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Longtime USF supporter Wittcoff dies at age 79



Richard "Dick" Wittcoff, whose family's love and support of USF basketball dated back to the 1970s, died early Thursday after battling cancer. He was 79.

Mr. Wittcoff and his wife Roslyn, who rarely missed a Bulls basketball game at home or on the road, were the first USF boosters to endow a basketball scholarship in 1982, adding a second in their name in 1991. Mr. Wittcoff died as a result of an adverse reaction to cancer treatments, his daughter-in-law, Jessica Wittcoff, said Thursday.

"They bled green and gold. They were Bulls," she said of Dick and Roslyn, who was affectionately known as the "first lady of USF basketball" and died in 2004.

Mr. Wittcoff was still attending USF home basketball games as recently as two weeks ago, missing only Saturday's loss to Notre Dame. His son Ken, who died in 2009, was a USF graduate who served on the USF Athletic Association's Board of Directors and also has a memorial scholarship in his name in conjunction with USF's athletic department.

"He was a pioneer supporter of the Bulls, whose generosity and genuine caring impacted generations of student-athletes, coaches and staff," athletic director Doug Woolard said in a statement. "We will miss him greatly and send our thoughts and prayers to his family. Our gratitude is enduring. The Wittcoff family legacy will live long at USF."

Woolard said Wittcoff was one of the first people he met at USF, and men's basketball coach Stan Heath said his impact on the program has been felt, personally and profoundly, for decades.

"We lost a great friend in Dick Wittcoff," Heath said. "Many called him the father of USF basketball. In the early days, he really helped, whether it was donating time, money, jobs for some of the players on the team. He did a lot to really help this program get going. It's really a sad day. We're going to miss Dick tremendously and we thank him so much for all his support over the years."

[Last modified: Thursday, January 31, 2013 12:43pm]


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