Saturday, June 23, 2018
Colleges

Odds are, Skip Holtz returns to coach USF Bulls next season

TAMPA — Athletic director Doug Woolard isn't commenting on Skip Holtz's future as USF football coach, and Saturday's 40-9 loss at Miami was the low mark in a disappointing season, as the Bulls drove home without even the all-too-familiar consolation of having lost a close game.

For all the frustrations in a 3-7 record — USF has never lost eight games in a season and has two games remaining — in talking to prominent people in and around the athletic department, the consistent expectation is that Holtz will be back in 2013.

There are several factors at play in the decision not to make a coaching change, but it starts with administrators such as Woolard and USF president Judy Genshaft having a greater faith in Holtz's ability to turn things around than a vocal portion of Bulls fans do right now. That was clear this summer when Holtz — after going 1-6 in Big East play last year and losing seven of his last eight — was given an extension by Woolard through the 2017 season.

As a result of that extension, it would cost USF $2.5 million over five years to fire Holtz for simply not winning enough games. That isn't a prohibitive amount, especially if the Big East can stay together long enough to get a new TV deal signed this winter. It raises a legitimate question central to any discussion of letting Holtz go: Whom would the Bulls be able to get to replace him?

In many ways, the USF job isn't what it was when the Bulls hired Holtz away from back-to-back Conference USA championships at East Carolina in January 2010. USF had been to five straight bowl games, had pulled off a huge win at Florida State and was seen as challenging for a Big East title.

Today, it's a different atmosphere, for USF and its conference. The Bulls are 2-12 in their past 14 Big East games and will say goodbye to QB B.J. Daniels as part of a strong senior class. The larger question for a potential hire is what the Big East will look like, with huge changes already to the conference's future lineup, Rutgers the latest school leaving and the ACC ready to pounce on another, likely Louisville or Connecticut.

That all points to Holtz having another chance to regain the program's success and fans' hearts next season. He'll have his first full 25-player recruiting class in February, with glaring needs for immediate help at cornerback, quarterback and running back. And while Holtz looks to be back, there could be changes on his staff. He has pointed to pass defense as a problem area all season, and defensive backs coach Rick Smith has acknowledged his job is in jeopardy. Defensive coordinator Chris Cosh could be lacking job security as well, despite a two-year contract through next season.

THIS AND THAT: USF will host Big East championships in women's tennis and outdoor track in 2014 and in men's tennis in 2015. Big East newcomer Central Florida will host conference championships for women's soccer in fall 2014, with women's golf at Reunion in 2014 and 2015. … USF lost pitching coach Chuck Hernandez to the Marlins, but he's optimistic about the staff he leaves behind for next spring. The key, he says, is junior Nick Gonzalez, a lefty from Leto who went 4-1 with a 2.63 last year and should step into the weekend rotation.

Comments
Brady Singer, Gators eliminated by Arkansas at CWS

Brady Singer, Gators eliminated by Arkansas at CWS

Times wiresOMAHA, Neb.  —Defending champion Florida failed to win a third straight elimination game, losing to Arkansas 5-2 Friday night and departing the College World Series.The Gators (49-21) had to win to force a rematch. The Razorback...
Published: 06/22/18
Florida eliminates Texas Tech at College World Series, faces Arkansas for title-round spot

Florida eliminates Texas Tech at College World Series, faces Arkansas for title-round spot

OMAHA, Neb. — JJ Schwarz hit a two-run homer and Florida built enough cushion to survive Texas Tech's six-run outburst over the seventh and eighth innings to eliminate the Red Raiders from the College World Series with a 9-6 win Thursday night....
Published: 06/22/18
Florida State will host Florida Gators to open this basketball season

Florida State will host Florida Gators to open this basketball season

For the first time in almost two decades, Florida and Florida State will open the men's basketball season against each other.The Seminoles will host UF on Nov. 6, both programs announced Wednesday morning. FSU has won four in a row in the series."Any...
Published: 06/20/18
With starting QB Josh Jackson’s status resolved, FSU will open against full-strength Hokies

With starting QB Josh Jackson’s status resolved, FSU will open against full-strength Hokies

Florida State's primetime opener against Virginia Tech looks a little tougher now than it did a few days ago.Hokies starting quarterback Josh Jackson has had his academic eligibility resolved and remains on the team, the Roanoke Times reported Tuesda...
Published: 06/19/18
As USF-Yuengling bond grows, is SEC’s alcohol stance slowly shifting?

As USF-Yuengling bond grows, is SEC’s alcohol stance slowly shifting?

USF's expanded partnership with Yuengling — including naming rights to the Sun Dome — is only the latest part in an evolving relationship between college sports and alcohol, as my colleague, Joey Knight, wrote on the front page ...
Published: 06/18/18
Florida’s Brady Singer voted top college baseball player of year

Florida’s Brady Singer voted top college baseball player of year

OMAHA, Neb. — Florida pitcher Brady Singer has won the Dick Howser Trophy as college baseball's player of the year.Singer, who received the award Friday, carries a 12-1 record and 2.30 ERA into the College World Series, which begins Saturday. T...
Published: 06/15/18
Former Plant QB Rex Culpepper cancer-free; ready to return to Syracuse lineup

Former Plant QB Rex Culpepper cancer-free; ready to return to Syracuse lineup

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Rex Culpepper is back. The smile on his face said it all. The redshirt sophomore quarterback had his first full workout with Syracuse on Friday after overcoming testicular cancer. He said he broke down and cried when he was told he w...
Published: 06/15/18
Willie Taggart comes clean on the origin of ‘Do Something’

Willie Taggart comes clean on the origin of ‘Do Something’

During his question-and-answer session with more than 500 Manatee-Sarasota boosters Monday evening, FSU's Willie Taggart was peppered with the normal inquiries about recruiting, offensive scheme and the Seminoles' quarterback derby.All well and good....
Published: 06/12/18
When Willie Taggart filled in for Tommie Frazier at Manatee High

When Willie Taggart filled in for Tommie Frazier at Manatee High

It would have been easy — expected, even — for Willie Taggart to be nervous when he started in place of the injured Tommie Frazier as Manatee High's starting quarterback in 1991.Nope. Taggart wasn't, even though he was the first...
Published: 06/12/18
FSU football coach Willie Taggart gets local hero’s welcome

FSU football coach Willie Taggart gets local hero’s welcome

SARASOTA — He slithered and scrambled his way into the local consciousness in the fall of 1991.Manatee High's Willie Taggart, 145 pounds in a sopping jersey, suddenly found himself with the keys to the Hurricanes' ruthlessly efficient opti...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18