Over the past couple of years, it has been hard to call myself a Miami fan. Not out of embarrassment, but the sense of dread that overcame me every time I thought about it.
Take a look back at the end of football season. Our football team notoriously struggled to its worst season in a decade. Our baseball team had not been its usual dominant self over the past couple of seasons, settling into “good” status instead of “great.” Our basketball team, quite frankly, was not worth talking about.
Now let’s return to the present day.
Our basketball team just took one of the top eight teams in the country to the brink of overtime in a second round NCAA tournament game. That’s correct – our basketball team was playing in the second round of a tournament. In March. And it wasn’t the NIT.
Next season, the team returns almost its entire core, losing the replaceable Anthony King and Ray Hicks. Jack McClinton, probably the best player this program has had in 30 years, should contend for every national award next season. Head coach Frank Haith’s team is expected to make the Big Dance and contend for an ACC title, and not feel lucky to do either.
Our football team just held its spring game, and young players were all over the place making things happen. Quarterback Robert Marve is emerging as a leader in just his second year on campus, and running backs Javarris James and Graig Cooper look ready to put this team on their shoulders and carry it back to respectability. Head coach Randy Shannon’s team actually looks like it is going somewhere.
In the fall, more than 20 recruits who didn’t enroll early will arrive and set their sights on an ACC title.
This time next year, fans might be talking about a BCS bowl bid as opposed to a winning season when it comes to setting goals.
The baseball team is currently sitting pretty at 23-2, including 9-1 in conference. They are in sole possession of first place in their division, which happens to be in the best college baseball conference in America. The best hitter in the country, Yonder Alonso, sits in the middle of the lineup. One of the top pitchers in the nation, Eric Erickson, is the ace of the rotation. And Jim Morris is the manager. To say the least, this team has very realistic title hopes (provided the bullpen continues to develop).
Realistic hope is a great thing to have. As a Canes fan, it is time to take a page out of these athletes’ books and have some swagger. Haith, Shannon and Morris have their respective ships headed in the right direction. McClinton, James and Alonso are performing at levels their predecessors would approve of. Bright days are ahead.
It’s a great time to be a Hurricane.
Dan Stein may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.