Central hires former Northwestern coach

The defending state champion Miami Central football team has found its new coach.

The Rockets hired former Northwestern coach Roland Smith to replace Telly Lockette, who was hired to be the running backs coach at the University of South Florida in March.

Smith returns to coaching high school football in Miami-Dade County after six seasons away. Smith had been teaching in recent years at North Miami Middle School.

“I’m very excited for this opportunity and grateful to Miami Central for offering it to me,” Smith said. “I’ve got a lot of energy and I’m excited to get back and help these guys try to win another state title and excel on the national level.”

Smith guided his alma mater Northwestern to a state championship and a perfect 15-0 season in 2006. Smith was then removed along with the majority of his coaching staff by former Dade schools superintendent Rudy Crew in the wake of the scandal involving former Bulls running back Antwain Easterling.

Smith and his coaches were cleared of all wrongdoing in the matter in the ensuing months.

During his six seasons as Northwestern’s coach, Smith led the Bulls to a 69-13 record (best of any team during that span), a state title, a state runner-up finish in 2001, and state semifinal appearances in 2002 and 2005.

Smith had been rumored to be in the running for a few premier coaching vacancies in recent years, including Northwestern and Booker T. Washington, before they hired their current coaches.

“I didn’t want to rush into just any situation,” Smith said. “When Central contacted me I was at the Youth Fair with my son, and I was excited they had me in mind. I told them I needed a little time to think about it. The great thing is I get to coach again with a lot of guys that coached with me in the past and have done an excellent job here [at Central]. I’m so proud and happy to get a chance to coach with them again.”

Smith takes over a Central program that ranks among the nation’s best, having won two Class 6A state championships in the past three seasons under Lockette, who guided the Rockets to a 60-10 record in five seasons.

Central has advanced to three consecutive state finals and have not lost to a Dade opponent since 2008.

The Rockets will take on a challenging schedule this coming season that includes a trip to New Jersey to take on national powerhouse Don Bosco Prep and games against defending Class 4A state champion Booker T. Washington, Class 3A champion Davie University School, Plantation American Heritage, Norland, Northwestern, Carol City, Homestead and Coral Reef.


Coaching baseball in the inner city comes with its challenges. With most of the local athletes gravitating toward football and basketball, high school baseball rosters in the inner city are often left bereft of any talent or potential.

Inner city schools get mercy-ruled in five innings on the diamond against average competition they would usually run the clock against in second halves on the gridiron.

Baseball coaches in such situations don’t last very long as the losses pile on.

But then there are some who stick by their guns for 27 years, and that’s what long-time North Miami coach Ken Litman did.

Litman decided to retire at the end of this season — one which came to its conclusion Wednesday afternoon with an 8-4 loss to North Miami Beach, the same school Litman spent three years with as an assistant before becoming skipper of the Pioneers.

The reason: family.

“My son is now getting to the age where he’s at a youth league level, and I would like to get more involved with coaching them,” said Litman, who retires with a career record of 333-297. “Just the time you have to put in as a high school coach, you don’t get that much time with your family.”

Litman, who will continue to teach classes at North Miami, was contemplating retirement for a few years, but didn’t want to call it quits without leaving the team in a better situation than it was in.

The Pioneers, who are now independent in baseball after spending years getting crushed within the district by the likes of Hialeah, American and Hialeah-Miami Lakes, certainly appear to be on that path after posting a 10-4 record against a schedule of other inner-city schools in Dade and Broward.

“I just wanted to leave the program in a position to be successful, and I think that’s where we’re at now,” said Litman, whose career highlight came when he won three consecutive district titles in the early ’90s.

Before dropping Wednesday’s game, the Pioneers were on a nine-game winning streak, their longest since early in the Bill Clinton administration — about 20 years, according to Litman.

North Miami will return its pitching ace, sophomore Victor Sam, along with first baseman and clean-up hitter Daury Ceballos, also a sophomore, next season.



• Westwood Christian girls’ basketball players Elizabeth Jenkins and Nicolette Rodriguez each earned a Class 4A-2A honorable mention.

• Lourdes girls’ soccer player Carolina Perez earned a Class 5A-4A honorable mention.


