The University of Miami did not enjoy the same success in 2002-2003 as the program did the year before. In fact, when a football national championship and 24-win season for men’s basketball is followed by a surprising loss in the Fiesta Bowl and the hoopsters worst season since 1993-1994, it wouldn’t be out of line to call it a disappointing year for UM athletics.
But each year, Hurricanes in every sport provide many magical moments for fans to cherish long after the year is over. And this season is no different, as all of the squads supplied several memories to add to the storied tradition that is University of Miami athletics.
Here at The Hurricane, we had a lot of fun covering all the bases in 2002-2003, and experienced many moments that won’t be forgotten in our minds. While we would like to use this space to list all of the great UM athletic achievements over the past 12 months, there is only room for a select group.
So without further ado, we roll out our “Top 10 Hurricane moments in 2002-2003.”
Wide Left!! – For the fourth time since 1991, a Miami-Florida State match up came down to a final Seminoles field goal attempt. And for the fourth time, the ‘Noles missed the field goal. The unlucky goat was Xavier Bettia, but this time, Bettia’s 42-yard attempt landed to the left of the field goal post, giving UM a 28-27 victory at the Orange Bowl.
The new kids in town- In just their second year of existence, the Miami volleyball squad reeled off 26 consecutive victories during the regular season, then advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
Dejection in Tempe- A heavy favorite to repeat as national champions, the ‘Canes instead fell in double overtime to Ohio State 31-24 at the 2003 Fiesta Bowl. The game wasn’t without controversy, as a questionable pass interference call against UM’s Glen Sharpe in the first overtime extended the game for the Buckeyes.
Oh, Darius!! – In a year full of lowlights, Darius Rice’s improbable last second shot against UConn gave a national TV audience something that won’t be forgotten for a long time. Rice’s buzzer beating three-pointer knocked out the No. 6 Huskies 77-76 at the Convocation Center Jan. 20, putting the finishing touches on a 43-point night for the junior.
One basketball team was NCAA bound- Thanks to an impressive run in the Big East Tournament, which included a 77-74 upset over No. 2 seed and host Rutgers, the ‘Lady Canes earned their first NCAA berth since 1998.
Taking the sting out of Georgia Tech- The Yellow Jackets came to Mark Light Field in March as the No. 2 team in the nation, and left after getting the broom treatment from Miami. The Hurricanes scored 37 runs in the three victories.
Chomp this!! – In their first regular season meeting since 1987, the Hurricanes football squad annihilated Florida 41-16 at The Swamp Sept. 7. UM ran away with the contest thanks to four TD passes from Ken Dorsey and 204 yards rushing from Willis McGahee.
Men’s Tennis pulls off major upset- The road to a Big East No.1 seed went into full swing when the ‘Canes shocked No. 10 Texas A&M Feb. 9 at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center.
Women’s Hoops sweeps three-game Big East road trip- An 80-70 victory over then No. 17 Notre Dame in South Bend gave Ferne Labati’s squad a 3-0 record during the always challenging January conference road swing. The trip also solidified the arrival of Tamara James.
Greggs and Williams set school records-A successful year for UM track and field reaches it’s high point when sophomore Lauryn Williams broke the indoor 60-meter dash mark and her teammate, freshman Charlette Greggs, shattered the 200-meter record at the Arkansas Meet in February.