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August 11, 2013

FIU Sports Headlines

FIU Head Coach Anthony Evans announced on Friday the addition of Louis Rowe, Marco Morcos, Stephen Ott, Gerald Gillion and Juan Hernandez to the men's basketball staff.

"I'm thrilled to announce that Louis Rowe, Marco Morcos, Stephen Ott, Gerald Gillion and Juan Hernandez have joined me here at FIU," Evans said. "We have an unbelievable opportunity to continue to build this program and take it to the next level. These are the guys that are going to help make that happen. As a staff, I can't say enough on how much each will be a valuable asset to our student-athletes and our program as we move forward. I know they are very excited to be here and I feel very fortunate to have them here at FIU as we enter Conference USA."

Rowe will serve as assistant coach and comes to FIU after spending one season at Rider University. At Rider his duties included off-campus recruiting, post-player development and game scouting. During the 2012-13 season, he helped guide the Broncs to a 19-15 record and a berth in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT).

Prior to his arrival at Rider, Rowe served his second of two stints as an assistant coach at James Madison (2010-2012). During those two seasons, Rowe helped the Dukes to 33 wins and worked closely with JMU forward Denzel Bowles who set a season rebounds (290) record for the Dukes and became the program's first Mid-Major All-American before beginning a professional career in Lithuania. Rowe also offered assistance to the Dukes' program for the two years prior to his rehire while pursuing his graduate degree from JMU. He also spent one season as an assistant coach in 2007-08 under then-JMU head coach Dean Keener.

A native of St. Petersburg, Fla., Rowe earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from JMU in 2006.

"Coach Rowe is a very good recruiter," Evans said. "Being from the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, I felt that his contacts in the state of Florida would be extremely valuable. His knowledge of the game as well as his playing experience both collegiately and professionally will be important as he mentors the young men on our team."

Morcos, who hails from Egypt, will serve as an assistant coach. For two seasons, Morcos served as an assistant coach at Rice (2010-12) where he helped the Owls garner 33 victories and the program's first post-season appearance (CollegeInsider.com Tournament - CIT) since 2005. Morcos was elevated to assistant coach at Rice after serving the previous two years (2008-10) as the director of basketball operations. He served in a similar position at UAB during the 2007-2008 season and was part of a Blazer team which posted a 23-11 record and advanced to the second round of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT).

Prior to making the move to collegiate basketball, Morcos was a successful high school and AAU coach. He was the head coach at LEAP Academy University Charter School in Camden, N.J., for three years (2004-07), as LEAP compiled a 102-20 record during Morcos' three seasons. Additionally, Morcos was the head coach at Rise Academy where he led the team to a 31-8 record. His coaching experience also includes working as a counselor at the prestigious Reebok All-American Camp (RAAC).

Morcos saw action in 33 games during a two-year playing career for Rutgers-Camden where he earned a bachelor's degree in African-American studies in 2005.

"Coach Morcos is well known as a recruiter," Evans said. "His international ties will be extremely valuable to our program. He has been a successful college assistant as well as a successful high school basketball coach."

Ott comes to FIU after spending two seasons at Lehigh (2011-13) as will serve as an assistant coach. During his tenure with the Mountain Hawks, Lehigh went 47-18 and registered back-to-back post-season appearances (NCAA in 2011-2012 and CBI in 2012-2013). During the 2011-12 season, Lehigh stunned the No. 2-seeded Duke Blue Devils for the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament victory.

Prior to his time at Lehigh, Ott spent two stints at Siena where he served as an assistant coach during the 2010-2011 season and the director of basketball operations from 2006 to 2008. As the director of basketball operations with the Saints, Ott helped build a program the advanced to the second round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament after upsetting Vanderbilt.

Due to his leadership ability and relationship building skills, Ott went onto a prestigious position as the Director of Team Events at the Hoop Group. His time there resulted in Team Events having the largest number of teams (over 1,000 AAU Teams) and an increase in talent level. He organized a number of events run annually by the Hoop Group, including: The Philly Hoop Group Classic, three national High School Showcases (providing the premier stages for top high school talent in the nation), and the Hoop Group Jam Fests (various AAU showcase for rising scholastic stars).

A 2005 graduate of the SUNY-New Paltz, Ott began his coaching career as the head assistant coach at Ulster County Community College.

"I've known Coach Ott for a long time," Evans said. "I actually coached him at SUNY-New Paltz. I've always tracked his career from Siena onto Lehigh. I think he is a talented coach and an underrated recruiter. He understands the type of student-athletes that we are looking for."

Gillion, who hails from North Lauderdale, Fla., will serve as director of basketball operations and comes to FIU after spending five years at Northeast High School in Oakland Park, Fla. There he served as the head assistant coach from 2008 to 2010 and head basketball coach from 2010 to 2013. While at Northeast, Gillion helped over 120 student-athletes receive scholarships to universities nationwide, while leading the Hurricanes to the school's first 20-win season and district championship in 30 years (2009), and a national raking during the 2010-11 season. Northeast also claimed the Kruel Classic title in both 2010 and 2011, marking the program's first-ever national tournament titles.

