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USF Bulls football team fires offensive coordinator Greg Gregory

TAMPA — USF offensive coordinator Greg Gregory, whose struggling offense factored heavily in USF going 2-5 in the Big East, has been "released from his duties" by coach Jim Leavitt, the school announced late Saturday.

"Greg is an outstanding coach, and I appreciate everything he has done for us. It is time for our program to move in another direction," Leavitt said in a statement.

Leavitt and Gregory, 51, did not return calls seeking comment Saturday night.

One potential successor is Mike Canales, USF's receivers coach and passing game coordinator, who ran USF's offense from 1996-2000.

Despite returning 10 starters, including quarterback Matt Grothe, the offense struggled in Big East play, scoring 20 or fewer points in five straight games in a second-half collapse.The Bulls lost four of those five games; the 70 total points were the fewest of any five-game span in the program's 12 years.

This was Gregory's second season as offensive coordinator after joining Leavitt's staff as tight ends coach in 2005.

USF led the Big East in total offense in 2008, averaging 405 yards, but the Bulls saw their scoring in conference games drop 15.2 points per game from a 2007 average of 34.3.

After USF dominated Memphis in the St. Petersburg Bowl, Gregory said Grothe's strong showing was because he made plays he had failed to make in recent losses.

"I think (Grothe) knows in his mind, you never take full responsibility for a loss, but three or four touchdown passes were there, and we just didn't hit," Gregory said. "We had two against Louisville we needed to hit, we had three against West Virginia we needed to hit. Not that you hit every one of those, but you've got to hit some of them."

NCAA chief has cancer; outlook poor

OXON HILL, Md. — NCAA president Myles Brand said he has pancreatic cancer and his long-term prognosis is "not good."

Brand, 66, has led college sports' governing body since 2003. He disclosed his condition in a written statement to colleagues on the final day of the NCAA Convention, which he didn't attend. He said he learned of the diagnosis "very recently."

"I have pancreatic cancer," the statement read. "The long-term prognosis is not good. I am currently undergoing chemo­therapy. … I will know in the next several months the success of this treatment."

Brand also thanked supporters who had wished him well since the NCAA announced last week he was sick. The nature of the illness wasn't given at the time. Executive committee chairman Michael Adams said Brand was diagnosed this month and the severity of his condition was known only in the past few days. Brand began receiving chemotherapy early last week.

ALL-STAR GAME: Nebraska's Marlon Lucky rushed for 68 yards and a touchdown and the East stopped the West three times inside the 10 for a 24-19 win in the East-West Shrine Game in Houston. Tennessee State's Javarris Williams and Northwestern's Tyrell Sutton had touchdown runs for the East. Fresno State's Tom Brandstater and Texas A&M's Stephen McGee threw TD passes for the West.

ACADEMICS: The NCAA said it will move ahead with plans to create an Academic Progress Report for coaches, one that could be posted on the Internet for all to see by summer 2010.

TENNESSEE: Football coach Lane Kiffin filled out his staff, hiring former Rams offensive line coach Jim Chaney as offensive coordinator.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

USF Bulls football team fires offensive coordinator Greg Gregory 01/18/09 [Last modified: Sunday, January 18, 2009 12:00am]

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