The ASA-Miami College Silver Storm has jumped into a crowded local sports scene armed with at least two unique features:
▪ ASA-Miami is the only junior college in the state that plays football.
▪ The Silver Storm also offers junior varsity for most of its 10 sports, which is rare for colleges but gives more athletes a chance to participate.
ASA, which has had two campuses in New York City — Brooklyn and Manhattan — since 2008, opened its Miami doors in April of 2014.
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It took over a three-story office building in North Miami Beach and will offer classes in Hialeah starting in May.
Ken Wilcox, 41, serves as the athletic director for New York and Miami, but he lives in Hollywood.
“It’s a lot of hard work,” Wilcox said when asked how he simultaneously runs two athletic departments. “I go to New York every semester, and I have an excellent team in place there.”
Wilcox said there are 5,000 ASA students in New York and 700 so far in Miami.
ASA-Miami is a Division I junior college in every sport except baseball, which is Division II now with hopes of moving up in the future. And with no athletic facilities on campus, the Silver Storm — team colors are purple and silver — hold its home games at various locations, mostly in Hialeah:
▪ Football is played at Milander Park.
▪ Baseball is played at Alex Fernandez Field.
▪ Men’s and women’s soccer play at North Miami Stadium and at Milander.
▪ Men’s and women’s basketball is played at the Bucky Dent gym.
▪ Men’s and women’s tennis is played at the North Miami Beach Tennis Center.
▪ Men’s and women’s track has road meets only but practices at Betty Ferguson Park.
The big-ticket item is football. In the inaugural season this past fall, ASA went 8-2 and traveled to road games in Texas, Alabama and South Carolina.
Wilcox said he expects to start August with 100 football players on varsity and 100 on JV. The Silver Storm signed 25 players earlier this month, Wilcox said, including 13 from Florida.
“Football,” Wilcox said, “is a very expensive sport.”
The Hurricanes women’s basketball program will lift its fourth jersey to the rafters — Octavia Blue’s No. 10 — when Miami plays host to Virginia Tech on Feb. 21.
Blue, a Miami assistant coach, will join Maria Rivera, Tamara James and Frances Savage in this exclusive club.
A native of Deerfield Beach, Blue, a 6-1 forward, is seventh on Miami’s career scoring list. She became the program’s first WNBA player when the Los Angeles Sparks drafted her 15th overall in 1998.
The men’s basketball team, ranked fifth (media) and 12th (coaches) nationally in Division II, has scored more than 100 points seven times this season, a school record. The Bucs (18-3, 10-2) are in first place in the Sunshine State Conference and have won six games in a row.
The Bucs have March 2 circled on their calendars — it’s the start of their league’s postseason tournament.