Leavitt taking a break at Preakness
USF coach Jim Leavitt has lamented the NCAA's policy change this year to keep head coaches from making recruiting visits during the spring evaluation period, as this is a time of year that Leavitt liked to hit the road hard, piling up the miles and proudly rattling off how many high schools he'd driven to in a short amount of time.
Instead, Leavitt must leave the in-person recruiting to his assistants, confident in their ability to evaluate talent and ask the important questions of high school coaches and teachers. Today's a good example of Leavitt allowing himself to enjoy things outside football, as he said this week he'll be in Baltimore to attend the Preakness Stakes for the first time.
Even before the "Around the Horns" booster tour starts up next month, Leavitt is doing a lot of speaking engagements, everything from small church groups to corporate gatherings. The same day he spoke at Congregation Beth Am this past week, he was up at 7:30 a.m. to speak to fathers and kids at Roosevelt Elementary in Tampa. He said he's never signed so many autographs at once -- signed everything from shirts to hats to foreheads. The horses today have nothing to do with football, which is really a good thing for Leavitt, and if anyone but Big Brown wins, I'd expect Leavitt to remind his players of that in pregame talks this fall. The Oregon loss probably ratcheted the Bulls down a notch or two in most preseason Big East polls, but Leavitt relishes the underdog role and playing the well-worn "us vs. the world" card.
Not sure who Leavitt pulls for today -- there's a horse named "Stevil" that's practically an anagram of his name, but there's another 30-1 horse named "Racecar Rhapsody." That's horse's jockey is named ... Albarado.