Coincidence? Or is it more?
So the morning after women's basketball coach Jose Fernandez's tirade about a paltry announced crowd of 845 for his team's upset of No. 15 Louisville, fans visiting gousfbulls.com were greeted -- surprise -- by a full-page splash ad encouraging fans to show up in droves for the Bulls' Feb. 20 date with Connecticut. The first 500 fans get T-shirts, and there's a drive to set USF's home attendance record at the game.
I talked with folks over at USF and they promise the ad was scheduled more than a week ago, replacing a 2007 football season ticket tout that had featured Matt Grothe and JIm Leavitt. A more direct result of Fernandez's tirade might be the PROMOTIONS link that now is front and center on the women's basketball page, detailing promotions for remaining home games.
What's more, I heard 620 AM's Ron Diaz and Ian Beckles talking USF women's hoops this morning, so Fernandez seems to have gotten himself a little publicity on top of his big upset. I'll have a note in Thursday's paper, but as much as he has every right to want more fans, he really doesn't have too much to complain about. Home attendance is up 37 percent from two years ago, and the Bulls, after ranking 13th in the Big East in home attendance last year, are now eighth. Find me another USF team that can show that kind of progress with attendance over the last two years ...