Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. USF Bulls

Coaches uninterested in community engagement need not apply for USF football job

Michael Kelly has made it fairly clear his next football hire must be part coach, part promoter
Second-year USF athletic director Michael Kelly has made it clear the Bulls' next football coach must be willing to engage the community and campaign for a new football-exclusive facility. [Times files] ["BRONTE WITTPENN  | TIMES"]
Second-year USF athletic director Michael Kelly has made it clear the Bulls' next football coach must be willing to engage the community and campaign for a new football-exclusive facility. [Times files] ["BRONTE WITTPENN | TIMES"]
Published Dec. 3

TAMPA ― During the lone press conference he’ll give during his search for a new football coach, USF athletic director Michael Kelly refused to limit his candidate pool with a stated list of prerequisites.

Previous head coaching experience isn’t necessarily a must. Nor is a coordinator stint. Millennials, boomers, offensive savants, defensive scholars ― all will get a degree of consideration.

“We have so many amazing football coaches out there,” Kelly said, “so we’ll be open-minded to a lot of different levels of experience.”

MORE BULLS: Charlie Strong’s firing at USF: Let us know what you think

Yet by the end of this 19-minute session before an uncharacteristically large media contingent, Kelly had backtracked, if only subconsciously. With each question he addressed, Kelly made it clear the fifth coach in Bulls history must ― absolutely must ― come equipped with skill and savvy in one vital area.

Public relations. Or more to the point, fundraising.

USF needs a P.T. Barnum, or P.J. Fleck.

“In a city like this, that has a lot of other entertainment opportunities and things of that nature, it becomes that much (more) important that we as an athletic department, coaches in all sports, need to be engaged,” Kelly said.

Which is to say, the new guy must be willing to barnstorm the booster circuit, kiss babies, smile for selfies, gorge on rubber chicken, anything to proselytize the merits of the USF Football Center.

You know, the things Charlie Strong wasn’t always inclined to do.

“I feel that Bulls Nation wants to make us great, but they want to feel a part of something,” Kelly said. “And the most that we can do as coaches and administrators to help be a part of that movement, that vibe, is very important for us.”

In a Tampa Bay Times column published Tuesday, our own John Romano suggested Kelly seek an ambitious riser instead of a retread, a visionary with a “dynamic presence.” Those qualities, obviously, could translate to game-planning and recruiting, both essential facets of a coaches’ job description.

But if they’re 1 and 1A, fundraising is 1B for the Bulls, at least at this program’s juncture.

MORE BULLS: A closer look at USF’s swoon under Charlie Strong

Florida, FSU, Miami and UCF all have football centers and/or indoor practice facilities to showcase to recruits. So do American Athletic Conference rivals Houston, Temple, Cincinnati and SMU. Memphis’ facility is under construction.

USF football doesn’t even have its own weight room or training area. Football center? The first shovel has yet to hit the ground.

Hence the reason the Bulls need someone willing to dig in publicly.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. New USF football coach Jeff Scott receives a de facto $500,000 signing bonus on Jan. 17, 2020. [ JACOB KUPFERMAN  |  ZUMAPRESS.com]
    The former Clemson co-offensive coordinator must pay USF $2.5 million if he leaves on his own before Dec. 31 2020.
  2. New USF coach Jeff Scott has spent the last 12 seasons on the staff at Clemson, his alma mater. [ADAM LACY  |  ZUMAPRESS.com]
    The fifth Bulls coach in program history will appear at the Sam & Martha Gibbons Alumni Center.
  3. Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott talks with receivers Mike Williams (7) and Artavis Scott (3) during a 2016 game at FSU. Scott was named USF's coach Monday. [DAVID GROOMS/CAL SPORT MEDIA  |  ZUMAPRESS.com]
    Though not the bay area’s primary recruiter for Clemson, Scott’s fingerprints are all over the region.
  4. USF announced Monday it has hired Clemson alumnus and Tigers co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott as its new coach. [JACOB KUPFERMAN  |  ZUMAPRESS.com]
    The 38-year-old Florida native will be introduced on campus Wednesday.
  5. Clemson offensive coordinator Jeff Scott during a game against Florida State on Oct. 12. [ JACOB KUPFERMAN  |  ZUMAPRESS.com]
    The Florida native’s coaching career at Clemson definitely outshined his playing one.
  6. Clemson co-offensive coordinators Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott (foreground) speak to the media in Fort Lauderdale prior to the 2015 Orange Bowl. [GASTON DE CARDENAS  |  AP]
    Many signs indicate the Bulls could be close to landing the program’s fifth head football coach.
  7. Running back DeeJay Dallas (13) and Miami will spend bowl season in Shreveport, La., for the Independence Bowl. [MARK WALLHEISER  |  AP]
    Starting Dec. 20, there is almost a full month of couch potato fun ahead if you love college football.
  8. Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck, spent the 2012 season as Buccaneers receivers coach. He returns to Raymond James Stadium on New Year's Day, when the Golden Gophers face Auburn in the Outback Bowl. [STACY BENGS  |  AP]
    The Golden Gophers are making their first appearance in the Tampa game.
  9. UCF quarterback Dillon Gabriel (11) runs against USF's Greg Reaves and defensive back Nick Roberts during the first half of the Knights' 34-7 victory in Orlando on Nov. 29. [WILLIE J. ALLEN JR.  |  AP]
    The Thundering Herd make their second straight December trip to Tampa.
  10. LSU head coach Ed Orgeron celebrates after the Southeastern Conference championship against Georgia on in Atlanta. LSU won 37-10. [JOHN AMIS  |  AP]
    LSU slides up to No. 1 in the final rankings of the season.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement