Hoped to keep it somewhere short and sweet here; more of an informative post than a full-blown walk down memory lane. Doubt that will be the case as there’s a lot of history to share before signing off.
allCanesBlog.com is no more; a business decision and org chart-type thing. Nothing more, nothing less. Attempted to keep it rolling, but it wasn’t in the cards.
Thought about hanging it up regarding Miami Hurricanes football, basketball and baseball coverage, but after two decades of covering this program—it proved too hard to walk away.
What started out a passion project eventually morphed into a paid gig and a hell of a ride.
Growing up a Canes fan in the “Decade Of Dominance” era, my coverage of “The U” happened by accident.
Stranded in Gainesville for two years—in an era where Florida won its first national title (1996) and Miami was in the midst of probation—it was easy to be a jaded Canes fan and uber-Gator hater; to the point where I bombarded the Independent Florida Alligator with email rants and debates with beat writers.
Something I wrote struck a chord with the lead editor and I was offered an opportunity to write for the paper—where I learned a quick lesson about passion, motivation and purpose.
It took one article on Florida’s swim team over homecoming weekend to teach an important life lesson; I didn’t want to be a sportswriter. That said, I did want to write from the heart regarding the program I grew up following—the Canes.
A follower of Grassy.com—a U-themed site that eventually became CanesTime.com and part of the Scout Network—I was offered the chance to write by site own Bryan Knoll.
Covering the Canes at the time became a form of therapy as Miami as en route to an unthinkable 5-6 season in 1997. The site itself; a place where shell-shocked UM fans gathered to make sense of this alternate reality where the Canes were unraveling and Sunshine State rivals were finally winning titles. In short, it was awful.
Post-college the writing continued, as a hobby. The day job; working for a company that handled website for colleges nationwide—HurricaneSports.com being one of them. A different career path might’ve ended the U-themed coverage—now living three time zones west of South Florida—but the marketing manager opportunity only kept things rolling.
Furthermore, the Canes were on the mend in this era. Butch Davis was righting the ship and Miami was doing the unthinkable; it was coming back from the dead.
Six months into the new gig Miami knocked off second-ranked UCLA and my harassment of my Bruins-loving manager almost cost me my job. (In hindsight, changing every alert on his desktop to UM’s fight song might’ve been a bit much.)
I got to write a preview on the 1999 Kickoff Classic a year later, correctly picking Miami’s upset of Ohio State—again, harassing a Buckeyes-loving co-worker who lost the bet and had to pose for the site in my James Jackson jersey.
A year later, perks of the job earned me a sideline pass as a photographer for Miami’s 27-24 upset of top-ranked Florida State at the Orange Bowl. I rushed the field with a sea of back-up Canes who had lost five in a row to the Noles. I yelled something offensive at kicker Matt Munyon after Wide Right III.
I grabbed two chunks of grass from mid-field; one that went into my pocket as a souvenir—the other, into my mouth as it seemed like the right play at the time.
Three years of bliss followed; a 34-game win-streak, four consecutive BCS games, two national title appearances and one ring. My coverage at CanesTime.com also landed me some articles in their magazine and on Yahoo! Sports. It was a fun time to be a Miami fan and columnist.
allCanes.com needed an e-com boost at the time and transitioning out of a failed gig with an ad agency, early 2001 seemed like a great time to help the family business roll out a proper website—with a blog on the back-end that would help regarding the brand, authenticity and in the quirky world of search engine optimization.
The articles were on the back-end of allCanes.com. Within a year, or so blogging became en vogue. A friend built me a site as a birthday gift, but I had little to say outside of football coverage—so I morphed that online space into what eventually became allCanesBlog.com.
A decade-plus of coverage followed. The end of the Larry Coker era, followed by the bottoming out via Randy Shannon and up through the Al Golden hiring and firing. Touched on the addition of Mark Richt here.
Went deep into the Nevin Shaprio scandal. Penned many a piece about fallen Canes on this site—Bryan Pata, Sean Taylor, JoJo Nicolas. Sadly, that list goes on.
This past decade has been brutal on another level as Miami simply hasn’t been “Miami”. Coaches and players not living up to expectations, the brand taking a hit and turmoil amongst a split, frustrated fan base.
For the first time in forever, it was not great to be a Mi-am-i Hurr-i-cane.
Again, because allCanesBlog always felt more like a passion instead of a gig, writing about 6-6 seasons became painful and unenjoyable—especially when toeing a company line and writing as an employee, opposed to an unfiltered super-fan.
All of that leads us to now—or more-specifically, October 2015 when a necessary coaching change was made. Equally as monumental, the hiring of a proven entity like Richt—which has invigorated a fan base.
It’s also revitalized this writer—prompting the investment in a new writing platform with ItsAUThing.com.
Will Miami go on a run like it did in the early 2000′s after surviving that brutal mid-to-late nineties run? No chance, as there’s too much money and parity in today’s game—but the Canes finally have the right coach to right the ship and make “The U” a player again. It’s beyond exciting and makes this new chapter one to look forward to.
allCanes will forever be family. If you check out the new site, you’ll see banner ads posted gratis, in good faith. This is still the #1 Canes shop—going strong since 1959. In an era of big box retailers, there’s still nothing like this little “Hurricanes Graceland” during football season (and especially game day.)
If there were a “Cheers”-type location where everyone knew your name as a U fan—allCanes has always been, and will forever be it. Miami fans no longer have the beloved Orange Bowl—but allCanes is still standing. Don’t ever take that for granted.
Is been a hell a ride at allCanesBlog over the years. Thank you for the support, the comments, the banter and the shared passion for this unique program—which is specially why I went with the “It’s A U Thing” tagline. Us Canes; we march to a much different beat. If you’re not us, you certainly aren’t going to get us.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. We’ll see you over at ItsAUThing.com from now on.
Go Canes. — CB