South Florida Bulls
|South Florida Bulls|
|University||University of South Florida|
|Conference(s)||Conference USA (1997-2005)
Big East Conference (2005-2013)
American Athletic Conference (2013)
|Athletics director||Doug Woolard|
|Football stadium||Raymond James Stadium|
|Basketball arena||USF Sun Dome|
|Baseball stadium||USF Baseball Stadium|
|Soccer stadium||Corbett Stadium|
|Mascot||Rocky the Bull|
|Colors||Green and Gold
The South Florida Bulls are the athletic teams for the University of South Florida. The university competes in NCAA Division I, USF is a member of the Big East Conference (which will become the American Athletic Conference in July of 2013), and has been since 2005. The university currently sponsors varsity sports: baseball, men's and women's basketball, golf, football, men's and women's soccer, softball, tennis, cross country, track, volleyball, sailing.
Men's athletic teams
Women's athletic teams
USF began college football play as a 1-AA independent in 1997, moved to 1-A in 2001, then to Conference USA in 2003, and now competes in the Big East conference (as of 2005) with its Bowl Championship Series (BCS) tie-ins. Additionally, USF's rapid advancement to the Big East Conference and the associated gains in recruiting have been helped greatly by its facilities. The Bulls recently opened an $18 million athletic facility on campus, and the football team plays its home games in Raymond James Stadium, also the home field of the National Football League's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
On September 24, 2005, USF surprised ninth-ranked University of Louisville for its first victory over a Big East conference foe, as well as its first victory over a ranked opponent. As a result, USF received its first-ever votes in the AP college football poll. USF went on to beat ranked opponents by defeating #7 West Virginia University on November 25, 2006, #17 Auburn University on September 8, 2007, #5 West Virginia again on September 28, 2007.
On September 16, 2007, a week after defeating Auburn, USF was nationally ranked for the first time in the young program's history. The AP poll listed USF at #23, while the USA Today coaches poll had the Bulls at #24. This is an NCAA record, as USF achieved its first Top 25 ranking faster than any other Division I-A school in the modern era. Since becoming a bowl-eligible Division I-A member in 2001, the Bulls were ranked after 104 AP polls during the fourth week of their seventh season. Boise State had the previous record, getting ranked after 115 AP polls during the 13th week of its seventh year as a bowl-eligible Division I-A member. On October 14, 2007, after the AP, Coaches', and BCS rankings were released, the Bulls were ranked #2, #3, and #2 respectively, the highest ranked the school's football program has ever been. However, on Thursday October 18, the Bulls lost to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in a 30-27 upset in Piscataway, New Jersey. Two more losses followed in the next two games, knocking the Bulls out of the college rankings. The Bulls rebounded to finish the 2007 season 9–3, ranked #21 in the BCS standings, and played in the Brut Sun Bowl. The Bulls, however, lost to the Oregon Ducks by a score of 56–21 in that contest.
On October 4, 2009, the Bulls entered the rankings for the first time in the 2009-10 season at #23, after beating Syracuse at the Carrier Dome. They then lost to highly-favored #5 Cincinnati and USF was dropped from the top 25.
The men's head coach is Stan Heath. Heath was named USF head coach on April 3, 2007, — marking the official start to a new era in the program’s history. Heath has seven years of experience coaching at the collegiate level, and has been to the NCAA tournament three times. In his first season at USF, Heath helped guide two players to Big East all-conference honors, first team selection senior Kentrell Gransberry and record-setting freshman Dominique Jones, who captured honorable mention laurels and was a unanimous pick on the All-Rookie Team. Heath arrived at USF after serving as head coach at the University of Arkansas for five seasons. While with the Razorbacks, Heath guided the program to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances (2006, 2007) and an overall record of 82–71. UA posted 20-win campaigns in each of his final two seasons and 2006-07 was highlighted by a run to the championship game of the SEC Tournament and subsequent participation in the NCAAs. Noted players include Dominique Jones, Chucky Atkins, and Solomon Jones.
The women's head coach is Jose Fernandez. Fernandez arrived in Tampa in April 2000, as an assistant women's basketball coach and was officially named head coach on December 14, 2000. As head coach at USF, he has guided the Bulls to an unprecedented five-straight postseason tournaments and to the cusp of bringing his program into the upper echelon of the Big East Conference. Under his tutelage, USF advanced to the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament during the 2005-06 season, and to five seasons of .500 or better — in the past seven years — after the Bulls had recorded just three winning seasons, all 14-13 records, in the last 23 years. He has also guided USF to two 20-win campaigns — 21-11 in 2004-05 and 21-12 in 2006-07 — over the last four years. On April 4, 2009, he led the team to their first-ever post season championship with a 75-71 win over the Kansas Jayhawks in the WNIT.