•  District 15-2A: Jackson’s track and field teams swept the District 15-2A championships Wednesday at Traz Powell Stadium.

Fresh off its Youth Fair championship win, the Generals boys beat rival Booker T. Washington by 40 points. Meanwhile, the Jackson girls dominated their meet scoring 241.5 points.

Team scores – Girls: 1. Jackson 241.5; 2. La Salle 120.5; 3. Doral 81; 4. Monsignor Pace 63; 5. Booker T. 52; 6. Mourning 30; Boys: 1. Jackson 190; 2. Booker T. 150; 3. Monsignor Pace 94; 4. La Salle 78; 5. Doral 52; 6. Edison 24; 7. Mourning 19. Girls’ individual results – High Jump: Johnson, Jada (Pace) 5-2; Knight, Patricia (Jac) 4-8; Cunningham, Chloe’ (Jac) 4-6; Paschal, Armani (Jac) 4-6; Pole Vault: Valmyre, Kimberly (JAC) 7-0; Hall, Shavencia (JAC) 6-6; Latimer, Camila (LAS) 6-6; Long Jump: Lovett, Shamaria (JAC) 15-9; Knight, Patricia (JAC) 15-6.5; Bellot, Nathaly (JAC) 15-0; Gullet, Taquavia (BTW) 14-11; Triple Jump: Parmer, Taquilla (JAC) 31-7; Cunningham, Chloe’ (JAC) 30-0; Gonzalez, Talia (LAS) 29-10; Rodriguez, Kayla (LAS) 27-11; Discus: Rocha, Gabriella (JAC) 79-08; Weekley, Victoria (LAS) 76-11; Marsellos, Stephanie (LAS) 74-10; De Leon, Maria Teresa (LAS) 71-08; Shot Put: Tilman, Catherine (LAS) 33-11; De Leon, Maria Teresa (LAS) 27-08; Rocha, Gabriella (JAC) 26-08; Lane, Darveon (JAC) 25-05; 3,200 relay: Doral 11:06.24; Jackson 11:30.94; LaSalle 13:29.64; 100: Thomas, Ka’Dedra (JAC) 12.77; Santiago, Anisa (LAS) 12.79; Thomas, Phedricka (BTW) 13.29; Mitchell, Kiera (JAC) 13.45;

