TAMPA — Former Arizona football coach Dick Tomey, a longtime mentor of current USF athletic director Mark Harlan, is joining the Bulls program as an associate athletic director for sports administration.
A 76-year-old grandfather of eight, Tomey collected 183 victories in coaching stints at Hawaii (1977-86), Arizona (1987-2000) and San Jose State (2005-09). When he begins on Feb. 20, he'll have administrative oversight of USF's football program, according to a school news release.
"Dick has a tireless passion for intercollegiate athletics, and I am confident that his expertise will not only assist our football program but our entire department," said Harlan, who grew up with Tomey's son in a Southern California neighborhood and later worked for Tomey at UA.
"Dick will partner with me, Coach (Willie) Taggart, our football staff and all of our administrators to help us move forward."
Tomey's last gig in football was as Hawaii's special teams coach in 2011. His "Desert Swarm" defenses at UA gained national prominence, as did the Wildcats' program, which he led to a pair of 10-win seasons during his 14-year tenure, including a 12-1 campaign in 1998.
BRRR? HARDLY: Friday night's forecast for the baseball team's opener against Cal State Fullerton — at Clearwater's Bright House Field — calls for temperatures in the mid to upper 40s.
Which is to say, blissful by new coach Mark Kingston's standards. In his five seasons at Illinois State, outdoor workouts in the calendar year's first two months were about as rare as Tropicana Field sellouts.
"Maybe we snuck out onto the football field and shoveled the snow away so we could be on turf for the last five years," Kingston said recently. "And when's the last time we had an intrasquad (game) on grass under the sun and I could wear shorts? It's been a long time."
Look for right-handed junior ace Jimmy Herget, a Jefferson High alumnus recently named American Athletic Conference preseason pitcher of the year, to get the ball for the opener. In addition to Herget and No. 2 starter Casey Mulholland, Kingston inherits nine of the top 10 hitters (with at least 100 at-bats) from last season's 27-31 team.
The downside? That group totaled a league-low nine home runs.
"I think we will hit for more power, and sometimes power is doubles as well," said Kingston, whose club also faces Louisville and Alabama State this weekend in Clearwater.
"We have a big ballpark (at USF), so there may be times where we hit three doubles that could've been three homers in a lot of ballparks. But I do think that we will hit more homers this year. We have guys that I think are ready to take the next step, and now it's up to them to prove me right."
ODDS AND ENDS: While gaining Tomey, the football team has lost highly respected director of football operations Paul Gonnella, who is starting his own recruiting service called The Process. … Junior RHP Erica Nunn, who allowed one hit — a tying seventh-inning home run against Florida — in 91/3 innings at last weekend's USF Softball Classic, made the AAC's inaugural weekly honor roll Monday. Nunn, who tossed a seven-inning no-hitter Friday against Illinois State, was joined on the list by classmate Lee Ann Spivey, who had a home run and six RBIs over five games.
Contact Joey Knight at [email protected]. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.