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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

Email: putnam@tampabay.com

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  1. Latest bill targeting FHSAA, easing transfers fires up coaches

    Footballpreps

    Tampa Bay coaches, alarmed by the number of athletes who already switch schools seemingly at will, have long clamored for the Florida High School Athletic Association to adopt a more stringent transfer policy.

    But a bill that the House Education Committee is scheduled to hear today does the opposite, allowing some students to transfer for athletic purposes regardless of where they live provided they are not influenced by a school official or athletic program representative....

  2. Tampa Bay Times' all-Tampa Bay boys soccer (with video)

    Preps

    Pinellas Player of the Year: Ryan Cooksey, Sr., Palm Harbor University

    At 5-foot-9, 140 pounds, Cooksey does not loom large on the soccer field. But he played a pivotal role as a defender for the Hurricanes, who made the playoffs and advanced to the region final for the first time since 2012. Against Orlando Freedom in the region final, Cooksey tore his MCL 10 minutes into the game and continued to play. "My knee was swollen to twice its size afterward. But I wanted to be out there. It was such an amazing season. Most of us played together for a while and we dedicated ourselves to making the playoffs," Cooksey said. ...

    Our Pinellas and Hillsborough Players of the Year, from left: Palm Harbor University’s Ryan Cooksey and Riverview’s Marc Lozada.
  3. Tampa Catholic self-reports boys basketball infraction

    Preps

    By Bob Putnam

    Times Staff Writer

    Tampa Catholic's boys basketball program was fined $500 and forced to forfeit five basketball games from the 2013-14 season (three junior varsity, two varsity) after a Florida High School Athletic Association investigation ruled a player had received impermissible benefits for living with Crusaders coach Don Dziagwa, who also is the school's athletic director....

  4. Notebook: Recruit Craig Watts transfers to AFA

    Preps

    Craig Watts, a four-star recruit with more than 20 Division I offers, has left Gibbs and is now enrolled at Admiral Farragut.

    The move comes on the heels of the resignation of Gladiators head coach Rick Kravitz, though Watts said he was thinking of transferring prior to Kravitz leaving.

    "I was looking at IMG for a while but my brothers and sisters go to (Admiral Farragut), too," Watts said. "It's good. I like it here."...

    Craig Watts transfers from Gibbs High to Admiral Farragut.
  5. Quincy Ford, Dallas Moore savor NCAA tourney berths with Cinderella teams

    College

    The past week has been exhilarating and emotional for North Florida's Dallas Moore and Northeastern's Quincy Ford, who led their respective teams to berths in the NCAA Tournament.

    What made the journey even more rewarding for the two former Pinellas County standouts — Moore from Boca Ciega High and Ford from Gibbs High — was that they were unheralded prospects overlooked and ultimately discarded by most big-time Division I college programs....

    Quincy Ford, a forward, was named the Colonial Athletic Association tournament MVP after scoring a season-high 22 points in the final to lead Northeastern to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1991. [Getty Images]
  6. Women's NCAA Tournament Spokane Region preview

    College

    Favorite

    Top seed Maryland (30-2) had quite a debut in the Big Ten, going 18-0 in the conference regular season and tournament. That perfect run bodes well considering the Terrapins are the first Big Ten team since the 1988-89 Purdue team that won a national title to go unbeaten in the conference. Maryland is tough due in large part to its balance. The Terrapins are one of seven teams in the country to have four starters average double figures in scoring. ...

    Maryland guard Lexie Brown, right, is the daughter of former NBA player Dee Brown.
  7. Women's NCAA Tournament Oklahoma City Region preview

    College

    Favorite

    Top seed Notre Dame (31-2) has done some impressive things the past two seasons, going 68-3 and winning by an average of 24 points. The only thing the Irish have not been able to do is beat UConn. Two of Notre Dame's losses during that span have come against the Huskies. But the Irish do not have to worry about UConn, at least until the Final Four. Notre Dame should be able to get to Tampa considering it has made the Final Four four straight seasons. ...

    Notre Dame’s Jewell Loyd, right, averaged 20.5 points and was named player of the year.
  8. Softball: Plant rides streak to Lady 'Canes title

    Softballpreps

    CLEARWATER — After starting the season 2-3, Plant has found some momentum with seven straight wins, including a 3-1 victory over Lake Brantley in the final of the Lady 'Canes Spring Tournament.

    It is the second time in the past three seasons that the Panthers have won the tournament.

