete of the Year: Samson Moore, Sr., Gaither

    Why we picked him: Sure, there were others who excelled in more events during the season. But no one was as dominant as Moore was in the 300 hurdles. He won his signature event at every major meet during the regular season, including the Charles Johnson Invitational and USF/George Steinbrenner Invitational. The postseason was more of the same with Moore taking first in the 300 hurdles at districts and regionals and capping off his high school career with his first state title at the 3A meet....

    Photo courtesy of Admiral Farragut
  15. Marreese Speights can add NBA title to national championship with Florida


    Golden State's Marreese Speights has averaged double figures in scoring once in seven NBA seasons. His role with four teams has fluctuated from one-time starter to key reserve.

    Despite not having a starring role, the former Gibbs High School and Admiral Farragut standout knows what it's like to be a member of championship-caliber teams — in college and the pros.

    In 2007, Speights was a freshman on Florida's national title team. A year later he left for the NBA and was a first-round pick of the Philadelphia 76ers. He has been to the playoffs five times, culminating with his first NBA Finals appearance this season with the Warriors....

    Marreese Speights spent two seasons at UF, winning the 2007 NCAA championship.