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. Q&A with Golden State's Marreese Speights


    Golden State's Marreese Speights, a former standout at Gibbs High School and Admiral Farragut Academy, finished his fifth season in the NBA last month. With Speights' rise to basketball prominence, the platform and possibilities have grown tremendously for him to provide social good and community uplift to hometown St. Petersburg.

    After providing financial assistance for a local AAU team the past five years, Speights has a new game plan to assist youth on a bigger stage....

    Marreese Speights plays for the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, Calif.
  2. Alonso wins Battle of the Bay 7-on-7 tourney


    TAMPA — Three weeks ago, Alonso beat Armwood at UCF's 7-on-7 tournament on a Hail Mary pass.

    Saturday, the teams met again in the final of the Battle of the Bay tournament.

    Once more, the Ravens prevailed, knocking off the defending champion Hawks 28-15.

    "Sure, it's 7-on-7 but this is still competition," Alonso coach Brian Emanuel said. "We wanted to face (Armwood) again. They're a tremendous program and we aspire to become what they are."...

  3. Florida State's Okaro White preps for shot at NBA draft


    During a two-week stretch this month, Florida State's Okaro White logged thousands of air miles, traveling to six NBA cities for what can be described as the ultimate job interview.

    There were stops in Detroit, Los Angeles (Clippers), Memphis, Oakland (Warriors), Orlando and Washington. White, a former star at Clearwater High, tried to impress scouts, coaches and general managers by scoring well on a battery of tests in hopes of being selected in the NBA's two-round draft Thursday....

    Okaro White averaged career highs in points (13.6) and rebounds (6.8) last season at FSU.
  4. Girls Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Izzy Ordorica, Chamberlain


    Izzy Ordorica has a catalog of hits from her four years as a starting outfielder on Chamberlain's softball team.

    There were hard line drives that fell into gaps for doubles and mighty blasts that sailed over fences for homers. All came via meticulous preparation as a student of the game.

    But even the stats she racked up on the field — from her .442 batting average to her perfect fielding percentage — do not compare to the ones she compiled in the classroom....

    Chamberlain and future UCLA outfielder Izzy Ordorica hit .442 for the state semifinalists while finishing school with a 4.0 grade point average: “There is a lot of preparation that goes into being both a good student and softball player.”
  5. Q&A with Baylor hurdler Tim Holmes

    Track and Field

    Tim Holmes, a former Lakewood High School standout, signed with Baylor University so he could be on the same track team with his best friend, Trayvon Bromell. Holmes has developed into one of the top hurdlers in the nation. At last week's NCAA Division 1 track and field championships, the freshman finished fourth in the 400-meter hurdles in 50.07 seconds. He also ran a leg on the 4x400-meter relay team that took seventh in a season-best time of three minutes, 4.89 seconds. Holmes talked to the Tampa Bay Times about what it was like to run — and perform well — for a program steeped in tradition....

    Tim Holmes competes at the Big 12 Indoor Track & Field Championships this year in Ames, Iowa.
  6. Winning NCAA 100-meter title as freshman puts Gibbs grad at top of class

    Track and Field

    Baylor University's Trayvon Bromell accelerated powerfully at the start of his 100-meter race, sprinting by a fast field at last week's NCAA Division I track and field championships.

    The former Gibbs High School standout kept running, screeching past the record books while pumping his fists as he solidified himself as the premier up-and-coming sprinter in the nation, if not the world.

    Bromell, 18, won his signature event in a wind-legal 9.97 seconds to set the world junior record (under 20). He was the only sprinter in the field to finish in under 10 seconds and became the first freshman to win the 100 since Florida State's Walter Dix in 2005....

    Baylor freshman Trayvon Bromell, center, celebrates winning the men’s 100 meters June 13 at the NCAA track and field championships while Florida State’s Dentarius Locke, left, finishes second.
  7. Gibbs High grad Trayvon Bromell wins 100 at NCAA championships


    Baylor sprinter Trayvon Bromell, a former standout at Gibbs High, won the 100 meters at the NCAA Division I track and field championships Friday in a wind-legal 9.97 seconds to set the world junior record.

    Bromell, a freshman, was the only runner in the final to finish in under 10 seconds. Starting in Lane 5, Bromell surged to the lead and kept his head down to hold off Florida State's Dentarious Locke by 0.05 seconds....

    Baylor’s Trayvon Bromell, center, a Gibbs High grad, celebrates after edging Dentarius Locke, left, of FSU and Chamberlain.
  8. Times' all-Tampa Bay softball teams


    Player of the Year | Kenzi Maguire, Jr., River Ridge

    Kenzi Maguire has the kind of numbers you want in a cleanup hitter.

    She poked seven home runs, doubled 15 times and drove in 45 runs.

    Her slugging percentage was a robust 1.216.

    So, what is she doing hitting leadoff?

    Well, duh: hitting.

    "I'm there because I get on so often, I guess," Maguire said....