    Plant (9-2) won Saturday's final by showing an ability to get out of jams. Twice, the Panthers escaped with bases loaded and two more times with runners at the corners without allowing a run....

  9. PHU falls late to Wiregrass

    Sports

    CLEARWATER — At first glance, Wiregrass Ranch did not seem to be a contender at the Lady 'Canes Invitational. After all, the Bulls entered Friday with a 9-5 record and are winless in Class 7A, District 8.

    But looks can be deceiving. Wiregrass Ranch plays in one of the toughest districts in the state. Those tough losses had their dividends. The Bulls are 9-2 against non-district foes and had won three straight going into Friday's opening-round game against host Palm Harbor University....

    Alex Quinnones of Chamberlain beats the throw to home as Kelsey Linn of Tarpon Springs fields a late throw during their game in the Palm Harbor University softball tournament at Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater.
  10. Talent pool is deep in PHU softball tournament

    Softballpreps

    By now the high school softball season has become monotonous, with bay area teams facing the same opponents from their districts or conferences.

    So it is no wonder that the 12 teams participating in the Lady 'Canes Spring Tournament today and Saturday at Clearwater's Eddie C. Moore Complex are rejoicing at the chance to play tough competition against unfamiliar opponents.

    "Everyone wants to see someone different," said Palm Harbor University coach Kerry Katchuk, whose school is hosting. "That's part of the appeal of it."...

    Chamberlain’s Olivia Dwyer goes up against Lake Region High (Eagle Lake) during a 6A state softball tournament semifinal game at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach last season.
  11. Recruiting notebook: East Bay's talent attracting more college offers

    Sports

    East Bay DB KJ Sails is blessed with tremendous athletic ability, which helps him keep pace with the bushel of fleet receivers so common in the bay area. He is meticulous in practice, in film study and in technique.

    But his play had gone largely unnoticed by college recruiters — until this offseason.

    Sails, a junior, shed his anonymity by shining at camps. Last week, he was named the defensive back MVP at the Rivals Speed and Skills Challenge in Orlando. By grabbing the spotlight, he also got the attention of colleges. ...

  12. Softball: Tarpon Springs beats Dunedin 2-0

    Softballpreps

    TARPON SPRINGS — Tarpon Springs was in a funk, a loser of two straight heading into Tuesday's much-anticipated Class 5A, District 8 showdown with Dunedin.

    The Spongers, though, paid no attention to those setbacks against Seminole and Countryside. After all, they didn't count toward the district standings. The Falcons were the opponent that mattered, with first place on the line.

    Lindsey White helped Tarpon Springs stay at the top, pitching a one-hit shutout while striking out 11 in a 2-0 victory....

  13. Rick Kravitz steps down as Gibbs football coach

    Footballpreps

    Gibbs football coach Rick Kravitz stepped down after two seasons, principal Reuben Hepburn said Friday.

    "It was a surprise to me, something I didn't see coming," Hepburn said. "I thought he did a good job in the time he was here. We're obviously sad to see him go."

    Kravitz finished 9-11 in two seasons with the Gladiators. Hepburn said the school will post the position on the Florida High School Athletic Association website, and said he would like to have a coach in place by the time spring practice begins in May....

    A Gibbs official said Rick Kravitz’s resignation was a “surprise.’’
  14. Softball: Seminole wins with pitching, defense

    Softballpreps

    TARPON SPRINGS — Seminole's offense has been getting timely hits to take advantage of its aggressive base running. As a result, the Warhawks have been scoring runs, either in bunches or at critical moments during late-inning rallies.

    Add effective pitching and you have an eight-game win streak from a softball team that no longer resembles the bunch that started 0-2. Seminole continued to roll Thursday with a 3-1 win over Tarpon Springs....

  15. Recruiting roundup: Plant LB Joe Ryan nabs first offer

    Footballpreps

    Plant coach Robert Weiner admits LB Joe Ryan slid under his radar until Ryan made his varsity debut last season. But the 6-foot-1, 205-pound junior made his presence known with 144 tackles and a state-leading 52 tackles for loss.

    Now colleges are starting to take notice, too.

    Weiner said Ryan picked up his first offer about two weeks ago from Toledo. Presently two former Panthers play for the Rockets, QB Phillip Ely, a transfer from Alabama, and DB Bernard Rogers....

    Familiar: Land O’ Lakes QB James Pensyl signed with Eastern Michigan, about an hour from where he grew up in Lapeer.