Bulls coach Mathies arrested on DUI charge

USF defensive line coach Eric Mathies was arrested early Saturday morning in South Tampa on a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence.

Mathies, 38, was booked into the Orient Road Jail and released early Saturday afternoon on a $500 bond, according to Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office online records. USF officials were aware of the arrest; athletic department spokesman Brian Siegrist said Mathies has been placed on administrative leave.

Mathies was arrested by Tampa police Saturday at 3:40 a.m. According to a Tampa Police Department arrest affidavit, he was observed traveling east on Platt Street in a black SUV at 60 mph -- 15 mph above the speed limit.

He was pulled over after the arresting officer noticed the SUV failing "to maintain its lane of travel." The officer reported the smell of alcohol on Mathies' breath, noting his eyes appeared bloodshot and his speech was slurred.

He initially refused sobriety exercises, and a subsequent breathalyzer test. …

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AAC set for divisional play, title game in '15

As expected, American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco confirmed the formation of two six-team divisions for the purpose of staging a conference football title game starting in 2015.

The move was unanimously approved by the American's chief executive officers at the conference's spring meetings in Key Biscayne. Navy, which joins the American in '15, gives the league 12 teams, the minimum required by the NCAA to hold a league title game.

USF will be a member of the East Division with UCF, Cincinnati, Temple, Connecticut and East Carolina. The West will feature Tulane, Memphis, SMU, Houston, Tulsa and Navy. According to a conference news release, the championship game will be played at the home site of the higher-ranked division champion.

"I  am excited about the divisional formations and the soon-to-be championship game in 2015. That said, it's all about USF and getting better every day to compete and win this conference," USF athletic director Mark Harlan told the Tampa Bay Times on Friday afternoon. …

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Projecting the future AAC divisions

Before the American Athletic Conference spring meetings adjourn Friday in Key Biscayne, coaches and administrators are expected to vote on a divisional alignment as a prelude to a potential conference championship football game.

With the addition of Navy in 2015, the AAC reaches the 12-team minimum mandated by the NCAA for a conference title contest. The general assumption is, the league will be split into east and west divisions, but we all know what they say about assuming.

Would a north-south split be feasible? How 'bout a non-geographic alignment? Weren't the Bucs in the NFC Central for years?

Safe money is on east and west divisions, but we'll stretch our speculation. Here are some conceivable -- and far-fetched -- AAC alignments:

East                    West
UConn            Cincinnati
East Carolina   Houston
Memphis         Navy
Temple           SMU
UCF                Tulane
USF                Tulsa
Assessment: Probably the most sensible scenario and, based on the current power structure, the most balanced. If divisions were intact for 2014, I'd take East Carolina and Cincy in the inaugural football title game.

North                South
Cincinnati       East Carolina
UConn           Houston
Navy              SMU
Memphis        UCF           
Temple          USF
Tulsa             Tulane
Assessment: One thing seems certain -- the North would have the market cornered on men's hoops dominance. For those wishing to preserve old geographic football rivalries or promote new ones, this makes sense.

Stars                Stripes
Cincinnati      UConn
UCF              USF
Houston        Navy
SMU              East Carolina
Tulane           Memphis
Tulsa             Temple
Assessment: A scenario contrived for the sole purpose of someday having a USF-UCF football championship game.

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Herget earns national team tryout

Six days after his complete-game win against top-seeded Louisville in the American Athletic Conference tournament, USF sophomore RHP Jimmy Herget has earned a chance to stretch his season well into the summer.

A first-team All-AAC pick, Herget has been invited to vie for a roster spot on the USA Baseball National Collegiate Team. Training camp begins June 19 with the final 24-man roster being announced 10 days later.

“It’s a great honor to have the USA name across my chest,” Herget, a 2012 Jefferson High graduate, said in a statement released by the school. “To be able to go out and represent my country and play the game that I love is unbelievable.

“I knew if I had a good year like I did last year, I would be in consideration for a spot on the team. My focus was to do my best for USF and give us a shot to win every time I pitched. I know if I did that, I would be having a pretty good year and have a chance at making Team USA.”

Herget finished 8-6 this past spring, compiling the lowest single-season ERA (1.26) in USF history. His 1.48 career ERA is the program's lowest among pitchers who have started at least 25 games.

