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Readers react to Charlie Strong’s firing at USF

The general consensus: Michael Kelly made the right move by parting ways with the Bulls coach
USF parted ways last weekend with coach Charlie Strong, who compiled a 21-16 record in three seasons. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times] [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
USF parted ways last weekend with coach Charlie Strong, who compiled a 21-16 record in three seasons. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times] [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
Published Dec. 6, 2019

We sought your opinion on USF’s firing of football coach Charlie Strong, and you responded in earnest.

Not to mention in unison.

Those who submitted letters to the Tampa Bay Times on this subject seem in a consensus that athletic director Michael Kelly’s decision to dismiss Strong after a 4-8 season was the correct one. Their choice for a replacement? That’s another story.

At any rate, the feedback we got teemed with pointed criticisms of Strong, and passion for the future. As promised, we’re publishing excerpts from the letters, which have been edited only for grammar and spelling.

USF should be competitive again

As at Texas, (Strong’s) USF teams were undisciplined. The result was a steady decline in the product on the field, with a record of 4-14 over his final 18 games. During the final four games this season, the team was so bad they were hard to watch. They were thoroughly outclassed on the field and the stands at home games were nearly empty. The good news is with the right head coach the USF football program can and should be competitive in the American Athletic Conference) with winning records and bowl games, to include an occasional upset of a school such as Florida State or Notre Dame (which has already been done). I personally look forward to that.

Stu Hilder, Dunnellon

MORE BULLS: USF football coaching search: Our bracket is complete

From record highs to record lows

I am an (alumnus) of USF and avid fan of the Bulls football team. I was most disappointed in how last season ended and spent the following offseason dreaming of a major turnaround. Those dreams were quickly dashed. By the end of the season, we saw all-time program lows being set. When Charlie Strong took over the program it was at a record high and now just three years later it is at a record low. There was no other choice than to let Charlie go and look for a new coach.

Dave Weber, Lincoln, Neb.

Go big or go home

This team lacked an effective offensive line and kicker. I personally like the following potential coaches, in order: Joe Brady, Marcus Freeman, Jeff Scott and Jimmy Lake. Go big or go home. Also, we need a new practice facility and a stadium on campus.

Jerry Grimes, The Villages

MORE BULLS: Why a Willie Taggart-USF reunion might (and might not) make sense

No evidence of hope

Absolutely no emotion, tenacity, passion, and ability to create a winning attitude, discipline, and physical endurance. There was no evidence of hope that we were ‘getting better’ at any position during the latter part of last season.

Brett Patterson, Franklin, Tenn.

Find our Scott Frost

I hate to admit it, but UCF had it right when it hired Scott Frost years ago. While there might be some thoughts of (Jim) Leavitt, (Willie) Taggart or promoting (Kerwin) Bell or (Shaun) King, we need to find the right up-and-coming assistant. Obviously it’s never easy, but Frost was the right guy at the right time coming from Oregon. He made a huge turnaround happen quickly.

Greg Ward, Dunedin


  1. Former USF quarterback Quinton Flowers is on the opening-day 52-man roster for the XFL's Tampa Bay Vipers. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    Plant High’s Aaron Murray and Wharton High’s Chase Litton join USF’s career total yardage leader in the quarterback room.
  2. USF coach Brian Gregory's team (8-11, 1-5 American Athletic Conference) is on a four-game skid entering Sunday afternoon's contest at No. 25 Houston. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    In a conference teeming with parity, the notion of USF reaching the NCAA Tournament isn’t far-fetched.
  3. New USF offensive coordinator Glenn Spencer addresses players during the Bulls' first team meeting of 2020. [Joey Knight]
    The coaches each get a $10,000 bonus for a regular-season win against UCF.
  4. Jeff Scott takes over at USF in his first head coaching stint and if he instills a bit of Clemson swagger and culture, who's to argue with what works. [SCOTT KEELER  |  TImes]
    The Bulls’ new football coach is installing the cornerstones of the ultra-successful national championship program in Tampa.
  5. New USF football coach Jeff Scott, right, talks to members of the football team during a meeting at USF last week. Since then, Scott and his staff  have remained on the recruiting trail, landing six new non-binding commitments. [SCOTT KEELER  |  TAMPA BAY TIMES]
    New coach Jeff Scott has received six new commitments since Sunday.
  6. USF Bulls guard Laquincy Rideau (3) shoots a 3-pointer over Wichita State Shockers guard Dexter Dennis (0) during the first half at the Yuengling Center. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    The Bulls shoot 30 percent from the floor in a 56-43 defeat at the Yuengling Center.
  7. Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall's club was ranked as high as 16th in the Associated Press poll earlier this month before losing two in a row last week. [MICHAEL PEREZ  |  AP]
    Both teams will try to break out of skids in tonight’s ‘Coaches vs. Cancer’ game at the Yuengling Center.
  8. Chamberlain offensive tackle Cesar Reyes said via Twitter on Sunday he plans to sign with USF. [SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times]
    The Bulls fortify depth at quarterback and on the offensive line.
  9. USF sophomore Elisa Pinzan had seven 3-pointers Sunday in the Bulls' 64-57 loss to UCF at the Yuengling Center. [JOEY KNIGHT | Times] [Joey Knight]
    The Knights sweep a weekend of basketball against the Bulls.
  10. USF senior point guard Laquincy Rideau (3) drives in the first half of his team's 55-54 loss Saturday at UCF. [Photo provided by UCF Athletics] [UCF Athletics]
    The Bulls coach doesn’t hold back following his team’s controversial 55-54 loss in Orlando