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2021: A Year To Remember - South Florida Sports

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - In just a couple of days, we'll put 2021 in the rearview mirror.

So let's take a look back at some of the biggest stories in local sports.

In 2021, the coaching carousel in college football was in full swing. The University of Miami jumped on that bandwagon with both feet, luring hometown product Mario Cristobal to be the new coach of the football program with an $80 million deal to signal the university was willing to spend big to be big again.

"We want to bring in people that, again, truly understand and are dedicated, and that understand the level of investment made by the people that have made this a reality. I thank you from the bottom of my heart because you've made it real, and you've, you know, brought me home," said Cristobal when he was introduced as head coach.

Cristobal replaced Manny Diaz, who was fired after an enthusiastic but underachieving three-year run as head coach.

The Florida Panthers also made an abrupt coaching change when Joel Quenneville resigned for his role in covering up the sexual abuse of a player during his days with the Chicago Black Hawks.

"The information that has recently become available is deeply troubling. There's no question that the events described in yesterday's report are serious and severe," said Bill Zito, General Manager of the Florida Panthers.

Despite Quenneville leaving, the Panthers flirted with an NHL record for most home wins to start a season.

In Tampa, the ageless Tom Brady won another Super Bowl with the Buccaneers.

Meanwhile this season in Miami, the Dolphins went from terrible to terrific. The team was so bad, it considered trading for a quarterback saddled with seedy sexual misconduct allegations.

But Tua Tagovailoa and the team caught fire, sparking hopes of an improbable sprint into the playoffs.

After being bounced out of the playoffs in a humbling sweep, the Miami Heat added a trio of savvy veterans led by former All-Star Kyle Lowry. They started the season like gangbusters but now hope injuries don't wreck hopes of making a deep playoff run.

The Miami Marlins returned to their losing ways, but a stockpile of young pitching talent, and more stable financial footing, has prompted the Derek Jeter regime to finally loosen the purse strings.

In February, Tiger Woods was severely injured in a single vehicle car crash in California. Months later, the resilient Woods returned to the golf course for a father and son tournament along with his 12-year-old son Charlie.

The year saw some prominent athletes take defiant stances against COVID vaccinations, while others bravely stepped forward to acknowledge their personal struggles with mental health.

And finally, in 2021 we said farewell to some legendary names.

Among them, two iconic coaches who helped make Florida the center of the college football universe, a trailblazing golfer who broke barriers at The Masters, and a home run king who hammered his way into baseball immortality.

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