“I can’t tell you how happy I am for Jimmy and his family,” pitching coach Lance Carter said in the statement.

“Every accolade Jimmy gets this year he deserves. I think a lot of people understand Jimmy Herget is one of the elite Friday night starters in college baseball. What he’s done against some of the best competition this year, his numbers speak for themselves.”

The 2014 Collegiate Team will be coached by Arkansas' Dave Van Horn. It will play games on U.S. soil as well as in Cuba and The Netherlands.

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Three-peat: Nevins again named All-American

Ten days after throwing her final fastball at USF, Sara Nevins watched her legacy receive another dab of luster Wednesday.

The Pinellas Park High alumnus was named an NFCA All-American for the third consecutive year -- an unprecedented honor for a Bulls player. The American Athletic Conference's leader in wins (29), ERA (1.35), strikeouts (299) and opposing batting average (.144), Nevins was a third-team pick for the second season in a row. 

She earned second-team honors as a sophomore, when she led USF to its only Women's College World Series berth. The entire 2014 All-America list can be found here.

“It's an honor to be recognized as one of the top players in the country and it feels pretty cool to be the first softball player to be a three-time All-American at USF," Nevins said in a statement released by the school. …

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No 'clean' break: Cid has unfinished business at USF

USF sophomore Roberto Cid became the first All-American in Bulls men's tennis history, reaching the quarterfinals of the NCAA singles championships.

JOEY KNIGHT | Times

USF sophomore Roberto Cid became the first All-American in Bulls men's tennis history, reaching the quarterfinals of the NCAA singles championships.

Before dusting off most of his opposition during his surreal spring, lanky USF sophomore Roberto Cid did the same to the bedroom in his off-campus apartment. …

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USF reportedly hires WVU strength coach

West Virginia speed and conditioning cooach Adeirele "Coach O" Oderinde, who shares a college alma mater with USF coach Willie Taggart, apparently has been tabbed to replace Hans Straub as the Bulls' strength and conditioning coach.

On Wednesday morning, Mountaineers QB Clint Trickett tweeted: Congrats to Irele Oderinde or Coach O for gettin the Head Strength and Conditioning job at USF! ...

Scout.com, citing an anonymous source, also reported Oderinde is headed for Tampa. USF had made no official announcement as of Wednesday morning.

Oderinde would replace Hans Straub, whose resignation was accepted by athletic director Mark Harlan earlier this month. Three days before resigning, Straub posted a disparaging tweet about former Bulls DE Aaron Lynch shortly after Lynch was taken by the 49ers in the fifth round of the NFL Draft.

Oderinde was a 215-pound defensive tackle on the 2002 Western Kentucky team that won the Division I-AA national title. Taggart, a former Hilltoppers quarterback, was co-offensive coordinator on that team.

A 2004 WKU graduate, Oderinde spent a year as "speed and conditioning" coach at West Virginia. Prior to that, he spent a year as assistant strength and conditioning coach at his alma mater, and three seasons as strength and conditioning coach for the South Carolina men's basketball team.

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Antigua: We'll play as fast as we can

Though his family still is house-hunting, Orlando Antigua finally has his other home in order. After eight frenetic weeks on the job, USF's new men's basketball coach has a full 2014-15 roster, three assistants and a support staff in place. Now, amid an NCAA-mandated dead period, Antigua and his staff are back on campus, working with the players in school (they get two hours with them per week) and recruiting for the long term. On Tuesday, he spent 20 minutes with reporters on a variety of subjects, from Anthony Collins' knee to Chris Perry's frame to the recent rash of departures. Here are the highlights of the interview:

Are you finished recruiting for 2014-15? (USF has its allotment of 13 scholarship players for next season.)
"I don't think you ever stop recruiting in any season. One of the things I learned at Kentucky, you're always recruiting and at least keeping your thumb on a lot of moving pieces. So I think we'll continue to look around and see what's out there and try to prepare not only for this year
but coming years."

