Another year of Miami sports is almost in the books. From the gridiron to the hardwood to the diamond, there has been no shortage of excitement in Coral Gables. Let’s review what took place this past year for Miami athletics.
‘Canes basketball made history
Miami sports featured plenty of success this past year, but nothing compared to the historic seasons of men’s and women’s basketball. The men reached the Final Four of the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history, while the women made the Elite Eight for the first time as well.
The Hurricanes reached these new heights with the help of the transfer portal. Men’s hoops brought in guard Nijel Pack and forward Norchad Omier, who were both instant starters. Pack helped stretch the floor with his shooting and Omier led Miami on the glass. The 6-foot-7 forward was one of 13 NCAA Division I players who averaged 10+ rebounds per game.
Women’s hoops brought in twin guards Haley and Hanna Cavinder from Fresno State. Haley led the team in scoring with 12.2 points per game, while Hanna was a reliable 3-point shooter with a clip of 31% from deep. However, none of Miami’s success would have come without forward Destiny Harden, who hit a game-winning shot to shock No. 1 Indiana in the second round of the NCAA tournament. She was drafted by the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury after the season concluded.
Both teams were magnificent when it came to playing in front of the Watsco Center faithful. The men only had one home loss throughout the season, yielding a home record of 16-1. Its one defeat was against Florida State University on Feb. 25, when Seminoles guard Matthew Cleveland heaved up a last-second winner from half-court. The women went 14-4 at the Watsco Center this season, beating ranked teams in North Carolina, Florida State and Virginia Tech in Coral Gables.
Both programs are now a popular destination for transfers and look to build on their success next season with new rosters.
Football’s growing pains have set them up for more success in the future.
A 5-7 record — and 3-5 in the ACC — was not what anyone expected coming into Mario Cristobal’s first season as head coach.
The ‘Canes seemed disconnected on both sides of the ball this past year, but some players still performed well. Miami had one All-American last season, safety Kamren Kinchens. With six interceptions and one forced fumble, Kinchens had a year similar to Hurricane greats Sean Taylor and Ed Reed, one of the best safeties in NFL history.
Additionally, running back Henry Parrish, an Ole Miss transfer, showcased a mix of power and agility that wowed fans. He finished with 616 rushing yards, four rushing touchdowns, 120 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns.
However, Miami’s underwhelming season prompted significant coaching changes in the offseason. As a result, the ‘Canes have new coordinators on both sides of the field, with Shannon Dawson as offensive coordinator and Lance Guidry as defensive coordinator.
Dawson is known for his heavy passing offense from his time as the offensive coordinator at Houston. The Cougars had 4,082 passing yards and 40 passing touchdowns last season while scoring 36 points per game. With a healthy quarterback in Tyler Van Dyke, there is a lot of potential for offensive success this upcoming season.
Lance Guidry, the previous defensive coordinator at Marshall University, accomplished a lot while coaching there. Last season, Guidry’s defense ranked in the top 10 nationally in 12 different defensive categories, including being the best in the nation at third down conversion percentage defense.
Miami opens the season Sept. 1 against Miami (OH) at Hard Rock Stadium.
One goal for baseball: Omaha
Going into the season, ‘Canes baseball had only one goal: advance to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.
As of April 22, the ‘Canes are ranked No. 17 in the country with three ACC series left. Last year, they hosted a NCAA regional at Mark Light Field; however, they could not advance further. With a 24-14 (11-8 ACC) record, Miami’s chances of hosting again look slightly worse than last year.
The Hurricanes are one of the best home run hitting teams in the entire nation. So far, they have hit 75 homers, leading the ACC and ranking sixth in the country. Freshman infielder Blake Cyr and junior catcher Carlos Perez pace the team with ten home runs each.
If the ‘Canes want to get to Omaha, they must continue hitting home runs the way they have been.
The Miami Hurricanes have created another year to remember, and the success that came with it will surely set the ‘Canes up for the future.