NASHVILLE — In late November, when USF lost at VCU by 23 points, Tampa's Pat Cotter had seen enough and launched firestanheath.com, spending the next three months posting stories after Bulls losses and lobbying for a change atop USF's men's basketball program.
Even as the Bulls continued winning and establishing themselves on the NCAA bubble, Cotter continued posting stories on his site, as well as leaving comments on the Tampa Bay Times' USF blog.
Sunday night, after USF earned its first NCAA Tournament berth in 20 years, he conceded and deleted his site.
"I took it down," said Cotter, 44, who did not attend USF but said he went to eight home games this season. "I was waiting for them to let me down, but as soon as they made the tournament, I knew that he'll be there a long time. No one's going to fire him now."
Cotter, who works in tech support for a Tampa company, had actually tried to acquire the fire-Heath site in 2008, during Heath's second season with the Bulls, but in an email to the Times and to USF athletic director Doug Woolard, he said it was still registered to a fan at Arkansas, where Heath was actually fired in 2007 before coming to USF. Cotter said Friday that while he considers himself a USF fan, he had such low expectations for this season he was hoping for a coaching change.
"Honestly, I thought it was going to be a horrible year," Cotter said. "I thought that because he was fired at Arkansas after five years, this was five years at USF, and if he tanks this year, they had to look at it. I'm pretty passionate about this. They're definitely my team, and I was pretty confident they weren't going to do well. I was wrong."
ROUGH DAY: FSU beat St. Bonaventure despite junior G Michael Snaer going scoreless for the first time in his 98 games with the Seminoles. Snaer, who had averaged 18 points in three games in the ACC tournament, went 0-for-7, including five misses beyond the arc.
"Michael had good looks that normally go down," coach Leonard Hamilton said. "He's a good shooter. It's just one of those days. … It didn't really bother me that Mike hadn't made a basket or scored a point. He was doing a tremendous job on the defensive end. I thought he got some big rebounds … Even though he didn't score, I thought he had an impact on the game in a tremendous way."
THIS AND THAT: Texas junior G J'Covan Brown was asked if he has played his last game with the Longhorns. "I'm not going to answer that question," he said, saying his focus is on his current teammates. … Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin saw his team hold Texas to 4-for-25 shooting in the first half, but he was also pleased that of those 21 missed shots, the Longhorns only had five offensive rebounds, and converted those to zero second-chance points.
TRAVELING FOR WIN: FSU fifth-year senior guard Jeff Peterson finally got in an NCAA Tournament game after stops at Iowa and Arkansas. He graduates this semester with a Master's degree in marketing. He played 10 minutes Friday with two assists and two rebounds.
Information from Times wires was used in this report.