Did the departures surprise you in any way or is that just part of what happens? (Five scholarship players left after former coach Stan Heath's dismissal.)
"It's part of what happens. Some of the kids, we had an opportunity to work with them a little bit and (give) a taste of how we work. Some of them might not have wanted that challenge, others might have different reasons why they wanted to try to move on. As we came on as a staff, we
talked to them about having a clean slate and being supportive. We wanted kids that want to be here and want to be a part of what we're trying to do. The guys that are here, that have stayed, have taken on that challenge. That's part of the first step of changing the culture, changing the
mentality."

How dificult has it been for them to adjust to the culture change, new demands, etc?
"Not at all. They've been great. They've been like sponges. They almost have wanted it, and I'm not challenging them only on the court, I'm challenging them in the classroom, getting them to understand that in order to be successful you have to practice success every day in every
aspect of your life."

PG Anthony Collins is listed on the roster you just released. So he's entrenched here for next season?
"Yeah, I think Anthony's done a great job. He still has been dealing with a little bit of pain with the knee but he's pushing through it. His conditioning is getting better and he's a great kid and a tremendous worker, and we're glad he's gonna stay around. He's got an opportunity to
graduate here in the near future and hopefully he'll  be around."

I know you're not a doctor, but from what you've been told, will Collins be ready for the season opener? (He missed all but eight games last season due to complications from summer knee surgery.)
"From what I've seen and worked with him, I think so. He's pushing himself and I'm excited, I'm excited about what he's doing, and the rest of the guys, too. I think Corey (Allen Jr.) is having a tremendous summer right now. Chris Perry is really shaping his body. ... And those incoming guys right now that we have, Troy (Holston) and Dinero (Mercurius), are really, really good and they're working hard. That's promising and that's exciting for us as a staff."

Will you be able to play as fast as you want?
"I think the guys that we have here and the way we're training them is to be able to play and condition them that way. The kids we recruited are long, athletic, the kind of kids that I like and the staff likes to try to recruit. So we're gonna try to play as fast as we can. Everybody says they want to play that way until you have to get in that kind of shape. They're learning about that now."

The general perception of (junior college transfer) Jaleel Cousins is that he's a project. How do you see him?
"I think what Jaleel can bring to the table right away is obviously his physical presence (6-foot-10, 260 pounds). We've got to get him in great shape; he's in the process of doing some of that now these next few weeks before we get him down here for summer school. He's actually training with (brother) DeMarcus (who's) getting him to understand he's gonna have to move up and down the court. But he can really rebound the ball, he's strong as an ox, and (has) a little left-handed post which is kind of unique."

How big of a blow was the loss of C John Egbunu to fellow American Athletic Conference all-rookie pick Chris Perry?
"I think it's a great opportunity for him to step in and continue to grow, develop and shine. I think Chris has an unbelievable future, he's just got to get in great shape. We've got to get him to commit to defending. I've watched some of the tapes from the past, and we've got to get him to
move his feet a lot better. Some of it is genetics, some of it is will and desire, and we're gonna challenge him, we're gonna challenge him to keep growing. He's done a great job thus far in the few weeks that we've had in terms of concentrating on his body, getting him a lot lighter, getting him a lot quicker."

What was the appeal to Kareem Canty (Marshall) and Roddy Peters (Maryland) of transferring here?
"I think both are really talented kids and for various reasons were looking for a change. They were excited about what we were showing them in terms of how we want to play. ... Both are well-rounded, athletic players that can play multiple positions and they can score. We want to score in the high 70s, 80s if we can. But you've got to defend and you've got to get up and down and you've got to be in great shape."

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Bulls' season ends with loss to Memphis

CLEARWATER -- Seated snugly behind destiny's steering wheel, USF entered Saturday's game against No. 8-seeded Memphis with a chance to salvage its sub-.500 season.

Instead, the Bulls epitomized it.

Failing to capitalize on myriad early opportunities, the Bulls' season -- and the Lelo Prado era -- ended with a 2-1 loss to the Tigers (30-29) in the American Athletic Conference tournament's final pool-play contest.

Darien Tubbs, who led off the game with a triple and scored Memphis' first run, ended things with a two-out walk-off double to the gap in right center field with two on.

A win would've put USF in today's noon title game at Bright House Field. Instead, top seed Louisville, a 2-1 loser Friday to the Bulls (27-31), will face Houston. Prado, who was seeking his 850th career win, moves on to an administrative role in USF's athletic department.

"We had opportunities," said Prado, who watched his club strand 11 base runners.

