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Life begins at 40: Leavitt runs in 5.72 seconds

9

April

The time to beat is 5.72 seconds.

That's the mark for 52-year-old USF football coach Jim Leavitt, who drew a slew of TV cameras to his practice fields Thursday afternoon and sprinted 40 yards as part of a promotion for USF's spring football game Saturday night at Raymond James Stadium. Here's video of his run from USF's official site.

"That was one of most exciting moments of my life," Leavitt joked, out of breath just a minute after his sprint. "I was feeling it right after the second or third yard. I came out of my stance and knew that I was in trouble. I kept thinking about as we come out in our games in the greatest stadium in America, in Raymond James. I have the police officer next to me, and I've got to find a way. ... I'm glad we only ran one. I don't know if I can do two or three. That might be tough."

Leavitt, wearing a white long-sleeve Under Armour shirt, shorts and a white USF ballcap, had said his only goal was to beat six seconds, and as promised, he ran with the wind at his back, moving the starting cones for the electronically timed run. Of the 22 students who tried out last weekend for the right to run against Leavitt's time during the spring game, just one posted a slower time. Two of the four finalists were in attendance for Leavitt's run, and the coach greeted them and wished them luck.

"If there are any students that can't be that, they really need to decide what they want to do in life," Leavitt said. "That's not hard to beat, five whatever it was."

Leavitt, known for his sprints out of the tunnel and onto the field before games, jokingly admitted that he's faster with the adrenaline of having a game moments away.

"I'll go faster during practice, or before the game. Those are probably in the 4.5 range," he said. "You're ready to play, and you've got the team and big Rocky the Bull is going to run right over you if you're not hurrying, that's a different moment. Those are definitely under 5-flat. That's a different deal."

All of the students who went out for last weekend's open tryouts will get a T-shirt that reads "Faster Than Coach Leavitt!" and the fastest runner at Saturday's game will win a pair of tickets to the USF-Florida State game in Tallahassee in September.

[Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 6:15pm]

    

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