    Lace Smith, who was named Florida’s Class 8A player of the year, led Bloomingdale to a state championship.
  9. Schools' academic reputations hold edge for these football players


    For the past 23 years, Mike Tracy has choreographed the complex recruiting dance of trying to lure quality prospects to high-academic institutions in the lower tier of college football.

    Tracy, the defensive coordinator at Hartwick College (N.Y.), gets a jump on the recruiting process by helping out at football camps in pockets of New England during the summer. He noticed players from recruiting hotbeds such as California, Florida and Texas kept showing up to the same camps....

  10. Times' all-North Suncoast track and field teams



    Athlete of the year

    Devon Jerothe, River Ridge, Sr.

    Why we picked him: After finishing fourth at state in the pole vault last year, Jerothe dominated the event this season, winning conference, district and region titles. But the performance that put him over the top was at the Class 3A state meet at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, where he came from behind to win what had been an elusive title with a leap of 14 feet. Jerothe was the only competitor in 3A to clear that mark and was the only boys athlete from the North Suncoast to win a state title this season....

    River Ridge’s Devon Jerothe was the only North Suncoast boys athlete to win a state title this season, taking the pole vault in Class 3A.
  11. Spring football: Arcadia DeSoto County 7, Boca Ciega 6


    at Gulfport

    Arcadia DeSoto County 7, Boca Ciega 6

    Spring game-breakers: DJ Cook hit Raeshon Dunbar on a 4-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter to give the Pirates a 6-0 lead. …Boca Ciega's defense was solid all night and allowed eight first downs, four of which came on penalties. …In the final two minutes, Cook threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown to give DeSoto the win....

  12. Spring football: East Lake 54, Osceola 14


    at Seminole

    East Lake 54, Osceola 14

    Spring game-breakers: Jake Hudson deftly directed the Eagles' new no-huddle offense, finishing 12-of-14 for 202 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. … Hudson's favorite target was George Campbell, one of the nation's top recruits, who had five catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns including one on a 62-yard post pattern. … Hudson's other touchdown pass was a 9-yarder to Trevor Okuniewski. … Bobby Goldinak relieved Hudson in the third quarter and was 4-of-4 for 50 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown pass to Zach Jarman. … Kyle Howarth hit a field goal to round out the scoring for East Lake's varsity in three quarters of play. … Osceola's varsity had 184 yards rushing. The Warriors touchdowns came on runs of 2 yards by Nick Shytle and 7 yards by Wilan Harvey. … Bronson Lynch finished with 65 yards rushing on nine carries for Osceola. … East Lake led 38-14 during the three quarters that the varsity played....

  13. HomeTeam Huddle: Gibbs draws college recruiters


    Gibbs has been a popular place for college recruiters this spring. Coach Rick Kravitz, a longtime college assistant, has hosted several coaches and has plenty of players for them to scout. Topping the list is defensive back Craig Watts, a rising junior who holds several offers, including from Ohio State. Watts will rarely leave the field in the fall. He also will carry the ball and return kicks. "There are a lot of schools in the mix for Craig," Kravitz said. "And there's going to be even more."...

    Gibbs defensive back Craig Watts, right, already has an offer from Ohio State despite being only a rising junior. “There are a lot of schools in the mix for Craig,” Gladiators coach Rick Kravitz says. “And there’s going to be even more.”
  14. HomeTeam Huddle: East Lake LB picks Virginia Tech


    East Lake linebacker Carson Lydon orally committed to Virginia Tech after Wednesday's practice.

    Lydon, a rising senior, picked the Hokies over N.C. State and Wisconsin. He initially planned to announce his decision after Friday's game against Osceola but decided he didn't want to wait any longer.

    "I made up my mind about a week and a half ago," Lydon said. "I thought now would be the best time to do this so I didn't have it hanging over me the next few days and I could concentrate on getting ready for our game."...

    Carson Lydon (3), who had 149 tackles, eight sacks and two interceptions for East Lake in 2013, said he loved “everything” about Virginia Tech.
  15. Q&A with Clearwater Central Catholic's CJ Cotman


    Clearwater Central Catholic athlete CJ Cotman, a 5-foot-10, 176-pound rising sophomore, combines quickness and speed with strength and durability as an all-purpose offensive threat. Last season, the Marauders brought him along slowly. Cotman, though, eventually surfaced as the team's biggest game breaker, finishing with 1,163 all-purpose yards and was a second-team selection to MaxPreps' national all-freshman team. Cotman has parlayed his exhilarating performance into a more prominent role, with the coaches entrusting him to deliver the same type of big plays on a more consistent basis this fall. Colleges also have taken notice. Cotman has offers from four schools, including Central Florida and Kentucky. Cotman talked to the Tampa Bay Times about his increased playing time, attention from colleges and pressure to get back to the Class 3A state championship game....

    Clearwater Central Catholic’s  CJ Cotman (21), center, became the Marauders’ biggest game breaker last season.