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Florida Atlantic hosts youth football camp to benefit Parkland shooting victims

As the South Florida community continues to recover from last month’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Florida Atlantic University football coach Lane Kiffin is lending his hand to help.

>> Read more trending news

Kiffin, the second-year Owls coach who led FAU to an 11-3 record last season, announced Friday night that the team’s April 7 practice at Fort Lauderdale’s Carter Park will also serve as a benefit for Stoneman Douglas. FAU will also hold a youth camp from 1:15 to 2:15 p.m for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

All proceeds from the practice, which will also feature a $5 raffle for a three-night stay at the Boca Resort and $20 for the youth camp, will go to the Stoneman Douglas victims and their families.

Gunman Nikolas Cruz killed 17 students and faculty in a Feb. 14 mass shooting before being arrested later that day. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Cruz, 21, who is being held at the Broward County Jail. Cruz’s younger brother, Zachary, was arrested last week for trespassing at Stoneman Douglas.

Students returned to class on Feb. 28 and are currently on spring break. Several Stoneman Douglas football players attended Thursday’s practice at FAU on unofficial visits, but did not speak to media because of NCAA regulations.

Stoneman Douglas currently has several former student-athletes on FAU teams, with senior baseball pitcher Jake Miednik graduating from the school in 2014. Miednik’s younger sister was in class during the shooting but escaped unharmed. Former Eagles offensive lineman Nick Weber was added to the football team as a walk-on last August.

Miednik threw six shutout innings against George Washington in a 3-0 win on Feb. 16, just two days after the shooting and hours after attending the funeral of a family friend who was killed in the massacre.

“I’d like to say that everyone during that incident, everyone’s in my heart and prayers,” Miednik said that night. “It’s unfortunate what happened and I’m praying for everybody, praying for all the victims, and I just want to say ‘God bless to everyone.’ ”

Loyola-Chicago gets blessing to market Sister Jean's name, image

The 98-year-old nun who serves as chaplain for the University of Loyola-Chicago basketball team has given her blessing to license and market her name and image, ESPN reported.

>> Read more trending news

Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt, the inspirational force behind the Ramblers’ unexpected run to the Final Four gave her approval to school officials to put her image on T-shirts, socks and even bobbleheads.

“We weren't going to do anything until she gave her blessing,” Tom Sorboro, a senior associate athletic director at the school, told ESPN.

"She didn't ask for anything for herself," including compensation, Sorboro said.

The school has approved more than 25 Sister Jean T-shirts from several companies. Fanatics has produced a Final Four shirt with the nun’s signature phrase, “Worship, Work and Win,” ESPN reported. The company has sold more Loyola products in the past 48 hours than it had during the rest of the season, Fanatics spokesman Meier Raivich told ESPN.

>> Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt: 5 things to know

The school gave away Sister Jean bobbleheads in 2011 and 2015. Loyola approved a new bobblehead, to be produced in June by the Milwaukee-based Bobblehead Hall of Fame. 

"Licensing rules prohibit the sale of bobbleheads of college players," Sklar told ESPN. "But Sister Jean's bobblehead really represents the entire team, school and the Loyola-Chicago community."

Rock 'Em Apparel was approved to license Sister Jean socks. It began selling them on its website on Sunday afternoon, ESPN reported.

"Usually it's an athlete or coach that captivates the attention of the sports world," said Steve Rollins, senior vice president for the company. "She brought Loyola's tournament run to the next level by letting the world see her passion for her team. Everyone wants to wear something with her image on it for good luck."

>> Coming soon: Another SIster Jean bobblehead

Licensing royalties for Sister Jean product, except for the bobblehead, are set up to support the Loyola Athletic Fund, which supports the funding of the program's athletes. The bobblehead splits the proceeds between the school's fund and Sister Jean's Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

That Sister Jean has become a sensation during the NCAA Tournament is an understatement. Media tracking company Apex Marketing Group said that there were 20,526 stories that mentioned Sister Jean, ESPN reported. By comparison, there were 5,681 stories that mentioned Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and 9,727 stories reference Kansas coach Bill Self. 

