TAMPA — As first-year coach Alex Golesh reflected on the first 37 days of his Bulls tenure Tuesday, the most encouraging thing he has experienced had nothing to do with recruits, players or the grand opening of the indoor practice facility.
It’s the word “no” — something he hasn’t heard from administrators.
“What’s reinvigorating is the commitment of everybody to go be elite and the resources that are being put forth are giving us the ability to actually go be elite,” Golesh said during the grand opening of the Porter Family Indoor Performance Facility.
Golesh said he hasn’t been greedy, but he has asked a lot of his bosses since leaving Tennessee’s staff to take over the Bulls. More recruiting tools. Facilities adjustments. Better nutrition. That was reflected in his contract, which agreed to spend $4.5 million for on-field assistants and support staff — an increase of $750,000 from what the Bulls allocated for his predecessor, Jeff Scott.
“Everything we’ve needed, we’ve gotten …” Golesh said. “That seems to be the sign of good things to come.”
And, Golesh said, there is much more to come.
The biggest next step is the planned on-campus stadium, but it’s not the only one. Every time Golesh referenced the stadium, he also brought up the football center associated with it. That part of the nine-figure project will be more important for his program’s day-to-day use by increasing efficiency. Regardless of how and where it would be built — into the stadium? right next to it? — it’s easy to envision players walking a few short steps from the football center into the indoor practice facility.
Golesh also raised name, image and likeness (NIL) as another area of growth the Bulls must pursue. Though USF does have a third-party group, Fowler Ave Collective, there’s no finish line in this evolving arms race.
“We want to go be a the upper echelon of college football,” Golesh said. “(The indoor facility) is the first piece of that. ... The next piece is the initiative in the NIL space. The next step is the stadium. The next step is the football facility inside that stadium.
“This is just the start. And I’m here to tell ya that I am pushing for all the other stuff to be done at a faster timetable than has been set in the past.”
Stay updated on Tampa Bay’s sports scene
Subscribe to our free Sports Today newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
It’s easier for him to make that case while he remains undefeated and in the honeymoon phase.
Athletic director Michael Kelly said he has been “very pleased” with Golesh’s first few weeks. As promised, Golesh works intensely — so much so that Kelly had to tell him to take Christmas Day off. Kelly said Golesh has blended a blue-collar work ethic with a “modern and innovative approach to what a future college football program stands for and is.”
Board of trustees chairperson Will Weatherford said he “couldn’t be more pleased” with Golesh’s start.
“When I see the work that Coach Golesh has done in a short period of time, he represents this university so well,” Weatherford said. “There’s an energy. There’s a feistiness to him.”
There’s also a lot of confidence.
Golesh inherited a team that has beaten only one Division I-A team over the past three seasons. Last year’s Bulls were rated among the 15 worst teams in the country in SP+ advanced metrics and 127th out of 131 teams in The Athletic’s final rankings.
Given that starting point, making it to a bowl game in Year 1 would be a remarkable accomplishment. Golesh mentioned the possibility of a postseason appearance Tuesday, then shot past it. His Bulls aren’t trying to be good, he said. They’re chasing greatness.
“What that greatness looks like,” Golesh said, “man, I can’t wait to show ya.”
• • •