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"First lady' of USF basketball dies

The University of South Florida men's basketball team referred to Roslyn Wittcoff as the "first lady of basketball."

In 1982, Mrs. Wittcoff and her husband, Richard, were the first to establish an endowed fund that each year awards one USF basketball player a full one-year scholarship.

Until the last two years of her life, she attended every home game and traveled to most away games with the Bulls. Although cancer treatments and heart complications kept Mrs. Wittcoff at home, she watched every televised USF game. Tuesday's loss at Memphis was the last game she watched. Mrs. Wittcoff died Thursday (Jan. 29, 2004). She was 70.

Those who knew her say Mrs. Wittcoff earned the title, "first lady of basketball," because of her and her husband's dedication, which helped advance the program.

Virginia Tech basketball coach Seth Greenberg, who coached USF men's basketball from 1996 through 2003, said he is hoping to make it down for the funeral Monday.

"It's so sad, yet she was in so much pain, and it was so painful to go through," he said. "If anyone's in a better place, she is."

Greenberg credits Wittcoff and her husband with helping him decide to take the USF coaching job.

In 1991, the Wittcoffs established a second endowment recognizing players who have the ideals of academics and sportsmanship.

Survivors include her husband, Richard K. Wittcoff; a son, Ken B. Wittcoff; a daughter, Dr. Marjorie Wittcoff Miller; and four grandchildren. Funeral services will be Monday at 11 a.m. at Temple Schaarai Zedek, 3303 West Swann Ave., Tampa.