I’ve been to a few of these annual events at Ulele in Tampa Heights now, and they’re all pretty similar. Last year we got basically the same speeches from Willie Taggart at both Top Golf in Brandon and Ulele. It’s a bunch of diehards & season ticket holders eating great food (the beer mac & cheese from Ulele is sooooo good), and gives the proletariat a chance to interact with the head coaches and staff around the program.
And the tradition of having someone ask a really awkward, cringe-inducing question from the audience continued unabated. You people hate the media, and yeah we kind of hate the media sometimes too, but for the love of God we CANNOT let the general public near microphones with coaches. Disasters ensue every time.
Anyway, these events are great as those that buy tickets and support the program day-to-day get a chance to meet and greet their favorite coaches. Brian Gregory and Charlie Strong were out there taking pictures with everyone long after the event was over.
Gregory gave the tl;dr version of what’s he’s done since he got here: He had 10 official visits remaining from the previous staff, and used that to get nine commits. Three grad transfers, three true freshmen, two prep school kids, one JC center from Eastern Europe, and a partridge in a pear tree.
I think the crowd understands that we have no way to judge Gregory and his staff for years, and are just hoping he does his best until things settle down a bit on the east side of the Muma Center.
Strong seems like kind of quiet guy generally, but I don’t think anyone questions how kind and nice a man he is. And he also got the crowd pretty fired up during his comments.
.@CoachStrong_USF "We have high expectations. It's all about how you deal with those high expectations." pic.twitter.com/HOdjYPeLiG— Collin Sherwin (@USFCollin) June 21, 2017
.@CoachStrong_USF "You can't tell me there isn't 50,000, 60,000 people to fill that stadium."— Collin Sherwin (@USFCollin) June 21, 2017
But what actually made some news for us was the following. I’d transcribe his entire answer, but I don’t feel right about recording a donor-focused event. However here’s the money quotes from Joey Knight and I:
.@CoachStrong_USF, for the first time publicly, talks about an indoor practice facility. Says he's been on a tour of ones at other campuses.— Collin Sherwin (@USFCollin) June 21, 2017
Strong is asked about an IPF. He's in favor. "We've just got to raise money." @USFFootball— Joey Knight (@TBTimes_Bulls) June 21, 2017
So the head football coach wants an IPF. And he also said it would be available to other teams, not just football. And he cares enough about it that he’s gone to other places to see how they work.
I think this might be the first time we’ve had a USF head football coach on the record about this. And with the weather in Florida, it certainly has made sense to a lot of people over the years.
Now the question becomes: how do you pay for it, and how much of that money would come out of any potential stadium fund? Until we get that stadium feasibility study back from USF Athletics, we likely won’t know the answers.
These events aren’t designed to make news, but a little might have happened here.