100 hurdles: Lovett, Shamaria (JAC) 15.35; Johnson, Jada (Pace) 16.24; Bendross, Kimberly (JAC) 17.10; Baca, Alyssianna (BTW) 18.35; 1600: Farnesi, Lianna (DOR) 5:37.78; Vilalobos, Melanie (DOR) 5:59.65; Riveron, Kelly (DOR) 6:01.60; Wasserbeck, Brittney (DOR) 6:03.10; 400 relay: Jackson 49.60; La Salle 50.20; Mourning 53.30; 400: Smith, Shaquita (Pace) 59.44; Fontus, Sabrina (Pace) 1:00.74; Gullet, Taquavia (BTW) 1:02.98; Whittaker, Leshann (BTW) 1:04.59; 300 Hurdles: Lovett, Shamaria (JAC) 44.96; Johnson, Jada (Pace) 47.40; Bendross, Kimberly (JAC) 49.13; Baca, Alyssianna (BTW) 53.16; 800: Jimenez, Stephany (ATM) 2:34.59; Ravelo, Amelia (LAS) 2:37.00; Ardila, Camila (DOR) 2:40.53; Wasserbeck, Brittney (DOR) 2:45.44; 200: Berry, Michelle (LAS) 26.80; Fontus, Sabrina (Pace) 26.91; Gullet, Taquavia (BTW) 27.25; Parmer, Taquilla (JAC) 27.54; 3200: Farnesi, Lianna (DOR) 12:46.93; Vilalobos, Melanie (DOR) 13:38.72; Riveron, Kelly (DOR) 14:26.78; Lucca, Gabriella (DOR) 15:10.68; 1,600 relay: Jackson 4:06.72; Monsignor Pace 4:09.99; Booker T. 4:21.42; La Salle 4:27.92; Boys’ individual results - High Jump: Alzuru, Francisco (Las) 6-2; Spiller, Richie (BTW) 6-0; Passmore, De’Angelo (BTW) 5-6; Jean-Charles, Jephte (JAC) 5-6; Pole Vault: Cardenas, Alex (LAS) 9-0; Timmons, Trenaris (JAC) 8-6; Pluviose, Frantzey (JAC) 7-6; Petit, Brandon (JAC) 7-6; Long Jump: Thornton, Tyrone (JAC) 21-10.5; Norris, Nicholas (BTW) 20-01.75; William, Adrian (JAC) 20-.5; Joyner, Markey (ED) 19-10; Triple Jump: Rechourse, Leon (LAS) 44-4; Cerdeiras, Tomas (LAS) 40-5.5; Parker, Tovias (JAC) 38-10.5; Passmore, De’Angelo (BTW) 38-7; Discus: Jones, Fredrick (Pace) 156-09; Alexander, James (JAC) 131-11; Mainer, Christopher (JAC) 119-08; Fernandez, Juan (LAS) 111-03; Shot Put: Jones, Fredrick (Pace) 54-10; Alexander, James (JAC) 51-02; Fernandez, Juan (LAS) 43-10; Conde, Joseph (DOR) 39-07; 3,200 relay: Booker T. 8:51.50; La Salle 8:54.66; Jackson 8:59.12; 100: Thornton, Tyrone (JAC) 11.06; Hopkins, Deltron (BTW) 11.18; Larry, Krondis (BTW) 11.15; Norris, Nicholas (BTW) 11.34; 110 hurdles: Jean-Charles, Jephte (JAC) 15.43; Joyner, Markey (ED) 15.60; Crump, La’Darius (JAC) 16.34; Thomas, Alexander (Jac) 16.39; 1600: Ventura, Ryan (Pace) 4:51.07; Wolff, Dimitri (Pace) 4:51.79; Cabrera, Raul (DOR) 4:54.02; Grootens, Peter (Pace) 5:00.30; 400 relay: Booker T. Washington 42.48; Jackson 44.18; Mourning 44.81; 400: Larry, Krondis (BTW) 49.30; William, Adrian (JAC) 50.18; Wells-McWhorter, Terrance (BTW) 52.40; Desis, Marquis (Pace) 52.69; 300 Hurdles: Cooper, Richie (BTW) 39.53; Joyner, Markey (ED) 40.13; Jean-Charles, Jephte (JAC) 41.14; Thomas, Alexander (JAC) 41.45; 800: Small, Vaquan (BTW) 2:04.02; Hylton, Dawun (Pace) 2:04.16; Magliano, Andy (DOR) 2:05.08; Petit, Damas (BTW) 2:06.42; 200: Hopkins, Deltron (BTW) 21.84; Patten, Nigel (BTW) 22.40; Thornton, Tyrone (JAC) 22.90; McPhee, Terrawn (BTW) 22.95; 3200: Morejon, Alejandro (DOR) 10:45.58; Ventura, Ryan (Pace) 10:48.62; Grootens, Peter (Pace) 11:02.02; Hernandez, Enrrique (DOR) 11:03.61; 1,600 relay: Booker T. Washington 3:26.84; Jackson 3:28.12; Monsignor Pace 3:28.27; La Salle 3:44.29.




WP: Manuel Matos. LP: Victor Sam.


WP: Carlos Mancilla 5 IP. Top performers: Sergio Santana 2-4, 3 runs, 3 RBI. Paul Menendez 4-5, 2 runs, 2 RBI. Luis Rincon 2 doubles, run



WP: Jose Velazquez (1-0). LP: Salamon. Top performers: JC Millan 2-4, 3 runs, RBI. Julio Gonzalez 2-4, run. Savian Fernandez 1-2 3 RBI. BRI 18-3


WP: Bryan Garcia CG, 8K. Top performers: Danny Diaz 2-2, RBI, single. Ryan Alvarez 1-3, single, run.



