FIU coach Ron Turner announced the promotion of assistant head coach Ron Cooper to defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, as well as the addition of Bobby Babich (secondary coach/defensive pass-game coordinator) to fill the lone vacancy on the Panthers staff.
“Ron Cooper brings a lot of experience to the table,” Turner said. “It was an easy decision to name him defensive coordinator. I know our players feel great about him, they have a lot of respect for him, and we won’t miss a beat with the defense. There will be a lot of carryover for our players with what we have done in the spring. There will be very little change.”
Cooper coached Jeremiah McKinnon and Richard Leonard to all-Conference USA honors as the two combined for 16 pass breakups and four interceptions.
The secondary accounted for eight of the team’s nine picks last season, including a pair for touchdowns. Cooper has spent more than 30 years in coaching, including three different stints as a defensive coordinator and three as a head coach on the collegiate level.
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“I’m thrilled to be named defensive coordinator here at FIU,” Cooper said. “I want to thank Coach Turner for this opportunity. We have a good group of guys on the defensive side of the ball. Our players have spent valuable time learning our system over the past year. Having been a part of that process, there will be very little change for them.”
▪ Tennessee Wesleyan 6, St. Thomas 1: A three-run, sixth-inning rally provided enough firepower to propel top-seeded Tennessee Wesleyan to a victory over No. 3 seed St. Thomas (38-22) in Kingsport, Tennessee.
With the victory, Tennessee Wesleyan (48-13) wins the Kingsport Bracket of the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round and advances to the Avista-NAIA World Series.
St. Thomas drew first blood in the third when Michael Centeno led off with a double and scored on Steven Fischer’s single. Tennessee Wesleyan tied the score in the bottom of the frame, then added three runs in the sixth and insurance runs in the seventh and eighth.
St. Thomas was limited to six hits.
▪ Nova Southeastern 11, West Georgia 4: The No. 6 Sharks (36-15) defeated the Wolves (39-15) in the first round of the NCAA South Region tournament on Thursday night in Tampa.
Alex Mateo (8-4) earned the win. Daniel Zardon went 4 for 5 with three doubles and a three-run home run, his 12th of the season.
The Sharks were scheduled to play West Florida late Friday night.
▪ UM at FSU (ppd., rain): Friday night’s game between the No. 4 Hurricanes and No. 14 Seminoles was postponed to Saturday at noon because of inclement weather in Tallahassee. The second game of the doubleheader will follow one hour after Game 1.
On Thursday night, UM (42-9, 20-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) surged to its eighth consecutive win with a thrilling 4-2 victory over rival FSU (33-18, 15-9) at Dick Howser Stadium.
Trailing for most of the game, the Hurricanes took the lead in the seventh inning on a two-run double by Randy Batista, added an insurance run in the eighth and held on in front of 4,156 fans.
In a game marred by two separate weather delays, junior Bryan Garcia entered in the ninth and locked down his ACC-leading 13th save of the season, moving him into sole possession of second place in Miami history with 38.
No. 4 Nova Southeastern is in fifth place with an 889 total after three days at the NCAA national championship with one round to go in Aurora, Colorado. Rollins leads Indianapolis 871 to 878. Just ahead of NSU is Dallas Baptist in third (885), with Tarleton State moving into fourth (886).
Barry University men’s golf team’s run ended in the NCAA Division II match-play quarterfinals after falling 3-2 in a back-and-forth match to No. 1 Lynn in Denver. The Bucs finished the year tied for fifth in the country.
Barry University’s Emma Onila was named the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Senior Player of the Year. A four-year Buccaneer, Onila went 14-3 in singles, which included a 4-2 record against nationally ranked opponents.