Tom Jones was born and raised in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and studied English at the University of South Florida from 1982 to 1986.
He began his writing career with the St. Petersburg Evening Independent in 1985. He then went on to work for the St. Petersburg Times from 1987 to 1991, the Tampa Tribune from 1991 to 1996, the St. Petersburg Times again from 1996 to 2000 and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune from 2000 to 2003. He then rejoined the St. Petersburg Times for a third time in his career in 2003, where he worked ever since.
Jones has spent most of his career covering the NHL, including being a beat writer for more than 15 years of the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Minnesota. Wild. He also spent two years on the Tampa Bay Rays beat. He then become a columnist at Times starting in 2007. Jones has won several national and state writing awards, including a top 10 game story in the nation in 1998 as named by the Associated Press Sports Editors.
Over the course of his career, Jones has covered the Olympics, the World Series, the Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup finals, baseball and hockey all-star games, the NCAA basketball tournament and the Frozen Four.
Jones lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Patty, and sons, Sam and Andy.
With over two decades of reporting on professional and collegiate sports for the Tampa Bay Times, through performance and work experience in journalism and broadcasting in television and radio, Rick Stroud has cultivated an impressive list of sources and utilized his knowledge to produce an outstanding body of work in both print and electronic mediums.
During his career, Stroud has reported on national sporting events including 22 Super Bowls, the NCAA Final Four, and the Major League Baseball Playoffs. While working as the beat writer assigned to the University of Florida at the Times, Stroud’s stories documented NCAA rules violations by the football and basketball programs. The stories for which Stroud won second place for Best Investigative Reporting from the Associated Press Sports Editors, led to sanctions against both Gators programs.
Since 2004, Stroud has appeared as an NFL Insider for ESPN2’s First Take and is a regular contributor to ESPN’s SportsCenter, NFL Live, Outside the Lines and Herd with Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio. He also contributes to NFL Network’s Total Access.
Stroud becan covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the National Football League in 1990. Since then, the Bucs have undergone seven coaching changes, the death of owner Hugh Culverhouse and the sale of the franchise to billionaire owner Malcolm Glazer and a stadium referendum. They also celebrated a Super Bowl XXVII victory. His reporting was referenced in Tony Dungy’s best seller, Quiet Strength, particularly because it was Stroud who informed Dungy of the Bucs’ plan to replace him with Giants Super Bowl coach Bill Parcells.
A former Div. I-A baseball player at Arkansas , Stroud brings a unique perspective to sports reporting. During the NFL lockout in 2011, he also served as one of the Times’ beat writers responsible for covering the Tampa Bay Rays.
(AP) - The FBI is investigating whether a former Rutgers basketball employee tried to extort the university before he made videos that showed ex-coach Mike Rice shoving and kicking players and berating them with gay slurs.
Meanwhile, Robert Morris University is expected to report in coming days what it has learned in its own inquiry on the three years Rice spent as head coach there.
A person familiar with the FBI's probe told The Associated Press on Sunday that investigators are interested in Eric Murdock, who left his job as the men's basketball program's player development director last year and later provided the video to university officials and ESPN.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the inquiry has not been announced. The investigation was first reported last week by ESPN and The New York Times.
A spokeswoman for the FBI's Newark office said the agency would not say whether there is an investigation. Murdock's lawyer did not return a call to the AP on Sunday. A Rutgers spokesman referred questions to the FBI.
A December letter from Murdock's lawyer to a lawyer representing Rutgers requested $950,000 to settle employment issues and said that if the university did not agree by Jan. 4, Murdock was prepared to file a lawsuit. The letter was obtained last week by the AP and other media outlets.
No settlement has been made. The video became public last week, and Murdock on Friday filed a lawsuit against the university, contending he was fired because he was a whistleblower trying to bring to light Rice's behavior.
The video's release last week set off a chain reaction that led to Rice's firing and the resignations of athletic director Tim Pernetti, the university's top in-house lawyer and an assistant basketball coach. Some critics want the university's president, Robert Barchi, to resign.
Barchi will hold a town hall meeting Monday at the school's Newark campus, where he is expected to face some students and faculty who say they lost confidence in him even before the controversy over Rice's firing. They have said his plan to reorganize the state's higher education system shortchanges the Rutgers campuses in Camden and Newark.
At a news conference last week, Barchi said the firing and resignations likely never would have happened unless Murdock provided the video to ESPN. Barchi said he did not see the video himself until after it had been made public.
Murdock, a New Jersey native who played for seven NBA teams from 1991 to 2000, was on the initial staff Rice assembled when he became the Rutgers coach in 2010. He left the team last year, though there are conflicting stories about the circumstances.
Murdock has said Rice fired him after he skipped a session of Rice's summer basketball camp, but has said he was targeted because he had spoken with others about Rice's conduct at practice. The university found in a report that Murdock was not actually fired and that he could have continued working at the school.
After Murdock left, he spoke with university officials about his allegations against Rice. He also used an open public records request to obtain hundreds of hours of videos of basketball practice. It's not clear who shot the original footage, but it was edited into the half-hour video later given to the university that touched off a scandal last week.
The university report on Rice, which was completed in December but not made public until Friday, criticized the video provided by Murdock as taken many situations out of context. While the report found fault with Rice's behavior in several instances, it also said he did not create a hostile work environment, as Murdock had suggested.
The report also said that Murdock had claimed some violations of NCAA rules — including that he and others in the program paid players — but he did not provide evidence.
After a review, university officials agreed to suspend Rice without pay for three games, fine him $50,000, send him to anger-management counseling and monitor his behavior.
Barchi said when he first saw the video last week he immediately decided Rice could not continue as coach.
Robert Morris officials said athletic director Craig Coleman could speak about the matter Monday or Tuesday. Rice coached there before leaving for Rutgers in 2010.
Murdock told ESPN in an interview last week that coaches brawled with players during Rice's time at the Pennsylvania college. Robert Morris officials initially said that the video of Rice at Rutgers was not representative of how he acted at Robert Morris.