"Sister Jean has risen to the top of the sports world by becoming a must-see and must-mention for sports commentators and news organizations," Apex's Eric Smallwood told ESPN.

As the Ramblers prepare for Saturday’s Final Four game against Michigan in San Antonio, Sister Jean fever continues to rise.

"Sister Jean is the most famous religious licensing icon since the pope," Sorboro said. "She's captured the attention of the entire nation."

Coming soon: Another Sister Jean bobblehead

The basketball team at Loyola University Chicago has become the darling of the NCAA Tournament as it heads to the Final Four, and the story of team chaplain Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt has been the heartwarming story of March Madness.

>> Read more trending news

Now, Sister Jean will be getting another bobblehead, the Bobblehead Hall of Fame announced.

Sister Jean is a 98-year-old nun who has rooted for the Ramblers for more than 50 years. The bobblehead will be officially licensed by the university and is expected to ship in June, the Bobblehead Hall announced.

>> Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt: 5 things to know

Sister Jean bobbleheads were produced by the school in 2011 and 2015, The Chicago Tribune reported.

The new one will add to the collection. Presale prices are $25, the Bobblehead Hall of Fame announced on its website. The Hall announced that proceeds from the sale of each bobblehead will benefit the Loyola Athletic Fund and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

NCAA Tournament 2018: Loyola, Michigan advance to Final Four

Michigan’s first Final Four appearance since 2013 will come against Loyola-Chicago, the feel-good story of the 2018 NCAA Tournament playing in its first Final Four in 55 years.

>> Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt: 5 things to know

The Wolverines (32-7) and Ramblers (32-5) advanced to the national semifinals next weekend in San Antonio with Elite Eight victories on Saturday. Missouri Valley Conference champion Loyola-Chicago continued its improbable run by beating Kansas State 78-62 in the South Regional final in Atlanta. Michigan won its 13th consecutive game against Florida State in the West Regional final in Los Angeles.

>> 'Gonzaga Grandma' celebration goes viral

Michigan entered the tournament as a No. 3 seed and has beaten No. 14 seed Montana, No. 6 seed Houston, No. 7 seed Texas A&M and No. 9 seed Florida State. It needed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat Houston in the second round. Loyola has played nothing but close games in this tournament, but the No. 11 seed has found a way to win against No. 6 seed Miami, No. 3 seed Tennessee, No. 7 seed Nevada and No. 9 Kansas State.

The Ramblers have hit big shot after big shot with inspirational leader and team chaplain Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt sitting courtside, winning their first three tournament games by a combined 4 points. Senior Donte Ingram made a 3-point shot from the top of the key at the buzzer to nip Miami 64-62. Redshirt junior Clayton Custer hit a jumper with 3.6 seconds left that proved to be the deciding shot in a 63-62 win against Tennessee. Junior guard Marques Townes gave his team a 4-point lead with a 3-pointer as the shot clock was winding down with less than 7 seconds left against Nevada.

>> March Madness 2018: Michigan beats Houston, buzzer with last-second miracle by Jordan Poole

This is the first time Loyola-Chicago has been this deep into the tournament since it won the national championship in 1963. The Ramblers have won 14 games in a row and their season résumé includes a win at Florida. Five players are averaging in double figures, led by Custer (13.4 points per game). Ingram (11.3), Townes (11.2), Aundre Jackson (11.2) and Cameron Krutwig (10.4) also are part of Loyola’s balanced offense that will try to limit possessions in a game. The Ramblers are No. 67 in the country in the KenPom.com offensive efficiency rankings, but their 65.1 possessions per game rank No. 319.

Michigan and Loyola-Chicago have played three times previously but not since Feb. 1, 1969, when Loyola took a 112-100 win at old Chicago Stadium. Michigan won the first two meetings, including an 84-80 victory in the first round of the 1964 NCAA Tournament in Minneapolis.

