Bulls hire recruit's trainer as assistant
One of Stan Heath's most heralded recruits now has a close friend on USF's basketball staff.
Heath announced Tuesday night that he has hired Terrelle Woody, 38, the personal trainer for freshman forward Gus Gilchrist, as the team's video and conditioning assistant. Woody has strong personal ties to Gilchrist, a 6-foot-10 power forward who opted to transfer to USF from Maryland this summer after spending one semester with the Terrapins.
Asked if hiring a close associate of a coveted recruit was something that is standard in college basketball, Heath said: "I don't think that's a reason to hire somebody, but I don't think it's a reason to not hire somebody. The important thing is his ability to help this program."
Woody, who does not hold a college degree, will earn $30,000 a year in his new job, according to USF; he replaces Jamie Angeli, who was video coordinator last season and is now coaching in Kuwait. The position was announced Tuesday, but clearly has been in the works for some time; Woody left his job as a trainer at Hoop Magic Basketball Academy in Chantilly, Va., the first week in July, telling his employer he was taking a job in Florida. He has been working in conjunction with Heath's basketball camps and open gyms in the Sun Dome since Gilchrist started summer classes at the end of June.
A Times reporter attended one such open gym July 3 where Woody was present with current USF players, running the clock during games, calling fouls and choosing teams. Heath has not allowed the media to attend to such informal workouts since and has not allowed Gilchrist or other first-year players to speak with the media. USF did not announce Woody's hiring until the day after fall classes started on campus.
Gilchrist, under advisement from Woody, signed with Virginia Tech in 2006, then requested his release from the school one month after a campus shooting left 32 people dead. He landed at Maryland in January, but left after one semester without playing a game, saying he was unaware of an ACC policy that takes away a year of eligiblity for any transfer from one conference school to another. USF is in the process of submitting a hardship waiver that would petition the NCAA to allow him to play this season without sitting out a year, as Division I basketball transfers normally must do.
A Georgia newspaper reported July 11 that USF had hired Woody as its strength and conditioning coach, but USF officials said then the report was false and asked for a correction, saying they had not hired him "in any capacity." Woody, reached then by the Times, said the report was false. Heath said Tuesday that while Woody had already worked in his camps, he did not consider that a hiring, but merely a part-time job. "Getting to know him in the past month, I was very impressed," Heath said.
As a trainer at Hoop Magic, Woody charged as much as $75 per session to work out basketball players from the Washington, D.C., area in a six-court facility. Hoop Magic's Web site advertised that Woody had played basketball at TCU and played professionally in "Europe, Belgium and Italy." He is not listed among TCU's all-time lettermen, and Monday, TCU's athletic department confirmed that it has no record of him playing basketball there.
Heath addressed that discrepancy Tuesday, saying that Woody did not play basketball at TCU and had been honest with him about that during the hiring process.
"He did not write that Web site. He had the (information on the) Web site taken down. He made a mistake by allowing that information to be posted about him," Heath said. The information had remained on Hoop Magic's site as much as a month after Woody stopped working there. Woody did not return a message seeking comment Tuesday night.
It's not the first time Woody has followed Gilchrist to a program. In 2006, after three years at Friendly High School in Fort Washington, Md., Gilchrist transferred to Progressive Christian Academy in Temple Hills, Md.; Woody joined the staff at Progressive that season as coach of the school's prep team and to teach Spanish at the school, according to the Washington Post. Woody left Progressive's staff before the season ended.
Heath said he has known Woody since before he started recruiting Gilchrist, that Woody had trained one of his players at Kent State when he was working in the Fort Worth area. Asked if Woody would have a job on his staff if Gilchrist were not part of the team, Heath said: "He's qualified for the job. I would certainly consider him."
Gilchrist isn't the only incoming USF recruit with ties to Woody. The Bulls announced last week that they were signing largely unheralded point guard Justin Leemow of Brooklyn, N.Y., to a scholarship, nearly three months after the end of the standard signing period. Heath said Tuesday that Leemow had trained with Woody in the past and was an AAU teammate of Gilchrist's. "He's had a relationship with Justin," Heath said of Woody. "I wouldn't say he recruited him, but he made me aware of who Justin was and gave Justin a very high recommendation."
USF women's basketball coach Jose Fernandez has added a position to his staff as well, hiring Mike Teasley, formerly the head coach at Notre Dame Academy in Middleburg, Va., a program that finished last season ranked as the No. 4 high school girls basketball team in the nation and was ranked No. 1 nationally during last season.