"You all have been to our games enough to know a couple hits here or there, it's a completely different ball game. Proud of 'em. Now we've got to give support to the new coach and (athletic director) Mark (Harlan) will do a great job hiring a new guy and getting this program where it should be in a (NCAA) regional."

Memphis (30-29) committed four errors in the first five innings, but USF exploited none of them. Twice during that span, the Bulls left a runner stranded at third. They finally broke through in the seventh when Kyle Teaf beat out a high chopper to short and pinch-runner Hayden Kelley scored.

Austin Lueck and Teaf, the No. 1 and 2 batters, had two hits each for USF. Freshman Brandon Lawson, a former Hernando High ace, worked the first six innings, allowing only a run on five hits.

"I wanted three or four (innings) and he gave us that outing. Great effort there," Prado said. "I can promise you the new guy coming in (will have) some pretty good arms, and you've got (Jimmy) Herget every Friday night."

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Herget leads Bulls to 2-1 win vs. Louisville

CLEARWATER -- USF baseball is alive and well in the American Athletic Conference tournament, as ace Jimmy Herget threw a complete game to lead the Bulls to a 2-1 win over top-seeded Louisville on Friday afternoon.

The fifth-seeded Bulls (27-30), who lost 10-0 to Rutgers in their tournament opener, now have a chance to advance to Sunday's conference championship game at Bright House Field. USF would need Louisville (44-14) to beat Rutgers on Saturday afternoon, then the Bulls would need to win Saturday night against eight-seeded Memphis. 

The Bulls trailed 1-0 in the first inning, but tied the game in the third inning. Luke Maglich sparked a two-out rally with a walk, advancing on Austin Lueck's single and scoring on Kyle Teaf's single to centerfield. The Bulls took the lead in the fourth, as Zac Gilcrease singled, reached second on Buddy Putnam's sacrifice bunt, then scored on Luke Borders' RBI single to left.

Herget (8-6) got better as the game went on -- after just one strikeout in the first five innings, he struck out two in the sixth and eighth, the last with runners at first and third and Cardinals cleanup hitter Alex Chittenden at the plate.

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Bulls baseball job draws 39 early applicants

Four days after USF announced the reassignment of baseball coach Lelo Prado to an administrative role, Prado's old job already has attracted 39 applicants.

The names were released Friday to the Tampa Bay Times upon a public-records request. The list is of applicants only, and may not necessarily include candidates being seriously considered for the job.

Among the names are some highly familiar to anyone who has followed big-league baseball in the last two decades: Von Hayes, Alan Mills, Chris Sabo and Brad Wilkerson, to name three.

Whether they're the same Hayes, Mills, Sabo and Wilkerson with Major League tenures is uncertain; bios weren't attached to the names.

Hayes, who played for three big-league clubs in 12 seasons, has a son who recently attended Berkeley Prep. Sabo, the former National League Rookie of the Year with the Reds, most recently was an assistant golf coach at the University of Cincinnati. …

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May Madness: USF's Cid reaches round of 8

USF sophomore Roberto Cid has reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Men's Singles Championships.

Photo by Ben Solomen

USF sophomore Roberto Cid has reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Men's Singles Championships.

Unseeded USF sophomore Roberto Cid continues cutting an unprecedented swath -- topspin included -- through the NCAA men's singles bracket.

The reigning American Athletic Conference Player of the Year, Cid (24-5) earned a 6-2, 7-5 victory Friday against Oklahoma's Dane Webb to advance to the Round of 8. The day before, he defeated Drake's Alen Salibasic in straight sets to reach the final 16 and automatically become USF's first men's tennis All-American.

The nation's 47th-ranked player, Cid faces 28th-ranked Alex Sarkissian of Pepperdine in Saturday's quarterfinals. The two met on March 15 with Cid leading 5-4 in the third set before the match was called.

Cid stunned the 64-player tournament's top seed, UCLA's Clay Thompson, in straight sets in the opening round. He has lost only once since April 11.

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Eight weeks in, Antigua pushing the tempo

Early next month, Orlando Antigua will join a Bulls coaching caravan of sorts that will make a whirlwind circuit of various central Florida booster functions.

In a 30-hour span, Antigua and others will appear at country clubs in Lakeland and Belleair, hospitals in Orlando and St. Pete, and a Rays game.