The Wolverines have won 13 straight games since a 61-52 loss at Northwestern on Feb. 6. Loyola-Chicago’s style shouldn’t bother Michigan too much since the Wolverines average fewer possessions per game (64.7), but they have been far more efficient with the ball. The Wolverines rank No. 24 in offensive efficiency, averaging 116.1 points per 100 possessions.

>> Read more trending news 

Both teams rank in the top 25 of defensive efficiency, and they are in the top 10 in average points allowed. Michigan is giving up 63.3 points per game, No. 9 in the country, while Loyola-Chicago is No. 5 at 62.4 points per game.

The winner will advance to the national championship game on April 2.

Bet on NCAA long shot retrieves big payday for UMBC fans

Eric Barger figured he was throwing his money away when he and a group of friends bet on a No. 16 seed to upset a top-ranked team in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. But the group’s $800 bet on the University of Maryland-Baltimore County men’s basketball team paid off big when the Retrievers shocked No. 1 Virginia 74-54 on Friday.

>> Read more trending news

No. 16 seeds had been 0-for-135 against No. 1s, but UMBC’s win was lucrative for Barger and friends, who cashed a $16,800 winning ticket at The Venetian in Las Vegas, ESPN reported. 

"I go with my boys to Vegas every tournament, and we did pretty well on Thursday," Barger told ESPN. “Me and my buddy Dan went to UMBC, so we spent all day talking up how much we were going to bet.”

Barger said he did not think he had a winning ticket.

"We, of course, thought we were throwing our money down the drain," Barger, 42, told ESPN. “We expected to be down pretty quickly, but we hung in there, and they won by 20. It was surreal.”

Feeling lucky, Barger said he and his friends took $200 each out of their winnings and gambled it on a game of roulette. Their number hit, so they collected an additional $1,900, ESPN reported.

Barger said his group will bet on UMBC again in the Retrievers’ game Sunday night against Kansas State.

“With odds at about 5-to-1, we'll have at least a couple hundred on the game,” Barger told ESPN. “How could we not?"

Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt:  5 things to know

It’s hard to call Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt an overnight sensation. After all, she’s been following basketball at Loyola University-Chicago for more than a half century and said she saw the Ramblers win the NCAA title in 1963. But thanks to television, the internet and social media, the 98-year-old nun has become a media darling.

>> Read more trending news

With victories against Miami and Tennessee in the NCAA Tournament, the Ramblers are hoping for more spiritual guidance when they face the winner of the Cincinnati-Nevada game in next week’s Sweet 16.

Here are some things you might not have known about Loyola-Chicago’s inspirational leader.

Praying for victory: As the basketball team’s chaplain since 1994, Sister Jean begins every prayer the same way: “Good and gracious God.” But if you’re thinking she does not invoke the deity for a little help to win, think again. “I ask God to be especially good to Loyola so that, at the end of the game, the scoreboard indicates a big ‘W’ for us,” she told The New York Times. She ends every prayer with an emphatic “Go Ramblers.” Judging from some of the shots Loyola-Chicago has been burying during this tournament -- Clayton Custer’s game-winner against Tennessee comes to mind -- these prayers have been answered so far.

She’s a Hall of Famer: Loyola-Chicago inducted Sister Jean into the athletic department’s Hall of Fame in 2017, making her the 173rd member to be enshrined. Born in San Francisco in 1919, Sister Jean played basketball in high school.

Good scouting: Every season, Sister Jean researches the boxscores of upcoming opponents, using her sharp eye for detail to point out flaws in the Ramblers’ next foe. Coach Porter Moser found a manila folder on his desk on his first day as coach, according to NCAA.com. Sister Jean had compiled a scouting report on the Ramblers to help the new coach.

“She lights up every room she goes into.” Moser told the Times. “She’s always smiling. She has an energy about herself. I connect with that.”

She has her own bobblehead: Loyola-Chicago held a bobblehead promotion night for Sister Jean in 2011.

Super sneakers: Sister Jean has a pair of maroon-and-gold Nike sneakers that she wears during each game. Two names are stitched on the sneaker’s heels: “Sister” on the left heel, and “Jean” on the right.

