Gregory: 'Awkward situation' prompted move
Greg Gregory was ready to stay with USF football in a lesser role, to continue with the Bulls after being stripped of his offensive coordinator's title, but said when the offensive staff met as usual last week, he felt uncomfortable enough that he decided he needed to move on if he could find a job elsewhere.
"We started meeting, and I just felt it was an awkward situation," said Gregory, who took a job Thursday as offensive coordinator at South Alabama. "I'm not sure anyone in that room felt comfortable. Anytime you change coordinators but stay with the same staff, that's got to be an awkward deal for everybody. I"m not sure what my attitude was going to be."
Gregory had interviewed for the job at South Alabama, a startup program hoping to make the same kind of quick rise that USF has in the past 13 seasons. The Jaguars will play a limited schedule against prep schools this fall, then open officially as a Division I-AA program in 2010, accelerating to Division I-A and full membership in the Sun Belt Conference by 2013.
"The opportunity developed, and it's a great situation. I'm extremely excited," Gregory said. "I came on at USF on the back end, right as they made the jump to the Big East, and now I get to start something on the front end."
USF coach Jim Leavitt stripped Gregory of his coordinator's role after he interviewed for the tight ends job at Florida, just weeks after the Gators won their second national championship in three years. Leavitt said Thursday that he "absolutely" would have allowed Gregory to stay on his staff as a position coach, but wishes him the best with a fresh start at South Alabama.
"I think the world of Greg," Leavitt said. "I think he's a very good coach who has helped us out a great deal, and I'm sure he'll do a great job at South Alabama."
Gregory said he was working with USF's tight ends in his new role, which could mean other offensive assistants are being shuffled in their duties, since assistant Larry Scott has handled the tight ends the past two seasons. Receivers coach Mike Canales has supervised the offensive staff since Gregory's demotion, returning to the job he had from 1996-2000, but Leavitt has yet to make any announcement as to who will take over as coordinator.
Leavitt said Thursday that there are "a lot of variables" in completing his offensive staff, but that he has no specific timetable, even with spring football starting in less than a month.