Which is to say, he'll have some down time.

From a recruiting perspective, the coach who promised a brisk tempo upon his March 31 hiring has been operating with breakneck proficiency. In less than eight weeks, Antigua has refilled an emaciated basketball roster, hired three assistants and gotten a jump-start on the Class of 2015.

A nation -- or at least a nation of hoops scribes -- has noticed.

"To be honest with you, I think this is what I expected from Orlando Antigua," said national recruiting analyst Evan Daniels of Scout.com. "I think they're gonna get guys, man."

So far, they have. On Friday, the school confirmed the arrival of Maryland transfer Roddy Peters, a five-star point-guard prospect out of high school who started 10 games as a Terrapins freshman last season.

Though Peters and fellow transfer Kareem Canty of Marshall must sit out the upcoming season, Antigua now has his full allotment of 13 scholarship players for 2014-15.

Considering six players from last season's team -- including five on scholarship -- exited following former coach Stan Heath's dismissal, it's a whirlwind replenishment. And it may not be finished; CBSSports.com's Jon Rothstein reported Thursday 6-foot-8 Oklahoma State transfer Kamari Murphy is set to visit USF early next month.

"Former Kentucky assistant Orlando Antigua hasn't coached a game for the Bulls, but he's already laid a foundation for the future," Rothstein wrote Thursday. "Antigua has the pieces in place for South Florida to make a jump in his second season, but the most important goal for Year One is development of players already in the program."

Indeed, few are expecting the Bulls to pounce on a bracket next spring. With 6-foot-11 rising sophomore John Egbunu now at Florida, the frontcourt must be rebuilt around burly 6-8 sophomore Chris Perry. While PG Anthony Collins is expected back after missing nearly all of last season with a knee injury, the remaining backcourt will be mostly green.

But a breakthrough the following season is plausible.

"The two transfers they got, Kareem Canty and Roddy Peters, are tremendous," Daniels said. "I thought those were significant pickups. ... (Peters) is a tall, strong, lean, physical player on or off the ball. Good passer, good going to the rim. He's gonna help them."

By the time Canty and Peters put on jerseys, another recruiting class will have been added and some of Antigua's perceived projects -- such as big men Ruben Guerrero and Jaleel Cousins -- could be poised for more prominent roles.

Could be a mere matter of time.

As Antigua has shown, he wastes little of it.

"I think you've got to give Orlando time to get his guys in," Daniels said. "I think he's gonna do a great job there. I think with his connections in the South and the Dominican Republic and with the staff that he built -- I think he has a really good staff -- I think they're gonna do a great job."

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USF lands Cousins' brother, Terp to follow? (UPDATED)

The brisk pace promised by new USF men's basketball coach Orlando Antigua already has been realized -- at least from a recruiting perspective.

The Bulls made another burly addition to their overhauled roster Wednesday with the signing of 6-foot-10, 260-pound junior college center Jaleel Cousins. On Wednesday morning, InsideMDSports.com reported former Maryland PG Roddy Peters also is headed to USF. …

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Herget makes All-AAC first team

USF sophomore ace Jimmy Herget was the Bulls' only first-team pick on the All-American Athletic Conference team.

Photo provided by USF

USF sophomore ace Jimmy Herget was the Bulls' only first-team pick on the All-American Athletic Conference team.

USF sophomore right-hander Jimmy Herget, whose 1.28 ERA ranks second in the American Athletic Conference, has been selected to the All-AAC's first team.

The only Bulls first-teamer, Herget is expected to start Friday's conference tournament game against top-seeded Louisville. The Jefferson High alumnus goes in ranked in the league's top 10 in ERA, wins (seven), strikeouts (84), innings pitched (98.1) and earned runs allowed (14).

C Levi Borders and SS Kyle Teaf were the Bulls' second-team selections. Teaf leads USF in batting average (.347), hits (69), runs (41), walks (41), slugging percentage (.412) and on-base percentage (.476). Borders (.249, team-best 11 doubles) has thrown out 23 would-be base stealers, second-most in the conference.

Borders' brother Luke (.284, one home run, 21 RBI) made the third team as a DH.

The all-conference team and individual postseason award winners can be found here.

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