It’s been quite a ride for Loyola-Chicago, which has knocked off two highly touted program. Now, the Ramblers will have to go against Sister Jean in the Sweet 16: She picked the Ramblers to lose in that round.

March Madness 2018: Michigan beats Houston, buzzer with last-second miracle by Jordan Poole

The game between Michigan and Houston on Saturday night was an absolute battle.

>> NCAA Men’s tournament 2018: Time, channel, odds for March Madness

Neither offense could get going, as the Wolverines shot 35 percent from the field, while the Cougars shot 37 percent. With less than four seconds remaining, Michigan trailed 63-61 with the ball.

Then, the magic happened. You’ve seen this already, but that’s OK. It’s worth seeing again.

>> Click here to watch

Freshman Jordan Poole nailed a 3-pointer as time expired to send the Wolverines to the Sweet 16. It was Poole’s second made 3-pointer of the game as he finished with 8 points.

>> Read more trending news 

Michigan as a team shot 8-of-30 from behind the arc on the night. Houston missed two free throws on the other end of the court to lead to Poole’s game-winner.

Michigan will face the winner of North Carolina-Texas A&M.

Little Caesars honoring bracket-busting win with free pizza

If you’re crying in your beer after the University of Maryland-Baltimore County became the ultimate bracket buster in the NCAA Tournament on Friday night, take heart. There is a free pizza waiting to ease your sorrow.

Little Caesars is honoring UMBC’s 74-54 victory against Virginia -- the first time a No. 16 seed has defeated a No. 1 seed -- with a free lunch combo on Monday, April 2.

The $5 Hot-N-Ready Lunch Combo will include four slices of pepperoni pizza and one 20-ounce Pepsi product per family, the company said in its promotional release. Orders must be made between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. local time. An important point: the order must be placed by 1 p.m. The rules in the promotion state that even if you were in line at 1 p.m., if the order has not been placed it will not be honored. In other words, arrive early. 

Here are the details of the deal. You can read the full terms and conditions here.

Augie Garrido, college baseball’s winningest coach, dead at 79

Augie Garrido, the whimsical coach with the small-ball philosophy who led Texas baseball to two national championships and won more games than any other coach in college baseball history, died Thursday morning in California. He was 79.

>> Read more trending news

Garrido had been hospitalized there since suffering a stroke last weekend.

Garrido ruled the Texas dugout from 1997 until 2016, having previously coached at Cal State Fullerton, Illinois, Cal Poly and San Francisco State. He amassed an 824-427-2 record with the Longhorns, leading Texas to national titles in 2002 and 2005. He won five championships in all, having won with Cal State Fullerton in 1979, 1984 and 1995.

With a career record of 1,975-951-9, Garrido is the all-time winningest coach in Division I baseball history.

“Augie was a giant in our game,” Texas head coach David Pierce said in a statement. “His impact on baseball, on the Forty Acres, and on me and so many others will live on forever. My thoughts are with Jeannie, his friends, his family, and all those who were lucky enough to have met him, played for him, or learned from him. His presence will be sorely missed but his legacy will never be forgotten.”

Response to Garrido’s passing from former players and coaching peers poured in from around the country.

“Pressure is a choice, the world treats winners different than losers, time is the ultimate game, passion will persuade reality,” former Texas pitcher Huston Street tweeted. “Coach you’ve been a genius for so many of us. A friend, our charming second Dad we all thought was just so cool. I love you forever.”

Said longtime Rice coach Wayne Graham: “It is a sad time because I don’t think anyone did more for college baseball and baseball in general than Augie Garrido. He knew the particulars of the game better than anyone.”

Said Oklahoma coach Skip Johnson, who spent 10 years as a Garrido assistant: “I couldn’t have had a better mentor in the game. We still talked at least once a week. When I got the head coaching job here at OU, I told him I wanted to carry on his legacy with all the things he taught me.”

Said former football coach Mack Brown: “He really made you think, made you laugh and always was so much fun to be around. He was truly a special man, one of a kind.”

