USF football head coach Charlie Strong was part of the weekly AAC teleconference on Monday to reflect on Saturday’s victory over ECU and other topics surrounding the team as they head into their bye week.
Outside of the football questions Strong received, he was asked by Ronnie Woodward of the Greenville Daily Reflector about the well-documented attendance issues USF has had this year.
Is there anything you guys are doing to try to boost attendance?
“We are. And everybody is on board with it. I actually had a conversation with our mayor [Bob Buckhorn] and our Chamber of Commerce board and I just said to them that we have a really good football team and we just need your support. We need everybody on board and we just need people to come out to the games...We play in a really nice arena and there’s just so many positives [about the program] that we just gotta continue to talk about it. Get our student body behind us, get our administration at the university behind and we’ll get those seats filled.”
People we talked to that were there came away very impressed by Strong during that meeting, and he fielded a lot of on-campus stadium questions after he spoke as well as questions regarding how USF markets the program.
Some of the Bulls fan base, and even some here at this website, have been quite pessimistic about how USF has gone about showing off this great program. Those questions won’t go away until the school gets behind one of the top football teams in the nation. Strong noted that the administration needs to back the program. That’s not a good sign.
What were your impressions of Greenville and ECU on attendance?
ECU leads the American in average attendance. While those numbers may be inflated because there’s literally nothing else to do there, and they have a bigger stadium than most other teams in the league, and journos aren’t able to report turnstile counts like they can for Tampa’s publicly-owned stadium, the fans still show up regardless of who the Pirates are playing and how well the team is doing.
“I was very impressed by how they came out. I heard someone tell me it was announced 35,000, which was really great. The fans came out. It’s more about supporting. It don’t matter who you play and that’s the way they looked at it. Now, they were playing a good football team with us, but you came out and support your school and at the end of the day you were cheering for the players on the field and you were cheering for your university. But, I was very impressed at the number that showed up.
Charlie just subtweeted the hell out of USF fans (and maybe the administration) for their lackluster attendance record this season. And he’s 100% right. It doesn’t matter who you are playing, the USF community needs to support your team no matter what. This football team is 23-4 in their last 27 games dating back to 2015, and drew under 20,000 fans for a prime time game on ESPN. That is pathetic.
What else does this team have to do to gain your support?
I don’t want to hear any more excuses. They are good and fun to watch on both sides of the ball.
Show up or don’t be pissed when Strong leaves and USF sucks again because no coach wants to be a part of a program with an apathetic fan base. And no program stays good for long with apathetic fans who only show up for “big” games (by their own definition, of course) and support their team conditionally.
Be there on October 14.