In each of his five seasons with the Hurricanes, Gillion's players received first-team all-state honors (Jelani Hewitt 2009 and 2010; Daniel Sapp in 2011; Demeatrius Henry in 2012; Malik Price Martin in 2013). He also served as the director of basketball operations and assistant AAU coach for Breakdown, Inc. (2005-13), winning two national championships (2007 and 2008).

Gillion earned a bachelor's degree in social science from Florida State in 2008.

"Gerald is another Florida native, who will be a huge asset to this program," Evans said. "His knowledge of basketball in the State of Florida and what it takes to run a successful program will be valuable. I'm excited to have him on our staff."

Hernandez will serve as assistant director of basketball operations. He comes to FIU after spending three seasons as the head coach at Archbishop Coleman Carroll High School where his team compiled a three-year total of 66-18, winning the 2012-13 district championship and reaching the regional semifinals. Under Hernandez, the Bulldogs were ranked in the top-10 in the state of Florida in 2011-12 and in the top-five during the 2012-13 campaign. A native of Miami, Fla., Hernandez also coached the MYBO Warriors (AAU/USSSA) from 2007 to 2012. The Warriors won 17 tournaments, including the USSSA State Championship and the AAU Spring Classic Championship. Hernandez led the Warriors to a third-place finish in the 11th grade AAU National Championship and consistently guided the team to a top-five ranking in the state of Florida and a top-10 ranking nationally.

Prior to working at Archbishop Coleman Carroll, Hernandez served as the head JV basketball coach and assistant varsity basketball coach at Saint Brendan High School from 2007 through 2009. While with the Sabres, he registered a 40-11 record. Hernandez began his coaching career at Interamerican Military Academy (1990-92) where he amassed a 35-18 record and won a district and regional championship in his second season.

Hernandez earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Miami (Fla.) in 1990.

"Juan Hernandez is a tremendous addition to our staff and by far the most valuable member," Evans said. "He is a product of Miami and has brought a lot of pride to the area with the success that he has had in high school coaching. I think that his experience as a coach, as well as organization skills, will help the program."

FIU Volleyball Begins Preseason Camp

With the season opener just three weeks away, the FIU volleyball team is gearing up for its first year of competition in Conference USA, as the Panthers kicked off preseason training on Friday.

It was an early morning, as players hit the athletic training room for treatments and taping at 6 a.m. before heading to a 60-minute, weight-lifting session. The very first practice of the 2013 season began at 9 a.m. at U.S. Century Bank Arena with much anticipation and excitement.

"We are finally starting," sophomore middle blocker Gloria Levorin said. "We have been working hard in the offseason and we're ready."

Levorin is one of eight returning letterwinners from a season ago, as FIU returns five starters from its 2012 roster - Levorin (90 blocks, 0.86 bps), sophomore outside hitter Lucia Castro (13 service aces; 234 kills, 2.21 kps), junior defensive specialist/libero Carolyn Fouts (24 service aces; 225 digs, 2.42 dps), and senior middle blocker Kimberly Smith (105 blocks, 1.00 bps; 242 kills, 2.30 kps).

"I'm so excited; I've been looking forward to this day forever," Smith said. "I completely believe in us. We were voted ninth in the C-USA preseason poll, and I would almost rather be voted ninth instead of first because I want to prove that we're a force to reckon with. Everyone is on the same page and working together toward that goal."

FIU is under new, yet familiar, leadership this fall as Assistant Athletic Director/Head Sand Volleyball Coach Rita Buck-Crockett takes over the reins of the Panther indoor squad. Joining her on the sidelines will be first-year Associate Head Coach Felix Hou, second-year Assistant Coach Travers Green, and first-year Volunteer Coach Alvaro Sanchez.

Not only is the indoor team under fresh leadership, nine newcomers - including a pair of FIU sand volleyball standouts - will join the ranks of the Panther squad.

"I'm really excited about this team," senior middle blocker CeCe Spencer said. "We have a lot of international players, and we have a new right side that is really going to improve the game. I'm excited about the new coaching staff; Coach Felix is an international coach and he's going to work more on our technique."

Also new for the Panthers this season is the competition, as FIU embarks on its first season in Conference USA.

"It's going to be awesome; it's a bigger playing field and there will be more competition," senior outside hitter Jessica Mendoza said. "It's going to really challenge us and it will make us work even harder."

FIU will kick off the 2013 campaign at the Gamecock Invitational in Columbia, S.C., as the Panthers take on High Point and host South Carolina on Aug. 30 at 1 p.m. at 7 p.m., respectively, before going up against South Carolina State on Aug. 31 at 11 a.m.

Season and single-match tickets for FIU volleyball can be purchased by calling 305-FIUGAME, or by logging on to FIUSports.com.

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