Bob Putnam - Preps reporter

Preps reporter

I've been a staff writer since 1996. My career started before that as a correspondent with the St. Petersburg Times. I covered former Tampa Bay Buccaneer and current USF assistant Shaun King's first start as a quarterback at Gibbs High. Writing about locals is a passion. I'm a fourth-generation Floridian who graduated from Dixie Hollins High. My great grandfather owned a farm in Pinellas Park. My father was among the first graduating classes at Boca Ciega. Sometimes I venture into other sports. Once, I tried out for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. I was even assigned to one of their minor league affiliates. Well, sort of. Dan Jennings, the team's director of scouting at the time, said he was sending me to Walla, Walla, Wash. He was kidding. I think. Well, either way, I'm still here doing what I love to do.

  1. The Land O' Lakes girls soccer team advances to the Class 5A state semifinals on Tuesday after beating Lakes Wales 7-2. (BOB PUTNAM | TIMES)
  2. Florida State's Elizabeth Mason (5) is on deck Friday as fans pack the stands and line up along the fence during the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational at the Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater.
  3. Team USA's Bubba Nickles gets a hit against the Liberty University Flames at the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational on Wednesday.
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  5. Liberty coach Dot Richardson watches her team from the dugout before facing Team USA at the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational.
  6. Tampa Catholic senior Kobe Knox led all scorers with 28 points in an 85-57 victory over district rival Lakewood on Friday night.
  7. Lexi Kilfoyl, a right-handed pitcher for Alabama, waits in the dugout as her team defeats Liberty 7-1 on the opening day of the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational.
  8. Oklahoma State alum and first base coach Samantha Show talks with Karli Petty (14) after she reaches first base against USF on Thursday during the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational.
  9. Tommy Tonelli, here in a game earlier this season, is pretty happy to be hosting the district final against Sickles.
  10. ESPN films game action  on the final day of the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational at Eddie C. Moore. Fields in Clearwater last year.
  11. Cyril Brockmeier talks with students, coaches and administrators as he is announced as the new Plant High football coach on Monday.
  12. Marcellus Crutchfield and Tampa Catholic have won 10 straight games heading into the district tournament, where the Crusaders are a top seed.
  13. The Lakewood boys basketball team celebrates after beating East Lake for the Pinellas County Athletic Conference championship on Friday.
  14. Tampa Catholic senior Kobe Knox dunks for two of his 12 points in a 68-64 victory over Berkeley Prep earlier this season.
  15. Lakewood's Jamille Reynolds, a UCF commit, will be a challenge for East Lake players to contain on Friday night.
  16. Largo's A.J. Mathis, center, gets a hug from his mother, Mia McCoy, left, at Wednesday's signing day ceremony. At right are Mathis' grandmother, Betty Shaw James, and aunt, Tiffany Brown.
  17. Armwood safety Jalil Core, center, is happy Florida A&M came through for him when so many other schools didn't.
  18. Hunter Helton takes photos with his mother, Stephanie Helton, left, and his grandfather, Jim Vanover, during the signing day ceremony at Armwood.
  19. Alijah Harrison and Tampa Catholic are riding high after knocking off a national powerhouse last weekend.
  20. Armwood safety Jalil Core has the stats and test score to play Division I-A ball, but his options are pretty much non-existent at that level.
  21. An audience member uses her phone to capture parts of a heartfelt slideshow during a dedication ceremony in honor of legendary Gibbs High School basketball coach. The school officially named its gymnasium after Dyles.
  22. The National Hoopfest kicked off with three games Friday night at Berkeley Prep, with five more games on tap Saturday.
  23. Freddie Dyles won 674 games in boys basketball and led Gibbs to three state titles. The gym at Gibbs will soon bear his name.
  24. East Lake guard Dionte Blanch (1) works to make a pass while taking on Wildwood during the Sun Bash boys basketball tournament on Jan. 2.