The head baseball coach is Lelo Prado. He is a native of Cuba who grew up in Tampa before embarking on a successful college coaching career that includes back-to-back NCAA Division II National Championships in his hometown. He returned to Tampa on June 16, 2006, to become the fifth coach in the USF baseball program's history. In two years with the Bulls, Prado has produced consecutive Big East Championship appearances, picking up a pair of wins in the post-season tournament both years. Prado has been successful at USF, leading the Bulls to back-to-back seasons with 30 plus wins. The team plays at USF Baseball Stadium on campus.
The new men's golf coach is Chris Malloy, the former assistant men's golf coach from Florida State University.
The women's golf coach is Marci Kornegay. Kornegay was named head coach of the women's golf program in June 2007. She came to USF from the University of South Carolina, where she was an assistant coach from July 2004 until her appointment at USF. Kornegay was a nominee for the 2006-07 NGCA Assistant Golf Coach of the Year.
George Kiefer, the 2005 NCAA South Region Coach of the Year is a native of Bay Shore, NY. Kiefer was named USF’s head coach on June 21, 2002, becoming the program’s sixth coach in its 40-year history. Since arriving in Tampa, Kiefer has compiled a 64-38-13 (.613) record in six years at USF, leading the Bulls to four seasons of 10-or-more wins and a 37-9-7 (.764) record at home. Under Kiefer, USF has faced 29 nationally ranked opponents, registering a 14-11-4 record versus the nation’s elite.
The USF men's soccer team beat St. Johns to win the Big East Conference title in 2008. They made it to the Elite Eight of the 2008 NCAA College Cup Championships, where they lost to number 1 seed Wake Forest.
The USF men's soccer team tied with Rutgers in a 0-0 draw on October 31, 2011, to officially win the whole title of the Big East Red Division. They had an undefeated season in conference play. The USF men's soccer team made it to the Elite Eight in the 2011 NCAA College Cup Championships, where they lost to number 2 seed Creighton in overtime.
The USF women's soccer team is led by coach Denise Schilte Brown, who became the second coach in the program's history. She joined the program in December of 2006 and had previously coached at Virginia Commonwealth and University of Maryland-Baltimoe County. In 2010 the women's soccer teamed earned their first berth to the NCAA tournament.
Men's head coach Don Barr came to USF in 1991 as an assistant coach and assumed head coaching duties in 1992. His leadership has led to the most successful seasons in the 43-year history of the Bulls program, including five conference championships and six Coach of the Year awards.
Track & Field
Warren Bye has been the head coach for the USF men's & women's track & field team since the 2006 season. In 2012, both teams posted a program best at the Big East Outdoor Championships. The men's team placed 2nd in the Big East Outdoor Championships, while the women's team placed 3rd.
Claire Lessinger was named the tenth head coach in USF volleyball history on March 18, 2004. Lessinger, has battled to transform the program into Big East Champion contenders, leading the Bulls to back-to-back Big East conference tournaments including a third place showing in 2007.
The Herd of Thunder, often called HOT or the Pride of the Bay, is the athletic band of the South Florida Bulls, including the show band, pep band, and marching band ensembles, although it is often used to refer simply to the marching band. It was founded in 1999, two years after USF fielded its first football team.
USF is known in the cheerleading world and has a strong co-ed team and all-girls squad. In 2010, the All-Girl squad finished 3rd at UCA nationals. The co-ed squad hopes to compete in future UCA Nationals.
Notable non varsity sports
The USF Bulls Rugby Football Club was founded in 1969. The Bulls play college rugby in the South Independent conference against local rivals such as Central Florida and Florida State. The Bulls were the USA Rugby South champions in 2009 and again in 2011. USF used to play Division II, but were promoted to Division I college rugby in 2011. The Bulls play sevens in the fall, and fifteens in the winter and spring. The Bulls are led by Head Coach Gordon Campbell.
- South Florida Historical Data
- USF Earns 1st AP Ranking
- Examiner.com, USF Bulls prepare for upcoming fall rugby season, August 11, 2012,
- USF Men's Rugby Club, Officials, http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/usfmensrugbyclub/officials/