Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Former Tampa Bay Rays pitching coach Chuck Hernandez joins USF's staff

Chuck Hernandez was the pitching coach for the Rays in addition to two other MLB teams before agreeing to join the USF staff and coach Lelo Prado. Hernandez and Prado have known each other since their childhood days in Tampa.

Times (2005)

Chuck Hernandez was the pitching coach for the Rays in addition to two other MLB teams before agreeing to join the USF staff and coach Lelo Prado. Hernandez and Prado have known each other since their childhood days in Tampa.

TAMPA — For the second time this summer, USF baseball coach Lelo Prado is filling a spot on his staff with a familiar name with major-league experience. Prado announced Tuesday that former Rays, Angels and Tigers pitching coach Chuck Hernandez has been hired to coach the Bulls' pitchers.

"(Hernandez is) the final piece of the puzzle that I believe is going to help to where we want to go. … You know it as well as I do that in this game, pitching decides everything," Prado said. "I've known (him) my whole life, and I think he brings something to the program that a lot of the people around the country don't have, a professional guy who has developed pitchers his whole life."

Hernandez, 49, a Tampa native, has 31 years of experience as a player and coach and has known Prado since they were kids growing up in Tampa. He said Prado has tried to hire him for years, and finally convinced him this summer. He joins the Bulls after working with the Phillies' team in the Gulf Coast League this season.

"I used to strike him out in Little League all the time," said Hernandez, a Tampa Catholic grad who was the Rays' pitching coach in 2004-05 and spent the next three seasons with the Tigers. "We've probably joked about this, he and I, for the last 25 years of our professional careers. Finally this year, he hit me for the 20th time probably, I said, 'Let's sit down and talk about it.' It's a new frontier for me."

Prado also hired former USF standout and major-league catcher Chris Heintz, who was managing the Twins' team in the GCL, as hitting coach this summer. Hernandez has two of the Big East's top returning pitchers in Randy Fontanez and Andrew Barbosa, who both were drafted but returned for their senior year.

NICE RAISE: Ever since the long-awaited USF-Florida football game was announced in 2002, the "guarantee" figure to be paid to the Bulls has been reported as $500,000. But with the game being rescheduled from its original date and the market changing for such games, Florida agreed to renegotiate the payout, and the total was upgraded last month to $700,000.

That's the biggest check the Bulls have gotten for a football game.

ALMOST A GATOR: Junior S Jerrell Young is a rare Bull who has attended a Gators game in Gainesville — he took an official visit to Florida in September 2005 during his senior year at Gibbs, catching a Gators win over Tennessee.

"It was loud," Young said. "It's going to be rockin' there. I'm looking forward to it."

Young was recruited by then-UF assistant Charlie Strong, now Louisville's coach, but he said he didn't strongly consider the Gators because they wanted him to play running back and he had his heart set on safety.

THIS AND THAT: USF picked up four points in this week's USA Today football coaches poll, making the Bulls an unofficial No. 47. … Former USF signee Mike Hayes, a running back who was released and signed with Houston, had two touchdowns in the Cougars' opening win against Texas State. Another former USF signee, Adaris Bellamy of Dunedin, rushed for a team-high 38 yards for Youngstown State in Saturday's loss to Penn State.

Greg Auman can be reached at and at (813) 226-3346. Check out his blog at and follow him at auman.

Former Tampa Bay Rays pitching coach Chuck Hernandez joins USF's staff 09/07/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 7, 2010 7:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Jake Odorizzi admitted he probably should have gone on the DL sooner than late July for the back stiffness that was keeping him from throwing the ball where he wanted to. He has since found an impressive groove, with another strong outing Saturday.

  2. Matt Baker's takeaways from Florida State-N.C. State


    RB Cam Akers still looks like a former high school quarterback at times. His first two touches (30 yards) were special, but the freshman juked instead of powering ahead on his third (an unsuccessful third-and-1 rush). That's why the Seminoles are easing him in, as they did with Dalvin Cook three years ago.

    Running back Cam Akers carries for a first down during the third quarter as FSU eases the freshman into the college game.
  3. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.
  4. Lightning confused by NHL's slashing crackdown

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — D Victor Hedman said the joke in the Lightning locker room before Friday's exhibition game was that the over/under on slashing penalties would be six.

    "It was the over again," Hedman quipped.

    Wing Ryan Callahan, left,  pursues the Predators’ Colton Sissons, being careful how he uses his stick given the crackdown on slashing in the preseason. “It’s hard to defend when you’re so used to doing something for so long and now it’s a penalty,” Callahan says.
  5. Trump fallout: Bucs' DeSean Jackson to make 'statement' Sunday


    Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson said Saturday that he will make a "statement" before today's game against the Vikings in response to President Donald Trump's comment that owners should "fire" players who kneel in protest during the national anthem.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) makes a catch during the first half of an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.