Garrido set the career wins record in 2003 when Texas toppled top-ranked Florida State for his 1,428th win. Eleven years later, he broke the record for all collegiate coaches in a 5-1 win over Texas State. Florida State’s Mike Martin, who has coached the Seminoles since 1980, could break Garrido’s career record this season.

“College baseball and the world lost one of the finest men in our coaching profession,” Martin said in a statement. “Augie dedicated his life to making young men better people. He will be deeply missed by myself and many others.”

Texas basketball coach Shaka Smart, in Nashville for the Longhorns’ first-round game Friday against Nevada in the NCAA Tournament, called Garrido a mentor and said he was heartbroken.

“I don’t know what to say. I loved Augie,” Smart said. “He taught me so much in the time we were together. He taught me so much about the fact that what we were doing in our case is so much bigger than basketball, and in his case was so much bigger than baseball.”

While at Texas, Garrido coached 27 All-Americans and 102 players who went on to play professionally. Each of the 11 Longhorns that were selected in last year’s MLB draft were recruited by Garrido. In 2016, he told the Statesman that Street was the best Longhorn he had ever coached.

“What might seem exceptional for one person was very normal for him, to be able to perform and be successful in different environments,” Garrido said of Street, who has 324 saves in 13 MLB seasons. “His fearless approach to throwing to the mitt and trusting his teammates to do the rest — he came here with that.”

Texas won 18 of its last 20 games in 2002, with the final one being a 12-6 win over South Carolina to win the national championship at the College World Series. Led by pitchers Justin Simmons and Street as well as Tim Moss’ and Dustin Majewski’s All-American bats, the Longhorns went 57-15 and secured the school’s first baseball title since 1983.

Three years later, Garrido led UT back to the winner’s circle. Following a runner-up finish in 2004, Texas closed out its 2005 campaign with seven straight wins. The Longhorns (56-16) beat Florida 6-2 for the crown.

Texas relieved Garrido of his duties following the 2016 season. The Longhorns had reached the College World Series in 2014, but the program posted losing records in conference play the next two years. Texas went 25-32 in 2016; Garrido’s final game was an 8-2 loss to TCU at the Big 12 tournament.

Following his departure, Garrido had served as a special assistant to the athletic director. But he was occasionally still seen at Texas games. Last month, he and legendary LSU coach Skip Bertman threw out the ceremonial first pitches ahead of the two schools’ first meeting since the Tigers beat the Longhorns for the 2009 NCAA title.

“This is a very, very sad day,” UT athletic director Chris Del Conte said in a statement. “We lost one of the greatest coaches of all time, a truly special Longhorn Legend and college athletics icon. There will never be another Augie Garrido. He was a once-in-a-lifetime personality whose impact on Texas Athletics, collegiate baseball and the student-athletes he coached extended far beyond the playing field.”

He was born August Edmun Garrido, Jr. on Feb. 6, 1939, in Vallejo, Calif. Garrido’s first appearance in the College World Series was as a Fresno State outfielder in 1959. After three years with the Bulldogs, he spent six years in the Cleveland Indians’ farm system.

In 1966, Garrido landed his first coaching job at Sierra High School in Tollhouse, Calif. Three years later, his college coaching career began when he took over the program at San Francisco State University.

Garrido is survived by his wife, Jeannie, and daughter, Lisa.

'Gonzaga Grandma' celebration goes viral

March Madness has only just begun, and already there is an internet sensation: the Gonzaga Grandma.

>> Read more trending news

Fourth-seeded Gonzaga squeaked past UNC-Greensboro 68-64 Thursday afternoon and did not clinch the victory until freshman guard Zach Norvell Jr. hit a 3-point shot with 20.8 seconds remaining to snap a 64-64 tie.

After the basket, the TNT cameras caught an elderly woman in the Gonzaga cheering section celebrating by pointing her arms to the sky, mouthing the words “Thank you, Father.”

It was a heavenly way for the Bulldogs to avoid an upset. The Gonzaga Grandma’s reaction quickly went viral:

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