Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Kortne Gosha's trouble with the truth

FAMU athletic director Kortne Gosha has hit the ground running since taking the helm of Rattler athletics on December 3rd.  His energy level, gift for gab, and ability to articulate a vision is infectious.  He certainly provides a sharp contrast to his predecessor.  

However, in his excitement, we’ve noticed, that Gosha is prone to exaggerate and inaccurately portray elements of his past work experiences.  In fact, he seems to claim a hand in successes that he had nothing to do with.  While speaking on a video podcast with the Black College Sports Network on Tuesday, May 19, Gosha implied that “in his short time at the University of Miami he built the $34 million Carol Soffer Indoor Practice (football) Facility.”  

A few quick google clicks, revealed that the University of Miami broke ground on the Soffer IPF in August 2017 and held its first practice in the facility in August 2018.  UM formerly dedicated the building on October 11, 2018, ten days before Gosha begin work at UM.

Earlier this year, on the Sean Pittman Radio Show, Gosha suggested that he played a role in helping to construct the $47 million football stadium expansion at Jacksonville State University.

Gosha, told Pittman (at 3:38 secs in), “as an undergrad (at Jacksonville State) I was director of football operations, and I graduated and literally my first job was a $47 million stadium project.”

According to news reports, and JSU’s athletic webpage, the stadium construction project was started in 2008 and completed in time for the start of the 2010 football season.   Gosha, was an undergrad political science major during this time and did not graduate until 2011.  

Sources with intimate knowledge of the stadium project at Jacksonville State said, “It didn't happen.  Really, who puts an undergrad (political science major) in charge of a major construction project?”

Gosha’s gross exaggerations are again repeated in his bio on FAMUAthletics.com

Clearly, there was a breakdown in the university HR’s background checking and vetting process.

Prior to coming to FAMU, he spent the previous year as the associate athletic director for Facilities and Operations at the University of Miami. In this role, he took care of day-to-day facility and event operations, grounds, custodial, information technology, access control, and capital projects.

In his first six months on the job, Gosha appears to be saying all the right things, and getting things done, which has made him popular among the Rattler faithful.  However, given his propensity to at times overstate and misrepresent the truth, it kind of makes you wonder what else he is inaccurately portraying.   

Monday, May 25, 2020

Happy Memorial Day!

The History of Memorial Day
At the close of the Civil War, freed slaves honored fallen Union Soldiers by decorating their graves with flowers in a celebration then known as “Decoration Day”. Decoration Day evolved into what we now know as Memorial Day.  Memorial Day officially became a federal holiday in 1971.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

FAMU expected to name MTSU's Pillow as head women's basketball coach

FAMU officials are expected to introduce Middle Tennessee State University assistant basketball coach Shalon Pillow, as the next head women's basketball coach, in the near future.  Pillow, a native of Addyston, OH,  has been on the MTSU staff for six years and has been instrumental in helping to lead the Blue Raiders to five straight postseason appearances. 

Prior to joining MTSU’s staff, Pillow spent five years at the University of Kentucky where she helped lead the team to five NCAA Tournament appearances and three Elite Eight appearances.

Pillow also spent one season as an assistant coach at Hofstra University in Long Island, N.Y., and three seasons at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Fla.

The 6-foot-3 Pillows, player her college ball at the University of Tennessee (1998-2002) where she played center, and was a four-year letter winner (under legendary coach Pat Summitt. She played in 108 career games and helped the Lady Vols advance to four NCAA Tournaments, including two Final Four appearances. She graduated from UT in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in general psychology and a minor in communications.

Following graduation, she played for the Tennessee Fury of the National Women’s Basketball League during its inaugural season, and appeared in 20 games.

Her current salary at MTSU is $75,000.  Kevin Lynum, who served as head coach of the Lady Rattlers last year was paid $75,000, which is about $21,634 less than what Ledawn Gibson (whom he replaced) made.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Gosha says locker room upgrades is first of three phase plan

With renovations to the FAMU football locker room currently underway, FAMU AD Kortne Gosha told the Black College Sports Network (BCSN), Tuesday, that those improvements are only phase one of a three phase plan. 

