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The 2017 Daily Stampede Awards (Part 3)

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To wrap up our annual awards, we’re looking at the best coaching job, the biggest controversy, and some USF funny.

NCAA Football: Central Florida at South Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

We overflowed into Part 3 with this year’s awards. If you missed Part 1 and Part 2, click on the links to read them.


BIGGEST CONTROVERSY

Collin: The State of Texas refused our public records request for video from an airport terminal of Troy Holston and Geno Thorpe. If you had told me before the season that I'd be searching for the emails of communications officers for Texas airports... yeah. USF needs to make sure dudes get on the plane, and dudes probably shouldn't have their Mom blow up their spot when they miss the plane.

Carl: The Troy Holston/Geno Thorpe missed flight. Probably the mystery of the year. The next closest was Willie Taggart and Oregon, and the writing was on the wall pretty quickly there. Here, I'm not sure we still know what happened for sure. Here's the facts: Troy Holston and Geno Thorpe were stranded in Houston after missing their connecting flight from Tulsa. It gained national attention for all the wrong reasons, but I guess USF Men's Basketball had national attention at the end of February?

Connor: Judge Margaret Taylor. A big story in the Tampa Bay area for a few days, Judge Taylor's unnecessary tirade about USF football and Charlie Strong's control of the program was certainly a big controversy. And one that the judge, a USF alum herself, might regret.

Gary: Because it will hang over the program for years, it has to be the academic scandals involving former coach Orlando Antigua. USF men’s basketball may have always been a bad program, but at least it was a clean one. Not anymore. (ed. note: USF did not actually get charged with academic fraud by the NCAA.)

Nathan: Judge Margaret Taylor calling out new football coach Charlie Strong for not being able to control his players. She made the entire story about herself while minimizing the fact that there was a sexual predator on campus (allegedly).

Nick: First thing that comes to my mind are the Hassan Childs/LaDarrius Jackson arrests and the stupid judge controversy with Charlie Strong that came out of it. Coming in second is the weird Juli Weber situation that pretty much kneecapped softball's season.

Jamie: Has to be Margaret Taylor doing her best Nancy Grace impression and going after Charlie Strong for things he has no control over. It was a tremendous display of virtue signaling and dog whistling by Taylor. Good on the USF community for its near unanimous pushback.

The most obvious USF controversy of the year was the Florida Legislature jacking the school out of $13 million with the whole “preeminence” fiasco, but that’s not an athletics story so it doesn’t qualify here.

FUNNIEST STORY

Collin: Don’t know. I'm so bad at remembering this stuff unless triggered somehow.

Carl: Doubling up on the Troy and Geno story because the absurdity of it coming from our worst team. When I originally heard, I could do nothing but laugh because it pretty much compounded our men's basketball season into one giant fiasco.

Connor: While I don't find it particularly funny, some outside the USF community probably do. Late last summer, during USF's pitch to join the Big XII Conference, USF misspelled the word "research" on the front page of some key promotional material. Typos happen, but COME ON. Embarrassing.

Gary: Ross Korosec volunteering to be ejected from a baseball game.

Josh Appel: Korosec ejection at Stetson.

Nathan: Has to be men's basketball leaving Geno Thorpe and Troy Holston in an airport in Tulsa. That was the epitome of how the 2016-2017 basketball season went.

Nick: Our own #QuestForTen. Not necessarily a story, but just a way we entertained ourselves watching that dumpster fire of a basketball season unfold. It got so bad that you couldn't help but laugh.

Jamie: This was a vintage year for USF athletic comedy. There were the Troy and Geno flight hijinks, Ross Korosec taking one for the team, the Colts letting a zoo animal tell the world they had drafted Marlon Mack, various runnings up of football scores, the incredible misspelling of “Sean King” in the preseason media guide, “reasearch”, replacing one of the O’s in “FOOTBALL” with the U horns in the bowl preview, the hilariously ham-fisted ending to the spring football game, and all kinds of shaky baseball tweets.

But I’m voting for WFTS sports director Tom Korun and his stalking of Charlie Strong’s private plane when he came in from Austin to interview and negotiate with USF. Tom was thirsty for this story. He even tweeted a picture of a private jet flying over what I assume is Korun’s house and wondered if Charlie was on it.

Korun wasn’t the only media member on the case. (Matt Davis of the Tampa Bay Times was out at the airport, too, and even Collin got in on the act when Strong came back the day he was named head coach.) But Tom clearly went the extra mile to win this award.

BEST COACHING JOB

Collin: Willie Taggart. He rebuilt your team from basically zero talent to 11-2, and one half against Temple from a conference championship. Sorry, not sorry.

Carl: Another vote that I'm not even pretending is objective. Over my college career, I watched Willie Taggart take a hapless, listless, directionless team and turn them into one of the hottest teams in the country with the national spotlight. He began waking up the sleeping giant that was last seen partway through 2007. Taggart might not be here anymore, but the effect he had on the program will be felt for years, if not decades if the giant fully rises.

Connor: Jose Fernandez. Some close to the women's basketball program called the 2016-17 season the best coaching job yet by Fernandez with the departure of star player, Courtney Williams. He led the injury-plagued Bulls to their third straight NCAA Tournament this past season and has been to five total in his 17 years at USF. Fernandez has also led the program to five consecutive 20-win seasons. Easy choice.

Gary: Jose Fernandez.

Josh: Baseball coach Mark Kingston and pitching coach Billy Mohl.

Nathan: Shaun King. Being the chairman of the Shaun King Fan Club, I had to stay on #brand. He turned Quinton Flowers into a really good quarterback last year. King went on a summer internship to the Pittsburgh Steelers to learn from Mike Tomlin and it showed. I felt comfortable with all three quarterbacks playing in a game that mattered and King is responsible for that. So happy he's still on staff.

Nick: Cristina Moros for what she did with women's tennis. Also, shout out to Shaun King. It's not talked about enough how important of a role he played in developing Q into an even better passer.

Jamie: The entire USF football 2016 offensive coaching staff, including Willie Taggart. That unit was an absolute juggernaut, and it had to be or the Bulls would not have come anywhere near 11 wins. Kudos to Taggart, Shaun King, Darren Hiller, David Reaves, and Donte Pimpleton. Special recognition to T.J. Weist for his work during the season and especially for rallying the team to go on and win their bowl game after Taggart left for Oregon. That was the most underrated coaching job of the year.