WP: Chris Viera. LP: Urrutia. Top performers: Alex Pinero 3-4, 3 runs, 3 RBI. Franky Montesino 2-3, 3 RBI. German Reyes 2-5, 2 triples, run, RBI



WP: Julian Stark (4-1). LP: Clay Patten. Top performers: Justin Ziegelasch 3-3, 5 RBI, double. Gio Soto 2-3, 2 runs, RBI, double. Iggy Pigna 2-3, run, RBI. PT 11-9.




WP: Jennifer Acevedo 7IP 1K (3-1). Top performers: Kathy Acevedo 3-2, HR, 2 RBI. Ilany Rivalta 3-2, RBI.


•  Class 2A regional final — Gulliver 5, Doral Academy 0: Chase Perez-Blanco won No. 1 singles 6-2, 6-1. Baker Newman won No. 2 singles 6-2, 6-1. Brian Granoff won No. 3 singles 6-2, 6-1. Ben Roque won No. 4 singles 7-6, 6-2. Patrick Bared won No. 5 singles 0-6, 6-0, 6-1.


•  Class 2A regional final — Gulliver 5, Doral Academy 0: Olivia Thaler won No. 1 singles 6-3, 6-4. Julieta Dalmau won No. 2 singles 6-1, 6-0. Estefania Navarro won No. 3 singles 6-3, 6-1. Madeline Benn won No. 4 singles 6-0, 6-0. Tatiana Ramirez won No. 5 singles 6-0, 6-0


•  American d. Mater Lakes 25-16, 20-25, 20-25, 25-15, 15-10: Christopher Fernandez ace, 7 kills, 4 digs. Humberto Carrion ace, 6 kills, 3 blocks. Malik Martin 5 kills 3 blocks

•  Hialeah Miami Lakes d. Hialeah Gardens 25-14, 25-22, 25-23: Dennis Perez 8 service points, 25 assists, 2 blocks, 5 digs. Gus Pena 9 kills, 11 digs, 2 blocks. Manny Celestino 8 kills, 7 digs, 11 service points. HML 8-4

•  Late Tuesday — Columbus d. Belen 25-17, 25-27, 25-17, 25-18: COL 13-5

•  Late Tuesday — St. Brendan d. TERRA 25-12, 25-13, 25-19, 25-20: Matthew Ruiz 12 kills, 5 digs, 5 aces. Gabriel Garcia 10 kills, 5 blocks and 5 digs. Johnny Suarez 8 kills, 4 blocks. SB 5-4

•  Late Tuesday — Sunset d. Braddock 25-10, 25-16, 27-25: Juan De la Hoz 11 kills, 8 digs, 3 aces. Jose Morales 8 kills, 3 blocks. SUN 11-1

•  Late Tuesday — Killian d. Southridge 25-13 25-7 25-23: Jack Harris 11 kills, 8 digs 12 service points. Tim Bailey 12 kills, 2 blocks, 18 service points. Damian Horton 9 kills, 3 blocks

•  Late Tuesday — Belen Unlimited — Girls – Ferguson 71, Lourdes 70: Boys – Belen 85, Ferguson 56:


•  Late Tuesday — Inter-district match — Killian 13, University School/Ft Lauderdale 7: Sade Allen 4 goals, 5 ground balls. Nicholle Galletti 2 goals, 3 assists, 6 ground balls. Tatiana Martinez 2 goals. Rachel Mincey 6 saves

•  South Miami 8, Sunset 2:

•  South Miami 8, Central 2:

•  Varela 7, Braddock 3:

•  Varela 7, Coral Park 3:




District 16-1A at Dade Christian: 1

Homestead, Coral Reef, Miami Palmetto vs. Southridge (SR), 3


Class 4A regional final at Biltmore: Columbus at Coral Gables, 2

Class 4A regional final: Reagan at Krop, 2

Class 3A regional final at Halpatiokee Park in Stuart: Belen at Jensen Beach, 3

Class 1A regional final at Jockey Club: Ransom vs. Miami Country Day, 3


Class 4A regional final: Krop at Flanagan 3 or Reagan at Krop, 2

Class 4A regional final at Miami-Dade Kendall: Palmetto vs. Coral Gables, 1

Class 1A regional final at Crandon Park: Ransom Everglades vs. Carrollton, 2

Read more Miami-Dade High Schools stories from the Miami Herald

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