Phase 1 is the football operations complex (the fieldhouse) --- football coach’s offices, football locker room, etc… Phase 2 is a major renovation of Bragg Memorial Stadium and a potential expansion of the football fieldhouse.  Phase 3, which is really a long-term goal, is a new stadium,” Gosha said.

The locker room renovation, will see the addition of new lockers, new finishes and graphics, and new carpet is the first major upgrade to the fieldhouse in more than 37-years. 

No word yet on the expected cost of the renovations, or how the cash-strapped athletic department is paying for the upgrades.  However, almost simultaneously, the department launched an “All In” fundraising campaign it hopes will raise $750,000 for several expected upgrades.  So far, $100,000 has been raised. 

It’s unusual for a program to start construction/renovations projects without first having the money in the bank.

“One of the things that really gets people engaged is for them to see the vision become a reality,” Gosha told BCSN. “So, anyone who wants to help us reach our goal, donate to the Rattler Athletic Fund.”

“If we really want to have a national championship caliber program, which we do, we have a great coach, we have great student athletes not only on the competition surface, but also in the classroom… Then it takes resources,”an excited Gosha added.

Gosha said, to be a championship caliber program is a process.  “Running an athletic department is a process.  If you want to win a champion, ok this is what it takes to get there. If you are not willing to (invest), ok then this is who we are then…. we are not a championship program. And, I haven’t met a Rattler who is not expecting a championship.”

Facilities improvements are a key component in Coach Willie Simmons' plans to turn the Rattler football program in to one of the elite FBS programs in the country.

Friday, May 22, 2020

FAMU's 2020-21 FY losses due to COVID-19 could be as high as $36.6m

VP of Finance Alan Robertson told FAMU Trustees, yesterday, during a video chat meeting that the university’s consultants informed them that nearly 48 percent of college students have not yet determined if they will return to school during the fall semester.  When pressed for details, Robertson said the numbers were from a national survey of current students and high school seniors expected to make up the fall freshman class.

Students are shaken by economic hardship, health fears and overall uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Robertson outlined for Trustee several potential bleak revenue forecasts for 2020-2021 school year based on 10, 15, 20 percent drops enrollment reductions.  The projects had the university losing anywhere from $22.3 million to $36.6 million, assuming the State of Florida kept funding levers at the 2019-20 level. 

At this point, we really don’t have a clear picture of what’s going to happen with enrollment this fall, Robertson said.   

Thursday, May 21, 2020

FAMU COVID-19 testing site extends operations to June 1

The FAMU Bragg Stadium COVID-19 Testing Site will continue operation until at least June 1.
“The decision to extend the testing site is informed by continued interest and need, particularly as the state engages in a re-opening process,” said Cynthia Harris, Ph.D., director of the FAMU Institute of Public Health and one of the organizers of the site.
The latest extension means the Bragg Memorial Stadium location, which was initially supposed to be open for two weeks, will be in operation for at least five weeks. During that time, operators extended the testing capacity from 200 to 400 tests daily. More than 6,000 individuals have been tested.
The walk-up site is open daily, including weekends and Memorial Day, from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Tests are free, and no physician referral is required. The site is open to anyone who wants to be tested – symptomatic, asymptomatic and those who want to know their status. Residents can also schedule an appointment by calling the Leon County Health Department at 850-404-6399

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Rattler football begins renovating locker room

Demolition work on the FAMU football locker room began yesterday.  It is the first major upgrade to the FAMU Football Fieldhouse in more than 37-years. 

FAMU plans to update the lockers, carpet and paint in the locker room to modernize it and turn it into an efficient place for an elite FBS program.

Over-the-years, the locker room and field house had become outdated and the needs of student-athletes have changed.  The renovation will allow the program to attract high-caliber players and make it easier for the players to interact more and develop as a family.