University of Miami women’s soccer coach Tom Anagnost was fired unexpectedly Tuesday morning after two seasons on the job.
The news release from the UM athletic department read: “University of Miami Director of Athletics Blake James has relieved head women’s soccer coach Tom Anagnost of his duties effective immediately. A national search for a new head coach has begun.”
The Hurricanes were 19-15-5 since Anagnost took over the team in December 2011. He came to UM after three seasons as head coach at Central Michigan University. He was twice named Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year and led the Chippewas to back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths. He was 40-12-7 at Central Michigan.
James, reached later by phone, said it wasn’t one incident that led to the firing and that the team’s win-loss record was “not a big part’’ of the decision.
“A variety of factors went into the decision,” James said. “We felt it was better to make the move now rather than move forward with him as the leader. We have been evaluating the situation for some time and just felt in the overall view of the program that we didn’t have the right person in that position, so why wait to make the change?”
Anagnost was unavailable for comment.
Assistant coach Jason Hamilton was named interim head coach while the school conducts the search. Hamilton, reached in his office Tuesday morning, said he didn’t know Anagnost was being let go and did not know the reasons for the dismissal.
Former Miami crew coach Joseph “Okie” O’Connor died Saturday in a drowning accident in Tempe, Ariz. He was 56.
O’Connor, as passionate about his sport as he was gruff barking instructions through the megaphone, was instrumental in building a rowing culture in South Florida. He influenced many rowers with his tireless teaching on the water and his colorful personality off it.
“Whenever Okie’s name comes up, there’s always a smile, and behind those smiles, lots of stories,” UM crew coach Andrew Carter said. “He was a character. He was so bull-headed he’d argue with you until he won and then he’d go out and share a beer with you.”
O’Connor, who grew up in Buffalo, N.Y., and was coxswain at the University of Pennsylvania, became the first UM crew coach in 1986 when it was still a non-scholarship sport and recruited students on campus by tapping them on the shoulder and saying, “You have the body of a rower” in his crusty voice. O’Connor, named Southeast Collegiate Coach of the Year in 1993, helped propel construction of the Ronald W. Shane Watersports Center in Miami Beach and develop Indian Creek as a rowing venue.
“He created championship teams on a shoestring budget,” said former UM athlete Wynne Stallings. “He had his famous ‘Okie-isms,’ which are not for print. He had a way of inspiring you or making you mad enough to push to your limits. He was brash, loud, dropped F-bombs and drank tequila shots.
“But as hardcore as he was, he was very kind and empathetic, and as he mellowed with age he became more of a comrade. So much of what we learned from Okie carried over to real life.”
O’Connor coached at UM for 15 years and later became boating and aquatics coordinator at Tempe Town Lake, which is where he fell into the water and died.
“Rowing in Miami would not be where it is today without Okie,” Carter said.
Carter said the URowing Alumni group plans to gather and remember O’Connor this fall during the weekend when the UM football team plays Florida. Tributes to him were pouring into the row2K website.
Suspended UM linebacker Gabriel Terry was tased during his arrest early Friday morning, moments after school police officers found the 19-year old freshman sleeping face down on the steps near the rear entrance of his dorm and with a 26.8 grams of marijuana in the left-side pocket of his shorts.
According to the arrest affidavit from the Coral Gables police department, officers woke up Terry and asked him several times to stand up and put his hands behind his back, but he would not comply. Terry then began to argue and pushed an officer away with his body before police shoved him to the ground in an attempt to handcuff him. Terry, who turns 20 on Sept. 21, was warned he would be tased according to the report, but didn’t comply and was able to standup before police used the Taser to subdue him. The report said Terry eventually cooperated.
Terry was charged with felony possession of cannabis and resisting an officer without violence. He was released Saturday after posting $6,000 bond.
His hearing is scheduled for 9:45 a.m. on May 20.
UM has taken Terry’s name off its roster and suspended him indefinitely.